By Diana Fowler
I’ve struggled with worth a lot – I think I felt it in my teenage and adult years the most. It was reflected back to me in relationships I had. There’s a quote that comes to mind, “We accept the love we think we deserve” (Stephen Chbosky).
Worth and value are probably things we’ve all struggled with in various ways. It seems like our value can be formed (or not formed) from a young age and we can carry those deceptions into adulthood.
Growth in love
Love is supposed to be affirming. Not always in an “agreeing” way – sometimes we need someone to lovingly help us, by stepping in and showing us how we’re wrong on something and hurting ourselves or someone else. We are supposed to grow in love though, in positive ways, rather than go backwards.
The title of this article is from Proverbs chapter 31, which is a popular and well known “go-to” verse for women. It’s actually a teaching that is for men too, because it is King Lemeul reciting what his mother taught him on how to pick a queen.
There is so much wisdom in these verses. Not just laying out the standards of biblical womanhood, but also on how appreciated a good, godly woman is (for my article on “A Good Man” click here).
“An excellent woman [one who is spiritual, capable, intelligent, and virtuous], who is he who can find her? Her value is more precious than jewels and her worth is far above rubies or pearls” (Proverbs chapter 31, verse 10 AMP).
As I read it, I feel this is God, as my father, telling me how loved I am by Him. I also think of how my 6 year old daughter feels when she’s told how special she is and her unique character traits are pointed out to her.
I also notice that rubies and pearls are treasures – that have to be found. When something is recognised as treasure, it is cherished and loved, which is reflected in Ephesians chapter 5 – that husbands cherish their wives and are called to love them over and over.
We know that a husband’s role in marriage is modeled on Christ and the Church, so this is where God should be glorified really visibly. The way husbands love their wives should display the love of God so powerfully that outsiders should even see that love and how incredible and unique it is. Again, Ephesians chapter 5 speaks of this reflecting love – how he presents her to himself as holy and blameless (selah!) and loves and cares for her as he does for himself.
A king with favour
When I read, “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown” (Proverbs chapter 12, verse 4), I think of how a noble wife crowns her husband and makes him even more of a king.
When I read “He who finds a wife, finds a good thing and has found favour from the Lord” (Proverbs chapter 18, verse 22) I think of how God gives the gift of a wife and all the “good things” she brings. Her gentle spirit and divine femininity and how he gets to love her and be romantic with her.
“If a man tried to buy love with all his wealth, his offer would be utterly scorned” (Song of Solomons chapter 8, verse 7).
There are practical “good things” that a helpmate brings too, in the home, in family and children, in mission as well. Proverbs chapter 31 lists just some of these things. She’ll also pray with him and for him too. If God provides a wife, there is continual favour in all the things He wants to bring out through her, that can’t be done alone.
God cherishes women
It’s beautifully clear how much God values and cherishes women and the level of protection he calls for, in husbands being willing to die for their bride (Ephesians chapter 5, verse 25) and to love them with gentleness, and “without being harsh or bitter” (Colossians chapter 3, verse 19). Pointing back to the beginning of my writing, a harsh or bitter husband is the opposite of loving them and could create a partner with low self-esteem, experiencing decreasing feelings around value.
“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter chapter 3, verse 7).
This scripture speaks of being present in understanding (compassion) honour (elevation) as heirs of grace (equals) so that a prayers aren’t hindered, which means God cares so much about how a woman is treated by her husband, that he will stop listening to him until he gets this incredibly important thing right. That’s huge – He cares to the point of making him totally ineffectual.
Normally it feels nice if a piece of writing concludes on a light, positive note and there has been so much beauty in what I’ve learned and I am so thankful for that – but this is really serious and I can’t help but think of how seriously God takes this, in the accountability a man has in loving his wife and also how we, as women make sure that we are aware of how much God loves and cherishes us.
My prayer is that we take this exactly as seriously as God is asking us to.