31 Characteristics of the Wife of Noble Character – #5 She is Consistent

by Leslie De Morais

Definition

Consistent – [kuh n-sis-tuh nt] (adj) 1. agreeing or accordant; compatible; not self-contradictory: His views and actions are consistent. 2. constantly adhering to the same principles, course, form, etc.: a consistent opponent. 3. holding firmly together; cohering.1

She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.         – Proverbs 31:14 (NIV)

Merchant Ships

For millenniums, cities have depended upon merchant ships to set sail for distant lands with the promise of returning heavily laden with all sorts of valued commodities and enticing treasures. Local economies counted on the regularity of delivered goods not readily available from surrounding areas, such as: spices, textiles, natural resources like wood, or precious minerals like gold. The arrival of the merchant ship on the horizon signaled the prospect of abundance, prosperity, and comfortable times ahead.

An early merchant shipping vessel

One of the keys to success for any company in the merchant shipping industry was consistency. Without reliability of delivery, commerce would grind to a halt. Fleet owners were required to plan for and handle unpredictable weather, unreliable crewmen, and unrelenting piracy in order to meet the demands of customers without skipping a beat. Only the most consistent companies gained the trust of the store owners and the public, thus solidifying future orders.

Your Consistency Affects Your Family

If someone compared you to “the merchant ships, bringing food from afar,” the comment might not communicate the great compliment it truly is. Really, who wants to be likened to a commercial vessel? Yet the praise is high, indeed!

So much of what is contained in the job description of a wife and mother falls under the category of “unseen and thankless tasks.” No one else notices unless it isn’t done. Rarely will you hear, “Wow, the house looks and smells great!”, after you’ve swept, mopped, vacuumed and dusted the entire house. Yet, skip a day or two of tidying up and every member of your household comments about the mess! Like the merchant ships, only the owner recognizes the hard work behind consistently meeting needs, on time, every time.

When my children were young, toddlers even, I made the decision to have “sit down” dinners every night. As they grew into preteens and teens, we had those dinners together as much as their sports and extracurricular schedules permitted. Why the fuss? Research shows that one of the best ways to connect with your family is through sitting down at the table and enjoying a meal together. It’s a way to communicate with your children. It’s a great way for them to see their parents interacting positively. It’s a perfect way to have group discussion, teach a principle or establish new family codes of conduct or expectations. Most of all, it’s a way to check the negative influence the world is having on your family and counter balance that with Biblical precepts and encouragement.

Early on, my husband and I agreed upon the importance the dinner table would serve in our lives. As a physical education teacher, he fully understood the intrinsic value of consistent training. Around our daily meals together, we would plant seeds of God’s word in our children’s hearts. Daily, they could count on sitting down at the table, praying with us, practicing good table manners, participating in open conversation, remaining at the table until everyone finished and helping to clear the table after the meal was over. What I just described didn’t happen overnight. Every new phase in their development required revisiting expectations and explaining the reasons behind our need to spend time together as a family. Our consistency won out. My husband and I braved the preteen years and somehow survived the teen years. For our now adult children, gathering around the dinner table is what normal looks like to them.

Establish good habits with kids while they are young. They grow up all too fast!

As “the merchant ship” of the family, I took it upon myself to set a proper table, to vary the menu, and to make meals on time and worth coming home to. That takes commitment, especially if you work outside the home. My husband began sharing the responsibility and many nights we cooked together. That was an added and unexpected bonus, time together in the kitchen recapping our day while we chopped and diced. Now that our children are grown, the toil behind that major decision fades and the memories of us around the table remain.

Were there exceptions to the rule? Yes, of course. But that is what it should be. Not eating together is the exception and not the other way around. Ask yourself: Have you fallen into lazy or less effective routines with your family? Has the dinning table become a catch all for mail, assorted junk or dust from inactivity? Do your kids ask if it’s a special occasion should you decide to set the table because they are so unaccustomed to looking at family faces while eating instead of the television or their iPads?

Meal time is so much more than simply satisfying the biological need for sustenance. It represents an opportunity to commune, connect, communicate. It’s not by chance that one of the most well-known scenes of the New Testament took place around a table. In the three years that Jesus spent with his disciples I imagine he broke bread with them daily. Every time they ate together, he had another chance to get to know them and to be known by them. They saw his example, heard his words and felt his presence. The Last Supper was a familiar “family” event for the disciples although they would only come to understand its deep significance much later. And how they would treasure those moments after Jesus had left them to be reunited with the Father!

The Last Supper by French artist Bouveret

Your Consistency Affects Your Righteousness

King David of the Old Testament, a forefather in Jesus’ earthly lineage, was described as “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:13-14), meaning God could trust that David desired what He desired. What an incredible attribute! What an amazing description for someone who loved God and wanted to serve Him! Yet, David’s life was characterized by spiritual highs and lows. The most infamous low was his adulterous relationship with a married woman, which resulted in the birth of an illegitimate son and the consequent assassination of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah.

David sees Bathsheba from afar.

The prophet Nathan was given the terrifying task of confronting King David and calling him to repentance. Fortunately, for Nathan, after he recounted a convicting parable, realization set in and David acknowledged his sin before God and the prophet, but not without consequence. His infant son soon fell ill and in a week’s time died. It was then that the full extent of David’s sin was felt to his core and Psalm 51 was inspired.

The Prophet Nathan confronts David about his adultery.

10Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.                                                              – Psalm 51:10-12

The word steadfast, meaning fixed in a direction; firm in purpose; unwavering or resolute, is what you’ll find in the Bible more readily than the word consistent. It also means faithful or reliable. It stands out in David’s psalm as he is racked with guilt and grief after coming to terms with his iniquity and the loss of his son. He asks God to renew a steadfast spirit within him.  Perhaps David recognized that his failure to obey the Lord’s commands stemmed from his inconsistency.

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”   – 2 Samuel 11:1-3

David let his guard down. Instead of doing what a king should have been doing, he sent another in his place and remained back at the palace, idle. Maybe the old adage, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop” sprang from this very situation.

Consistently doing what we know is right can certainly help shield us from temptation.

Your Consistency Affects Your Maturity

“I pray to be like the ocean, with soft currents, maybe waves at times. More and more, I want the consistency rather than the highs and lows.” 2  – Drew Barrymore, Actress/Producer/Director

Drew Barrymore

Typically, I research the lives of the people I quote in my blog. Why? To better understand the circumstances and deeper meanings to their quotes. I need to comprehend the who, what, why and how behind the words of these famous people who someone thought worthy of quoting. Discovering significant events of Drew Barrymore’s life led me to a greater appreciation of the above quote. Here’s a brief description of some of her highs and lows:

Drew Blythe Barrymore (born February 22, 1975) is an American actress, author, director, model and producer. She is a member of the Barrymore family of American stage and film actors, and a granddaughter of actor John Barrymore. Beginning as a child actress on television, she soon transitioned to feature films, including her biggest box office success, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982).

Following a highly publicized, turbulent childhood marked by drug and alcohol abuse with two stints in rehab, she released her autobiography, Little Girl Lost (1991). Barrymore appeared in a string of successful films and in 1995, she and Nancy Juvonen formed a joint production company, Flower Films. Her godmothers are Lee Strasberg’s widow Anna Strasberg, a relationship with whom Barry has described as “would become so important to me as a kid because she was so kind and nurturing”, and actress Sophia Loren, and her godfather is director Steven Spielberg.

In the wake of her sudden stardom, Barrymore endured a notoriously troubled childhood. She was already a regular at the racy Studio 54 as a young girl, smoking cigarettes at age of nine, drinking alcohol at age eleven, smoking marijuana at age twelve and snorting cocaine at age thirteen. Her nightlife and constant partying became a popular subject with the media. She was in rehab at age of fourteen, and spent eighteen months in an institution for the mentally ill. A suicide attempt, also at 14, put her back in rehab, followed by a three-month stay with singer David Crosby (of rock group Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young fame) and his wife. The stay was precipitated, Crosby said, because she “needed to be around some people that were committed to sobriety.” Barrymore later described this period of her life in her autobiography, Little Girl Lost. After a successful juvenile court petition for emancipation, she moved into her own apartment at the age of fifteen.

Barrymore went on to star in numerous films, some of which were box office hits and some with less than glowing critical acclaim. She has won a Former Child Star “Lifetime Achievement” Award from the Young Artist Foundation, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She won a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe Award for her performance in Grey Gardens (2009). Barrymore’s films compile a worldwide box office gross that stands at over US$2.3 billion.3

All actors dream of the mountain top experiences (the highs) of their profession; fame, fortune, and accolades. I imagine that no one desires the low points; being passed over, starring in flops, and addictions. So, is it possible to have the highs without the lows? Can there be mountains without valleys? I don’t think so. To some, Ms. Barrymore’s words may sound safe and unambitious. However, after a closer examination of her life, I sense experience, maturity and levelheadedness in her quote.

While reaching for the “highs,” perhaps some of the “lows” in one’s life cannot be avoided. However, leading a consistent life may even out the waves, making it easier to deal with the ups and downs of the voyage.

Consistency Affects the Basics of Christianity

There’s no way around it, consistency is one of those characteristics that permeates all others. It’s like excellence or passion. It ends up being applied to every aspect of a person’s life and becomes their hallmark. Whether it be in punctuality, a pleasant demeanor, a strong work ethic, an amazing prayer life or a deep relationship with God, etc., consistency is a cornerstone of those who continually see progress in their lives.

“Consistency, madam, is the first of Christian duties.” 4  – Charlotte Bronte, Writer

As with New Year resolutions, lofty ambitions or awe-inspiring declarations may wear off as time goes by. If you are sensing that your consistency needs an overhaul, my suggestion is that you start off slow and steady in any resolution or decision you make. Small amounts of progress are far better than none at all. Increasing measures of effort and dedication over time are healthier than a burst of energy that quickly dies out.

“The beast, the religion of any restaurant is consistency. The food has to be the same every single time. It has to be as good (as the last time). That requires eternal vigilance.” 5                                      – Anthony Bourdain, Chef/Author/TV Host

The best restaurants can boast longevity because of consistency. Their customers know they will not be disappointed, so they return, again and again.

As a young Christian, I was prone to being led by my emotions rather than being guided by the Word of God. You can easily imagine the problems that could spring up because of that! What would happen if I didn’t feel like reading my Bible, sharing my faith, meeting with other disciples or keeping my commitment with God?

A friend helped me see and understand that feelings, emotions and even circumstances change constantly. God’s Word remains the same. Steadfast. There were many situations where I needed to simply decide to be consistent with God, and hopefully the feelings would follow. Most times, the right feelings did follow the obedient actions. Now, thirty-four years later, that good advice still helps me to be consistent.


In 2018, my personal theme for the year is “Transforming weaknesses into strengths.” The sky’s the limit! Everything in my life and character are open for improvement. Here’s the plan:

  • Decide about what I most want/need to change
  • Pray, meditate, seek input
  • Take practical steps and make achievable goals
  • Reflect, reboot, rejoice in the process and the progress, large or small

I hope you’ll join me! Leave comments and let me know what you plan to grow in.


Footnotes:

1 Dictionary.com

2 www.brainyquote.com

3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drew_Barrymore

4 www.brainyquote.com

5 Documentary, Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent

The Strong Marriage Check List: Item #5 – Love

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.


You might wonder why I’d include “love” on the Strong Marriage Check List. Isn’t love a given? Isn’t it obvious that a marriage requires love? Yet I’ve met many women who have married for innumerous reasons other than love. Here are a few (all the names are fictitious):

  • Pat married to get out of her parents’ home.
  • Jenny married because all her friends were getting married.
  • Diane married because she got pregnant.
  • Beth married because she feared her boyfriend was interested in another woman.
  • Sue married because she was obsessed with having her dream wedding.
  • Cathy married because she thought it would solve some of her financial problems.
  • Linda married to end the relentless pressure from her family.
  • Terry married because she was bored and thought it’d be fun.
  • Paige married because she didn’t think she’d get a better offer.
  • Judy married because she was afraid of growing older and being alone.

And the list goes on. Even if you married for love, it may be difficult to maintain that love as life unfolds.

I’ve learned from my own marriage that without love there really is no marriage. Love is the glue that holds us together in the tough times and enables us to flourish in the good times. Love is more than a feeling; it is more than an emotion. Love is a decision made daily, regardless of circumstances and independent of sentiment. Love is the result of a choice and the choice is, “I choose you, I choose us.”

But what exactly is love?

If you are as old as I am, you might remember searching the newspaper for the popular “Love is…” drawings by New Zealand artist Kim Casali. Over the years, the successful comic strip must have accumulated thousands of definitions of love. Some funny, some insightful, some whimsical.

When it comes to love, it seems as if everyone has their own definition.

Watch this video of children who candidly share their ideas about love.

 

Now, what do you do if you found yourself on the list above of women who married for reasons other than love? What is love and how can you cultivate it in your relationship?

Eppie Lederer, A.K.A. Ann Landers

Known for her practical advice dispensed for decades through a syndicated newspaper column, Ann Landers gets us a little closer to a working definition of love. Yet there’s an even more complete definition inspired by the One who invented love.

If I speak in the languages of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 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. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.                                                                                                                  – 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (NIV)

The first three verses describe how accomplishing incredible feats and deeds without love only results in emptiness and utter failure. Let’s apply this to marriage:

  • If I have an awesome wedding planner and amazing party, a fabulous dress and incredible honeymoon but have not love, I gain nothing.
  • If I marry a man my friends think is perfect and my family accepts but I do not love, I set myself up for heartache and disappointment.
  • If I have the good intentions and a desire to make things work but have not love, I am likely to fail.

Not very satisfying statements. Yet when individuals do not profoundly understand the true meaning of love, it’s easy to comprehend how couples enter into marriages where love is sorely lacking.

Verses 4-8 of 1 Corinthians 13 are well known and are the adopted passage for many brides and grooms on their wedding day. It is one of God’s biblical definitions of love.

Many years ago, in a class for wives, the speaker challenged us all to reread the passage removing the word love and put our own names or pronoun in its place. The verse would then read something like this:

Leslie is patient, Leslie is kind. She does not envy, she does not boast, she is not proud. Leslie does not dishonor others, she is not self-seeking, she is not easily angered, she keeps no record of wrongs. Leslie does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  She always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Leslie never fails.

It was only after this exercise that some aspects of the biblical love God expects me to have for my husband became crystal clear. I had to admit, some days were difficult to claim possession of even one of these traits. At least now, I knew what love looked like. Love was deep, steady and enduring. Love required discipline and self-control. It selflessly focused on others. Love was incredibly difficult yet somehow attainable. Love was possible…with God in the middle of it.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,           that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.                       – John 3:16 (NIV)

I cannot love like the Bible describes without closeness to God. Without Him to remind me how great His love is for me, I would not have the capacity to love others, to love my husband, or even to love myself. His awe-inspiring love teaches us, by example, how to love. It is this unfathomable, rich and spiritual love that attracts, binds and matures as the years pass.

What does love look like in your marriage? Can you confidently place your name in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 as the definition of love? If not, then begin today, trait by trait, adding to your love. Both you and your husband will love the result.


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!

31 Characteristics of the Wife of Noble Character: #4 – She is Diligent

by Leslie De Morais

Diligent – [dil-i-juh nt] (adj) 1. Constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything: a diligent student. 2. Done or pursued with persevering attention; painstaking: a diligent search of the files.1

She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.                                                                                                  – Proverbs 31:13 (NIV)

Wool and Flax

As many of us know, wool comes from sheep. Usually, once a year in the spring, the sheep are shorn (or sheared, depending on the dialect of the region). The wool is then spun into yarn.

What about flax? Considering the verse above, I wondered about flax, so I did some investigating. Here’s what I found out:

Flax (also known as common flax or linseed), Linum usitatissimum, is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae. It is a food and fiber crop cultivated in cooler regions of the world. The textile made from flax in the Western countries is known as linen. It is traditionally used for bed sheets, underclothes, and table linen. The oil is known as linseed oil. In addition to referring to the plant itself, the word “flax” may refer to the unspun fibers of the flax plant. The plant species is known only as a cultivated plant, and appears to have been domesticated just once from the wild species Linum bienne, called pale flax.2

If you have a moment, watch this short and informative three-minute video that shows how to spin flax.3

Now, getting back to the theme verse (Proverbs 31:13) of this blog post and the definition of diligent, what can we learn from the Wife of Noble Character?

What Motivates Diligence?

Imagine living in a time where you not only have to make your own clothes, and those for your family, but you also need to spin the yarn or thread for your fabric. The words time-consuming and tedious come to mind. How full would your wardrobe be if all that work were required of you? What could possibly motivate the Proverbs 31 woman to “work with eager hands?”

Only one answer stands out. She highly valued the end product much more than the long hours ahead of her. Perhaps she envisioned her children dressed in the clothes she so painstakingly made for them. Maybe she cherished the cozy touch of the brand new bed linens that she and her husband would slip into after a long day’s work. Possibly, she was imagining beautiful table linens that would make a meal special when visitors called. The end product is the inspiration that fueled her task, and diligence is what set her apart from the rest.

Consistency, persistence and perseverance are qualities we all admire. No one ever wrote a book or made a movie about the guy or girl who half way through a tough job, long journey, or daunting battle gave up! Who would want to read about that or see that movie? Yet we all love to hear about the person who stuck it out during a challenge. It gives us hope that we can do the same.

A Surprising Quote

“Running taught me valuable lessons. In cross-country competition, training counted more than intrinsic ability, and I could compensate for a lack of natural aptitude with diligence and discipline. I applied this in everything I did.” 4

If this quote came from a cross-country runner, you might say, “That makes sense.” If I told you an Olympic athlete was known for making this statement, you might think it nothing out of the ordinary. How would you feel about that quote if you now discovered it came from a man who spent most of his adult life in political and ethical struggles against racism and injustice?

Nelson Mandela, human rights activist and President of South Africa from 1994-1999.

For most of us, we practice a sport, play an instrument or indulge in a hobby because we have a natural inclination or talent for it.  In Nelson Mandela’s case, he had neither when it came to cross-country running. He got through his task by harnessing diligence. Certainly, this discipline gave him the strength and hope to endure the 27 years he spent in prison for his efforts to end apartheid in South Africa.

Diligent Wives Get What they Want…Eventually

How does a wife benefit from being diligent? There’s a Brazilian saying, “Quem casa, quer casa.” Translation: “The one who marries wants a home.” We’d all love to have an unlimited budget to buy our dream home and decorate it with the finest furnishings. Personally, I have yet to meet a woman in those ideal circumstances. Diligence is the stuff that fuels dreams, little by little.

Consider these verses:

Lazy hands make for poverty,
but diligent hands bring wealth.                                                                                                     – Proverbs 10:4 (NIV)

A sluggard’s appetite is never filled,                                                                         but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.                                                           – Proverbs 13:4 (NIV)

It’s easy to sit around dreaming or worse, complaining because you don’t have what you want (be it a beautiful home, higher education, an amazing marriage or closeness to God). It takes diligence to bring those desires of the heart into reality.

My husband is a smart and capable man. He has accomplished many difficult undertakings in his life, such as: completing his college education, becoming fluent in a second language, moving to new countries and adapting to unfamiliar cultures, navigating the challenges of raising two teenagers successfully, relocating and beginning new careers several times and going for his master’s degree at age 50. Not to mention becoming a Christian and not wavering in his decision for over 30 years. Obviously, he is grateful to God for the many opportunities and blessings he has received. However, to what personal characteristic does Alcides attribute his success? Diligence. He doesn’t consider himself extremely intelligent or unusually gifted. He understands the benefit of staying the course even when it gets hard and when giving up would be much more comfortable.

Diligent Wives Remove Obstacles

William Penn, English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, early Quaker, and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania.

William Penn (14 October 1644 – 30 July 1718) was the son of Sir William Penn, and was an English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, early Quaker, and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English North American colony and the future Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He was an early advocate of democracy and religious freedom, notable for his good relations and successful treaties with the Lenape Native Americans. Under his direction, the city of Philadelphia was planned and developed.

A man of extreme religious convictions, Penn wrote numerous works in which he exhorted believers to adhere to the spirit of Primitive Christianity. He was imprisoned several times in the Tower of London due to his faith, and his book No Cross, No Crown (1669), which he wrote while in prison, has become a Christian classic.5

Like Mandela, William Penn was imprisoned for his idealism. You might think an ordeal like that would dampen his fervor or soften his convictions. Yet Penn was known for this statement:

Patience and diligence, like faith, remove mountains.                                            – William Penn

What are the obstacles you need to remove in your life?

  • Do you have a home in desperate need of organization and order?
  • Are there personal goals you’d like to reach but procrastination and excuses have paralyzed you?
  • Is your husband not yet a Christian and your faith that he’ll become one is dwindling?
  • Does your husband lack the spiritual leadership for your family that you would like him to have and you’ve given up on being the helpmate he needs?

Do you have what it takes to remove these obstacles from your heart and mind? Patient diligence (in prayer, faith, and actions) is what’s required.

Diligent Wives are Wholehearted

In the fourth chapter of 1 Timothy, Paul encourages and exhorts the young evangelist about some of a pastor’s worst fears. He warns Timothy that some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons! Paul then cautions Timothy to:

  • Be a good minister
  • Have nothing to do with godless myths or old wives tales
  • Train himself to be godly
  • Put his hope in God
  • Command and teach these things to others
  • Not let anyone look down on him because of his youth
  • Set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity
  • Not neglect his gift of preaching and teaching

Paul ends the chapter by giving Timothy the key to his future success.

Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.  – 1 Timothy 4:15-16 (NIV)

Wholehearted diligence and perseverance. Timothy had a mountain to move and Paul set him up for victory.

Whatever mountains you may need to move, whatever your past track record has been, imitating the diligence of the Proverbs 31 Wife of Noble Character will certainly get you closer than ever to making your goals and dreams reality.


Footnotes:

1 Dictionary.com

2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flax

3 Spinning Flax with Christine MacCleod – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Az2VNllZhEE

4 BrainyQuote.com

5 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Penn

 

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.

 

An Introduction to 31 Characteristics of the Wife of Noble Character

by Leslie De Morais

 

In this modern world of ours, a woman may aspire to countless professions, attributes, titles and abilities. However, I cannot think of one that compares or competes with becoming a wife of noble character.

As you read Proverbs 31:10-31, see if you can identify the 31 characteristics of a wife of noble character.

10A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.                                                                                                            –  Proverbs 31:10-31 (NIV)

The virtuous wife of Proverbs 31 is awe inspiring indeed. Surely, she is the culmination of the ideal wife and mature woman.

Her numerous attributes may leave us overwhelmed, however, I prefer to learn from her rather than be intimidated by her.

My list of her amazing qualities is meant to be used as a source of inspiration, meditation, imitation and admiration. Each of the 31 qualities comes with:

  • A dictionary definition
  • Inspiring quotes
  • Bible scriptures
  • Practical application

As you study, you may find other adjectives that describe her. Add them to your list.

Take your time reading. It’s not a race, because I doubt there’s a finish line. Transformation into a wife of noble character takes a lifetime of training and perfecting.

Beware the temptation to doubt the existence of the woman of Proverbs 31. Becoming like her is possible. I have actually known incredible women who fit this description.

Here’s my list of her characteristics:

  1. Valued (v. 10)
  2. Trustworthy (v. 11)
  3. Good (v. 12)
  4. Diligent (v. 13)
  5. Consistent (v. 14)
  6. Hard working (v. 15a)
  7. Serving (v. 15b,c)
  8. Business woman (v. 16a)
  9. Financially responsible (v. 16b)
  10. Stamina (v. 17a)
  11. Physically fit (v. 17b)
  12. Savvy (v. 18)
  13. Capable (v. 19)
  14. Compassionate (v. 20)
  15. Fearless (v. 21a)
  16. Prepared (v. 22b)
  17. Determined (v. 22a)
  18. Elegant (v. 22b)
  19. Discerning (v. 23)
  20. Industrious (v. 24)
  21. Strong (v. 25a)
  22. Dignified (v. 25a)
  23. Confident (v. 25b)
  24. Wise (v. 26a)
  25. Knowledgeable (v. 26b)
  26. Attentive (v. 27a)
  27. Busy (v. 27b)
  28. Respected (v. 28)
  29. Excellent (v. 29)
  30. Righteous (v. 30)
  31. Honored (v.31)

The list of 31 characteristics of a wife of noble character is inspiring to say the least. It is perhaps a little daunting or even intimidating. Let’s learn from her one characteristic at a time. Are you up to the challenge?

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New blog articles featuring the 31 Characteristics of the Wife of Noble Character will be posted weekly.