I anticipate a little confusion with the title. It’s unusual to see proverbs 31 juxtaposed with manhood in this way. The scripture makes the explicit reference to the “virtuous wife” in verse 10 and so I can understand why the title would be unusual to some. However, the meaning behind the title will soon become plain.
I think many Christian women can testify to feeling inundated with Proverbs 31 rhetoric, wondering why their lot seems heavier than the men in Christ, attempting to find a similar set of principles to hold prospective suitors up to. Everything from verse 10 is etched in the Christian man’s temporal lobe; he makes judgements with those verses in mind. However, the Christian man defies basic arithmetic. He bypasses verses 1-9 and leaps to verse 10 without guilt but I’m interested in everything before verse 10 also, as should he. I’m interested in the fact that herein lies a king, with strength, self-control, activism on his mind and a heart of gold. I’m interested in this man whose trust runs deep. I’m interested in this man who gives his wife the tools she needs to shine bright like a diamond without fear that his light may dim.
Welcome to my first instalment of “conversations with men”. The following paragraphs have been written by a lovely man (details will follow at the end) who dared to speak on the role of the man as per Proverbs 31. Men, grab a pen. Women, I’ll supply his details at the end.
This passage of scripture has almost been branded as checklist for biblical womanhood and carries with it expectations applicable only to women’s ministries. But all scripture is profitable and given for instruction right? We always tend to focus on the woman in this scripture but I wanted to disrupt the status quo and share some truths about Proverbs from a man’s perspective.
Let’s set the scene. We have a King. King Lemuel. His mother, whom I assume was a Queen at some point. Finally we have the Virtuous Wife. I think it’s interesting to note that the words spoken are being addressed to a man and the person giving the address is a woman, his mother in particular. We learn from verse 1 that the Proverbs 31 man is a leader, and takes heed to a mother’s godly counsel.
Beyond that we learn he trusts her without reserve and regret.
Trust: believing in the reliability or ability of your woman; having confidence in her. A man should choose a woman he can trust without reserve and regret because with it he ‘will have no lack of gain’. In other words, trusting is so powerful it will not only enrich the man’s life but also cause the woman to blossom as it creates a culture of flourishing. We hear all the time ‘good relationships are built on trust’ and we all know what it’s like to be in any kind of relationship where there isn’t any – It’s a complete landslide. Men, you don’t have to check up or check in or approve everything she does; by all means talk it out, go through the budget etc but you are not her project manager – let her do her thing. Trust is foundational. It’s where the man leads – from the bottom up, which is a sign of good leadership. He believes that she has his best interest in mind. He knows that they are on the same team. They are effectively ‘soul mates’ – whether you believe in soulmates is another topic for another time but hopefully you understand the point I’m trying to make. The man’s trust in his woman allows her to be all she can be; it builds her up and brings fullness into your life. I digress slightly but I wanted to draw this parallel to conclude: that our unreserved trust in God enriches our life and gives God glory in a similar way.
He is an encourager.
I saw a tweet recently about men receiving praise and how praising a man could make him stay but a Proverbs 31 man praises her. He knows how to give a compliment and how to acknowledge her, not with generic, mindless gestures but with heartfelt, meaningful specifics. ( I, Cris, must interrupt by saying every woman likes compliments regardless of how hard she grimaces when you tell her she is beautiful. Praise will make her feel amazing and she would want to reciprocate that . Feeling loved is important for women and encouragement, being her personal cheerleader is an extension of love.)
He is well-respected by others.
‘Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land’. Whilst the Proverbs 31 woman is in real estate, manufacturing, fashion and food (as well as giving to charity and looking after her household) the Proverbs 31 man is involved in current and commercial affairs. The meaning of gates, specifically ‘the city gates’, is significant. It speaks of authority and government. It’s where business transactions took place. It was the centre of commercial and political activity. It held the nucleus of the community. The Proverbs 31 man is engaged in what is happening where he lives. Though he starts and makes moves and decisions locally, he thinks and cares about what is going on globally. He is free to be the decision maker because of the good woman beside him and the fruit bearing relationship they have together. As well as being literal, I believe that there is also a spiritual undertone concerning the gates. If the enemy had control of the gates, they had control of the city. It reminds of Ephesians 6:12 (which funnily enough follows the chapter about love, wisdom and particular marriage) where it speaks about principalities and rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places. I believe there is a generation of men that are rising to return and take back the walls.
Ladies, you can find him on Twitter @warren_dawson and I believe he is single and possibly ready to mingle.
Love Cris x
P.S Every super woman deserves a superman.
P.S.S I’m always looking to have conversations with men on almost every topic so feel free to drop me a message.