A wife of noble character: She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31, verse 27.
She is industrious and not lazy. Right?
We’re planning a really nice vacation this year. I don’t yet know if it will happen, but for the first time in a few years, we’re planning to get away for a week to a resort where we will all relax. My wife, myself, and our four kids are planning to get away to Arizona in July and we’re all already looking forward to this. Five days at a hot, sunny pool with frothy drinks in our hands, sleeping late with no schedule, maybe a massage and some other unplanned activities; palm trees, sand, take out food, no emails. Right about now, that sounds pretty good to me.
It sounds good to my wife as well. I work long hours away from home, but she works even longer ones. Her day starts at 0315 when she sets the first alarm. She finally gets out of bed some time after four, spends an hour getting ready, checking email, reading, piddling around and making coffee. At 5 we have a morning devotion together and coffee, then I sometimes make breakfast so she can get out the door by 6. She works a full day until sometime between 4 and 6, depending on the availability of teachers, how many kids are in the school, etc. She’s usually home by 6, when we have dinner, relax, talk, do some bills or activity (she sometimes brings home things to tally or code), and she’s usually in bed by nine. On the weekends she may even work a day because she needs to catch up on office work she couldn’t get to during the week; the school where she works is chronically short-staffed.
Have I mentioned that she’s industrious and not lazy? I bet you get the picture. She needs that vacation more than anyone else in our family.
To me, she is a Proverbs 31 woman, specifically one that watches over the affairs of her household AND doesn’t eat the bread of idleness. She has always liked to keep busy; even when she worked from the home (or in the home) she always kept occupied. My wife has always been active in keeping our home, especially as regards our finances. I’ll admit: sometimes this has driven me bonkers. It’s not an area in which I’m strong, and at times I felt used. But I see now that I’m thankful for the gifts she has because some of them are ones I don’t have and our household needs. She’s a planner by nature, and it takes someone with that talent to run a household when you don’t make much money and you’re always on the go. Come to our house at any time in the last 23 years and you’d never find the bread of idleness served with any meal.
Oh, and let’s get this out there: watching over the affairs of her household doesn’t mean standing by while her husband philandered. She didn’t. In those affairs, she confronted me and took action. During those critical days, her first action was always to go to God first, so that she could walk in His will wherever that took her. It wasn’t a done-deal that we would stay together. Other women have (and should) leave a man like me, but she saw something different. Whether we stayed or left, she reached out to me to re-introduce God to me. It wasn’t that God had abandoned me: it was that I had turned away from Him. She still wanted to have a life with me because she believed that’s the life God was leading her to live. Even when we were separated, even during the times when she disliked and even hated me, she loved me. She watched over our house, over the goings on and the make-up of our household, even when she lived apart from it in emotion and in fact. That’s been the difference in turning things around and changing. After so long, things are better in a way that can last.
There are many housewives in the world who are desperate (and they aren’t on TV). Most housewives aren’t. I don’t envy the work that housewives do because it’s tough work. There’s even more work to do when you choose to work outside the home and also keep one going. I’m thankful that my job allows me to work from home part time because I’m able to help out with things that she doesn’t always have the time to do. Truthfully, I used to resent that, and she did as well. But working through our problems I think we both found that, for our relationship, having the perfect house wasn’t one of the things that mattered so much. We get the laundry & dishes done, we make the bed, we keep it tidy and mostly picked up (or as much as you can when you still have kids living at home). We do all that while both working full time and keeping busy schedules. Me, I’ve learned quite a lot from her about how to manage life while managing work. I’ve said it before that I believe women multi-task better than men. I believe it’s because that industriousness is part of a lady’s nature, not just a learned behavior. I’ve learned that by living with someone who does it well.
So, in a few months we’ll (hopefully) be sitting at that resort in Phoenix, resting on our laurels. Everyone wants a nice vacation but, to tell the plain truth, nobody deserves one. I met hundreds of people during mission trips in Africa and Asia who, I assume, never got a day off let alone a vacation at some posh resort. All I can do is pray for them, and pray that taking this trip is the right thing to do. God doesn’t want us to feel guilt when He provides us with opportunities. The trick is making sure we do the Godly thing about them. I don’t know if sitting by a pool for a week is a Godly thing, but I do know that it’s something I’d like to do for my lady. She works harder than anyone I know and I’d like to give her some time away to recharge before we jump feet first into the rest of a very busy year.