Day 31 in Proverbs
Proverbs 31:30 “Charm can be deceiving, and beauty fades away, but a woman who honors the Lord deserves to be praised. Show her respect – praise her in public for what she has done.”
The description of the “Proverbs 31 woman” intimidates me. I’m quite certain that if you read the description, I am not who immediately came to your mind! I have friends who I see in the description, though, or who strive to be like her. I definitely do respect them for all that they do. Even if I had the marriage and the children, I am not sure I could live up to the ideals. But I hope I would make the attempt.
In successful relationships, there is work to be done. We need to be willing to do whatever we can to support those who are our family. When people talk about having a 50-50 relationship, I generally roll my eyes. No true relationship is ever that balanced. Someone generally has to give more, and someone needs to receive more. The percentages of who is giving and who is receiving should change from time to time, and should weigh more heavily in each direction on a regular basis. Problems occur when one person is doing almost all of the giving, and one person is doing all of the receiving. Both parties need to be willing to make the sacrifices that will bond them closer. They need to care for each other so much that they don’t feel the sacrifice….they just want to make their partner’s life better.
I was having a conversation with one of my friends the other day and we were talking about marriage. She was celebrating her 28th wedding anniversary. They’ve accomplished a lot in that time. They will continue to do so. As their friend, one of the things that makes me smile is how they work together to build their life. She supports him, and he supports her. Even after all of this time, it is obvious they genuinely and practically care for each other. When we were talking she said “He really is my best friend. There is no one in the world I would rather spend time with.” That hasn’t been built by emotions, which can flounder….it has been built because they both are willing to sacrifice for each other and make each other the primary focus of their lives. I know each looks at each other they say to themselves “You are the best and I am glad I chose you!” I see it every time I am around them.
I have seen a lot of people in relationships who have a need to let everyone know constantly how very much in love they are and often put on public demonstrations of their affection. Those are usually the relationships that fail. It’s more about showing off than anything else….and when you show off in that way, you usually are a bit self centered and trying to get outside affirmation for inside deficiencies. Not a great recipe for a long term relationship. True love generally is quieter than that…..it’s less public. It’s not necessary that others notice how great you are as a couple….it’s right there between you and solid. When you are around other people, you are so confident in the relationship that you both can give others attention and share your focus (while occasionally catching the eye of their partner across the room and smiling.)
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t share the good things about your relationship and praise the other person publicly. You definitely should. Personally I love when I hear my couple friends talk about their spouse like they made a good choice! But your relationship should mostly reside between the two of you. Relationships are never strengthened when you constantly either share the laundry list of your partner’s faults with the world or have the need to constantly brag about how great the two of you are together. Plus, it bores us! (Note….sometimes you do need to talk to friends about what is going on in your relationship to gain perspective. Just be wise about who you choose to talk to…and don’t make it a public topic of conversation.)
A lot of people who focus on this chapter only notice that section about the women. That’s all you ever hear about. There’s something to be said for the “Proverbs 31 man”, too, though. Men who make an effort to be caring and show it. Who notice those with needs and have compassionate hearts to work to provide for them and defend them. Who are involved in their community. Who not only support their partner, but really do put them above all others. Who don’t just see their lives as a playground, or think their world is all about them and their needs, but are looking outside and noticing the needs of others. Especially those they call family. I love seeing that kind of man!
Charm and beauty are wonderful things, but they are very deceptive. They’re not always what they appear to be. They can be illusions. Their allure fades. Those who honor God…..who are willing to do the work and get their hands dirty, who are willing to live sacrificially, those whose pride come from being people of purpose who care for others….those are the people we should aspire to be. I am not the Proverbs 31 woman. But I am surrounded by quite a few of them. So yea to the Proverbs 31 woman….and to the Proverbs 31 man. I am watching you, as are others. May we all see you, and learn from you, and want to become more like you. And may you be the kind of people we most respect.
(I made it through Proverbs blogging!!!! There were times when I wondered if I would. And also completed the 4,000 squat challenge during the month of July. And had my annual physical and went on a cruise with my niece Maggie. It has been a good month! Happy birthday month to me! Thank you Lord for another wonderful year of life….I know it is a gift and I hope you see I am using it well. And if not, poke me!)