Day 5 in Proverbs
Proverbs 5:15-16 “You should be faithful to your wife, just as you take water from your own well. And don’t be like a stream from which just any woman may take a drink.”
Proverbs 5:22-23 “Sinners are trapped and caught by their own evil deeds. They get lost and die because of their foolishness and lack of self-control.”
So my first thought with this chapter is “Yea! I am a single woman! This deals with a guy and his marriage. Nothing for me to do here!” If I approach it like that, it is fun reading….it is so much easier to hear about the problems of others than my own. But OK….I guess if I really look at it I can find a few things that may apply for me and others that aren’t in this particular demographic. And some for those who are. I’ll give it a try.
So Solomon is talking to his son about women…and faithfulness to your wife. Solomon had what….about 1,000 wives? Oh, the irony. How many women were there around that he wasn’t married to? I think maybe this was less of an issue for him than some men. Or maybe not. Maybe the issues are the same regardless of the number. He definitely had plenty of experience with women….and surprisingly enough time to think and develop wisdom, too. I’m sure some of that wisdom came from the day to day struggle to juggle the 1,000 wives. One day maybe I will understand the whole 1,000 wives thing. He did have the means to provide for them materially….but how could he meet their emotional needs? Guess they didn’t worry much about that then. But regardless his advice to his son is good. Wonder what he said to his daughters.
As my friend Steve so eloquently commented, the minds of most men are taken up mostly by sex and amusement. I believe him. So it is no wonder that Solomon is trying to teach his son to engage his brain a bit as he goes through his day. A good conversation for a man to have with his son.
Doing what we aren’t supposed to do….it’s fun. Flattery and someone taking an interest in you….. also fun. Consequences when you take it all too far? Usually not fun at all! But that is reality. And wise people think about the reality instead of just the fantasy. They weigh the potential cost before they make the purchase.
I have never understood starting one relationship when you are in the midst of another one to which you have committed. I know plenty of people who do it….but it adds a layer of complexity that would confuse my ADD mind. That’s when the opportunities seem to happen, though….there is something about being in a relationship that seems to make us more attractive. (Note: I think commitment is the key here. I get a bit annoyed with single friends who get bent out of shape because they go out with someone once or twice and then they find out that person goes out with someone else. If you haven’t had a direct “commitment” conversation…..get over it. Or have that conversation.)
But as I can confess….I tend to end relationships pretty easily and probably too quickly. So…..my issue is just not the one they are speaking to here. (Aside….Reminds me of a conversation I had the other day with a couple of friends about the concept of firing people. I had always thought that would be a difficult thing, until I really started managing people. Then I decided if they were bad at their job or uncommitted to it, it is kinder to everyone to let them go and explore other options. So, while the conversation is not pleasant….the result is the best for all. After this conversation, I immediately realized I feel the same way in relationships. But I don’t rush to decisions with employees, and I think I do with men. I’m going to work on it…..and if anyone ever asks me out again we will see how it goes.)
Still “taking water from someone else’s well” is definitely an issue for many people. I would say that whether it be about relationships or not, it is an issue for most of us. A lot of it has to do with envy. We want what we don’t have. Best definition of envy I have ever heard is “the sign of a measurer.” We have a nice piece of cake, but look at that of our companion and theirs is slightly bigger. It ruins the enjoyment of our cake a bit. Or a lot. Some would even refuse to eat their cake until justice was done. Human nature which is funny when you realize it happening.
It’s easy for anyone to be taken in by the attention of someone with whom you don’t share day to day life issues. You are just having to deal with the gloss. Underneath that gloss we all have “our stuff”, which is made more difficult when we are in an relationship and/or living with someone. I live by myself, and honestly….. there are days when I get on my own nerves. But while basking in the glow of the compliments of the flatterer may provide temporary relieve, it adds layers to your problems. And it takes some of the best of you away from your partner and gives it to someone else. What are they left with? The “stuff.” Yuck. Is that what you would want? The leftover pieces after the best has been given to someone else?
Marriages/relationships take work. Easy for me to say, but yeah….it annoys me sometimes when I see two amazing people who have been blessed to find each other and are now making each other’s life miserable when with a little work it could be really great. People should feel important to their spouse/partner and they need to know they are cherished. (Hey…don’t say “Yeah!” here and mean your spouse….if there is an issue consider maybe it’s you that isn’t doing this enough….or doing it well!) Part of the work that people are talking about is getting to know what the other person needs from you to feel this. It may not be the same as what you need. I have never read Gary Chapman’s love languages book, but have heard enough about it to know that almost across the board it seems that most men need physical touch to show them love (just say yes) while most women need acts of service (maybe empty the dishwasher without prompting or thinking it is her job to do it, because she usually does.) Needs vary….so you just can’t assume (Mr. Chapman says there are five currencies.) Like I said… it takes work to figure this stuff out. And sometimes doing things that aren’t natural, convenient or fun. But the rewards can be a re-vitalized relationship. In the long run, investment in your own property tends to be a better return to you than stealing from your neighbor.
So what does this single girl glean from this passage today?
- We all have issues with foolishness and self-control (Me more than most.);
- We need to know we are all vulnerable to something or someone, learn what our vulnerabilities are (and we can add to them, but usually not subtract) and create a plan to make sure we don’t let them beat us;
- We need to know that the grass is not always greener in the neighbor’s back yard and develop an appreciation for what we have;
- Sometimes we have to look at our life with a fresh perspective;
- We can only change us. We can’t change others. But often the change in ourselves, makes the whole situation better;
- We are responsible for our own happiness….and that happiness is birthed inside out and not outside in; and
- Listen to your father, mother, teachers and others who know you. Sometimes they know of what they speak.
Another great book for married couples is “His Needs, Her Needs – Building an Affair-proof Marriage” by Willard F. Harley, Jr.