What feelings are brought to the surface when you read the title of today's podcast, The Good Wife? Depending on your family life as a child, and where you are now in life, you might find the reading of these words ... hard. Just what does the Bible say about "wifing?" How would God have us handle this very important role? Join Nicole and Sharon as they explore what God has to say about being a "good wife" in various circumstances.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast. We hope this little pause in your day, refreshes and encourages you friend. Let’s take time to know God through his Word and love him more and more. This Sweet Selah Moments podcast is brought to you by Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.
Welcome to episode 33 friends. This one is called The Good Wife. We’ll be looking at the book of Proverbs to see what it has to say about the wife’s share in the work towards a happy marriage. We are well aware that husbands have a share in that as well. But today we are talking about the wives. If you are not married, we hope you will still find this useful for future reference or to help a friend who might be. Almost all our podcasts are geared toward women in any age and stage of life. And men are welcome to listen in too if they like. Today’s topic is a little more narrow though. We are talking about a good wife.
You know, Nicole, even that title could irritate some people. Women today get pretty upset whenever the subject of being good comes up as they often associate it, I think, with having to be weak and subservient and like timid, you know?
Yeah, I think you’re right. That word does tend to rile us up, but I don’t think that’s what God intended and I’m sure that none of us want to be bad at wife-ing. So I’m excited to dig into God’s word and see how he defines a good wife.
Exactly. So we’re not going to worry about how other people might interpret the word good wife.
We’re just going to go straight for the good stuff in Proverbs.
Safer that way.
So we’re going to look at two different types of Proverbs about wife-ing. The first is just sort of the general category of all, or not all, but selected verses in Proverbs that talk about wives. And then the second part is the infamous Proverbs 31 woman who seems to just be hard to live up to.
Because she does everything so perfectly including clothing herself in purple. That’s just, I can remember feeling very intimidated by her when I first read it, but let’s start by looking at some of the Proverbs before Proverbs 31 that also give really good advice about being a good wife. You can start.
All right, I’m going to read Proverbs 12:4: it says “A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones”. There’s one thing I’ll say about Proverbs. There’s no middle ground.
Oh no, let’s be blunt.
Yep! Very bad. Very good. So the comparison between the two extremes makes it very clear, which is the better choice. Even on a bad day, I don’t want to be described as a cancer to my husband.
But we have the ability to do that though, to slowly eat away at them until their spirits are crushed. Oh, we, as wives need to be so careful what we say to them and how we treat them. So what should we do instead? Be a worthy wife, but what does that mean? The definition I found for worthy was having adequate or great merit, character or value. So if we are to be a worthy wife, it’s like being a crown, which I read in one commentary said that a crown was a sign, not only of kingly power, but also of joy and gladness.
That’s so cool.
Yeah. And I definitely want to bring joy and gladness to my husband and not a slow, painful death.
Such a choice. Should I bring joy and gladness or a slow and painful death? And yet sometimes we do that even though we don’t mean to. So, yeah. So I love that and yes, a stark contrast.
Let’s choose, let’s choose to be kind.
So Proverbs 14:1: kind of builds on that. “A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.” We can do that so easily, even if we don’t want to. We say, we want a home that is a safe place, a place of comfort, a place where people want to be, but we can sometimes respond in ways to our husbands that make it the last place they want to be. I can remember during the time when Ray was working on his PhD and I just felt like I never had enough of him that I would take the little bit of time he would give me and complain to him about how awful he was to not give me more time. And so I was tearing down my own house with my own hands because no person on the planet says ‘I would like to spend more time with someone who’s disgusted with me and thinks I’m failing’.
Right. The instant I walk in the door to be attacked. Yeah.
Yeah, I mean don’t know what I was thinking, Oh, well I was miserable. And so I just dumped my misery on him, but logically it didn’t even make sense.
I know it never does.
It really didn’t. I wasn’t building up a house and I wasn’t making myself a safe place for Ray to be. At all. So we have to really start with creating a home where people want to be. And that actually starts, if you think about it, with our own heart attitude. I was miserable. And that misery spewed out in angry words and disdain and in ‘you are not doing enough for us.’ ‘Look at all those other husbands’. Blah, blah, blah, all that stuff. If instead I had found, and I did learn this, I became better at this. If instead I had found my security and my safety and my peace in God, if I had started the day saying, Father, God, no matter what this day brings, may I not contribute to tearing down a house? May I create an environment where my children feel loved. Where there are not words of tension and stress. If I had asked God for that, that’s the beginning. That’s why in Sweet Selah Ministries we’re so big on the daily quiet time. We cannot do this stuff!
It’s crucial. Yeah. If we start the day with giving our household to God and asking him to help us build it up, I think we’re going to be able to let go of all those little things that just kind of nip at us and make us so crazy when our husbands walk in the door and we feel like we haven’t done anything because nothing went the way we planned.
So we can let it go. Like, well, this is what he had for me today. Even if it…
Wasn’t what I wanted?
Right. And then be able to be resting in that and peaceful and not attack our poor husbands.
Exactly. And the building can come later in choosing the right moment to say, okay, now this is a pattern and I’m unhappy about it.
And I want to build our house together. Cause then you’re a team going, okay, we have a problem here. Let’s look at it together and how we can solve it, then we’re building.
Right. You’re standing beside him instead of yelling at him, telling him how miserable you are. Like, hey, here’s a problem. Help me fix it.
Exactly. Right. Right. So some you let go of, because it’s just too minor. Some you dig deep in.
Right. Wait for the right time.
But you do it with a building heart and not a, ‘I’m just mad and miserable and so you need to be too’.
You’re going to get it. Yep. Pretty much.
So, okay, your turn.
Well, the next verse kind of encourages us to be that woman. Proverbs 18:22: it says “The man who finds a wife, finds a treasure and he receives favor from the Lord”. I love this verse. I really hope my husband always views me as a treasure.
I read a commentary that said that this shows that the wife is from the Lord and not something that the man found on his own. I thought that was a really neat perspective to view ourselves as a treasure from God, given to our husbands, to help him and to love him. So that could certainly change our perspectives and our marriages and really help our attitudes on those really tough days.
Yes, and you know what Nicole, it’s a really honoring word. A treasure is something valuable. And what this proverb is saying about a wife is she is valuable. She’s worth something. She’s not that subservient, ‘Oh, I don’t want to be a good wife’ and you know, mealy-mouth kind of thing. She’s valuable. She’s a treasure. I love that.
That is so good.
Yeah. Okay. Proverbs 19:14: – “Fathers can give their sons an inheritance of houses and wealth, but only the Lord can give an understanding wife”.
Wow. You can’t give one to them.
There are some things we can do and some things we can’t do. We can share our stuff. Fathers can give their kids a new car if they’re rich.
Right, or an older car.
Or a loan, or if they’re not, an older car. Right. But we can’t change a heart. Only God can change a heart. And so when I read this, I thought, well, all right, well, what does that mean for a man? You know, if only God can give you an understanding wife, what’s your role in that? And I think it’s prayer. If you want your wife to be better, the best gift you can give is prayer. God change her heart.
Right. Because only he can change.
Because only he can change a heart. And if we want to be an understanding, wife, prayer. God, I don’t understand this man that I’ve married. I mean, I thought I knew him, and now that I’m married to him.
He’s a mystery.
Yeah, he’s such a mystery. But I want to understand him, especially with me anyways, I want to understand when something Ray does hurts me, whether that was his intention or whether that’s just sort of an integral part of the way he does things and I can come alongside him and say, you know, when you say it that way, I don’t think you mean anything badly by it, which he doesn’t. This is the thing that I have discovered about him. Let me teach you a more socially graceful way to say this.
I can receive this better and not take offense.
So, but I need to pray for that understanding because if God is the one that gives it…
Then we need to ask him for it. So it doesn’t say anything about prayer in this verse, but I really spent some time thinking about it. And it just challenged me to pray more for the things that I can’t change because God can change a heart.
No, that’s really good.
Well, next is Proverbs 21:9, 21:19 and 25:24. These are pretty good. “It is better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.” And then 21:19: – “It is better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome complaining wife” and Proverbs 25:24: – echoes the first, “It is better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home”.
They’re repeated, word for word! It’s hysterical.
Yeah. There’s no hidden message in here. It’s clearly saying here that a complaining wife is a pretty miserable person to live with and it would be better to live alone in a, not so great place, like hot desert or cold cobwebby attic corner than to live with a wife who wants to fight all the time. Uh, it’s so easy to get hung up on our circumstances and when we feel helpless or frustrated, we just turn our anger on the person closest to us. And that’s usually our husband. And, that’s not really fair to do. I find in my marriage that it’s always better to go to God first with my frustrations and work them out with him to see if I actually need to confront my husband with what I’m feeling or if it’s just a quirk that he has that I have to learn to love and work with, like you were talking about.
Or even just writing out my frustrations has helped me to view them a little bit more clearly before I just go on the attack because I did a lot. So this has saved me many an unneeded fight going forward. And just to clarify, I believe these verses are talking about the little fights and the petty things that come up that we should probably either forgive or just give grace to. Not the big issues that need addressing. It is super important to communicate and talk in a marriage about how you’re feeling and to go through those unresolved issues. But I believe these verses are talking more to those little things that can irritate us and that if we dwell on them and let Satan keep bringing them up in our minds, they turn into fuel for constant little fights that really don’t move us toward the goal of reconciliation or growing closer as a couple. They just chip away at us.
They do. And some things you just can let go of.
I mean, Ray lets go of my chattiness and just lets me talk longer than he thinks is necessary on any topic. Why? Because he loves me and I remember way back before we were married, he was a West Point cadet and he only got to talk to me once a week on the phone.
And so he would call and there was a line, Nicole. Back then there were phone booths. Do you remember?
I do. I’ve seen them. I used one.
You used a phone booth?
It was very exciting.
So they would all stand and line up on a Sunday night to call their girls.
Oh, how funny.
So, and then there’d be a line behind them. So I couldn’t stay on too long. So he’d get on and he’d say hi and I’d go, Oh Ray, it’s so good to hear from you, blah, blah, blah.
Yes, and then I’d stop and I’d say, well how about you? And he’d say, I’m fine. How are you?
I’m alive. Right.
And I’m like, I just told you how I was. So I said, aren’t you tired of me talking? And he said, I love to hear you burble.
Oh how sweet.
Yeah, he just wanted to hear happy because he was pretty miserable his first year at West Point. Any normal human being would be.
Yeah. Pretty intense.
Yeah. The first year was a really rough year.
Oh my gosh.
So he liked to hear me burble. Isn’t that nice?
Oh, I love that.
And he still does. He’s so nice about it, but he could have allowed it to become a source of irritation for him.
Right. Oh yeah.
But he didn’t, you know, so that’s just an example. And then for me he always leaves lights on everywhere and I could, every single time I noticed that he has left a room and if the light is on, said, please notice, that you’ve left the light on. But if I’m in the room, I’m by the light switch.
So turn it off Sharon. Come on. Really? You know, so things like that I think are the little irritations you’re talking about.
Yeah. We can get so hung up on them though. They can really ruin our whole day just like the light switch or the socks or the, whatever it is, whatever it is.
Oh my goodness! We can blow it out of all proportions.
Oh we can.
And can’t we just save the need for a discussion for the things that…
The really big stuff. Yeah, absolutely.
And give grace because you have to give grace both ways and they probably give grace in areas that we don’t know they’re giving grace.
Yeah. So anyways, all right. So, first section a good wife is smart. She’s not foolish. She doesn’t tear down her house. She builds it up and she creates a home or an atmosphere of mutual respect and love. She keeps it from being a war zone. She has a lot of power really, in the temperature of the home I think.
I really do. Anything else? Looking back on it, trying to think what else a good wife is.
I think finding our value in Christ, remembering that we are a treasure and that God has given us to our husband. It just changes the whole way that sometimes the world views a wife as either that trophy or that, you know, ‘she’s got to be glorified’ and No, we’re a treasure from God. So we are something special. So to act in that knowledge.
That we’re valuable.
Yes and necessary.
We really are. So, and a lot of powers in our control in terms of what we say and what we do. Not all of it. Husbands have a responsibility too.
But that is a podcast for another day. But today, today we are wifing it. So, okay. Now we’re going to turn a corner and it’s time to listen to a longer passage from the word of God, for our Sweet Selah moment. So as Nicole and I read Proverbs 31, please remember, listener, a couple of things. First of all, this lady being described, had servants. She had plural, more than one, many servants. So that’s going to affect how many purple linens she has running around the house. Also, this is not a snapshot of her in one day, it’s a description of a life lived well. A life lived well. Third, not all of us are called to spin with wool or buy vineyards. So we are looking for the principles in this passage that we can apply to our modern day lives. Okay. So don’t feel beaten down by this. Remember that Satan is the one who condemns and accuses. And if that’s how you’re feeling, when we’re reading this, you tell him to get away so that God can speak to you because he doesn’t condemn. He loves and encourages us to come near. In fact, why don’t I pray before we start?
Yeah, good idea.
Father God, I don’t know who’s listening, but you do. You know, every wife or want to be wife or used to be wife and her hurts and her needs. And I pray in Jesus’ name that this passage of scripture would touch her somehow in a helpful way, in an encouraging way. And that all of us would walk away after hearing your word with a nugget or two of what we can do to be a valuable and treasured wife. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Okay, Nicole, why don’t you start with verse 10 of Proverbs 31.
All right. “A wife of noble character: – Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.”
“Her husband can trust her and she will greatly enrich his life.”
“She brings him good, not harm all the days of her life.”
“She finds wool and flax and busily spins it.”
“She is like a merchant ship bringing her food from afar.”
“She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.”
“She goes to inspect a field and buys it. With her earnings she plants a vineyard.”
“She is energetic and strong. A hard worker.”
“She makes sure her dealings are profitable. Her lamps burn late into the night.”
“Her hands are busy, spinning thread, her fingers, twisting fiber.”
“She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.”
“She has no fear of winter for her household. For everyone has warm clothes.”
“She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.”
“Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders.”
“She makes belted, linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants.”
“She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.”
“When she speaks, her words are wise and she gives instructions with kindness.”
“She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.”
“Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her.”
“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all.”
“Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last, but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”
“Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.” Isn’t that nice?
It’s a beautiful passage.
It is and it, again, it says this woman is valuable and worthy of admiration, even publicly. Kabam. This is not a mealy mouth ‘I’m worth nothing. I need to stay home’ kind of person. I love this passage now.
So, okay, Nicole, top three insights. What are your top three insights from these verses to help you and me be a better wife?
Yeah. The first verse that stuck out to me was verse 11. It said her husband can trust her and she will greatly enrich his life. I really like that verse. I’ve always striven to be my husband’s confidant, someone that he can trust and know that I would not talk badly about him or use anything he says against him to belittle him or to make fun of him or to laugh about to other people.
I like that.
That’s really important, to have that trust.
It really is. And men particularly I think really want to be respected. So to mock them. Yeah. Well, who wants to be mocked? Women don’t want to be mocked either. We just shouldn’t mock.
Yep. You can really crush them. So that was a good challenge and a good verse to start with. I also liked verse 15 where it talks about her getting up early to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day. That is something I’ve really been working on in the past two years. It’s much nicer to greet my family and help them start their day well then to lay in bed and be grumpy when they find me sleeping and waking me up because I’m not that early bird.
Well, I can remember Sundays being the worst day of the week for so long for our family, because I wanted to sleep in on a Sunday, but then I had to get everybody ready for church and, you know, get the breakfast ready. And it just seemed like we were always crabby on our way out the door. And I discovered the same thing. It was so much better to get up early, have a decent quiet time, have my own first cup of tea, in my case tea, and sit with the Lord and then have the time, you know, needed to be ready in an orderly fashion instead of where’s your hairbrush? Oh, my word, your sock has a hole in it!
While you’re still brushing your hair and trying to find your stuff, you know?
Yes, yes. And dropping an earring.
Just all that stuff. And I used to think, I think the enemy works overtime on Sundays.
Oh for sure. For sure.
So, but getting up early; it’s worth it.
Yeah, for me who loves to sleep and is a night owl, it has been so worth getting up before them on the days that I do it. And some days I would be ready and I’d be waiting like, Oh, where are the girls? Oh, it’s so quiet. I have some time. It’s just so much nicer to start the day that way. So I like this lady. I like her thinking. I wish I had servants too to help me with my day. I haven’t acquired any of those yet.
Oh wouldn’t that be nice? Can you imagine sitting there and saying, okay, servant maids, now today… You know, we’d have fun with that.
We would, Oh, I would be in my glory.
And it would be so nice to give lots of holidays and pay well.
Oh yes, I’d be a wonderful boss.
Yes, yes, yes. But in the absence of them, we get up early and do it ourselves.
And I work with my planner instead.
Oh, and the last one I liked verse 26. She said, uh, when it says, when she speaks, her words are wise and she gives instructions with kindness. I really want to be that, I really want to be that person. That, that is what is said about me. I want to speak wise words and to give kind instructions. And not just bark out orders which I tend to do when I’m grumpy and in a hurry, like, ‘okay, girls, this, this, this, this, this’ like a drill sergeant.
Zip, zip, zip. That’s it.
And I never said, please or thank you. And I don’t know. I just want to have kind words, kind instructions.
Kind instructions. Yeah, I like that. And it’s very easy, especially when they’re young and they have to do what you say just to get in that mindset. I agree with you. I agree with you. To always practice the politeness and Oh, thank you so much for doing that. And, and even I remember thinking I should stop just demanding instant cleanup without letting them have some notice. You know, I used to be like, all right, time to clean up and they’d look at me like I am three quarters of the way done this puzzle or whatever. And I finally got to the point where I would be like, all right, I need them to stop at five o’clock. So I need to tell them at ten of so that they have time to finish what they’re doing. Cause it really wasn’t polite. Who wants to be interrupted like that? I don’t, you know, even if you know, Ray says, ‘do you want to go for a walk?’ and I’ve got three pages left in a book…
Right, like Oh, let me finish this chapter.
Yeah. Let me finish the chapter, honey, this is a really exciting point.
But I didn’t always give my children the opportunity to say that.
Yep. Oh I hear you.
So yeah. Kind instruction.
Yes. And wise words. So not just, Oh, I need you to do this right away. So I really, really need to dwell on that verse for awhile,
That will be your special one.
It will be. I’ll put that on my chalkboard.
Well, one of my three is verse 17 where it says she is energetic and strong, a hard worker. I love that she’s described as strong. I really do. She is a woman to be reckoned with. She’s she’s not taking over for her husband in any way. She’s just doing her job.
And she manages her job well. She’s full of energy, which means she’s probably eating well and exercising well, because since I finally shaped up, I have way more energy than I used to have and Oh my goodness, what a difference it has made. I can remember my Sabbaths back in the day when I weighed 40 pounds more and having to sleep the whole time, just to kind of catch up with myself. And now I’m playing the piano.
I know it’s really fun.
Isn’t it fun to have new found energy?
It is. I’m like, I don’t want to sleep, but it’s Sabbath. And I thought I could actually play my piano again. So it’s really, really fun. So I liked the energy and I liked the strength there. I think it’s great. So then I like verse 20: – ‘She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.”
Oh, I love that one too.
I love it because we can get so internally focused on just my family, my kids, my needs. And I felt that as a homeschooler, it was easy for me to do that and not notice a great big world out there with needs. And so to notice and to help the poor and open arms to the needy. To not be so self absorbed in my own home, in my own ‘Purple’. See, I can let her have purple and fancy bedspreads because she’s also doing this.
She’s not self-absorbed to the point where it’s all about her.
Right. She’s sharing her purple.
She’s opening her arms up. I think that’s a wonderful way to describe it. Gracious and generous to others. So I loved that one.
A beautiful picture. Yeah.
Yeah. And then the last one I really loved, of course I love more than three, but three today. So verse 25: – “She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.”
I do love that verse.
Only I really like it better in the NIV. “She laughs at the days to come.” It’s like ha, ha, ha!
Bring them on.
I’m not worried about being 70 or 80 or 90, it’s still going to be good.
Oh, that’s a good perspective on it. I never thought about it like aging.
That’s because you’re young and not old!
Oh, it’s coming. It’s creeping up.
That’s funny that you saw it differently. You were ‘she’s prepared for the future’.
Right. Like what’s happening. Like whatever terrors are coming down the line.
And I’m like, I’ll laugh at getting old.
Because I laugh at you gray hair.
That’s right, I laugh at you gray hair and wrinkles because no matter how old I get, I can still be useful in God’s kingdom.
I mean, when you think Moses didn’t get started till 80.
I know it gives us good hope then.
It’s so handy. And I think more of those things in my sixties, like, well, I don’t have to retire at 65. Why not stay til 80 or whatever? As long as God gives me the strength and the energy and I can laugh at the days to come because no matter how frightening being super old and crippled will be, I’m that much closer to heaven.
Oh, that’s so true though.
So it’s like, whatever, I’m just that much closer to heaven. So I loved that she had no fears of that. She’s like, I’m fine.
And how much less distracted is she? And would we be, if we weren’t always consumed with fear? If we could laugh at the days to come?
We could laugh at the days to come. Exactly. And we would have more energy.
Yeah, for what’s before us.
Because fear and anxiety zaps today of it’s strength.
Right. They steal. They do.
They absolutely steal it and they don’t really help with tomorrow. No, at all. Jesus did mention that in The Sermon on the Mount, which we studied last year. So, okay. Alright y. Well I think it’s time to pray. So, I am going to actually use verse 30 as my prayer for us. It says “Charm is deceptive. Beauty does not last, but a woman who fears The Lord will be greatly praised”, So let’s pray, Oh Father God, help us to live for what matters. Charm and beauty come and go but character stays. And Lord, I really feel like a woman of character is beautiful because her heart and her hope is in you. So Father, I pray that you would help us first and foremost to be women who fear you, who get our strength and our courage from you who know to find our purpose in you, who start our days saying, show me what to do, Lord. Father, we want to be that good wife, to please you, to honor our husbands, to give our children a safe environment. Please help us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Amen. Wow. That was a whole lot of information today. We hope that you can sort through it all and find one or two little pieces of advice from Proverbs that you can apply this week in your own life friend. Next week, we are turning from the Proverbs to a six week section on the greatest Christian celebration of all, Easter. Episode 34 is going to look at John’s perspective on the triumphal entry of Jesus and the backstories to that event. You won’t want to miss it. We’re calling it Backstories Matter. Thanks for joining us. You can chat with us at Sweetselah.org/podcast, and you can donate at Sweetselah.org/donations if God leads you in that direction., Have a great day.
Speaker 1 (30:01):
We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. Sweet Selah Moments is a co-operative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast, including show notes can be found at sweetselah.org and at wordradio.net. Thank you for joining us.
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