Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Wife List

Gentlemen, let’s face it: we all have a list. Yes, you know what list I am referring to. Virtually every guy has a list of specific attributes he is looking for in his future wife. These range from semi-conscious outlines to written hyper-detailed points. Yes, I have a list too. Right now, it’s only in my head but I intend to write it down as some point. However, my mental list was cut to the quick when I read one blog article.

I was scrolling through Facebook when I spotted and article one of my friends had shared. It was entitled “The Husband List: 12Non-Negotiables.” It was a list of 12 specific, Biblical attributes the author wished to see in her husband. In fact, as the title inferred, these were 12 attributes she was unwilling to compromise on. Frankly, I was very impressed. There were some areas on the list where I still need some work!

As I went back to Facebook, I glanced at the suggested links below the first article. I clicked on what looked like a version of this article written from the guy’s perspective but I was incorrect. I then resolved to write this article: “The Wife List.” This isn’t exactly a rebuttal but more of a different perspective on the same subject. I went back to Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 to isolate exactly what a Godly woman looks like. I isolated twelve of the attributes of a Godly woman and touched on them below.

1. She Must be a Practicing Christian

(Amos 3:3)

Yes, this point is also on the initial article. It’s a vital component of a spouse of either gender. The root of many marital conflicts is because of differing beliefs. How can two people going in opposite directions become one flesh? Or, as scripture puts it, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” In addition, a woman should not seek a man to complete her identity. The Godly man or woman’s identity is not wrapped up in her relationship or source. Instead, it is grounded in the character of our unchanging Savior. Her identity is found in Christ. All relationships should take a second priority to her relationship with Christ. Oxymoronically, this stronger love will serve to build a solid marriage. The couple that is closer to Christ, will have a stronger, closer marriage.    

2. She Must be Good at Managing Money

(Proverbs 31:6)

If differing beliefs can destroy a marriage, so can money. I have heard that the number one reason for divorce is over money. Proverbs 31 says this of the Godly woman, “She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.” This woman is careful with her money. She knows what she has and invests it wisely in fields and vineyards. In modern terms, this would relate to handling money carefully and investing the excess wisely.  

3. She Must be Hardworking

(Proverbs 31:13-19 et al)

This life is not easy. We are faced with hundreds of challenges on a daily basis. A great deal of life is spent working. In order to face the demands of this world, a wife must be willing to work and work hard. Much of Proverbs 31 is devoted to how tirelessly a Godly woman works. “She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.” This is a picture of a woman who is diligently and carefully applying herself to preparing her home. This is the kin of woman who will stay up a late, completing what needs to be done and will get up early to face the challenges of a new day. This reminds me of my own mother. Mom is always working on something. Even late at night, when we are watching TV, she is usually multitasking, working on the budget, menu plans, or grading a test. Mom is one of the hardest workers I know.   

4. She Must be Wise

(Proverbs 31:26)

“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue [is] the law of kindness.” This is one of the major roles I have seen a Godly wife fulfill in a healthy marriage. She is her husband’s closest confidant, greatest advisor, and most honest critic. She must be willing and able to give wise, Biblical input.

5. She Must be Righteous

(Proverbs 31:12)

There is a distinction between being a believer and being a believer and being righteous. According to Webster righteous means, “Just; accordant to the divine law. Applied to persons, it denotes one who is holy in heart, and observant of the divine commands in practice; as a righteous man.” Righteousness is consistently obeying God’s commands in Scripture. Proverbs 31 says, “She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

6. She Must be God Fearing

(Proverbs 31:30)

This goes along with number one and number five. Proverbs tells us that “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 9:10a) Without a proper fear of God, a woman cannot be truly wise. Number one, four, and five all hinge on this principle.

7. She Must be Sober

(Titus 2:4)

Besides relating to avoiding intoxication, this word expresses a clam, even keeled demeanor. Webster’s 1828 dictionary presents two definitions that express this. “Not mad or insane; not wild, visionary or heated with passion; having the regular exercise of cool dispassionate reason.” “Regular; calm; not under the influence of passion; as sober judgment; a man in his sober senses.” She must be calm and cool. Soberness also expresses a mind willing to think about and discuss serious subjects. A sober woman is not frivolous.

8. She Must be Loving

(Titus 2:4)

No one is perfect! Especially we guys! We can stumble over ourselves, be inconsiderate, and offend people out of sheer clumsiness. Without an incredible amount of love for on both fronts, a marriage will crumble. In addition, children are challenging. My mother has often told me that nothing shows you how selfish you are like having children. Any relationship must be founded on love. After all, “love covers a multitude of sins.” (1st Peter 4:8)  

9. She Must be Discreet

(Titus 2:5)

Obviously, on the surface, discreet can relate to modesty (For an analysis of modesty, take a look at these articles) However, like sober, this is far more than its basic definition. At the risk of being predictable, let’s take a look at Webster’s definition of discreet, “Prudent; wise in avoiding errors or evil, and in selecting the best means to accomplish a purpose; circumspect; cautious; wary; not rash. It is the discreet man, not the witty, nor the learned, nor the brave, who guides the conversation, and gives measures to society.” Discreet then means prudent and wise and relates to number 4. It expresses the character of a woman who is constantly seeking to do the wise thing. She is not interested in being popular or getting credit for her work. She is interested in living continually in God’s wisdom. 

10. She Must be Chaste

(Titus 2:5)

This is fairly straightforward. Sexual purity is paramount to God.

11. She Must be Wiling to be “Keepers at Home.”

(Titus 2:5)

Okay, this is going to be a divisive. The original Greek translated as “keepers at home” indicates expresses a role as the guardian of the household. To me, this conjures up images of World War II. While every able-bodied man went to fight overseas it was the women who held down the “home front.” It was their drive and strength that held this country together. I believe that men and women have distinct and specialized roles in the family. Where men go to war as the breadwinners of the family, it is the women who hold the home front together. It is they who raise strong sons and daughters, ready to confront and challenge this culture. A Godly women should be preparing herself for this role and should be willing to be a keeper at home. In this world of liberated women, this is not a popular concept but it is one that is woven through scripture.

12. She Must be Willing to Submit

(Titus 2:5, Ephesians 5:24)

Again, this is very controversial. Let me stress, this is not my idea! I’m not writing this in a male-supremacist-rant. I like what the great Bible commenter Matthew Henry said concerning this principle, “It is not then an absolute, or unlimited, nor a slavish subjection that is required; but a loving subordination, to prevent disorder or confusion, and to further all the ends of the relation. Thus, in reference to the husbands, wives must be instructed in their duties of love and subjection to them.” Guys don’t get off easy either! Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” A married couple works as a team, the wife in loving subjection to her husband and the husband loving and giving himself up for his wife. Through this partnership, they can create a harmonious home. The linchpin of this relationship is love. Without love, no marriage will survive.  

It took me several days to get up the courage to finish this article and publish it. My intention was not to give an unachievable list but to give the Biblical attributes of a Godly wife. However, I am afraid I have written a very daunting list. At last I have come to this conclusion: there is no such thing as a perfect wife. What! Then why did God give us these lists? A marriage is never the uniting of two perfect people but the union between two sinful people, each becoming sanctified by the Holy Spirit. I believe the reason we are give these lists is to give us a goal to shoot for. The ideal young woman may not have all of these attributes operating in her life, but she should be shooting toward the goal of becoming more Christ-like.

In Philippians 3:13-14 Paul writes, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Like Paul, the Godly man and Godly woman will be continually pushing toward the goal of becoming more like Christ.

This is ultimately what we should be doing now. I am still many years away from marriage. During this time, I will be working toward becoming the kind of Godly man that makes the best husband and father. Sisters in Christ, look at this list not as an unachievable goal, but as a mark to shoot for. Brothers, this list should show us what a Godly woman looks like and what we should be humbling encouraging our sisters in Christ to achieve. Also, I would encourage you all to look at the article that inspired this one, TheHusband List. Sisters, this is what a Godly man looks like and what you should be encouraging us to look like. Brothers, this is what a Godly man looks like and is the goal we should be shooting for. Through this mutual encouragement and striving, we can become the kind of men and women God wants us to be.  

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