Category Archives: marriage

Beautiful Hands

Proverbs 31:10, 13

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. … She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.”

Mixed Memories

A long time ago my mother and grandmother (on my dad’s side) would go shopping for fabric. I will never forget those days, for they were some of the most miserable of my young life.

I was forced to endure the summer heat as they drove around town looking for sales in a ’71 Ford Maverick with no air and little ventilation. I walked beside my mom for what seemed like an eternity as they searched for patterns and fabric that would become my school clothes and their dresses. Women used to be proud to be called seamstresses, but not anymore. But there are exceptions, and my wife is one of them.

A Hard Worker

I have never met a harder worker than my wife, Valerie; she works rings around everyone, including myself. Until she became ill, she was always the first one awake and the last one asleep. She is still the last one to sit down when visitors come to eat, the last one to finish cleaning after a church social, and the only one who can handle a phone call, fold laundry, do dishes, and complete an income tax return at the same time.

On many days my wife hurts so much that no pain medication will touch it. Sometimes one day’s ordinary activity will leave her bed-ridden half of the next. Yet, she never gives up. She enjoys the duties of running a home and only complains when she can’t complete them to her own satisfaction.

Scarred, but Beautiful

When I first read 31:13 I thought of my wife’s hands…of how she loves to sew…of how she always brags on how her grandmother was an excellent seamstress, and how she always dreamed of being like her. I think of how she sewed her own wedding dress and then taught our girls to sew.  Now, because of her fibromyalgia, there are mornings I must rub her fingers before she can even move them, but it isn’t long before they “worketh willingly.”

20 years ago this June!

20 years ago this June!

The hands of a virtuous woman are not the flawless hands of a supermodel; they are scarred. They are scarred from oven burns, needle pricks, tire swing ropes. They are dry from folding laundry, wrinkled from dishwater, and paper-cut from clipping coupons. They are even bruised and sore: bruised from spanking bottoms and applauding home-runs; sore from pushing a discouraged husband out the door and up the ladder.

When I think of the hands of a Proverb 31 woman I don’t think of perfect hands, but I do think of beautiful hands. I think of Valerie’s.

Yes, I found a virtuous wife, and I wouldn’t trade her for all the rubies in the world.


Mother Knows Best

Proverbs 31:12 

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies……
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

ScanMother knows best when it comes to many things, with this verse one of several, beginning with verse 10, that deal with attributes every mother would like to see demonstrated in her daughters-in-law. My wife Marilyn and I have three daughters-in-law, but I’d rather use Marilyn as an example.

Now I don’t know if my mother judged Marilyn by any of the criteria listed in Proverbs 31 but I do know that after nearly thirty-five years of marriage I have absolutely no regrets that God chose us for each other. I do not need an ABC of virtuous women to tell me how fortunate and blessed I am to be married to Marilyn, who as well as a wonderful wife and mother, is also an excellent grandmother.

Thirty-five years of marriage is a long time. It is closer to forty years that we have been together, if you add in the years we spent courting. We have changed in appearance, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is the heart of my wife. I look at Marilyn and I see a very special person. Someone who has not only enriched my life, but the lives of other people around her. Quite simply, I have never met anyone like her. Marilyn has, in the words of this proverb, done me good – all the days of my life. And I am truly grateful.


… Happy Life

Proverbs 31:11

11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. (KJV)
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. (ESV)

Happy Wife …

Perhaps you have heard that saying “Happy wife, happy life.”

Personally, I disagree slightly, and, you can ask my wife, I rewrote it: “Better a holy wife than a happy wife.”

Temporary displeasure for the sake of holiness is better than happiness that is based on lies or misunderstandings which lead to mistrust.

Neither of us lets the other get away with simple platitudes or quick answers (though the occasional playful joke does happen!) We help each other to grow more Christ-like. We are not perfect, but the focus is on Christ.

The wonderful thing about this is that we have complete trust in each other.

I know that I can trust my wife in anything. Even if we were to “lose everything” and become homeless, as long as I have her my life is complete.

Holy Bride

Our Lord never promised this life would be easy. In fact, He warned us in John 16:33 that we “will have trouble” if we follow Him.

He has been preparing His Bride, the Church, for His return. Sometimes He rebukes, and often times He encourages (look at Revelation 2-3). He does not necessarily want a Bride that is happy if that happiness gets in the way of the relationship.

He seeks perfection, which can only be found in Him, and He has confidence that His Bride will achieve the mission He has given (Matthew 28:18-20) because He is always there to help us. Our life is complete with Him, and He wants to have us with Him forever. That is what is truly of value.

Loving Savior and Bridegroom, thank You for Your love. Fill us with a desire for You, for Your Bride the Church, and for each other. Strengthen our marriages and our other relationships with a love that refuses to compromise or settle.


The ABC’s of a Virtuous Woman

Proverbs 31:10.
“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”

Background to the Poem:

This final passage of Scripture in the Book of Proverbs is actually a 22 verse poem, with each verse beginning with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order from Alpha to Omega. So in a way, you could call this section the “ABC’s of a Virtuous Woman.” Here you will find a description of a valuable, virtuous woman – the kind of wife every woman should strive to be, and every man should strive to find. Here we are going to examine the first verse in this passage:

A Virtuous Woman:

If you compare this translation of Proverbs 31:10 with others, you will find the word virtuous translated as worthy, competent, capable, valiant, excellent, good, noble and with strong character. Here King Lemuel says, “Who can find a virtuous woman?” The question is rhetorical of course, and what he is saying is that it is very difficult to find such a woman.

It is easy to find a charming woman. It is easy to find a beautiful woman. But to find a woman of virtue, with a noble, strong character? Good luck! Later in this passage, King Lemuel writes: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” (v.30). Who then is a virtuous woman? A woman who fears the Lord, and obeys His commands.

I Found One!

Before I became a Christian and started following Jesus at the age of 18, I dated many different girls, and I’m ashamed to admit that virtue wasn’t always the first thing I looked for in a girl. But after I gave my life to Jesus Christ, I started looking for a woman who loved the Lord, and had a desire to please Him with her life. I’m happy to say that I found such a woman – Liza Woods. One of the things that attracted me to her was her virtue. She was a beautiful woman on the outside, yes, but on the inside, she had an excellent character that drew me to her.

Liza was 25 years old when we got married on March 25, 1995, and because she had devoted her life to Jesus Christ, she had never been with another man sexually before me. Because she was a virgin when we got married, and she had saved herself for me, I have never had fears or doubts about her faithfulness to me after we got married. For almost 20 years now, my life has been blessed and enriched by having a faithful, righteous, God-fearing woman as my wife. As verse 11 says, “The heart of her husband safely trusts her.” She is a virtuous woman indeed!

Chris & Liza

Chris & Liza

A Valuable Woman:

The second part of this verse tells us that a virtuous woman is worth far more than rubies. Translation? She is valuable! A virtuous woman is a gift and a treasure. And so here is the application to this Proverb: If you are a woman, then strive to be this Proverbs 31 woman. Be a virtuous woman who fears the Lord! And if you are a single man looking for a woman to marry, then seek out a virtuous woman. You’ll never regret a decision like that.


Time to Think (or I’ll be in trouble)

Proverbs 27:15-16  

“A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike. Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.”
Changing Schedule

On a practical note, Proverbs 27:15 and 16 were originally scheduled for two separate posts. But on further reflection, they seemed to be better suited to be covered in one post. At first I did not think this was a wise idea, having always read verse 15 by itself. However, when I began reading these two verses together, it seemed obvious they were meant to be that way.

Therefore, instead of having a day with nothing said, you are receiving a bonus! Tomorrow we will look at these verses in more detail.

In the meantime…

Choosing Words

One of the greatest lessons a wise man can learn is when to speak…and when NOT to speak. This is especially true for men who are married (to women, that is). There is always a price to pay when we fail to choose our words carefully.

When I shared with my wife what I was going to be addressing for today’s “thought,” she made her thoughts very clear: “I hope you let everyone know that your wife is NOT like that.”

So, if I am supposed to write about Proverbs 27:15-16, how am I supposed to do it as one with any experience? If I say, “I know what Solomon’s talking about,” then I am certain to suffer. If I confess that I have never experienced the continual dropping of a very, very, almost endless rainy day, then my wisdom might be called into question. What should I do?

Suggestions

Dear friends, what are YOUR thoughts? How do YOU think I should handle this?

But before you make any suggestions, read the selected passage in the New Living Translation. I would hate for you to underestimate the gravity of the task ahead of me.

“A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day. Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or trying to hold something with greased hands.” – NLT

If I get this wrong, my lovely, pleasant, peaceful, easy-going, wife could choose to make my days very rainy, indeed.


Wandering Away

Proverbs 27:8

As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.”

Birds

A nest is an important place for a bird.

In their nest, a bird finds:

  • a home;
  • security from many predators, and related to this
  • a safe place to eat;
  • eggs, which lead to
  • young.

If a bird wanders away from its nest, it could potentially lose all of that.

Men … and Women

There decidedly has been a breakdown of the family over the past half-century. Many a man and woman has left a family to seek “happiness” or some other distant goal.

Divorce rates are currently around 50% in the Western world.

Single parenthood has been steadily rising.

The definition of marriage has been altered.

New definitions of “love” have come to the fore.

And what does it mean?

There is a lack of relational security for these people. Children learn confusing things about love and acceptance. There is a loss of absolute truth in many minds.

And what does this lead to?

Not happiness. Often it leads to pain, confusion, heartache, lack of direction, and lack of security in general.

What does God say?

“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Mark 10:9, NIV

A man (or woman) who wanders from his place is the one who leaves behind his family and responsibility.

A man or woman who wanders from the Lord leaves behind God and responsibility.

Where does that leave you?

Heavenly Father, give us intimacy in our relationships, strength to endure struggles and to hold on, and a love we cannot comprehend. Teach us to be faithful through Your Holy Spirit.


A Nagging Wife

Proverbs 25:24.

“It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.” (KJV).

nagging wife

Which Would You Choose?

If you had a choice between living in a big house and living in the corner on a roof, which would you choose? I believe most people would choose to live in a nice big house. But as Solomon is wont to do, he puts a little twist in his Proverb and says that it’s actually better to live on the roof… if there’s a brawling woman in that house!

But – what does the word brawling mean? If you look at some of the other ways this word is translated in other versions of the Bible, it reads: quarrelsome, contentious, nagging, and bitter-tongued. In other words, Solomon is talking about a contentious wife who likes to fight, nag, and stir up strife. If that’s the case, you would be better off on the roof, out in the cold with the wind and rain. If you ask me, neither one of these options sounds like fun!

Application:

How then should we apply this Scripture verse to our lives?

To the single young men: If you plan on getting married one day, take the time to prayerfully think through the choice of a spouse. Next to giving your life to Jesus Christ, there is no more important decision you will ever make. One of the deepest, most profound thoughts on marriage is this one: “Happy wife, happy life.” It’s true! If you have a wife who is quarrelsome, contentious, nagging and bitter-tongued, you will be miserable. So take the time to get to know your prospective mate before saying “I do!”

To the married men: If you have a wife who is peaceable, then thank the good Lord above. You are blessed! Proverbs 18:22 says, “Find a good spouse, you find a good life – and even more: the favor of God!” (The Message). However, if you have a wife who tends to be contentious, then pray for her. Pray that the Lord Jesus would change her heart, and that she would have the fruit of the Spirit in her life – which includes peace, kindness and gentleness.

To the married women: If I can be so bold as to give you a piece of (Scriptural) advice: Don’t be a nag! If you criticize and complain to your husband all the time, then don’t be surprised if he wants to spend all of his time out in the garage with his tools, watching football with the guys or being anywhere but with you. It’s no fun being around a woman who fights all the time.

A Post Script: Now lest some of you conclude that the Bible is picking on the women here, know that there are many Scriptural admonitions to the husband as well: Husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:25), to love her and never treat her harshly (Col 3:19), and to treat her with honour (1 Peter 3:7). The bottom line? If a wife will respect her husband, the husband will love his wife, and if the husband will love his wife, the wife will respect her husband (Eph. 5:33). Amen!


Ditches and Pits

Proverbs 23:26-28

“My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit. She also lieth in wait as for a prey, and increaseth the transgressors among men.”
“O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes take delight in following my ways. A prostitute is a dangerous trap; a promiscuous woman is as dangerous as falling into a narrow well. She hides and waits like a robber, eager to make more men unfaithful.” – NLT

Blunt Truth

Some people have a habit of over-spiritualizing verses in the Bible. Sure, all scripture is profitable (2 Tim. 3:16), but it is not always necessary to look deeper than the surface for meaning and application. The meaning of these verses is pretty simple and simply blunt.

Newer versions of verse 27 have changed the words a little. Instead of the word “whore,” newer versions are likely to substitute “prostitute” and “harlot.” But the truth is still the same, even if people wan’t to change their labels: a whore is a deep ditch and a strange woman is a narrow pit.

Warnings

Almost every time one turns on the television there is a commercial for some kind of medication. Ten seconds of the commercial tells about its benefits, while the rest of the 60 seconds is warning after warning, like, “Don’t take this medication with food, water, or oxygen, or you might grow gills and start yelling ‘Who’s your daddy?‘ in the middle of church.”

Warnings are everywhere, but how often are our young men warned of the dangers women pose? Hmmm? Not all women are sugar and spice and everything nice; many resemble arsenic, cyanide, and everything evil. Sadly, we live in a culture that promotes promiscuity and infidelity. Boys are not warned as much as they are praised for their lack of control.

Solomon knew better. Solomon wanted his son to understand that sometimes all is not what it seems behind those pretty eyes and blinking lashes.

Dangerous and Deadly

Men are usually made out to be the sexual predator. Indeed, men are responsible for most sex crimes. But there are countless men, marriages, and families that are destroyed by promiscuous, flattering women. They are described as deep ditches, narrow pits, and narrow wells – things men fall into, but can’t escape.

Sexual sin is mentioned so much in Proverbs because it is addictive and deadly, both to the body and soul. Many young men fall in head-over-heels only to find out there’s no climbing out.

Before one drinks from the sweet water of another’s well (Prov. 5:15), he should be warned of the trap that is set. For the huntress, faithful men are choice prey and always in season.


Angry Women

Proverbs 21:19

“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”

1000 Women

Has anyone noticed that this is the second time Solomon has said something about angry women? It was only ten verses ago that he said it was better to “dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house (verse 9).” Do you think that Solomon could have been having marriage problems?

One of the great ironies in history is that the wisest man to ever live had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3)! One would think that with so much wisdom a man might have figured out a thing or two about the nature of women, but evidently he was either deficient in this one area, or a glutton for punishment. I am not as wise as Solomon, but even I could tell you that having more than one wife might be a bad idea, especially when you’re intending on sharing your life with a thousand! Good grief!

Solomon had a weakness for the opposite sex and all the money in the world to support his habit. 1 Kings 11:3 even says that his wives “turned away his heart” from God. In order to keep them happy, he built altars to other gods. As wise as he was, women were his downfall.

1000 Tempers

I tend to wonder what kind of “man cave” Solomon had. With all those wives and concubines, can you imagine how many tempers were constantly flaring? Can you imagine how many grudges were being held? When 2 or 3 women go to the ladies room together, rumor has it that they talk about us men. Can you imagine what emotional issues a harem full of women could talk about? And don’t you think they constantly blamed Solomon for everything?

It should come as no surprise that both times Solomon mentions women in this chapter he references emotion. After nearly 20 years of marriage and three daughters to my credit, I can speak from experience that women know how to get angry and stay angry. Women are different than men (duh!). It takes a wife that is filled with the Spirit to overcome her tendency to seethe over something stupid her husband did 10-15 years ago.

Advice for Solomon

It may be a little late, but if I could go back in time I would give Solomon a bit of humble advice. I would say to him, “King Solomon, sir, I have a few suggestions that could help you maintain peace in your palace, should you choose, in your wise and awesome wisdomness, to listen.

  • Find that ruby of a woman and make her a solitaire. One rare one is far better than a chest full of imported cubic zirconia.
  • Treat your wife with humility, love, and respect. An unloved and disrespected woman is an angry woman.
  • Money is great, but time is priceless. Spend time with your wife doing things she wants to do. A lonely woman is a bitter woman.
  • Worship the True God with your wife, not the idols of the world. Don’t marry outside the faith expecting to change her. Find a woman that loves the Lord and love Him with her. A woman at odds with you is a contentious woman.

Then I would say, “Choose to do otherwise, dear king, and you might as well go live in the wilderness.”


Come Into My Parlor

Proverbs 7:12 

“Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.”

Lieth In Wait

I can visualize the following event just like it happened yesterday even though it took place some 31 years ago. I was 7 years old and my parents and brother lived in a two story house right outside of Chattanooga, TN. Our den was located in the basement while all of our bedrooms were upstairs. The evening was coming to an end and so we started to gather up our belongings to take them upstairs. As we began cleaning, I noticed that my father was no where to be found. I didn’t give it another thought and continued to help my mom and brother.

With arms full of blankets and pillows, I made my way up the stairs and started down our hallway. Because this happened during the winter time, it was already dark outside and my arms were full so I could not turn the hallway lights on. I walked about ten feet down the hallway and stopped in my tracks. There was something that was telling me that I should not go any further and that my best bet would be to turn around slowly and go back. I quickly exited the hallway and run to find my mom who was still downstairs.

My mother began to laugh when I told her what just happened.

She explained to me that she was pretty sure that my father was hiding in one of the rooms just waiting for me to walk by so he could scare me (there was never a dull moment in the Sneed household). Sure enough, when I returned upstairs and turned on all of the lights, my father was laying on his stomach on the floor just “lying in wait”.

Her Prey

Solomon is explaining to us that the “strange women” is lying in wait for this man to come by and just like the spider, she is ready to pounce on her prey. She is out on the street, but she is lurking around each corner just waiting for her victim to arrive.

The Take-Away

How many times have we seen it or heard about it? How many times have we seen homes broken up and children being torn apart by a man that has gone off and had an affair?

In today’s society, the “strange women” is ever so prevalent in JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING! The TV, internet, radio, smartphones – she is everywhere and if we are not grounded in the Word of God, we are doomed to fall. That is why Solomon was again telling his son to make sure and keep his commandments!

Men, we must guard ourselves against sin each and every day. We must keep God’s commandments and do our best to obtain wisdom and understanding, so that we can live!

Lord, help us to guard our hearts and minds against anything evil that comes our way. Help us to always be on the lookout for things that are not according to Your Word. Help us to always seek your face each and every day!