When I said my vows, I made a commitment. A commitment to my husband, myself, and to God. One that I would support my husband in the very best of times, and the very worst of times.
I’ve written before about how when I made that commitment it changed my relationship and my life in ways I didn’t expect, but over the past seven months, there’s also been a change in me. My understanding of marriage has changed greatly, and so my expectations for what it means to be a good, and Godly, wife have changed as well. I’ve spent the last seven months, while my husband was stationed away from home, reading what God had to say about marriage, and what He says I should do to be a good wife for my husband. Because of this I’ve come to understand things differently.
Now, I don’t claim to be any sort of expert on the bible, God, or Christianity. Heck, a year ago I wasn’t even Christian. I’m figuring this all out as I go through guided readings, bible study, and seeking out the wisdom and guidance of those who are better educated on the topic than I am, but I still wanted to share my understanding of what it means to be a Godly wife, and how I’m trying to fulfill my role in my marriage. There is so much that the bible has to teach us about being the very best spouse that we can be. Which is why for each installment of Becoming a Godly Wife I’ll focus on one verse which has inspired me, and which effects my understanding of what it means to be a good wife.
I want to start with a verse from Proverbs 31, which just resonates deep in my soul. Proverbs 31 is well known for laying out what a wife should be and what a woman should strive for. It details the advice Lemuel’s mother gave him about how to be a virtuous king, and the attributes he should look for in a wife who would be virtuous and ideal for his station. Proverbs 31:11 struck a note deep in my heart the first time I read it.
The heart of her husband trusteth in her,
and he shall have no need of spoils.
The idea that a wife can be so fulfilling for her husband that he does not need or seek material things, is so inspirational to me. I read that, and I envision a wife who supports him so completely that he does not need to pursue worldly things. To be the kind of wife, that my husband has all he needs in me and God, I don’t think I even have the kind of words I need to fully describe what that means to me.
Obviously a wife, even a good one, can’t replace the need for shelter, food, clothing, ect… A person cannot replace the things we need to survive. To further understand Proverbs 31:11 though, let’s take a deeper look.
Charles Ellicott, distinguished English Christian theologian, describes the meaning of this verse a bit differently from my initial understanding. He says that rather than “shall have no need of spoils” the meaning is that he shall have no lack of gain. A prudent and trustworthy wife will manage his home and affairs in such a way as to increase his bounty, such that he shall not want for spoils.
Joseph Benson, one of the most eminent early Methodist ministers in England, again directs the meaning of this verse to the matter of handling domestic affairs, which historically included household finances. He elaborates on the verse, explaining that the husband should trust his wife with the household management. He explains that “spoils” refers to necessary provisions or aid which would be distributed to a family. He goes on to elaborate that this verse could also be referring to the use of cheating, oppressing subjects, or otherwise unlawful behavior to secure the monetary state of his household. He states that per Proverbs 31:11 a good wife will improve the household, and will not be wasteful of a man’s estate.
Both of these commentaries lend a deeper, more complex understanding to Proverbs 31:11. A good wife is one who her husband can trust completely to manage his home, not to waste their resources, but to bring him plenty and bounty through her prudence. Her skillful handling of the household will position the family in such a way that they need not seek out aid, and need not be dishonest in their attempts to provide.
This additional perspective makes this verse even more inspirational for me. It sets a clear standard for my actions as a wife, that my efforts should enrich the household, not be a drain upon it, and that through prudence, care, and skillful management my husband can trust me, and never question the state of his estate.
My take away from this is that one of the most important things I can do as a wife is to learn how to be frugal within the home, to treat my husband’s income with care, so that even with limited funds, we should not want for necessities.
What’s your take away from Proverbs 31:11? Is there a lesson here that you can work to apply to your own life and marriage?