“She does him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”
I want to be a better wife. That is one of my daily desires. Just the other day, a slightly older bff / coworker / classroom roomie was advising another coworker & myself to never take our husbands for granted. This was such great, timely counsel to prepare my heart for the scripture I’d read tonight!
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I talk all the time of how much greater of a person my husband is than me – more patient, more selfless, more thoughtful, more disciplined, more generous, more forgiving, more responsive, more helpful, more kind… the list goes on and on. And I mean that. I don’t intend to brag, that’s the last thing I want to do – I just… want to be honest, with myself: He does so* much more good to me than I do unto him. Heck, just tonight! He made plans to hang out with a friend since I was tutoring – but before he left, he made ME dinner! After tutoring he made sure I knew that my dinner was cooked & in the fridge, and just need reheated when I got home. SERIOUSLY?
I have it good. I know that. What I don’t know is where my too-often-grouchiness and impatience toward him comes from – it’s ridiculous! To strive after the Proverbs 31 Woman is to do GOOD to my husband – NOT harm – ALL the days of my life. ALL the days is essentially equivalent to EVERY day. EVERY day we are to do good to our husbands. When we’re tired, when we’re frustrated, when we’ve had an all-out BAD day. Even then… GOOD, we must continue to give.
I honestly believe that this may look a little different for every couple, as every man has different needs. This past summer, on an evening in July, we had an argument that I’ll never forget. It came down to my husband pointing out that there are only TWO, twooooooo things, that really* get under his skin: 1) not being on time – even when (he admitted and explained) it’s not either of our faults and we simply hit bad traffic – and 2) a messy house. They sound simple enough, right? Yet for some reason these two things are incongruent with my being. Since we’ve been married (more than five years now), I’ve waited until the last minute to get ready and been the cause of us always running slightly late. In addition, I have hobbies that involve lots of materials and I just don’t understand the purpose of continuously picking them up and putting them away when I know I’ll be returning to them so very soon! It sounds childish, I get it. But it’s just him and me and the pup in our house, and his schedule keeps him away from home many nights and days… so for me, it just feels more natural to leave my daily tools out and easily accessible. All of that being said… since that argument, I have truly committed to working on these TWO things. As a wife striving after the Proverbs 31 Woman, it truly doesn’t matter what I think about his needs, it only matters that I meet them.
Along with those two things, before we married we read The Five Love Languages and each took the test. By reading what his TWO things are, I’m sure you can guess what his love language is: Acts of Service. This makes sense, as he’s constantly doing things for me – big things (like stopping and turning off the television when he’s heard me subconsciously sigh at the island one too many times, to console me by questioning what’s wrong and addressing and re-stabilizing my always fluctuating emotions) and small things (like the story of him making me dinner tonight, filling my jeep with gas on cold nights, and running errands for me without complaint). It’s a little unnatural for me to “love” in this way, since my love language is Words of Affirmation. It takes extra effort to stop and think each morning, each day, each moment.. of something that I could dofor him. In addition to cleaning up after myself, I’ve recently begun working on my awareness of our home – emptying the dishwasher, dusting, putting clothes away, tidying our counters, etc. Even when I don’t feel like it… I’ve really been trying to still do it. It honestly helps when I remind myself of the “why” behind it – it may seem like a meaningless task to me, but to my husband: it is love.
In addition to doing good ALL the days of her life, the scripture ensures to mention that the Proverbs 31 Woman does NOT do harm. To strive after being the Proverbs 31 Woman is not merely doing good day in and day out, but it’s also… NOT doing harm. Harm, “to have an adverse effect on.” For me, that obviously means not going to bed while knowing there are little things that can still be tidied, as that lack of tidiness causes my husband angst when he walks into the door of his home. It also means giving him my full attention when he speaks, responding with respect, and sucking up my pride to show him grace when he’s tired or not feeling well – allowing him to have a bad day without the repercussions of a burdensome wife. It means acknowledging his acts of service with an overflowing heart of gratitude, and – as Jennifer Smith points out in her devotional, A Wife After God – greeting my husband joyfully as the gift that he is. Not doing these things is to do my husband harm. Not doing these things has an adverse effect on his well-being, his confidence, his self-efficacy, his sense of worth, and his feeling of being loved and respected.
Ahhh, for some reason it’s the simple things that can often feel like the difficult things. But it’s also the simple things that influence the big things.
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Today’s Encouragement: Along with my friend’s advice mentioned at the beginning of my post, the older I get and more relationships I see… the greater I understand the reality of too many others’ situations. I know that for many it is TRULY difficult to do good to your husband, for too vast a variety of reasons. For that, I am heartbroken. I am sorry that I don’t have the words or wisdom to encourage or help. I do offer my ((AMAZING)) counselor’s information to you though, and I pray that the good becomes easier and more reciprocal… one month, one week, one day at a time.
For those who are like me and simply struggle to do good #allthedays and not do harm because of our own weariness, selfishness, and pride… let’s see what happens when we start taking the small things seriously. Let’s figure out – straight up ASK – what it is that our husbands would like us to help them with (we were created to be their helpers after all) and what they would like for us to do a better job with – as well as, take the time to reflect on what their love language is and the ways we can speak it loud… and thennnnn: Let’s do it. Let’s DO the GOOD and NOT the harm… ALL of our days, every day.