Proverbs 31 – A Marriage Challenge

Our current series on women in the Bible is focusing on the Proverbs 31 wife. Rachel started us off last week with this post, looking at the first verses in this poem, and looking at the real purpose of this passage. In short, this passage describes something to aim for – yes, the ‘perfect’ woman, but with the implied message that it’s a work in progress!

This week, we’ve been looking at proverbs 31 verses 11 and 12.

Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.

Once again, my understanding of this passage has been really enhanced by the Mummy Meditations Community. It’s been a really busy week for me, with lots of things on my mind, so I am so grateful for their thoughts and wisdom.

Her husband has full confidence in her

The writer of this has started with the idea of the value of a woman. He now moves on to what that woman brings to a relationship. The foundations of a relationship are trust and confidence. As one Mummy Meditations member explained,

“All relationships are built differently, each couple having a unique culture that only they can create. But here we see that one of the things every relationship needs to be built upon is Trust. Establishing and maintaining that is so important, and makes our relationships stronger and able to withstand times where we may have to un-build and re-build certain areas.”

We looked at what it means for a husband to have “full confidence” in his wife. For some, this was in the small things, and the detail. The husband knows if he asks for something to be done, it will be done. She can be relied upon in the big things and the small. But another Mummy Meditation member interpreted it slightly differently: “he/the hubby has full confidence, he builds her up, he dreams with for her and with her in her dreams. That he sees the potential, the good that is in her.” I love this interpretation – the sharing of dreams and potential, and his willingness to support that. This supports the original purpose of the Proverbs 31 passage – it’s a poem that men read aloud in order to celebrate and praise their wives, rather than a kind of checklist. The idea of a marriage where both husband and wife fully support each others dreams is a wonderful one.

There’s also an element of openness and vulnerability in how we interpret confidence. This interpretation is that the husband can share anything with his wife, in his most hidden self. Then he can trust that she will take care of him. This is also a lovely image of a marriage.

She brings him good, not harm

We spent some time thinking about what we bring to our marriages. In many marriages, it seemed that the husband and wife really complement each other, so where one is careful with money, the other is generous. Where one is more organised and disciplined, the other may be more fun.

While we were discussing this verse, one Mummy Meditations member wrote,

“I actually think this verse might be quite forward thinking in some ways. I like the fact that there is a reciprocal nature to the relationship. The husband trusts the wife, in fact he gives her his heart and depends on her, and she gives him all he needs, greatly enriches his life. It appears to me to be a very full relationship with both parties giving wholly of themselves. A big challenge in the day to day!”

A challenge, not an intimidation

When I first read this verse, I was pretty intimidated by it to be honest. We’re in the phase of life where our children demand a lot of attention. We’re both involved in separate ministries in church, and it can feel sometimes like we are co-parents and housemates rather than a married couple. We avoid this with regular date nights and time to just talk, so I was prepared to spend quite a lot of this week thinking about how I’m not prioritising my marriage as much as I should.

In fact, as often happens, I’ve been struck by the simplicity of these verse. We trust each other, and we try our best to do good for each other. We share our hopes and dreams and support each other in them. That’s a pretty good basis for a marriage if you ask me!

What’s next?

Next week, Rachel will be looking at verses 13 and 14:

She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.

She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.

If you would like to join the Mummy Meditations Community, you will need to sign up to my mailing list (I’ll also send you a free workbook and prayer journal). It’s a lovely group full of wise, wonderful women. I really hope you can join us.

 

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