I’m an eclectic reader. As a pastor, my “reading bent” may be toward marital subjects, but I like to read on a variety of topic as I desire to constantly grow. And what I find myself doing is, as I read, I journal thoughts for personal reflection and make notes for future/potential sermon use.
It was about a month ago, I came across a couple of observations about Proverbs 31. The chapter, itself, has been historically known as the “Virtuous Woman.” I’ve heard it taught on, many times, as the “check-list” for how a woman ought to live.
But these two observations had nothing to do with an inventory of actions for a wife to live up to. They were two very refreshing takes on this beautiful chapter.
First, Proverbs 31 was a blessing that Hebrew men memorized and sang over their wives. Not only was their time and effort made to read and memorize this song, but the care and intention was made to sing it over your wife. AND this specific song wasn’t there to be the “to-do” list, but colorful, poetic, and prophetic statements of value and encouragement.
Second, in verse 23, it says, “her husband is an elder at the gates of the city.” The verse attributes his position to her. She believed he was an elder before he was one. It makes me think of the amount of encouragement/affirmation he must have heard in his home that aided to the level that he rose to.
For me personally, this chapter has been completely transformed. Two simple thoughts have only gone to emphasize that your marriage will not rise above your words. If you want your marriage to grow, your words, and how you use them, must grow too.
Take your spouse higher. (Sorry if you now have the Creed song stuck in you head…I do.)
I wonder how many marriages are not seeing the growth they’ve craved because their words (tone, timing, technique) have stifled the growth. Proverbs 31 shows me the power of words and how they raising the level health in the atmosphere in my home. And if I give my spouse a healthy atmosphere to grow, it gives a place for my marriage to grow. Where do you want your marriage to be? Your words facilitate the climate of how your relationship will grow.
Excel in generosity. Cut your spouse a bigger slice.
I like statistics. And I think the easiest way to show them is in a “pie chart.”
If you were to take all of the words you give your spouse and create a pie chart, what percentage would be shown for things like encouragement and criticism, honor and disrespect, complement and sarcasm? Whatever you’ve been divvying out for your encouragement and honor, live generously and cut them a bigger slice! As silly as this might sound, I’ve never seen some get a bad attitude when someone offered to cut a larger slice of pie than anticipated (pie > cake). Generosity is expressed in an act but proven in a lifestyle. All that to say, develop a lifestyle that is generous with words that build your spouse up.
Paint a better picture.
Your words create identity. The verbiage you use (and how you use it) doesn’t give your spouse a new name but it tells her/him what you really believe about them. I’ve counseled with far too many people who would rather spend time at work or with friends simply because the words they hear, paint a more encouraging picture than the one depicted in their home. Two simple rules to live by, if you want to “paint a better picture” to your spouse is to, first, honor your spouse where you want them to be. I didn’t say to tell your spouse where you want them to be but “honor” them where you want them to be. When you show honor (or respect) it speaks of a humble and giving heart that shows recognition and value. I believe it prophetically speaks vision into your spouse of what you see in them
Then second, refuse to let anybody out-encourage your spouse. I’ll admit that I write about this A LOT. It’s primarily because I’ve seen far too many people be tempted through something, seemingly simple, yet profoundly powerful. I refuse to let anyone out-encourage me to my wife.
Today, I’m not asking you to memorize Proverbs 31 (or any song) to sing over your spouse. As much as Anne loves me, I don’t think she’d be encouraged by my singing voice. But I would challenge you to raise the level of the words of your home and marriage. Adjust the tones you use, think about the timing, and switch some of your techniques and watch health begin to develop in your lives.
Love you all. Praying for you today.
Thanks for letting me ramble…
BTW: My new book of my blogs came out. Click on the image to order yours!!