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(proverbs)

10.09.2007

My husband reminded me of something wonderful the other day.

Some time ago, years before I was married to or even dating geno, I began reading Proverbs 31. I decided that if the Lord was going to bless me with a husband someday, I better start learning how to be a good wife asap. At the time I had hardly been exposed to Proverbs 31 ("the wife chapter", as I call it) and therefore it was all very fresh and new to me. As a sidenote - sometimes I start to think that there are parts of the Bible which I don't need to read, just because I've read them a couple of times before. I start thinking that I should move on to passages I don't know as well or that I've never read. But often I find that the parts I've read again and again can speak to me even louder (if I may say it that way) than 'new' ones, usually because those are the parts I need to hear the most. Sometimes those are the parts which speak to me most personally about Jesus' love and desire for His bride, and I just want to read them over and over, quite literally like a love letter. Just because you've read a love letter before doesn't mean you won't want to read it a thousand more times. Right? For me, the wife chapter is one of those letters.

Along the way (and as I dreamed about my future mystery mate) I started to pick out pieces of this chapter that stood out to me.
"Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies." (v.10)
Wow. It would be nice to be valued like that.
"She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy." (v.20)
I'd like to be thoughtful and generous like that.
"She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar." (v.14)
I'm not sure what that even means. And then I eventually came to this part:
"Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land." (v.23)
I didn't really get what that meant, or what that had to do with a wife's behavior. Ok. So when this husband goes out among the people, when he's talking to his friends or other 'important' members of society, his reputation has preceded him. He is already known among the elders and in the gates because of his good name. Wait...whose reputation? Not his reputation, HERS. That's right. The words of the author here are only speaking of a husband in the context of his wife; the chapter is totally about her. It says "her husband" right there in that verse. So what does THAT mean?? We can't really assume that she had a bad reputation, and that that's what preceded him, because it doesn't fit with the rest of the passage. Every verse is speaking praise of this marvelous woman throughout chapter 31. This verse is no different. So I think we can safely say that it was her good reputation that preceded him. Hmmm.

This is what got me thinking. What does it mean to have such a good reputation that your husband is known among the people, even esteemed, just for what you've already said and done? At first it seems like this could be burdensome. It's impossible to be perfect, and we fall in our walk with the Lord a lot. But I don't think a burden is what the Lord wanted to express to wives in this chapter.

I suppose that there are literally hundreds and hundreds of ways that we could adjust our behavior to fit this 'reputation'. But as I read and prayed, the Lord revealed one of the simplest to me. What if I committed to speaking well of my husband all the time? Speaking ONLY good, ALL the time. Pretty basic idea, I thought. But when I thought again, I realized it's anything but basic. In fact, I was beginning to notice that there were many women, even Christian women, who didn't do this. At all. If I could count the times I've overheard different women complain about what their husband did yesterday, or what he said, or how he smelled or whatever...if I could tally up all the eye rolling and the disgruntled sighs and the deriding laughter...suffice it to say that it would be a really sad sum.

Does this mean our husbands are perfect? Of course not, nobody is. Should an abused woman decide to keep it a secret just so she can "speak well" of her abuser? Absolutely not. Extenuating circumstances aside, we, as wives, are in a unique position to see more of our husbands flaws than anyone else (and they see more of ours too!). That means that we have the unique opportunity to overlook more sins of his than anyone else does. And it means even more than that. As we overlook every fault, we begin to see all the gifts, talents and abilities that our God has given to our husbands. We begin to see our husbands in a new way, enabling us to be more supportive, more loving, more understanding, more compassionate. And THAT enables us to overflow with good things to say about him. If I had children, I might make the analogy of a proud parent beaming with joy at her child's accomplishments (no matter how small). But I don't have kids, so I won't make that analogy. You get the picture anyway.

Bottom line? I'm utterly thankful and totally awestruck that Jesus doesn't go around telling everybody else on the planet how cranky I was yesterday morning or how rude I was to the first grader who wouldn't be quiet during reading time. But sometimes this is how we as ladies speak about our husbands. We might be quick to get upset if we hear someone else speaking poorly of him, as well we should. Shouldn't the same principle apply to us in particular?? Yep. Instead, how excellent would it be if we overheard others in our community or circle of friends speaking well of him, just because of something good WE had said about him? We're in a powerful and gracious position. I pray that the Lord would remind us constantly about this small (yet HUGE) way we that can serve Him - by speaking well of our beloved. Because after all, our husbands are beloved of the Lord as well. Talk about being worth far more than rubies...what a high calling!

As another side note, how easy is it to speak well of your husband when he says things like this about you?? Pretty darn. And that's what reminded me (as I mentioned at the beginning of this post). I assert that I have the best husband in the whole wide world!! Thanks, geno.

  1. Anonymous mr. pensiero said:

    --
    i love you lots.

    see you at our date...at home...making dinner.

  1. Anonymous Luke said:

    I just want to say, as a husband, how amazing it is to have a wife who can encourage and support you... even when she knows all your faults! Even though we try hard to act like tough guys, we're all a little insecure and it's your affirmation that we long for the most!

    Thanks for a great post Kelly! Gene's blessed to have such an loving wife... trust me, we're all glad he has you!

  1. Blogger Pam Pensiero said:

    I love you Kelly! You indeed are the "Softer Side of Pensiero"! Every day I am so thankful that the Lord brought you into our lives not just for Geno but for a mom who worried and prayed for that mate who would someday come! What a uplifting post!

  1. Blogger The Seager Family said:

    Kelly, I saw your link on the Whitmores (I am married to Ben, good friends with Jon), and being bored this afternoon, checked it out. I am reading the best book that focuses on Proverbs 31. It is called The Excellent Wife, by Martha Peace. I have learned more from this book than any other study that I have done in the past few years. I highly recommend it.
    :) Megan Seager

  1. Blogger jonathan & kristen whitmore said:

    oh, I just love you babe. I love that your blog really just spoke to my heart. And I LOVE that God has called us to love and speak well of men that are so fun to love and speak well of. Thanks for blogging, I like to feel like I can be in the inner circle whenever I want.

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