A woman of valor, who can find? Her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and nothing shall he lack. She renders him good and not evil all the days of her life. She opens her hand to the needy, and extends her hand to the poor. She is robed in strength and dignity, and cheerfully faces whatever may come. She opens her mouth with wisdom. Her tongue is guided by kindness. She tends to the affairs of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness. Her children come forward and bless her. Her husband too, and he praises her. Many women have done superbly, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a God-fearing woman is much to be praised. Place before her the fruit of her hands. Wherever people gather, her deeds speak her praise.
This passage from proverbs 31 is read every Shabbat at dinner. It describes a godly woman. Surely, not all women measure up to the standards of the passage. But the point is, it describes a strong, capable woman. It does not describe a mindless, weak woman who is no more than a rubber stamp for her husband. A godly woman is a capable, formidable woman. She is robed in strength and dignity. She is charitable and extends her hand to the needy. It was these qualities that I saw in my wife when I was courting her.
It also describes her husband. It says that he has full confidence in her, and she renders him good and not evil. This is the part that’s difficult for me. Husbands always think they know better than their wives. We are wired differently and approach problems differently. I always think I know better, and that she should have done things differently or said things differently. I found that I need to have full confidence in my wife’s many good abilities. I need to trust her to do the right thing; not based on wishful thinking, but based on the good abilities I know she has. When I don’t do this, it leads to frustration for us both. Its a hard lesson for me. I always want to orchestrate things. Sometimes you have to let people be themselves and not push them to do things the way you think they should go. I am a blessed man to be married to my wife. As the scripture says, I am rising up and calling her blessed.
I’m my father’s son, and my dad, who was a wonderful man, dominated my mom. I need to not be so domineering. I wind up arguing with my wife about what she does or says instead of trusting her good sense. I need to learn to trust my wife to do the right thing, because I know that she renders me good and not evil all the days of my life. These aren’t just words; they are a struggle for me to put into practice. I struggle because I have been burned in the past. It’s not my wife’s fault, its my struggle to overcome my relationships before her. I am grateful that my wife is a strong woman, as well as a kind woman. She is patient with me as I struggle with my past. I look to God to help me always see my wife for who she is; a righteous woman who is a wife of noble character.