A wife of noble character: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 31, verse 29.
Notice that this is a quote. That makes it different from the other verses in this chapter. All of those are observations, praiseful observations to be sure but made in the third person. Not so here. Here, it’s first person, as if the writer wanted to say something to his own wife. Remembering that chapter 31 of the Proverbs is ‘the sayings of King Lemuel,’ the writer may indeed have been a man. Or it could have been a mother, reflecting on the qualities she wanted in a wife for her son. Or, it could be Solomon himself, writing under a pseudonym so as to give a different kind of glory to God.
No matter who it was, this is a personal quote; a snippet of conversation preserved for all time. From the sound of it, this could be the start of a public love letter. Is that surprising if you think of all of Scripture as a love letter from God to us, full of drama, musings, lessons, reflections, hopes, dreams and, above all, that love? The Bible is the story of humanity, of human history and how a God of perfect love made His people for that love. He wrote through dozens of people to tell us how to always come back to him. It’s a love letter. Permit me then, to share a few paragraphs of my own love letter that could be long overdue.
To my patient and noble wife Kimberly, I know many women who do noble things but you surpass them all. We’ve known each other almost 30 years, and in that time we’ve grown, fought, liked, hated, challenged, admonished, cherished, abandoned, hurt, comforted, supported, defended, but loved each other. Before I met you, I worked in a position of honor, doing things I was proud of and some that I wasn’t. But the work mattered to me because it was good and I was part of something that served a greater good. I was good at what I did and enjoyed the life I led. It could be lonely, but it was honorable and something to be proud of.
I didn’t know about nobility until I met you.
You taught me about being noble just by being yourself. Someone who is noble has high moral qualities. In a fallen world, where all of us are tainted with degrees of tragedy and disgust, one who works to rise beyond that and lives to do better is a person of good character. One who grasps faith and shares it while doing so becomes noble. That’s you. In living your life, you live out your beliefs and you are the kind of person I want our daughters to be. You’ve become strong but not stony, and your strength is not just your own or your experience. It’s your faith in God.
I have learned more about God at your side than I ever learned before. More than any college degree or anything else on earth, those are lessons that will last forever. Through His eyes you saw me when I was good, when I slipped and fell, when I became a destroyer; through His eyes you saw things in me that others had given up looking for. You constantly teach me to seek first the wisdom of Christ in how I move in the world, and you constantly remind me that it’s good to look in the mirror of faith so as to see things we need to see. It is a pleasure and an honor to grow in faith with you, and I know our journey is both continuing and just begun anew.
You found me where I was and made me better. You shared dreams of being more, and helped make them into reality. It’s true that the things, the prosperity, and all we’ve wanted from this world together haven’t always come to pass. What we’ve been blessed with – faith, family, friends, hope – is far better. I can’t conceive of living life, of having any of the success I have known, of having anything at all, without you and all you’ve given to me.
I never really knew what nobility was until I learned about it from you. Through all the up’s and down’s, you have always strived to do better, become more, live more faithfully than before. God not only guarded your heart: He taught all of us around you through you. I was a fool to ever doubt that God knew what He was doing when He put the two of us together. God not only knew what He was doing but He blessed my life just by being around you. I can’t conceive anymore of being at someone else’s side because I don’t want to conceive of life without being at yours.
You can quote me on that.
I don’t know that my paltry words will be read a thousand years from now; I sincerely doubt it. What I do know is that the love of God lives in your heart, my wife of noble character, and that will live forever. It lives in your heart, shines in your smile, and glows luminous from your soul. Your noble character is God’s gift that you share with all of us, and you’re the kind of person I have always wanted to become. I’m blessed, fortunate, and humbled to have the privilege of being called ‘your husband,’ and I’m thankful for every minute to do so.