Daily Proverbial, 15 March 2012

The wife of noble character: she sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. Proverbs 31, verse 17.

This may tick you off. I think women who don’t know how to work are unattractive. Not just unattractive but ugly. They may be the most beautiful creatures to ever walk a red carpet, but if they don’t know how to work (or, worse, are deliberately lazy) then I’m more interested in dental surgery than I would be in them. A woman using her talents is attractive (and let’s purge the thought now: I’m NOT talking about anything involving skin). Whether it’s working in a construction zone, doing yard work, working in an office, tending the house or doing whatever, I think it’s attractive to see a lady at work. I get quite a few free magazine subscriptions – airline miles – and I see the lines in Redbook, Cosmo and the like talking about how some women find it attractive to see men hard at work. News flash: men find that attractive as well.
What’s more, it can be Godly.

I’m not one of these “barefoot and pregnant” believer stereotypes; such ideas are fostered by small minds. I wouldn’t want a wife whose sole vocation was procreation and subjugation. Women are better than that. Our convenience-oriented ‘now’ culture has had the effect of allowing us more time for ease. We all need some time to download and rest, but I think there’s very little that’s more unattractive than someone who leads only a sedentary lifestyle without other purpose. Get some rest, but then get up and get going!

That’s not to say that what’s good for the gander isn’t good for the goose. Several years ago, I lost A LOT of weight, getting down to 175 pounds and I looked pretty good. I lost it by pursuing divorce, and it was mostly worry and no appetite. In repairing my marriage, I’ve sadly gained about 30 of those pounds back, and this despite exercising even more and eating less. Call it the weight of contentment. Maybe it’s inevitable: I’m middle aged in a family with a history of obesity. It’s also unattractive and not long ago my wife pointed that out to me. It made me mad, but I had to concede she had a point. Yet I also think she finds it attractive to know I’m working, not just working out. My job is pretty sedentary: I work in front of a laptop in information technology. To keep fit (or get fit again) I need to do other things and I do them as best I can. I think she’s pleased that I do the work I do, but probably finds it potentially unattractive. I mean, how sexy is it to watch someone sitting at the computer? When I’m doing other things, say working on our house or doing other tasks, I suspect she’s pleased. I would be too. It’s that same appeal I mentioned in the paragraph above.

We weren’t made for all rest: we were made for giving praise through vocation. I’m generalizing when I say that men find women who work attractive. It’s a guy-thing, to be sure, but it’s also acknowledging that a lady at work is a lady with purpose, with spirit. We all seek meaning in life, and much of that meaning is sought in work. The real purpose, however, is seeking meaning by doing Godly work. Just ministry? No, of course not, but we can give praise both by giving praise (walking the walk) and by exercising our God-given talents. The writer of the verse perhaps saw this, and he illustrated work (and the willingness to do it) as a character trait for the Godly, noble wife. She has things to do and she gets them done. Her ‘arms’ are her talents, either physical or intellectual, and she is wise in how she does her work. Whether it is designing new configuration, cleaning an oven, driving a school bus, running a team, managing a schedule, gardening or writing, the wife of noble character knows that her talents are gifts from God and that she’s giving Him glory by using them to their fullest.

Ladies, that goes both ways, doesn’t it? You want a husband who will do his work well, right? In marriage, there are times when we have to rely on each other. A lady wants a man who will pull his own weight and work hard to provide. I believe a lady also wants a man who will trust her to do the same. We all want a partner who will pull their fair share. What’s more, we find it desirable to have a partner who enjoys work and does it well. Next time you see your significant other hard at work, remember that your taking pride in them is a blessing from above.

Not to brag too much, but this week I ran farther than I’ve run in months. And I have done a few things around the house that I’ve left unattended. The desk is clean, several closets are organized, and later today I’ll clean up the yard for the first time this year. And I’ve done this while putting in full days on the project, finishing budgeting plans for the next two years while making great strides in project planning as well. I’m hoping this pleases the lady of the house, and I believe it does. She finds it unattractive to have a husband who leaves things unattended just as I find the same thing. That’s not just the way we’re wired: it’s a matter of faith as well. It may be a bit of a stretch, but it’s also somewhat appropriate: faith without works is dead. We show our faith and our love by doing something with it. That starts on the job. So, with a busy day ahead, let’s get up and get going, shall we? We’ll look great in the process.

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