Journal Prov 31 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her and he will have no lack of gain; she does him good and not harm all the days of her life.
Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth in wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Excerpts from Proverbs 31:10-12; 25-26; and 30)
Observation: An excellent wife—our innate sinful heart has one definition that is in total conflict with the Heart of God. Take note: God’s way is not the way of a Stepford wife.
Application: Men and women mostly mess this up. Reason? Not thinking rightly when it comes to thinking Biblically and as a disciple who wants to live for Jesus.
Men go off the rails with the leadership thing: 1 Tim 3:4: “He must manage his own household well…”, 1 Peter 3:1 “Likewise wives be subject to your own husbands…”, and misapplying the “women are the weaker vessel” reference 1 Peter 3:7. I have heard these justifications for years, used them myself, and now cringe in shame.
Women go off the rails with the “submission” thing: “Oh, no—I am no one’s slave”; “I am not a Stepford wife”. “Wives, see to it that you respect your husband.” Eph 5:33b—“If he does something deserving respect, then I will respect. If not, well…”
In both cases the root issue is simple: Neither attitude reflects humility towards our Savior and the Gospel. Both attitudes are exerting a desire to elevate and/or protect what is thought to be right, not from a biblical POV, but only feeding carnal desires—I want what I want. Another way to look at it is both men and women want to be Boss; both want to design their own destiny. And what is the result: Conflict and a shaming of the Cross and a confession that Jesus has changed me.
The Proverbs 31 woman is comfortable in her own skin. Why? Because of 3 things: 1) She has surrendered to the Cross of Christ, crucifying herself as Christ has called her to; 2) She trusts in Jesus who is calling her to a radical path of living (“Walk worthy of the Gospel”, “Walk worthy of the calling in which you have been called…”) Jesus says “I will neither leave you or forsake you.” Huh, is this Believed? 3) Lastly, the P/31 woman sees Christ’s vision for her marriage and especially her contribution. The marriage is a shadow or representation of the proper, biblical functioning of the Church. Why? So both will be a witness to the fallen world of the Supremacy of Jesus and His Word.
Men: Love your wife selflessly and sacrificially as Christ loves the Church. Be patient, take the long view, and be persistent in reflecting Jesus every day. Practice Grace and Forgiveness. Study and talk wonderingly about the Gospel and its power. Accountability is for another day—the Holy Spirit leads you and convicts the heart. He does not pronounce condemnation on you anymore—neither practice that with your wife. After all, that is what He does for you.
Women: Do not be afraid. Submit yourself to Christ first, refuse fear. Fear cultivates self-sufficiency which is opposed to being dependent on Jesus for your life. Be more than conversant with the Gospel and what it is in you. Be patient, take the long view, and be persistent in reflecting Jesus every day. Practice Grace and Forgiveness. Study and talk wonderingly about the Gospel and its power.
See the core? It is the Power of the Gospel and the Supremacy of His Word. Astounding!
Prayer: Father, thank you for allowing me the grace to practice the above as a husband. I fail much too often for my liking but I am seeing fruit. Thank you for allowing me to focus on my contribution in faith, doing my best to obey your Word, not in fear but in confidence. Hope I wrote all of this coherently and effectively by Your Spirit. AMEN.