Daily Proverbial, 8 March 2012

A wife of noble character: Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. Proverbs 31, verse 11.

My home has become a refuge. It has always been a place to live, a gathering place for my family and friends, and an address on a map dot. That wasn’t what I wanted, though. In my life, I have moved 26 times, lived in 9 states, and owned four homes. I’ve spent much of my life searching but for what I didn’t really know. Some of it was circumstance; some was just that search. What I wanted was a refuge, a place to truly relax and seek rest and comfort. These days, I travel for a living, so coming home to a place of rest and recharging is especially important to me. The place I think of is Monticello. Jefferson built his palatial home on a mountaintop as a refuge. Even as a ‘retired’ sage, Mr. Jefferson usually had some kind of visitor in his house. He would serve as a good and interested host, then he would retire to his private sanctuary – which comprised a good chunk of the building through a secluded entry – and he would rest. Jefferson understood he needed a refuge, a place to refuel, reload and recharge.

Men, you can’t have that kind of refuge unless you have a wife of noble character in whom you can have total confidence. It’s not just that you need someone to come home to; I believe that’s true as well. No, a man cannot find rest to recharge and be a man for those he loves without having someone in whom he has full confidence at home. This is NOT to say that a woman should work at home, be just a stay-at-home mom or wife, or be ‘barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.’ Those are stereotypes forwarded by narrow-minded people. I defy anyone to find even an inference of such things in this verse. Instead, the verse says that the wife of noble character is someone in whom a husband can find a true partner, someone who is reliable, loving, and diligent.

What is the ‘nothing’ of value? It is both worldly goods and the good, Godly traits that provide them. It’s not just that a spouse furnishes the home, provides food and safety, or tends to children. It is that a partner who gives and gets full confidence is one who can also provide the things that matter most in life. These are faith, love, devotion, security, empathy, caring, honesty and reliance.

When you have full confidence in someone you have full trust. They are a peer and partner, not a competitor or a threat. And confidence is more than just assurance or guarantee of attitude and behavior. Confidence is the quality you find in someone where they will listen to what you say and be non-threatening, even when they criticize you. When you have full confidence in your partner, you can be sure she will hear you out and communicate with you honestly. She will keep your secrets as you keep hers; she will give and get in life with trust and virtue.

And men, what about us? How can we be men and husbands of noble character? Should not those same things (just described) apply to us as well? Any marriage, any relationship, evolves over time. Over that time, reliance and ‘the lead’ changes, ebbs and flows. Sometimes the man is the leader, and sometimes the woman is the leader. Both should be trustworthy and earn the confidence of the other. Both should work to live in a Godly home where faith and hard work produce spiritual and physical plenty, where we can live to celebrate and share how God provides for us. Men, these things apply to us in our own ways, through our own roles. There is much to learn and model from the wife of noble character.

That character matters because our behavior won’t always match our it. I get a chuckle over folks who say that Christians are hypocrites because they keep on doing those same old sins all while claiming they are redeemed. The chuckle comes in realizing that detractors are right! It’s true! Duh! That’s really not a thing to laugh about, but I feel like laughing and smiling because the Cross means everlasting forgiveness and real ability to turn away from the things that tripped us up in the past. Our human nature sometimes breaks through faith and we fall. When that happens, we think of the Cross and how it continually gives the strength to begin again. Christianity wasn’t invalidated because we messed up. When character is based in God, it may get bruised but it’s always there, waiting to encourage us as a strong foundation again even after we’ve done things to disgrace it.

And when we’ve seen our sin, we seek a place of refuge. Where God is at work, I would hope for you what He provided to me: a refuge made possible by someone who was better than me and in whom I learned to empower total confidence and love.

A wife of noble character is a wife whose character can endure the storms of life because she has the confidence of her husband. A husband of noble character is a husband who entrusts all of himself to his wife and loves her as Christ loved him. Together, such a couple can build a truly happy home and can overcome anything life throws at them. A couple like that can build a home into more than just four walls. All of that starts with involving the Lord, and He does it first through the wife of noble character in whom a man should have total faith and confidence.

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