If you have ever read Proverbs 31:10-31 you are familiar with the Virtuous Wife. This and the Titus 2 woman seem to be the bar of standard set for the woman who follows the Lord to aspire too. And if you are female and have ever tried to achieve this standard, you likely went sideways long before you ever reached the goal.
For me, for starters, I’m not married. Divorced 3.5 years now, I’m reaching for the praiseworthy girlfriend edition of the Proverbs 31 gal. Don’t panic, I’ve got a way to go before I win the gold medal.
My life’s landscape has changed since last year, I’m living with my boyfriend, yes in sin, no we don’t need a reminder of this, we get it. We won’t try to justify it because we cannot. I cannot. But after spending 22 years married to someone who bailed on me, his faith etc, I’m gun shy. The boyfriend is equally gun shy after being married and not having ‘happily ever after’. We don’t need the ceremony and rings at this point, it is the level of commitment that matters. I’m all in, as is he, and when the time is right the rest will follow. Yes we’re aware this sounds like justifying our sin. No we are not doing that at all, it’s simply the facts.
Back to me and that impossible level of being woman that the Bible puts out.
I’ve been living here about 7 months now. Strange as it is, we’ve not had a cross word between us. No fights, no arguments, no bickering. That is not to say that it cannot or will not occur, but it is less likely. Neither of us tries to bait the other to a fight. There is no being insulting, no name calling. What there is, is adult, mature discussions about things. And believe me when you living with someone, carving out a future, being ‘step-mom’ part time to his 3 kids, with no mutual past to build on, there are discussions. We have decisions to make, dreams to share, desires for what the future holds for us, and these in the chapters of life known as middle-age.
Without a shared past, we lack the “remember when…” conversations. Instead we are sharing our versions, life experiences through our eyes, in getting to know each other. We also got to come to this stage in life together with a completely clean slate. There isn’t any “well YOU did…” and so on about our past. This is actually good for us, no throwing the past up in each others faces. So what does this mean for this wacky, quirky woman?
It means I go at being significant other, mother figure, etc with no baggage or ill feelings. I cook dinner often because I enjoy doing it. I’m playing with recipes and enjoying knowing the tummies are full after dinner is cleaned up (She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household). I bake brownies because they are enjoyed. I gladly clean up after dinner because I want too. Laundry is a labor of love, as is the simple things like making the bed. I’m appreciated immensely for my efforts. I work full time too, helping as much as possible, with the expenses of this household. I have 3 direct sales businesses (She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard) that I am trying hard to make into something profitable. There are many more things I could add that are, in my opinion, modern takes on the verses of the Proverbs passage, but you get the idea. I’m trying. My faith is back on track and my focus where it belongs. Funny, I don’t have to work at it now, I’m happy, I love my life and love where I am, and love the man I’m sharing life with now. All that I do to help make this a home, comes from the heart and a desire to make everyone happy here. It doesn’t feel like work at all most days, it’s just what I do. It’s just me.
I have a long way to go, but I am enjoying very much where I am now.
The Virtuous Wife
10 Who[b] can find a virtuous[c] wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.