Perhaps you’ve seen the lofty description of the excellent wife found in the second half of Proverbs 31. It has challenged (and aggravated) women for centuries and given men a sort of checklist for the ideal spouse. A kind of Wonder Woman for her time.
Remember the comic-book heroine Wonder Woman? She was the Amazon Princess Diana who came to defend America against the Nazis in the 1940s, and to do it in a costume less than one-third of what any male superhero wore.
Today, wonder woman is a euphemism for an active, strong woman in any arena. But the fact is, the comic-book character never took on the really hard stuff; she could only type 120 words a minute and save America—she never tried to manage a household and live a godly life. Wonder Woman 31 from Proverbs truly does it all—home management, business development, real estate, culinary arts. She’s decisive, analytical, detailed, rational, kind, caring, socially adept, and godly—a wife, mother, employer, business owner. But the comic-book heroine and today’s wonder woman do have two big things in common. First, sometimes we pearly toothed hunks can’t see past their clever disguises. And second, they rarely get the credit they deserve.
I married my wife because I couldn’t imagine ever finding her equal. I was in love, and I was also impressed. Her value was so clear that there was no way I was going to let her get away if I could do anything about it. I began with the perspective Adam had toward Eve when he first laid eyes on her: Wow!
Long red hair, a natural, earthy style, and mischievous brown eyes that said, if you can’t take a joke, you’re going to regret ever meeting me. I certainly didn’t know God’s will for my life the first time I saw her, but I thought I knew my will for my life.
Proverbs 18:22 states, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” God’s plan is to bless us men through this good thing. I had no doubt that this young lady was a very good thing! And just having her would be favor enough.
I spent time getting to know her while keeping my true identity as Super Smitten Man a secret. I spent a lot of time praying for God’s direction and, of course, blabbing to anyone else who’d listen and hopefully mention my fondness to her. It seemed that every time we were around each other, her value to me grew.
In fact, I had seven years to confirm that she was valuable, as she mostly ignored me. Well, ignored may be too strong: the thesaurus says disregarded, overlooked, or bypassed would be equally descriptive. Just pick one. The point is, I finally caught her. The details of our courtship are relatively unimportant since every couple has their own story, but eventually, I got her. The compliment of my life was that she traded all her other options (and they were numerous) for me. Like her new title “Mrs.,” I felt like I deserved a prefix too—something like “The Amazing,” “The Incredible,” or “The Fantastic.”
A strong beginning like I practiced is not terribly unusual though, and many men proudly show off their catches. Unfortunately, however, over time we men often fade in our enthusiasm as other things compete for our attention. Our “good thing” becomes part of the everyday scenery, and values become relative. Not intentionally usually, and not because the good thing has stopped being good in itself. But life is sneaky—you have to watch it every minute or stuff happens. Stuff that makes you go to counseling and sit there with your arms crossed, trying to sound like you’re not the one with the problem. Stuff that ends marriages, with each side certain it was the other’s fault.
We get distracted rather easily from pursuing our spouse’s full potential. It’s like investing in a house, expecting it to appreciate, but never spraying for termites, painting, roofing, and doing all the other smart things. Then one day, surprise—you’re the one bringing down the neighborhood property values. Sort of like the guy in Luke 14 who started a project he couldn’t afford to finish and was ridiculed for poor planning. That scenario is just as possible in our marriages if we stop seeing the value of continuing to invest in our wives.
A husband of the Proverbs 31 variety guards against any loss of esteem for his wife. He finds ways to refresh the perspective he had when he first proposed. Not the spark, not the fire, not the chemistry, or any other combustible romantic metaphor, but the value. Value by definition is enduring. And it can be enhanced.
If you think you may have lost a little wonder of your woman, don’t panic. But don’t just sit there either. The fix is relatively un-mysterious: reevaluate the worth of things according to Scripture and maturity. Now, if you don’t at least own a Bible, you will be at a disadvantage here. This is where all transcendent things and all temporal things are categorized and explained. (If your wife knows why you want to read it, I’ll bet she’d go out in a blizzard to get you one.)
Once you’ve looked for a while at what God values, you’ll begin to see your own choices differently. All of them.
Excerpted from I Married Wonder Woman … Now What? by Jess MacCallum. © 2007 Standard Publishing. Reprinted by permission of publisher.