Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 31:12
"She does him good and not evil all the days of her life"
This proverb is a continuation of the discussion of the virtuous woman – what she is like and how to spot her when you do find her. It is a detailed testimony to what a young man should be looking for instead of what he is often captivated by in a woman. Charm is considered deceitful and beauty is vain. These are the two things that usually hook young men first, but these two initially impressive qualities do not hold up in the long haul of a marriage.
This is the Hebrew word tob which means good, beneficial, pleasant. The idea here is that a virtuous woman who makes the best wife is constantly looking to benefit her husband. Her orientation is that her actions should benefit him and them together.
This is the Hebrew word ra which means evil, distress, bad. Remember that the core idea of sin and evil is selfishness. Evil usually means that selfishness has been pushed to an immoral and illegal level.
Here the contrast is between a woman who benefits her husband at every turn and a woman who is selfish. Notice the flow of the effort. The godly wife is directed towards her husband's benefit while the wrong kind of wife is directed towards herself. This is not a bad test for wives and single young men. For ladies: Can you say that you seek to benefit your husbands with your actions each day and each week, or are you focused on what you want and whether you are happy? For single young men searching for a wife: Look at this woman's virtue and orientation towards others, not just her beauty and charm. If she is selfish, it is a problem. If she pushes her selfishness to the level of immorality or illegality, then watch out.
Unfortunately in our post-Christian era, it is the selfish, immoral women who the young men are attracted to because of the pleasure of sin; but women who are trained to be selfish and immoral don't make great wives. They don't build solid supportive marriages with ease.
Solid supportive marriages take sacrifice and effort and daily effort to bless and benefit your spouse. In fact, when you get married, your job description – whether you are a man or woman – is to benefit your spouse every day. Minister to their deepest needs that only you are privileged to have access to. In a husband those are Respect, Adaptation, Domestic Leadership, Intimacy, Companionship, Attractiveness, Listening. These are the top seven ways that a woman can really benefit her husband. A man benefits his wife by Honor, Understanding, Security, Building Unity, Agreement, Nurture, and Defending Her. These two lists are the work and the joy of a marriage. When two people commit themselves to benefit each other by meeting these needs in the other person, a marriage is set on solid ground and will be a relationship of great joy. It will grow over time into something neither could have understood when they started.
If, however, they are selfish and always looking out for themselves first, the marriage will be troubled with new difficulties constantly all the days of their lives: This is a very interesting phrase in that the writer says that being married is a life sentence. It is not that she just seeks to benefit her husband for the first year or so. The best kind of wife commits herself to making her husband maximally successful. She knows that she will be evaluated in heaven one day on how she blessed this man she married.
If this verse has not been a description of you, then today is a good day to start. What is one thing that you can do today that will benefit your spouse?