Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Undiscovered Wives

Proverbs 18:22 KJV tells us that Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD, so why is it that so many single women these days are looking for a husband? And why aren’t single women concentrating on first being a wife? In today’s society that may sound odd, but since we live in this world, but are not of it, we’re already a strange people, right? As that scripture suggests, a man finds a wife, so doesn’t it stand to reason that a woman is not supposed to search for a husband, but rather be about the business of being a wife even before he finds her? In the story of the man who gave the great supper and invited many guests, one of the excuses of one of the guests for not attending was that …I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come (Luke 14:10 KJV). Though his refusal of the invitation was unacceptable to the host, that he married a wife further illustrates the point that the state of being a wife doesn’t start with marriage, but is a woman’s attribute even prior to meeting her husband.

It’s important to know that a married woman and wife are not necessarily synonymous. A woman is what we are by birth and, in our modern times, most are married by legal decree. We become real wives, however, through the development of our character. The Bible describes a wife as being a virtuous woman and in Proverbs 31:10 – 27 that point is further illustrated in that she is described as being trusted by her husband. She does good by him and does not seek to ever harm him. She is a willing and able worker who rises early to provide food for her household, is savvy in business, strong, knows how to turn a profit, works hard into the night, gives to the poor and serves her community by helping the needy. She handles her business well, despite her full plate, which apparently supports her husband in doing well in his business and she’s known especially for her strength and dignity. She is wise in speech and she teaches kindness through her example. She looks after her household and her family so well, in fact, that the word laziness can never be associated with her. Though I’ve paraphrased this scripture, today we would characterize this woman as being a superwoman, when in reality she’s just a good old-fashioned wife. Basically, this woman always seeks what’s best for her husband and family, works in and out of the home holding it all together, brings home the bacon and fries it up in a pan…early in the morning no less! She’s not sitting around waiting for her husband to take care of her. Actually, it really sounds like she’s taking care of him. Lest the gentlemen get any ideas here, it’s important to note that her husband is no slouch, is well known in their circle and is wise enough to be respected among the elders. So we know he is something to behold, but it sounds to me that he is all that he is because of the support he’s got in his background from his wife. Like the old adage goes, behind every good man is a good woman. In today’s description we’d say she’s got his back. A wife was a great gift in biblical times, suggesting that she was something special with attributes that not every woman possessed. Basically, she took it to another level. It’s because of this that a man found favour with Elohim. She was a help-mate. An asset and not a liability.

I regularly meet single women who say that the main reason they want a husband is so that they can stay at home without the thought of having to earn money and deal with worldly matters, but Proverbs 19:14 KJV says that House and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord. Webster defines prudent as being marked by wisdom or judiciousness and being shrewd in the management of practical affairs. This hardly sounds like a woman who hides from the handling of worldly matters. Again, a woman like this is a gift from Yahweh.

Now if we add to this description of a wife, how we’ve learned to love in I Corinthians 13:4 – 7 NRSV, we’ve got quite a tall order to fill. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. See, once we know how to be a wife, learning to be a loving wife is learning to reach even higher.

Most of my life I grew up thinking that love was a feeling, but when I discovered it’s true meaning, I discovered that it’s not a feeling, but a choice; A discipline, if you will. After all, do you know how hard it is to be patient and kind? The mere state of being patient, which is a virtue loved by Elohim, means that we’re supposed to calmly endure trials without complaint or gripe. Now if we incorporate this scripture into our lives, we’re taught to be patient and kind. For some of us that’s impossible. We can’t even begin to fathom enduring trials in a relationship and being kind to one another at the same time. Add to that the directives to not be rude, not insist on our own way, not be irritable or resentful and bear all things and most of us have to admit that we’re not ready for this kind of relationship. At the very best, we’ll have to be honest in that we’ve got some work to do. See, it doesn’t say when things are going good we’re supposed to act in this way. The scripture says that we’re supposed to be this way when things aren’t so good. Why else would we need to be directed to be patient, kind and sacrificial if this scripture were speaking to the good times?

Considering all of this, I’ve personally concluded that women need to be prepared for marriage before the wedding day. Before women pray for husbands, they need to work on being wives... pray on building their character, their strength to endure and their work ethic both in and out of the home, because being a wife is all about partnership and burden bearing and less about being sheltered or hiding behind a husband. You may be single, you may be without a husband, but that doesn’t mean that you’re not a wife. If you’re working with the attributes described as wifely, then you may be a yet undiscovered wife. Know that it doesn’t take a marriage or a husband to validate this, but the passion to want to live your life in this way and the patience to wait on Yahweh to lead your husband to you. Remember, you are to be found. And let us not forget Jacob in Genesis 29 and how he worked for Rachel, so the burden of preparation is not all on wives, but be mindful that any man “finding” you needs to be ready to work to earn you. Being a wife is a gift, yes, but the value of a gifts is in equal proportion to the value placed on the one giving it. In this case, a wife is a gift from Elohim and should be valued accordingly. Therefore, any man hoping for such a gift, must live righteously and show himself worthy of and capable of treasuring such a gift.

While waiting on him though, spend your time in the Word, continuing your education, strengthening your character, aligning yourself with the will of Elohim and allowing Him to mold and prepare you for the ministry of marriage ahead of you (yes, I said ministry). Practice patience and flexibility. Learn to love by the sacrificial example Messiah Yahushua presents to us. Remember, while we were covered in sin, He sacrificed His life, so that we may be forgiven and live eternally with Him. He didn’t expect us to be perfect, nor did He wait on us to be saved before He gave us the best of Himself. Love is not about how high you soar with it, but how low will you go. That must be based on a decision to love and not a feeling mistaken for love. When the feeling fades or gets blurry in the rough times, there’s got to be a solid determination fueling you to go on. Messiah did it for us. To what depths will you travel to assure that the one that you love is on the right path? How many nights will you pray? How many days will you fast? How many times will you bite your tongue and model Christ-like behavior even when you're offended?

Practice being a biblically-inspired virtuous woman. And virtuous women, though you may be single now, continue in your calling and know that you are all wives yet undiscovered.

Loving you all,


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