A wife of noble character: her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Proverbs 31, verse 28.
This verse has been a long time in coming. God has given me this forum to share some things about my wife these last few days. Before that, most of what I’ve written here has been about other things, other people, happenings in my life and what they mean in light of the Proverbs. These last few verses have been about the wife of noble character, however, and I’m thankful that this is the way it is. Praise for the woman at my side is long overdue, not so much from others but definitely for me.
I’ll share something: as I was writing those columns these past years she sometimes told me of her frustration that I didn’t write more about her and what we were doing to work through problems and reconcile. My response was usually “that’s coming” because I had read ahead and knew this time, God willing, was just up the road. Now that it’s here it is the time to give her some of the praise that I think she was wondering about.
I wish our children would arise every morning and call her blessed. Nothing would make me happier than to hear that they called Mom and said “hail Kimberly full of grace.” Ok, maybe that’s a bit over the top, but you get my drift. I would love for them to more regularly, publicly, earnestly give their mom some well-deserved praise. Kids are kids, and most kids I know shy away from that gushy stuff, at least when people are looking. Me, I wish they would overcome their fear of being un-cool to more publicly pour some praise on mom. She has long earned it.
It’s not that the wife of noble character is vain. It’s simply the way things are that her children would consciously want to arise and call her blessed. She proves her worth day in and day out by living the life she does. Loyal mother, caring partner, capable worker, loving friend, invaluable teacher, shrewd businesswoman, woman of faith: that she should be called blessed is never in question. Why her children wouldn’t use all their waking hours to call her that may be.
Ditto for her husband. A man married to such a woman can’t keep quiet about it. In his own way, he praises her and praises God for her in his life. He sees how the things she does affect others. He understands that she is someone special, not just to him, but special just because. He feels her presence in the good things that happen to him. Her husband knows that he is blessed by having her in his life because she is blessed by God. I know these things because they’re true in my life.
Mind you, I don’t want you to get a picture that isn’t true; I don’t want you (or me) to idealize this woman. It would be easy to do that, and if I did it would be falling for a subtle attack designed to draw us away from the truth. There are blemishes in her past, things she doesn’t like to talk about; don’t we all have those? There are behaviors I see that others don’t, and some of them aren’t attractive. She’d tell you I’m no walk in the park, too. Even the ‘perfect’ couples struggle during the early years of marriage. It’s natural to do so when two people are forming a single union.
We did, and it took years for both of us to find our identity as a couple instead of just as two people. I gave up several times, insisting that I was so done and that I simply couldn’t live in the relationship any more. Yet one thing I held onto, even in those dark times, was that I could always give her praise. Her character, her faith, her devotion to our kids, her caring heart: even when we were pulling apart, those things were always evidence of God in her life and always worthy of praise. During the times when I thought we were going to divorce, I still could admire my friend. When you really love someone, you don’t give up on them. It’s a ‘Fireproof’ idea: you never leave your partner behind. She didn’t leave me behind and I didn’t leave her behind. After all the up’s and down’s, we’re still standing and can talk about these things in the hope that others will draw God’s strength from them, maybe learn from our mistakes.
That’s why I wake up each day now and spend the first minutes of it with her. And that’s also why I would love to see our kids more effusively give her praise. It would probably embarrass them and I’m sure it would embarrass her. When I get home, I think I’ll encourage them to do it anyway. She’s a mom of noble character, and those aren’t just a dime a dozen.