Summary: What are some things we can do as men to encourage our wives to be a Proverbs 31 woman? Preached for the evening service on Mother's Day (Outline and material adapted from Jess MacCallum's book, I Married Wonder Woman)
Aubrey Smith- I hate the Proverbs 31 woman. A Proverbs 31 woman forgoes her career and life’s aspirations for childbearing and child rearing. A Proverbs 31 woman keeps a perfectly pristine house – in high heels and pearls. A Proverbs 31 woman stitches her children’s clothing by hand, hangs the laundry on the line, uses cloth diapers, and bakes phenomenal pies. Her sink? Empty. A Proverbs 31 woman agrees to her husband’s every wish. She is quiet and meek, never opinionated, and yet – a tigress in the bedroom. A Proverbs 31 woman knits, crochets, and cross-stitches. She decorates like Martha Stewart and actually succeeds in her Pinterest crafts. A Proverbs 31 woman weighs 110 pounds and has perfect country-singer hair. (That’s in verse 52.) She is a box I cannot fit into. She is a trophy wife that I cannot be. I can’t imagine how this woman seems to the single woman, the childless woman, the single mother working herself to the bone to make ends meet. If I – happily married, staying home, and shoot, even cloth diapering – feel that I cannot measure up to this woman, how do they feel?
King Lemuel and Proverbs 31
Have many men who come on Sunday night, unlike other churches.
My guess is that, over the centuries, the Proverbs 31 woman has been unfairly used by some men as a framework to criticize their spouses- pointing to their shortcomings rather than encouraging their progress. We are going to go through the Proverbs 31 woman with male glasses. Maybe the reason Aubrey Smith hates the Proverbs 31 woman is that she does not have a Proverbs 31 man (no offense to Aubrey Smith or her husband)?
What on earth would that kind of woman see in a man like me? Why did my Proverbs 31 woman marry me? Obviously, every characteristic that applies to the woman in this passage may not apply to my wife today. Then again, maybe you are blessed with a spouse exactly like her. In any case, we husbands need encourage our wives on their Proverbs 31 journey in the best way possible
Thesis: What are some things we can do as men to encourage our wives to be a Proverbs 31 woman?
Value our wife above everything (Proverbs 31:10)
I married my wife because I couldn’t image ever finding her equal. I was in love, but I was also impressed. Her value was so clear that there was no way I was going to let her get away if I could do anything about it. I began with the perspective Adam had toward Eve when he first laid eyes on her: Wo, Man!
“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.” Proverbs 18:22, NIV. I had no doubt this this young lady was a good thing! Just having her would be favor enough.
Unfortunately, over time we men often fade in our enthusiasm as other things compete for our attention. Our “good thing” becomes part of the everyday scenery. We get distracted rather easily from appreciating our wife’s full potential. It’s like investing in a house, expecting it to appreciate, but never spraying for termites, painting, roofing, and doing other maintenance. Then one day, surprise- we’re the ones bringing down the neighborhood property values. Sort of like the guy in Luke 14 who started a project he couldn’t afford to finish and was ridiculed for poor planning. That scenario is just as possible in our marriages if we stop seeing the value of continuing to invest in our wives.
A husband of the Proverbs 31 variety guards against any loss of esteem for his wife. He finds ways to refresh the perspective he had when he first proposed. Esteem the value. Value by definition is enduring and it can be enhanced. Once we’ve looked at what God values, we will begin to see our choices differently. Sometimes it a tough lesson to discover that “what is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” Luke 16:15, NIV. This means some of my personal treasures might need to go. The things that God honors need to show up in my choices. If the value Christ placed on the church is any indication of how a husband is to see his wife (Ephesians 5:25), then clearly the things that compete for my wife’s rightful spot should be dealt with.
Interesting to compare her to rubies. Rubies and jewels are the most valuable in their final, polished form. A foolish thing to ignore the value of a jewel, even if it’s in the rough!
Trust our wife and reap the benefits (Proverbs 31:11,12, 16)
Jess MacCallum- On our honeymoon we rented a 2 seater bicycle. My wife, Anne, wanted to steer first, so I took the camera and provided pedal power. It was a little funny trying to get our balance, and I had to get used to a handlebar that didn’t move. But after a mile or so, I was engrossed in picture taking, pedaling without holding on. We were laughing and talking like- well, like newlyweds. When we finally decided to head back, there was a slight problem. We had agreed to switch at this point, and she had a hard time not being in control. After only a few seconds of pedaling from the back and realizing that her handlebars were welded in place, she yelled, “How did you do this?! This is freaking me out!” “It’s a trust thing, isn’t it?” I called back to her as she tugged at the immobile bar- she might as well have been trying to steer a station wagon by the bumper. “Takes a little getting used to, doesn’t it?” I said smugly. “I don’t want to be back here long enough to get used to it!” she yelled. What an illustration! Many times we are asking our wives to sit in the back and do the pedaling. What an exercise in trust! From time to time we need to be in the back and trust her! We have to do this with the Lord. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;” Proverbs 3:5, NIV.