31 Characteristics of the Wife of Noble Character: #3 – She is good

by Leslie De Morais

Definition

Good – [goo d] (adj.) 1) morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; pious: a good man.  2) satisfactory in quality, quantity, or degree: a good teacher; good health. 3) of high quality; excellent. 4) right; proper; fit: It is good that you are here. His credentials are good. 5) well-behaved: a good child. 6) kind, beneficent, or friendly: to do a good deed.  7) honorable or worthy; in good standing: a good name. Ect. 1

Good – [goo d] (noun) 1) profit or advantage; worth; benefit: What good will that do? We shall work for the common good. 2) excellence or merit; kindness: to do good. 3) moral righteousness; virtue: to be a power for good. 4) the good.  a) the idea of goodness or morality. b) good things or persons collectively.

She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.                                                                                                                           – Proverbs 31:12 (NIV)

How good is good?

Much to my surprise, I found over 50 definitions, in a variety of forms, for the word “good.” Only 11 are listed above. Who knew such an unassuming little word was so ample and versatile. The fact is we take the word “good” for granted. It’s not as grand as great or as flashy as fantastic. The word good doesn’t hold our attention like amazing or wow us like wonderful. We tend to think of the word good as sufficient, as in the expression “good enough,” or like the contemporary response “I’m good,” which communicates a satisfactorily satiated state when asked if more food or drink are desired.

In a world of mind numbing choices of products, services and experiences, who would ever settle for plain old good. We want the best! There’s also a never-ending quest for individuals to rise above the crowd and be set apart from the masses. In view of the incessant selfies and constant social media self-promotion to which so many are addicted, settling for good just doesn’t cut it. Then, what on earth did God see in the word “good” that He should inspire its use in Proverbs 31:12, regarding the wife of noble character?

Lessons Learned from Creation

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.                                       – Genesis 1:1-5 (NIV)

In the third verse of the Bible, God uses the word good to describe the light he had made from nothing. By verse 30, God used the word good six times to describe a few little things he created, like: the land and the sea; all variations of vegetation; the sun, the moon and the stars; all living creatures in the sky and the water; and all living creatures on land. All this He deemed good. Good? I would have said stupendous, incredible, marvelous, astonishing or so many other phenomenal adjectives.

Then, when God stepped back and admired his work, He decided to live a little and described that first six days of work as very good.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.                                               – Genesis 1:31 (NIV)

If God sees fit to use the word good to describe the birth of a galaxy or the formation of a planet as good, well perhaps we’d all better upgrade this dictionary classification from ordinary and sufficient to and an all-encompassing mighty titan of a word worthy of great feats!

The Proverbs 31 Wife

The wife of noble character is described as someone who “brings her husband good.” What exactly does that mean? How can a wife bring her husband “good?”

Over the years I have observed, both in my own husband and in the male gender in general, that men like to keep things uncomplicated. Women, on the other hand, have a tendency toward the more complex. If you’re reading between the lines right now, you might be coming up with some adjectives of your own to describe how each of the sexes approaches life.  One style isn’t better than the other. They are just different.  It is to a spouse’s benefit to understand the differences and react or adjust accordingly.

Three words come to mind when thinking about how to bring my husband “good.” The words are “easy, simple and happy.” At first glance, you may think these three little words are  exceedingly elementary or immensely mundane. But if we’re talking about how to bring our husbands good and not harm, we must first consider their definition of good and not our own.

Easy

The fall of “man” (AKA: Adam) resulted in a major life style change for all mankind: hard work.  Apparently, what Adam had been doing in the Garden of Eden up until he and Eve ate the forbidden fruit was not considered hard work. In Eden, God required two things from Adam: take care of the garden (Genesis 2:15), and name all the animals (Genesis 2:19-20a). Then, Eve sinned by disobeying God and Adam followed right along. The result for Adam that ensued was backbreaking, never ending hard work.

 17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’

“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”                                                                                      – Genesis 3:17-19 (NIV)

Hard work is the curse brought down on man for the iniquities of Adam. That connection with work is deep in the male gender’s DNA. Men seem to derive their self-worth from their work. They also assess one another based on the type of work they do and the strength or intelligence required to perform that work. As a by-product, the income received or the quality of life resulting from that work is also factored into the appraisal equation. In general, when it comes to their daily toil, men are competitive, driven and dedicated to their work. This is neither praise of the fact nor criticism on my part, simply an observation.

I have also observed an area of a married man’s life where he does not want work: his relationship with his wife.

What do I mean by “work” in the relationship? Men tend to be objective, concise, no frills. Women tend to be the opposite. Men want relating to their wives to be easy. They want their wives to be easy to talk to and easy to understand. Easy to lead. Easy going, easy to please. For the majority of men, their “work” is what they leave the house to do. They want their relationship with their spouse to be synchronized, balanced and functional.

So how can a wife bring her husband good?  Be easy to be with. Sounds easy enough, yet a woman has towering challenges to surmount in order to become an easygoing person.

Hormones and Emotions

A woman’s monthly cycle does not typically facilitate any of her relationships and especially the one with her spouse. I’m sure you are familiar with all those symptoms that afflict women every 28 days. Irritability, pain, bloating, discomfort and fatigue. It’s a wonder we can maintain any relationship while dealing with these ailments. The physical changes in the body coupled with the spike in hormones creates the perfect menstrual storm and our husbands are the tiny fishing boats trying to weather it unscathed.

How can a wife be easy to be with while going through the most painful and uncomfortable time of the month? Here are a few suggestions:

Be Prepared

Many women have absolutely no idea when their period is about to strike. Why is that? For most, their menstruation is like clockwork, on time and reliable. So, why not prepare for it? How? Prayer and scripture. God expects us to be self-controlled in all situations. That’s how we avoid sin even when we’re in pain. Here are some helpful tips:

Use a calendar to keep track of your monthly cycle.
  • Use a calendar to record the beginning and end of your cycle. Note the most challenging days and the symptoms you experience. It will likely be the same each month.
  • Explain to your spouse what you go though, both the physical and the emotional. Men have a hard time understanding or remembering what you feeling since they have never experienced anything like it.
  • Let your husband know when your period is about to kick in so he can be aware and be sensitive to what you’re going through.

Be Spiritual

  • In your daily devotionals, pray for self-control and read scriptures that will encourage the same. Pray for a double portion of patience, kindness and restraint.

Be Practical

  • Whenever able, use sick leave from work for your worst menstrual days. Although having your period is not an illness, you’re definitely not well. For many years I toughed it out at work during my period only to come home feeling completely spent and irritated, taking my pain and frustration out on my family. Only in later years did I discover the wisdom of allowing myself the much-needed rest and pampering my body and emotions craved during my menstrual cycle.

The same is true of pregnancy and menopause. Although symptoms vary with each phase of life, and from person to person, one thing remains true: we are not condemned to be controlled by hormones and emotions. We’ll be women who are easy to be with the more we are determined to take control of what we’re experiencing during uncomfortable or painful times of our lives.

Simple

Women love events. We love dressing up and going out. We love excitement and entertainment. We love turning the mundane into an occasion and the ordinary into an experience. We love adorning, embellishing, decorating and designing. We love planning and prepping. We’re all about the tiny details as well as creating show stopping wow factors. We love color and texture, mixing and matching. Men on the other hand, like to keep things simple.

Has this ever happened to you? You enthusiastically begin telling your husband some amazing plans you have. Vividly, you describe all your ideas down to infinitesimal detail and he begins to look as if he’s developing a headache? That’s because most men are big picture people. They understand the plan in broad brushstrokes. The details are of little consequence, in their view. However, for those of us of the fairer sex, the details are significant and are a way to express our creativity and personality. How can you bring your husband good? Try your best to keep things simple, in speech and in actions, especially if he actually makes that request.  Remember, less really is more…at least for men.

Happy

When thinking of the scene of a young man nervously asking the father of his beloved for her hand in marriage, I’m reminded of the reply from the protective dad heard in countless books and movies, “Just be sure to make her happy.”

Unfortunately, many women go into marriage believing it is the husband’s duty to make his bride happy. But is it? Ephesians 5 teaches that husbands must love their wives and ensure they are holy and blameless before God. That, in and of itself, is a monumental task. Is the husband also responsible for his wife’s happiness?

If a man is following the word of God and loving his wife as Christ loved the church, laying down his very life for her, I imagine that would make any woman happy. However, what about her day-to-day happiness. A better question is, “Can anyone be solely responsible for another’s continued happiness?”

Just as faith, repentance and discipleship are individual responsibilities, I believe happiness is, too. One way for a wife to bring her husband good and not harm is to be accountable for her own happiness. Why? In my experience, I have found that happiness is a decision. It’s a decision that only I can make for myself.

Something that inspires me in the decision to be happy is the fact that happiness makes a person more beautiful naturally. It also lightens any mood and brightens circumstances.

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.     – Proverbs 15:13 (NIV)

A happy woman attracts people and her happiness is contagious. She is a person who lifts spirits just by smiling genuinely. She lights up a room and people are drawn to her.

Easy, simple, and happy. That’s a good starting point for any woman to bring her husband good, not harm, all the days of her life.

 

The Strong Marriage Check List: Item #2 – Trust

by Leslie De Morais

 

Opinions differ regarding what a marriage needs to either become strong or stay strong. The following is from a list I compiled of ten essential characteristics couples need to build a strong and lasting marriage.

Item #2: Trust

“The best proof of love is trust.” That’s a quote from the renowned American psychologist and columnist, Joyce Brothers1. We’ve all read something similar to her quote in the Bible.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.                            – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

That’s the Biblical definition of love. It’s what we are all striving for in our relationships. It’s what we want our marriages to be based on. But what if your marriage has suffered a breach of confidence? It could be a minor infraction like forgetting to accomplish a promised task or it could be infinitely more damaging like the infidelity with which some couples must grapple.  What do you do to overcome mistrust? On the other end of the spectrum, how can you regain your spouse’s trust once lost?

Entire books are written about questions such as these. I’ll not pretend to provide all the answers in a short post like this. However, after reading this you may find yourself pointed in the right direction. The hard work will then be up to you.

The Basis of Trust

Trust, like a good name, takes years to establish and only a single moment to lose.  It may be based on a handshake, a promise, a vow or even the simple desire to believe. Trust is the consensus between two parties of a mutual understanding.

In the beginning, trust is like a tiny sapling that has the potential to grow into a mighty tree; well rooted and immovable, with a fortitude that inspires complete confidence. Or, that same vulnerable sapling may also be stepped on and crushed.

Deep inside most of us is the strong desire to trust. We want to believe with all our heart, in someone or something. In marriage, we want to believe in our spouse and we want to believe in love. It gives us hope. Trust is that northern star that guides us and provides a sense of direction, purpose and stability.

A relationship with God is much the same. While alive on this earth, He is invisible to us. We cannot see, hear or touch Him, yet we are asked to believe and trust in His existence. His son lived a distant 2000 years before us and God works through a Holy Spirit, which is also unseen and not physically felt.  Everything about our relationship with God relies entirely on trust, and a blind trust at that. So why and how do we do it?

Why do we trust?

God has made Himself known to us in everything we see, touch and feel. He is all around us and in everything He created. Have you ever watched a sunrise or sunset and marveled at the beauty of it? Have you ever wondered at the complexity of a living organism? Have you ever been amazed at the perfection of the human body or the miracle of life in a newborn baby? That’s God making himself known to us so that we can trust Him.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  – Romans 1:20 (NIV)

How do we trust?

It starts with baby steps of faith. We read about God, His promises, His kingdom, His Son, His Spirit and we think, “Can it be true?” So, we take a small step and test our footing. Still on firm ground, we practice a Biblical concept to see what will happen. Perhaps we decide to make time for daily devotion and soon we feel closer to God. We start understanding a spiritual teaching and experience a shift in attitude or make a character change. We read some more. We wonder. We step out on faith. And we are not disappointed. We are building trust. Our walk with God begins and grows stronger.

Hopefully, your relationship with your husband began the same way. You got to know one another slowly. You deposited faith and confidence in each other. Trust grew little by little.

There’s only one problem.

God is amazingly perfect, always consistent, ever infallible, reassuringly reliable, absolutely dependable and completely trustworthy. We are not.

Then how can any marriage become strong if trust is one of the qualities a marriage requires?  How can we trust one another when we each have an imperfect nature and sinful tendencies?

The solution is simple, but not easy. We trust our spouse by imitating the attitude God has towards us. He trusts that we will keep our promises to Him. If or when we fail, He forgives us and we begin again.

When God asks us to trust not only Him but each other in marriage, He knows He’s asked a lot of us. Here’s a quote I really admire and ponder:

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”                  – Corrie ten Boom2.

Our future may be unknown to us and the depths of our spouse’s heart may also be unknown to us, but we are still in the hands of a known God.

Learning to Trust

My parents divorced when I was 12. It didn’t affect me much at the time since my father was predominantly an absent parent. My mother rarely criticized him openly, although I know she suffered greatly in a loveless marriage. During my adolescence, my mother sometimes confided in me more as a much-needed friend than a daughter. She began to open up to me about the reality of marriage. Out of a desire to protect and prepare me, she shared her acquired philosophy and worldly wisdom regarding marriage, gleaned from years of disappointment and disillusionment. She told me that all men cheated. She warned me about marrying a man from certain cultures because women were mere pieces of property to them. She advised me that if I chose to marry, I would be smart to have a separate and secret bank account so that when my husband left me I’d have something to fall back on.

Those comments, made continuously during my teen years, completely infiltrated and tainted my thinking. She had to be right, I reflected, just look at the outcome of her life and that of so many others. But was she?

When I became a Christian at age 22, I began learning how to discern spiritual concepts from worldly ones. I don’t doubt my mother’s genuine concern for my welfare. I believe she thought she was giving valuable motherly advice that would save me from pain and sorrow. However, her perspective was not biblical. It was based on her own experiences, which were not governed by Christ.

As a young disciple of Jesus, I had a long, hard road ahead of me to learn how to trust. It meant intense mental, emotional and spiritual training to undo the flawed ideas accumulated in the world and then carefully replace them with the spiritual concepts of Christ. It was necessary to learn a new perspective, believe a new narrative. God would reshape everything I had been taught up until then about men, relationships and marriage. This passage helped me:

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,

“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ.    – 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 (NIV)

By the wisdom of this world, I had no reason to trust anyone. As a Christian, I made the decision to no longer live according to this world, and in this case, that meant stepping out on faith by trusting.

God’s wisdom is definitely a mystery. But with the mind of Christ, we can comprehend even a mystery like trust.

Regaining Trust

The only thing more difficult than building trust is regaining it. We mere mortals seem to have an innate aversion to making the same mistake twice, hence the tendency to be unforgiving and to keep a record of wrongs.

There’s a Brazilian proverb that says, “A scalded cat fears even cold water.”

The truth is, regaining trust requires time and an impressive (and repentant) new track record. This passage outlines a plan:

First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.      – Acts 26:20

Repentance is change. It’s a change others can see. It’s a change made from the inside out. It’s real and it’s lasting. We obtain it by turning to God. Relying on Him is the only way to transform our true nature. Then, we prove we’ve changed by our actions and attitudes.

Humility is also key to this transformation. Have you ever known someone who was clearly in the wrong, sees they were wrong, and may even admit they were wrong, but gets defensive when the matter is brought up? Perhaps you’ve been that person. Someone sincerely interested in regaining trust has the humility and good sense to know others have reason to be cautious. The presence of humility will help assure and aid them in the healing process of regaining trust.

When repentance is coupled with humility, our past may be brought up, discussed and even used as an example of what not to do without affecting us negatively. Why?  Because of the positive change that has taken place.

Trust is more than a lofty idea or romantic notion. Trust is obtainable. It is real and worth more than you can imagine. It is truly the cornerstone of any solid relationship. What are your trust issues? Are you ready to align yourself with a Biblical standard? Take the time and the steps needed to nurture trust. You’ll be glad you did. Trust me!


As with any check list, this one may show your strengths and weaknesses, what’s already present and what’s missing from your relationship. A check list reveals where you’re at and where you need to go. The good news is you can celebrate what’s going well and make a plan to fortify what’s lacking in your marriage.  With reliance on God and some attention to the matter, you’ll soon be checking all the boxes!

The Strong Marriage Check List: Item #1 – Honesty

by Leslie De Morais

Characteristic #1: Honesty

“Honesty is such a lonely word…everyone is so untrue…honesty is hardly ever heard…and mostly what I need from you.” Billy Joel’s lyrics ring true. We all desire honesty in our relationships and especially in our marriage. As with all the other items on the Strong Marriage Check List, we must first ask ourselves, “Do I have the characteristic I’m seeking in my spouse?”

Fearless Honesty

During an eight-week marriage course my husband and I took a few years back, the question of honesty arose. Using a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being a perfect score), we were asked to rate each other on a list of desirable qualities for our marriage and then discuss our ratings with our spouse. As I thought about my husband, he scored well on all the honesty related queries. I assumed we’d breeze through that portion of the survey. I was wrong. First, I shared all the high marks I gave him, smiling and innocent as to what was to befall me. Then, as he took in a deep breath and revealed my shoddy scores, “Five in truthfulness, four in openness, and five in candor,” I gasped aloud. “What!” Was there time to revise the scores I had given him? How could this be? What was he thinking? If I had been a Russian gymnast, I’d have been given a one-way ticket on the next train to Siberia with scores like that!

We tend to think of honesty as simply telling the truth, which it certainly is. However, it is more than that. It’s not holding back any of the truth. It’s not sugarcoating or telling half-truths. No omissions or filtering. Honesty risks angering or even hurting your spouse’s feelings so they can know you fully and completely. Sometimes it risks losing someone’s admiration or good opinion of you.

“How have I been dishonest with you?” I demanded to know. “You don’t share your dreams with me,” he replied.  Whoa. He was right. I had made a conscious yet semi-unconscious decision to stop sharing certain thoughts, dreams and aspirations with him some time ago. I wasn’t even sure when, but I had done it. Why? Well, my husband is one of those realists, you know the kind, tell him a goal and he’ll be sure to show you how and why it won’t work. Share a starry-eyed dream with him and he’ll shoot it full of holes. Moreover, he thinks he’s doing you a favor by explaining why you shouldn’t waste your time, money and effort on something that won’t work. I had good reasons not be open about my fragile, vulnerable and precious little dreams…I didn’t want them killed!

So, with great care and uncanny detail, I reminded him of past massacres. He agreed and admitted he had not known how to listen to my dreams without resisting the urge to adjust them so they made sense in his mind. Okay. Now we were starting to get somewhere. As we continued to unravel the honesty dilemma, we came to several very important conclusions about how we approach life in different ways; neither way was better, nor worse, just different. As a compromise, we adopted the French phrase, “Vive la différence!”

Just as I thought we could move on to the next item on the survey, he asked, “So, are you going to start sharing your dreams with me?” I was hoping he wouldn’t ask. I was hoping I could share just a little bit more and it might be enough. He wanted it all. That would leave me feeling uncomfortably vulnerable at the chance of reliving past disappointments where dreams, goals and aspirations were slashed and slaughtered, much like the protagonist’s friends in a teen horror flick.

“But what if you do it again? What if you step on my dreams and discourage me?” I asked.

“It’s possible. I’m not perfect. I may not be able to change overnight. But if you don’t take the first step by opening up I’ll never have the chance to change,” he refuted. I couldn’t argue that rationale. “And besides,” he continued, “as Christians, we do what’s right because it’s right, not because someone else reacts perfectly.” Match, set and game. He was right. I could not continue to shield myself. If honesty was truly important to me, I had to risk openness because the reward of true closeness and unity was too great. It would most likely require some patience and undoubtedly some forgiveness on my part, but if he was willing to change his evil ways then I was too.

Share Your Life Openly

Some Bible study helped me to gain more conviction about what I was learning. Honesty, to be fully effective, goes hand in hand with love.  Consider this scripture:

Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.                                                  – 1 Thessalonians 2:8b (NIV)

In the beginning of the chapter, the Apostle Paul addresses the fact that even though Silas, Timothy and he had “suffered and been treated outrageously” in Philippi (the previous town on their missionary journey), they did not fail to share the gospel with the Thessalonians. They did it out of love; love for God, love for Christ and love for those who needed to hear the message. Their hope that the Thessalonians would soon become their brothers in Christ outweighed their fear of being hurt once more.

I couldn’t claim to have suffered or been treated outrageously when my husband applied his realist’s viewpoints to my dreams. There were even instances when he raised valid points about feasibility and finances. His perspective challenged me to do more than dream.

Speak the Truth in Love

For some, being completely honest is not an easy task because they are more concerned with their spouse’s feelings than with genuine openness. Others, are all too willing to tell it like it is, but lack the sensitivity required when discussing difficult topics. Biblical honesty will call us to new heights in our marriages. Honesty can inspire deep change and meaningful growth, not only in ourselves but also in others. However, there’s a way to do it.

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.              – Ephesians 4:15 (NIV)

The word instead refers to the prior verse, which talks about the immaturity and instability that comes from unbiblical teachings and unspiritual influences. Only through speaking the truth in love will we ever obtain the unity taught in the rest of the passage.

My husband Alcides and I have decided to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…in love. It’s a decision I need to make repeatedly because I’m tempted to protect my feelings. We also made the decision to listen in love.

Honesty. Can you check this off on your list?

Decide to be open. Decide to speak the truth in love.

I’m convinced, it’s one of the best ways to stay in love.


As with any check list, this one may show your strengths and weaknesses, what’s already present and what’s missing from your relationship. A check list reveals where you’re at and where you need to go. The good news is you can celebrate what’s going well and make a plan to fortify what’s lacking in your marriage.  With reliance on God and some attention to the matter, you’ll soon be checking all the boxes!