“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and receives favor from God.”
It seems like a stark contrast in scripture; how there’s praises and blessings given for being married, and then descriptions such as Paul’s “it is better to remain singles as I am (unless you cannot control your flesh and sexual desires)” (1Cor. 7:8). Maybe this is due to the associated blessings and difficulties with becoming and maintaining a healthy marriage. Or maybe it is because your choice of marriage partner will largely determine whether you are living in the dream life of Song of Songs, or finding the furtherest corner of your roof to live on.
While there are many scripture passages that address a woman’s conduct, as well as others that can be applied to both men and women, there are many many more addressing how men are to act while fulfilling the roles of husband and father. One of the most pointed to and probably quoted scripture in the church on the conduct and quality of a woman is, you’ve guessed it, Proverbs 31. Dubbed the Proverbs 31 woman, it is overlooked that this section of scripture is actually written specifically to a man. Proverbs 31 verse 1 & 2 says: “The sayings of King Lemuel – an inspired utterance his mother taught him. Listen my son!”
In other words, a loving caring mother was providing future instruction to her son, so that he knows the types of qualities to look for in a future wife. While she provided him with examples of these qualities, that does not mean the perfect woman would be or do all these things all the time. Instead, the diligent cultivation of his personal garden, and their marriage garden would grow these attributes into rich qualities.
Why is it, as men, we fail to cultivate our garden, and choose instead to peer over the fence at another man’s garden? Ultimately, to compare the woman you made a life-long covenant before God with (to forsake all others for), to other women. Why? To selfishly determine in your heart whether your covenant should hold up against what you visually are seeing now. In other words, it’s like asking: “if I had both my wife and this woman (whom I might know nothing about) standing side by side, which would I choose to vow a lifetime to now?”
Obviously, this is a ridiculous question, if you are a God-worshiping, man of integrity, because you already made a permanent commitment to your wife, whom you know deeply, while you can only be superficially infatuated and lusting after the other woman. Yes, you have most likely learned more about the woman you married than when you first met her (if you haven’t that is a different serious discussion as to why not) and she has also learned more about you.
What we expect from each other is perfection. To never be hurt by her, to never be sinned against, and, of course, for her to be forgiving when you sin against her. So realistically, as time progresses in marriage, we often expect our spouse to be perfectly understanding of our personal failings and sins against her, but for her to never or rarely sin against us.
But what the truth is that we need to embrace and move forward from is: that the people closest to us are the ones that will sin against us the most and we will sin against the most. They are also the ones that we should forgive the most and seek forgiveness from (repent to) the most. After all, if the most important person in our life is Jesus, we never stop sinning against Him, and He never stops forgiving us as we ask. If His relationship with His bride, the church, is mirrored by the relationship between a husband and wife (Eph. 5), then the pattern of sinning, repenting, and forgiveness should be the same (other than Jesus does not sin against His bride, while we as men, do).
What is your opinion and attitude towards marriage in general and yours specifically?
Do you expect perfection from your spouse?
What does Jesus expect of you in your walk with Him?
Make it a point to “not let the sun go down on your anger” (Eph. 4:26), or sin against your spouse. Humbly and honestly talk it through, repent, and seek forgiveness. Do not become defensive when or if she is hurt in her response, since the sin was against her. Pray together daily.