A few months ago, I found an interesting article by Rachel Held Evans about the lady described in Proverbs 31. In it, she laments the fact that apparently, in some circles, people hold up the description in Proverbs 31 and use it to say, “SEE!?!? This is what a good Christian woman should look like! What are you doing to be more like this woman?”
I have to admit, I was a little surprised to read that. Maybe I don’t travel in the “right” circles, but I haven’t seen that sort of thing before. What I did find really interesting is what she said:
I first learned … from my Jewish friend Ahava who told me that in her culture, it’s not the women who memorize Proverbs 31, but the men. (What I wouldn’t pay to see a Christian MEN’S conference in which the central text is Proverbs 31!) They memorize it, Ahava said, to sing it as a song of praise to the women in their lives—their wives, daughters, sisters, mothers, and friends. Ahava’s husband sings Proverbs 31 to her at every Sabbath meal. As I did more research, I learned that indeed the only instructive language in the poem is directed at the poem’s intended male audience: “Praise her for all her hands have done.” (emphasis in the original)
I would gently suggest that Evans missed one other bit of instruction in this extended poem, namely what we see in verse 30:
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
It reminds us of what really matters in a truly Christian romance. It’s not about beauty or charm or even, I’d say, intelligence or a good sense of humor. What matters most is the fear of the Lord, that foundation of faith.
So why am I waltzing down this particular road today? Because thirteen years ago today, dear readers, I was married to my wife of valor:
I may not sing Proverbs 31 to her every Sabbath day. Maybe I should. But I know that God blessed me greatly the day He brought Jill into my life. She is my wife of valor. She is my helper to whom I cleave. And I am so thankful that we’ve made it a lucky 13.
I love you, Jill!