Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing…Prov 18:22.
Does one become a good thing by simply saying, “I do?” In other words is every wife a good thing? There might be a point to this we overlook. Because we know the answer is “no,” we add a few words to the scripture. “Whoso findeth a wife might have found a good thing.” But that is not what it says! A wife is something a man has to look for whereas women who want to marry are a dime a dozen. We are also told that the worthy woman (wife) is hard to find (Prov 31:10). Perhaps the point is that not every married woman deserves to be called a wife.
There was an era when society cast a blind eye on a man who had both a wife and a mistress. Yet even then, most decent women would have been insulted to be asked to be a mistress instead of a wife. It was an honor to be a man’s wife, and one recognized the responsibilities it laid upon her in behavior and management of the home. You’ve seen those old movies just like I have. “You don’t think I’m good enough to marry!” the courtesan screams at the two-timing husband. “Good enough to be a wife,” shows that the position was held in honor, even if not every man treated it that way.
And nowadays? It has become more important to assert and indulge self. A woman may keep her own name, or add his as an appendage to it. She may have a career, which he must realize takes precedence over the home they planned to make together, and which may even take precedence over his career. She may farm out their children to someone else to raise, very often a stranger whose values may or may not reflect theirs. And in many cases, she may not even marry him. Why bother when society doesn’t even seem to care any more either? Once again we see that attitude: “What’s the big deal with being a wife?”
Management of the home has taken a bad rap. When my husband tells people, “I have no idea what’s what. She takes care of everything,” I don’t find it a bit demeaning. Isn’t that what women say they want these days, some recognition and appreciation for the skills they use every day? My husband comes to me when he runs out of toothpaste, when he can’t find his favorite jeans, and when he needs the receipt for the shoes whose sole separated after just a month’s wear. I am the one who keeps supplies stocked, sorts and files the sales slips, and knows that he wore a hole in the seat of those jeans far too large to patch with anything but a quilt. I am the one who knows which bill is due when, and whether we can afford that new chainsaw he thinks he needs. That’s exactly what the word means in 1 Tim 5:14, the younger widow is to remarry and manage the home--oikodespoteo--to manage as a steward under a head. It carries a lot of responsibility. It is required in stewards that they be found faithful, 1 Cor 4:2.
But that isn’t the half of it. What makes this wife a good thing is that he can trust her. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life, Prov 31:12. The modern woman is too worried about doing for herself to do for him. I have heard far too many of them whine about needing “me time,” even Christians. Jesus said to save your life you need to lose it in service to others. We will never find “me time” if that’s all we ever look for. To save your life, you must lose it.
Doing him good all the days of your life means whether he deserves it or not, whether he can do for you or not. I watched my mother care for my father for twelve years before he died, day and night, sacrificing her own health and well-being, even though those final three or four years he had no idea who she was. She remembered the vows she made, not just to him, but before God as well, sixty-four years before. If anyone deserved to be called a wife, she did.
It is one thing to say, “I am this man’s wife.” It is another to be his wife. We should count it an honor to be our man’s wife. Griping about the man or the job is not the way it’s done.
A worthy woman who can find? ...The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he shall have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life… She opens her mouth with wisdom; And the law of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, And eats not the bread of idleness, Prov 31: 10-12, 26,27.