Stop Trying to Be the Proverbs 31 Woman

Have you ever compared yourself to the Proverbs 31 woman? Here are my thoughts on why we should stop trying to achieve this perfection and what we should do instead!

 

If you’re a young woman associated with almost any Christian circle, you’ve probably been told at some point that the Proverbs 31 woman is what you should strive to be. And while the woman described in Proverbs chapter 31 is an excellent example to follow, maybe we shouldn’t be striving so hard to be just like her.

When we strive to be the woman described in this passage of scripture in our own strength, we actually cripple ourselves. When we pick a person in scripture to be like, we often lose some focus and suddenly find ourselves worn out from humanly trying to exemplify another human. We forget that we can’t do anything or become a better version of ourselves in our own strength; we need our Saviour to transform us.

In our pursuit of becoming the Proverbs 31 woman, we start the vicious cycle of comparison and find ourselves grossly inadequate. But…maybe we were never meant to be like her. Let’s look at some context here.

First, Proverbs. The book of Proverbs is a book of King Solomon’s wisdom. It’s full of advice for dealing with different relationships, as well as discernment and finding wisdom. At the very end of the book, we have a passage apparently written by Lemuel, who writes out an oracle his mother used to tell him.

Yep, Proverbs 31 was written to a man, not women.

The second part of this passage is actually describing the kind of women this woman’s son should be seeking for a wife. So yes, these are excellent virtues we should be seeking. But we cannot wear ourselves down trying to obtain the perfection described in this passage.

I’m not saying that we women should not seek to have the characteristics described in Proverbs 31, or that we can ignore that passage because it’s addressed to a guy. Definitely not! We don’t get to ignore passages of scripture simply because they don’t seem to apply to us. What I am asking is, are we looking at Proverbs 31 with the wrong perspective?

Rather than Proverbs 31 being the goal to achieve, it should be a guideline to use. What I mean is that though we will probably never achieve the perfection described in the passage, we should still seek those characteristics and work towards them in Christ’s strength. Proverbs 31 hurts us when we set standards for ourselves that we can’t achieve in our own strength.

In seeking to become a Proverbs 31 woman or wife, we can take our focus off of being like Christ. And when anything becomes a distraction from being like Christ, it is a stumbling block in our path.

However, we know that we can become worn out seeking to be like Christ in our own strength. The key to being successful in molding our hearts into that of Christ’s is allowing Him to do the work in our hearts. Just like looking to the woman described in Proverbs 31 as our example, we need to ask God to change and mold our hearts into ones that reflect His.

Have you ever compared yourself to the woman described in Proverbs 31? Did it help you or hinder you in your walk with Christ?

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3 Tips for the New Wife

Are you a new wife who's struggling to find a good balance between running your household and growing your marriage? This post is for you! Click for 3 great tips on adjusting to your new role as a wife.

As we near the end of the summer wedding season, newlyweds and weddings have been on my mind (and in my Facebook feed). The whole process of becoming engaged, planning a wedding, and barely remembering the special day because gosh, it went by way too fast, is super exciting. But once you settle into your new role as wife, it can be overwhelming. I’ve been married for almost a year (which is kinda crazy) and I’m still trying to figure out running a household with both efficiency and grace. Not an easy balance, I might add.

So for all the new wives or soon-to-be wives out there: here are some tips for finding balance with your new responsibilities!

1. Have an honest discussion with your husband about expectations.

You’ve probably heard that communication is the key to marriage. I can say with confidence that this is so true! Discussing expectations with each other is crucial to figuring out your individual responsibilities as a couple.

When William and I got married, I had never cut the grass before. I grew up with a dad and two brothers who took care of that; it was just never required of me. But William grew up in a home where his mom was usually the one cutting the grass. It seems like a minor thing, but we had to figure out our responsibilities. Who would be the one cutting the grass or doing dishes each night? Did I want his help cleaning the house? Did he expect me to help with yard work?

Talking through your expectations can help avoid a lot of needless conflict later on. If you can reach compromises before the issue even arises, you can save yourself some hurt.

2. Realize that you’re his wife, not his mom.

You’re marrying him. You are equals. You complement each other in different ways, and hopefully you’ve figured out a rough guideline for what your roles and responsibilities will be in your new home. While you’re filling your new role, recognize that replacing his mother is not part of that role.

This is mostly an attitude thing. Sure, in some ways you’ll take on some responsibilities that his mom carried in her household. Maybe you do all the housecleaning, or you cook a good meal every night. Maybe you get his lunch ready and make sure he always has a good stock of clean socks. Those are all good things, and are great ways to show him that you love him. But don’t cook just because he’s “incapable” of feeding himself. Don’t do those things because if you don’t, he won’t be able to figure it out. Don’t pick up after him constantly because he’s not responsible enough to clean up after himself.

Those are things you will do for your kids because kids often don’t know better or aren’t old enough to operate a washing machine. When you treat your husband as a kid, as someone who isn’t capable of taking care of himself so you “have to”, you’ll become resentful very quickly, and you will no longer be doing those tasks willingly and with joy. When you carry out your tasks out of love for you husband rather than obligation, you’ll have more joy in your attitude.

3. Remember you’re building a new household, not imitating your parents’.

You were raised one way, and your husband was raised another. Some couples were raised more similarly than others. It’s super important to remember that you’re taking two different ways of doing things and creating a new way. Rather than debating over who’s way is better, find a new way to do things.

This is something William and I quickly realized was important. Not long after we were married, I made a comment about how I felt like a bad wife because I didn’t have a full, home-cooked meal on the table every night. I was comparing myself to my mom, who had supper on the table every night like clockwork. William’s response was, “But your mom stayed at home when you were a kid. You’re working full time.” He was right. The other part of the equation is that a lot of the time, William isn’t home for supper. His job requires him to work late anywhere from one to three times a week. When he’s not home, it’s easier for me to just heat up leftovers. We aren’t doing things the way our parents did, but we’re doing what works for us. We aren’t here to prove who’s way is better, but to create our own way of doing things.

If you’re married, what were some things you had to adjust to in the early days of marriage?

 

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How to Respond when Your Husband Confesses to You

No one's perfect, but how do you respond when your husband confesses to you? Click here to find some practical tips on how to handle your husband's confession!

No one is perfect, and this is especially true in marriage. Marriage is the closest relationship you will ever have with another person. As a result, marriage reveals two people’s greatest flaws.

When you’re a wife, you experience both the greatest joys and deepest hurts that come with marriage. There will be times of laughing and times of sorrow. One example of sorrow is when your husband hurts you (and unfortunately, it will happen; remember, we’re all imperfect). Here are some practical ways to respond when your husband hurts you, and honour God in your response.

1. Don’t say anything right away.

Chances are, whatever it is your husband confesses to you is going to hurt you; maybe hurt you very deeply. You may be able to just take a breath and move on, or you may be left reeling for a couple days. No matter the gravity of your husband’s confession, give yourself a few minutes to process. Personally, I need to internally process something before I can even hope to communicate my feelings clearly in a tense situation. Take all the time you need, but even more importantly, communicate that to your husband.

2. Stay calm.

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the first point, but staying calm is crucial. First of all, your husband has really just stuck his neck out to confess something to you, and the last thing he needs is to be called all kinds of names or yelled at for doing something so dumb. Trust me: if he’s confessing to you, it’s because he has been convicted and knows he needs to tell you. Now is not the time to preach at him.

3. Pray.

When your husband hurts you, the last thing you are going to feel like doing is praying. Yet it is the best thing you can do. Satan is going to try and use hurts, arguments, and anger to tear your marriage apart. God created marriage, and Satan doesn’t want to see it succeed. You could be strongly tempted to completely shut down and harbour bitterness toward your husband, but you need to say “no” to the temptation. Instead, pray. Even if it’s just a “help, God.”

4. Forgive. And forgive. Then forgive again.

For the longest time, I thought forgiveness was a sweet emotion that came a couple days after someone hurt me, and then all would be right in the world again. But I quickly learned that forgiveness is a hard, often painful choice. It is not easy to forgive someone. Look at what Jesus had to go through so that the Father might be able to forgive us through Him! Yet because of His great love, Christ died for us, despite the pain. It was a hard choice for Him to make, yet out of love He chose the path of forgiveness.

You are going to have to decide to forgive your spouse when he hurts you. And then the next morning when you wake up and remember the hurt, you will have to forgive him again. Then a few days later, you’ll be walking into work and Satan will remind you of what he did, and you’ll have to forgive again. You’ll have to ask God to help you to forgive your husband over and over and over again. It will be hard. But guess what? It will slowly become less and less difficult to forgive him. When we remember how much God has forgiven in us, it becomes an easier choice to make. You do not have to feel forgiving in order to forgive.

5. Talk it out.

Before I got married, I always heard that communication is important in marriage. When I got married, I realized it wasn’t just important…it was crucial to having a God-honouring, thriving marriage.

When you’ve had a chance to calm down and think a little more clearly, listen to everything your husband has to say. Ask questions, even if you’re not sure you want to know the answers. Complete transparency is important. Then share how you’re feeling (calmly) and how this affects you. Please don’t shut down and block out the problem. Be brave and deal with it head-on, relying on God for His perfect strength.

6. Get some support.

Honestly, this is somewhat optional. Depending on what your husband confesses to you, it may be wise to seek other Christian help, such as talking through the issue with a trusted pastor or mentor. If the issue is serious, don’t try to deal with it alone! Talking to others can go a long way to bring you both closer to healing.

This is also a good idea if conversations between you and your husband aren’t going well. If you seem to flare up and speak out of anger, it is wise to have a wise Christian person “moderate” these discussions so that effective communication can happen. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help! We were all made for community, and God often works in our lives through other believers.

7. Stay on your husband’s side.

Remember, he is hurting too. It took a lot of courage for him to talk to you, especially if he knew it would hurt you. Yes, you may be hurting, but you are his wife. He needs your support, especially right now. Try to encourage him, let him know he’s forgiven, and that you’re not going anywhere. No, you don’t need to overlook the offense—it will need to be dealt with—but through that, you still love him. Satan is trying to pull you apart. If he can turn you against each other, he has won. Don’t give him that advantage. Fight for your marriage! A strong marriage is so worth it.

8. Have courage…take heart.

Sister, take heart. The Lord of Lords and eternally-loving Father is near. He hears your cries and feels your broken heart. He will never leave, nor forsake you. He is with you every step, and the struggles you’re going through right now will pass. It is in our struggles that we see His strength.

A verse that has really encouraged me is 1 Peter 5:10:

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

What a wonderful promise! Paul doesn’t deny that we will struggle, but he says that there is an end to the suffering. And not only that, but God will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

I hope this has helped some of you. If you have any questions or comments, you can email me by going to the Ask a Question tab at the top of the page or you can leave a comment below. Blessings!

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Maybe Singleness Isn’t about Waiting for Marriage

So many young adults today endure singleness as a "season of waiting" for the good stuff: marriage. But what if marriage isn't really better than being single? Read more here!

Maybe it’s just me, but lately I’ve been seeing a lot of “marriage vs. singleness” discussions among Christian young adults.

The debate looks something like this: many young adults are still single, and some are married. The married people are on the “WOO marriage is so great and if you’re not married you’re missing out big time” side, while all the singles are either trying to deny their emotions (“I’m single and I will enjoy it/pretend I do”) or just open about their desperate desire to get married.

Disclaimer:

Maybe I have no right to even have an opinion on the matter, since I’m a married, twenty-one year old Christian woman who hasn’t experienced a real “season of singleness.”

I might not understand how hard it is to wait for God to bring someone into your life, or wonder if He ever will.

Maybe I can’t understand how hard it is to trust God, when being a wife and mother is the greatest desire of your heart.

What I have to say actually has nothing to do about the singleness versus marriage discussion. It’s more to do with how God’s will affects the quality of either season of life—whether that’s singleness or marriage.

Maybe it’s not about whether or not you’re married.

Why do so many singles feel that they are missing out if they’re not married? I think it’s a matter of understanding why marriage can be a blessing…and how it can also be quite the opposite.

My marriage is a wonderful blessing to me. My husband is a pretty amazing man. I have more respect and admiration for him than anyone else. But here’s the thing: my marriage isn’t a blessing because my husband and I have forever committed our lives to each other, or even because he’s such a great guy. It’s a blessing because it’s where God wants me.

There are also many unhappy marriages in the world, folks. I know couples who would probably say their marriage is not a blessing to them. Marriage itself isn’t the blessing here.

Likewise, singleness is a blessing for some and not for others. If you are single and you believe that’s where God has placed you for now (which has nothing to do with how you feel about the situation and all about God’s will for your life), you will be—and are—blessed.

We don’t miss out on the blessing because we’re either married or not. We miss out on the blessing when we refuse to stay where God has placed us.

When we look at marriage and singleness and say one is better than the other, we stand dangerously close to the edge. We tempt ourselves because when we believe one is better than the other, we often pursue it relentlessly, regardless of where God is guiding us. It’s so easy to just charge ahead with what we want and ignore the Lord’s leading.

The blessing happens when we choose to be where God wants us. Every step of my relationship with my husband was guided by God. I didn’t push for it. But what if I had believed that no matter what, being single would make me more “blessed”? If I hadn’t married, I wouldn’t be in God’s will and would be worse off.

For those who are married, marriage is a blessing not because it’s a marriage, but because God put those two people there. And for others, singleness is not a blessing because they’re single, but because they are walking in God’s path for them.

Next time you’re wondering which is better—marriage or singleness?—remember that it’s not the circumstance, but the reason you’re there.

It’s not about where you are, but whether you are willing to surrender here & now.

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Is Love a Good Enough Reason to Get Married?

I’m back, folks! I’m sorry for sadly abandoning my blog-posting…I had a crazy-busy summer that concluded with me getting married to my favourite person at the end of September. And now that the wedding, honeymoon, and work craziness is over…ROUTINE. Finally.

Most of us look for our "one true love" to marry. But have you ever thought that maybe finding someone you respect is just as important, if not more so? Click here to read more!

Great. So now that she’s married, she thinks she can give marriage advice. But this is actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot throughout my 3-year relationship with William. In the months and days leading up to the wedding, I asked myself (a lot), how do I know if I really love him? My love for William hadn’t really been tested a whole lot before the wedding. We hadn’t gone through any tragedies. He had never broken my trust. What if I just thought I loved him and we couldn’t make it when stuff really did happen?

I agonized—and by that I mean that I let worry ruin my whole week on more than one occasion—over this. I finally came to this conclusion: I wasn’t 100% sure that I loved him.

But I did know this: there was (and is) no other guy in the world that I respect more than William.

Respect or Love?

Ask someone who is getting married why they’re getting married, and you’ll probably hear, “Because I love him.” But is that really a good enough reason to marry someone?

A lot of us have heard the marriage mantra “Women need love and men need respect”. And it makes sense. Most guys want to be looked up to, while most women have a deep need to be cherished. But have you ever looked at this from a Biblical view?

The passage of Ephesians 5 is a popular one for marriage. You can check out the whole chapter here, but I’m going to just reference the last verse of the chapter:

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

(Eph. 5:33)

God created men and women, and He created marriage. So He knows what it takes for a marriage to work. And yet, God doesn’t actually say that I need to love William. Of course, we all are to show each other the love of God—but in the marriage context, Paul points out that men need to make it a priority to love their wives sacrificially, and women are to respect their husbands unconditionally.

As a woman, I need to feel loved first. If William provided for me and respected me consistently but I didn’t feel love, nothing else would matter to me. As a woman, I naturally tend to stay in that “love first” line of thinking, since that’s what my needs look like.

But the reality is that in regard to my husband, I need to be thinking “respect first”. When I respect him, everything else flows. When I respect William, I want to please him. I want to check with him before making a decision because I value his wisdom and input. If I have a problem, I go to him first because I look up to him.

The S-word: submission.

Respecting our husbands is especially important because in a Christian marriage, we as wives are commanded to submit to our husbands. I know, some of us don’t like that word. But submission is necessary in a healthy, God-honouring relationship.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

(Eph. 5:22 – 24)

Submission doesn’t mean not having a brain and letting your husband make all the decisions. God gave you a brain—use it! Give your opinion to your husband. Help him to make the decisions. But at the end of the day, you need to support him in whatever decision he makes. Don’t complain about the decision for the next five weeks and refuse to let the matter rest.

When we submit to our husbands, good things come out of it. They feel respected. They know that we’re looking up to them and trusting them to make the right decision. They also feel empowered to do what’s best. When I submit to William, I’m saying “I trust you”, and his response is appreciation and then love towards me.

It’s a cycle that I have the power to start or stop. When I respect William, his natural response is to love me more. When I feel loved, I want to respect him.

Finding someone you respect.

Often we confuse love with infatuation. We think whoever we have the strongest emotions towards is the one we should be with. But the problem is, sometimes those emotions are born out of pity or solely physical attraction. We feel bad for the guy who can’t keep a girlfriend, so we go out with them. Or we chase after the guy who has the best looks without looking at his character.

When I told my dad that I liked William, the very first question he asked me was, “Do you admire this guy?” At first I was like, “Uh, yeah…I like him, so…” But as I thought about it, I realized there was a lot about him that I respected. My dad followed that question up with the comment, “You’ll never be able to respect a guy you don’t admire.” And that has proven to be so true in our relationship.

So look around you. Who do you look up to? Who do you respect or admire? Is there someone in your life who has an incredible servant’s heart? Does he love others unconditionally? Is he the hands and feet of Jesus to the people in his life?

Find someone who you can respect, and the other factors will fall into place.

Is respect important in your relationship with your husband?

What are some ways you show respect to your husband?

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