We often hear about how amazing the Proverbs 31 wife is. She is highly praised, loved, and even dreaded by many. But there’s something we often overlook in this passage: her husband. What does the man of Proverbs 31 look like? How do the two of them interact? What makes their marriage something worthy of celebration?
Today we’re going to focus in on 5 qualities of the Proverbs 31 man. Men, this will give us a goal to strive for, a target for what it looks like to be a godly husband.
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels
1) The Proverbs Man treasures his wife. When I first met Steph, I was immediately impressed by her hard work ethic. As I got to know her better I was drawn in by the strength of her character and how she would not let deceit stand. She would call people out for their wrong doing, and embrace them with her warm, loving, outgoing personality. These traits are just a few of the reasons my wife is so great and why I ultimately decided I wanted to marry her. If I could talk with each of you reading this, I know I’d hear similar stories about how great the character of your spouse is.
Let’s face it, your wife is awesome. When you were dating her you were constantly enthralled by who she is. How she dealt with the world around her and especially how she treated you caused you great joy. And in the end, you married her for it. You found reason to delight in her, and that’s exactly what the Proverbs Man ought to do.
Delighting in your wife came easily to you when you were dating, but sometimes it can become harder as life moves on. Don’t forget how amazing she is! If you spend more time on your hobbies, watching Netflix, or hanging out with friends than you spend enjoying your wife’s company, you demonstrate that your treasure is not your wife.
Stop right now, and write down a list of the amazing things she’s done over the last week. Let her know how much you care about her and love her. Tell her what she did recently that wowed you.
The heart of her husband trusts in her. vs 11
2) The Proverbs Man trusts his wife. I had a boss named Rick early on at my last job. He was a truly caring boss. He would ask you how you were doing, and honestly wanted to know. He would ask your opinions on how to improve the store, and he would demonstrate trust in you. He did this in several ways. First, if you had a crazy idea, he’d let you run with it even if he didn’t agree. I remember on one occasion I had an idea for improving the store. He could tell I was passionate about it, and he gave me his full support. Later he came to me and told me “You know, I didn’t agree with this idea. I didn’t think it would work, but you proved me wrong.” That’s the kind of guy he was. He would give his support to you and help you succeed.
On the other hand, I’ve had leaders who micro-managed me. In that environment, I felt stifled and incompetent. My skills didn’t change, I was still a hard worker and would seek to do the best I could for the people I was working for, but the joy in my work and the outcome of it was less than it could have been. For Rick I was rewarded with trust, with others I was torn down with thoughtless words. Godly leadership lovingly seeks to grow and aide whereas fleshly leadership often seeks to control via micromanagement and extraneous rules.
The Proverbs Man is a trusting leader. He knows his wife is amazing and capable and he seeks to help her succeed even if he’s not sure the idea will pan out. By trusting her he builds her up. She becomes more confident in her abilities and seeks to do him good in return. Her hard work, creativity, knowledge, and skill blossom into something unexplainable due in part to the trust of her adoring husband.
He praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” vs. 29
3) The Proverbs Man praises his wife. How do you compliment your wife? I’ve heard many men (Christian and otherwise) praise their wife by saying “Dang you’re hot” or “You’re so beautiful.” By giving her compliments for her physical beauty you compliment something she has little control over. God made her look the way she does, though she maintains limited control over it. When you compliment her beauty, you’re not complimenting her so much as the work God did in her physical creation. Notice the Proverbs Man didn’t praise his wife’s beauty, instead he praised her character: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” He lifts up her hard work, points to the places she’s put her effort and says, “Babe, you’ve done awesomely!” The Proverbs Man listens to his wife talk about her day and finds the areas deserving of praise. When was the last time you complimented your wife’s character?
Her children rise up and call her blessed vs 28
4) The Proverbs Man teaches his children. I love that this is the natural conclusion to point three. The Proverbs Man, in praising his wife, teaches their children to follow his example. He’s setting a standard of how to treat a woman (and especially a wife!), and enforced it with his kids. I have some close friends where the husband has done very well with this. He praises his wife after every meal, and the kids always chime in “Yeah mom, this was the best meal ever!” How kids treat their mother is often a practical demonstration of how they see their father treat her. You can’t make your kids act nice, but you can show them by your godly example how they ought to live. You can teach them with your words and godly discipline the right way to behave.
What do your kids say about their mother? Do they follow in your footsteps? Do you need to do a better job of demonstrating biblical love to your wife?
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. vs 31
5) The Proverbs Man doesn’t deprive his wife. A Proverbs Man gives her not only what she needs but also gives her the freedom to get what she wants. Remember, he trusts her completely and she flourishes under that trust. Letting her keep the earnings of her hard work allows her the freedom to continue to be the hard worker you know her to be. By not depriving her of the fruits of her labor, you demonstrate the trust that you ought to have in your wife, and you allow her to have the freedom to pour out blessings on all that she touches.
The Proverbs Man also gives her the accolades her work deserves. I imagine the Proverbs Man in the city gate, bragging about the clothes she made him. He shows off the fact that the pockets are big enough to hold his kindle and tells everyone about just how wise she is for buying that orchard. He brags about her is a loving way. His words lift her up at home and wherever his work takes him.
What other ways can you reward your wife? The passage doesn’t call for it here, but you can take her on a date to that restaurant she likes or buy her a that thing she’s been wanting but in prudence hasn’t bought yet. Find what she loves most and reward her with more of it. Seek to make her happy with your actions and your sacrifices.
But my wife…
I anticipate that some of you reading this will be inclined to say these principles do not apply to you because your wife is not a Proverbs 31 wife. The Bible doesn’t say we should treat people how they deserve to be treated, it says we should treat them like we want to be treated (Matthew 7:12). Honoring our wives may be a challenge at times, but no matter how hard it may seem, we are called love them with the same sacrificial love that Jesus loved us (Ephesians 5:25).
Men, God has called us to treat our wives better than we are fleshly inclined. To be the godly man of Proverbs, we must love our wives, invest in them, praise them, and reward them with the fruit of their labor. He has called us to raise up our children to be godly little ones, who see the value in others and praise them for it. When we as husbands act in this way, it will stir up in the hearts of our wives passions we wouldn’t otherwise see. When we act in the same way as the Proverbs Man, our marriage begins to take a path that leads to a place of contentment and joy. And that is something worth celebrating!