~ Ogden Nash ~
Hus-band [huhz-buh nd]
1. a married man, esp. when considered in relation to his wife.
2. to be or become a husband to; marry.
Well, this topic is one where I am going “off-topic” – sort of. Instead of talking about lipstick and hip-stick I would like to discuss the Proverbs 31 HUSBAND. Many of us know the Proverbs 31 wife and her virtues. Many of us aspire to be a Proverbs 31 woman, and many of us fall short – like myself. There are many sermons, discourses, articles on what a Proverbs 31 woman is, but what about the Proverbs 31 husband?
Behind every successful man, the saying goes, there's a good woman. But have you ever considered that behind many a successful woman, there's also a good man?
Was Proverbs 31 ever intended to be an unrealistic standard for women to reach alone? Heaven forbid! If one really studies this particular passage they will see that it was written originally as a challenge to men. When men read Proverbs 31:10-31 it’s easy for them to think how wonderful it would be to have a wife like that. After all, with a wife like that they think their lives would be so much easier for them. What they fail to do is to stop and notice what these verses say about the Proverbs 31 husband.
Before anything else, the Proverbs 31 husband recognizes the true value of his wife as a person. He knows her value is “worth far more than rubies” (31:10) and sees her as priceless and unique.
God’s measure of true value isn’t based upon what we do, or what we look like or what we have but rather who we are – people created in the image of God. Beauty, wealth, talent and smarts mean nothing to God. What matters to God is our heart and how we live our lives for Him.
A man makes his wife feel beautiful and wanted by cherishing her for what she is. The husband doesn't let his wife feel less than special once the honeymoon is over. He continues to woo her and with his words, touches and actions a husband lets his wife know she is the most important person in his life.
The Proverbs 31 husband also believes in the potential of his wife (31:11). He doesn't allow her to become a doormat, inactive or put her in a box where she has to stay at home doing only his bidding. Instead, he allows her to be productive and fulfilled both in and out of the home.
The Proverbs 31 husband is willing to let their wives make real estate investments, begin business enterprises on their own (31:16) and contribute to charitable organizations using their own judgment (31:20).
He fully trusts her, knowing that she will make wise decisions in his absence. There is nothing more important to the family or society than a woman who has the trust and confidence of her husband.
The Bible says here that the heart of her husband does "safely" trust in her. Being able to safely trust means that his confidence is not in vain and his trust does not go unrewarded. Her husband can go about his business knowing that the cares and needs of his household are being met by his wife.
Traditionally the husband has been seen as being entirely responsible for the family income and budget, leaving the wife out of all of these aspects of their life and depending on the husband to give her what she needs to take care of their family. The Proverbs 31 husband challenges these social folklores.
The biblical concept of submission has in it the idea of taking up a supportive role. Both husbands and wives are summoned to submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21). The Proverbs 31 husband actively supports his wife as she seeks to reach her full potential. He encourages her, stands by her and loves her as Christ loved the church. The Proverbs 31 husband is mature enough to encourage and support his wife to reach her full potential. He believes in her and provides an environment in which she is free to succeed without his ego getting in her way.
The Proverbs 31 husband will wisely listen to, and learn from, the wisdom of his wife (31:26). He may be spared from many careless and imprudent actions by respecting the "faithful instruction . . . on her tongue."
The Proverbs 31 husband can be taught much about God and life through his wife without relinquishing his responsibility as the spiritual head of the home. He enjoys challenging and being challenged by his wife both spiritually and intellectually. No husband ever comes in second place when he gives his wife his full attention.
Why are so many couples failing in their marriages? It is because they have taken no time to cultivate their own relationship, listen to each other and develop common interests. The Proverbs 31 husband strengthens his marriage by taking the time to listen to his wife. He respects her opinions and pays attention to her Godly advice.
And, at the last, the Proverbs 31 husband praises the virtues and accomplishments of his wife (31:28). He doesn't flatter her with empty praise for earthly pursuits but instead praises his wife for her fear of God (31:30) and her successful endeavors (31:31). He publicly praises her to others and lets others know that his wife is someone who is extra special.
Any man, not just the Proverbs 31 man, can never encourage, compliment, praise or build up his wife too much. The Proverbs 31 husband is not stingy in his praise of her and indeed heaps praise on her. Everyone craves appreciation and a compliment, I know I do, and wives perhaps need (and deserve) it the most for all that they do. A husband can make an enormous impact on his wife, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, by consciously and consistently looking for opportunities to praise her.
The Proverbs 31 husband doesn't expect his wife to be able to instantly replicate and model the virtues of the practically perfect wife that is described in Proverbs 31. Rather, he encourages his wife to grow and mature in her personal life and she does the same for him.
While it is important to strive to be a Proverbs 31 wife, I’d like to also have a husband who strives to be a Proverbs 31 husband. How much would we be able to accomplish together for God and our family?