Here at Helping Up Mission, we read the chapter of Proverbs that matches the day of the month. So, on Saturday (2/12) I read Proverbs 12. I have been writing a short commentary for a verse from each day’s chapter and this is what I wrote for that day.
A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones (Proverbs 12:4 NIV)
A wife of noble character” is the same phrase used in 31:10, which many of us are familiar with as “a virtuous woman.” Originally written in Hebrew, the word translated “virtuous” or “noble character” has the idea of strength (in both mind and/or body). This is a woman with strength of character and she is said to be a crown to her husband. A crown would enhance a man’s appearance in the eyes of others, so the verse suggests that a good wife makes her husband look good. This proverb is actually an ancient version of our modern wise saying, “behind every good man stands a good woman.” But the verse also says that the opposite is also true – a bad wife can really hurt him. A wife’s attitudes or actions can be detrimental to her husband’s well-being, like a disease inside his body that will eventually take him down.
I am writing these words on Valentine’s Day weekend and this is a good verse for the occasion. I have been married to my wife, Gayle, for 35 years and she has truly been a crown to my life and ministry. If I have accomplished anything of meaning and value, Gayle has consistently been there, shoulder to shoulder, with me and has helped me keep an appropriate spiritual focus. From first-hand personal experience, I know that the first part of this verse is true. But in my 36 years of ministry I have also seen and heard enough to know that the second part of Proverbs 12:4 is just as real.
Consequently, it’s important that we make good choices about our future mates because so much is at stake. The best way to live in the first part of this verse – and not the second – is to let God lead us to the right partner. And the best way I know to do that is for us guys to not focus on finding the right woman but to focus on being the right man. When we are the man we are supposed to be, God will make sure that the right woman finds us. Of course, this verse is guy talk – man-to-man advice. A mother might also communicate the same truth to her daughter. Either way, one of the best decisions we can make in this life is to marry a spouse of noble character.
One Valentine’s Day at a time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director
PS In my last blog (2/11/11), I wondered what a Smith Island Cake was. I found out this weekend and bought a chocolate one for my wife as a Valentine’s Day present. It’s the Official Desert of the State of Maryland and I can’t wait to try some, myself!