Thursday, May 8, 2014

Does Your Husband Trust You?

by Betty Jackson

Does the heart of your husband trust in you? You may be thinking, “Oh, no! Not another Proverbs 31 woman lesson!” That ideal woman sometimes intimidates us; for the standards there are so high. However, I remind myself (in jest), this was a queen mother who was advising her son. What mother among us would not set some very high standards in a wife for our sons! However, these are words of inspiration. 

Maturing as a Christian is always a process. 

If you are a young woman, does your husband have a desire to be an elder, deacon, or a minister? Perhaps he is a preacher, or teacher, whose desire it is to grow in wisdom and knowledge. The maturation of a Christian woman is crucial for helping her mate become all he can be as an involved member of the body of Christ. This is not to suggest that a single man cannot become an excellent teacher of God’s word. But it was God himself who said, “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a help meet (suitable or answering to) for him” (Genesis 2:18).

Our study will specifically focus upon the phrase “heart of her husband.” (vs. 11) In the context of Proverbs 31, the man under consideration is a leader in the community. Notice that he is “known in the gates” (vs. 23). The city gate was the judgement seat in that cultural setting. There are gems to glean from this chapter that will enlighten us to the value of a man’s wife to his work.

Weary arms lose battles.

As Moses led the children of Israel after exiting Egypt, the fierce Amalekite army threatened the traveling Hebrews, apparently attacking the weak stragglers (Deuteronomy 25:17-19). Moses instructed Joshua to assemble his army to protect the Lord’s people. Moses, the representative of God, would hold up his rod as he stood on near-by hill in sight during the fighting. The next morning, the enemy encountered the mighty men of God. The intense battle kept on throughout the day. Moses became so tired he could not keep his arms up; when his arms dropped, Amalek prevailed. To assist the weary Moses, Hur and Aaron set Moses on a rock, and supported his arms. The enemy was destroyed (Exodus 17:6-13).

Was it Moses’ arms that won the battle? No, the Lord’s “visual aid” demonstrated that God was blessing his people through his chosen leader who was to be respected. Even the great Moses who was selected by God needed help. In point of fact: a leader cannot be “known in the gates” (i.e. respected) if his wife does not hold up his weary arms; but instead diverts his attention by self-centeredness.

How are men in biblical leadership positions? Church government was divinely installed. The Lord appointed that the church have qualified elders, deacons, preachers, and teachers. The home is designed so that males have the responsibility for leading their families. So the principles do apply in every husband-wife relationship.

There are battles to be won, even in the church environment. There are doctrinal issues, “people” issues that must be managed, personal attacks. Situations involving moral problems may require church discipline. Holy men with wisdom and calmness are requisite for these sensitive and potentially volatile situations.

How does a wife hold up her husband’s arms? 

The Lord instructs that his heart must “trust in her.” At first glance, one may believe the meaning is that he completely trusts that she will not seek another man. Certainly, that would be included. (A woman who displays her body in public may give her spouse some concern about who might be looking at his wife for opportunities with her.)

There are those who at least by implication suggest that the only reason that it is best for an elder to be married, is to prove that he can be faithful to a woman and be a good leader in the family, thus a good church leader. As for me, I find that almost insulting. Surely the only purpose for having a wife is not to prove that “she can keep her man” thus, qualifying him morally and ethically. Every Christian must seek the moral standards required by God.

Every faithful husband deserves the kind of priceless wife described in Proverbs 31. 

However it is crucial that the church leader’s mate provides the comfort and support described in Proverbs 31. Patsy Blount stated, “Too often during that slow, earthly timetable, members are criticizing the eldership to their faces and behind their backs. ... An elder’s wife then becomes the cheerleader and comforter, reminding her husband that things will turn out in God’s time.” (See Recommended Reading, Blount.)

A husband’s heart trusts in his wife because he knows she will keep confidences; she is financially responsible, living within her means, and caring for the domestic needs at home. She does not pressure him to neglect his duties to go out to make more money. Her industry, frugalness, or special talents may create opportunities for increasing their prosperity. 

His heart trusts in her because she is a woman of wisdom, strength, dignity, and a sense of humor. She is concerned about how her family appears in public. Matthew Henry comments on verse 23:

“She adds to his reputation in the world.  Her husband is known in the gates, known to have a good wife. By his wise counsels, and prudent management of affairs, it appears that he has a discreet companion in his bosom, by conversation with whom he improves himself. By his cheerful countenance and pleasant humour it appears that he has an agreeable wife at home for many that have not have their tempers strangely soured by it. Nay, by his appearing clean and neat in his dress, every thing about him decent and handsome, yet not gaudy, one may know he has a good wife at home, that takes care of his clothes.”

How does a woman become that rare jewel described by the Lord through the queen mother? 

Note that the priceless woman is wise (vs. 30). Proverbs 1:7 explains that wisdom begins with the “fear of the Lord.” As you review all the attributes this woman possesses, you can observe that her decisions are based upon sound biblical principles regarding money, industry, organization and children. Her characteristics are from the Lord: kindness, wisdom, control of speech, goodness and dignity. Without studying the word of God, one cannot truly incorporate those qualities into oneself. They are learned behaviors and talents, out of a deeply devoted heart that loves God above all else.

Does the heart of your husband trust in you? 

Do you encourage him when he is discouraged? Do you speak kindly to him? Or do you whine and complain the moment he walks in the door? Does he come home to disorder and strife, with credit card bills staring him in the face so that neither of you have any idea how to pay for all the trinkets you bought? Does he have to figure out how to buy new tires, when out of neglect there is no money put aside? Since we are to be peacemakers, surely a woman can make a difference in the home environment by her management of it.

One may say, my husband is not a Christian, so none of this applies to me. Hold on. Peter, a married elder and apostle, gave advice: “...even if any obey not the word, they may without the word be gained by the behavior of their wives; beholding your chaste behavior of their wives coupled with fear” (cf. 1 Peter 3:1-6). Treating your non-Christian mate with respect and kindness (with the other traits of Proverbs 31), even when he won’t listen to the message of the Lord through you (Learn when to be quiet!), may gain him for Christ. The non-Christian man needs the same loving treatment from you that a Christian husband needs.

The church of the Lord needs women who seek to serve. Jesus explained that those who serve will be called great (Mark 9:33-35; 10:43-44). Do you want to be great? Develop that servant’s heart, seeking to serve your husband, doing him good all the days of your life (Proverbs 31:12).

Recommended Reading

Blount, Patsy. May/June 2014. "The Elders’ Wives Club." Christian Woman Magazine. Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Company.

Henry, Matthew. 1706. Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary of the Bible.

Jackson, Wayne. The Awesome Responsibility of Church Leadership.

Jackson, Wayne. John Kittos Beautiful Tribute to Women.