It’s hard to believe but next week Marianne and I will be celebrating our 18 year wedding anniversary. I know what you’re thinking - it’s hard to believe that two people who look so young have been married so long - trust me, we hear that all the time :)
So I thought it would be appropriate to repost something I wrote a few years ago about my wife and what it is that makes her the greatest gift I could have ever asked for. As you’ll see below, this isn’t to say that she’s perfect or we’re perfect; but it’s my way of sharing some of the specific characteristics that she brings to the table that have contributed to our success thus far.
Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
You’ve heard the expression, “The husband is the head, but the wife is the neck that moves the head” (made famous by this scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding). We usually say this as a joke, but the more I experience married life myself, the more I realize that there is a lot of truth to that statement.
My wife Marianne is a HUGE reason for my success in life – whether that’s success at home in raising a family, or success in my mission as a priest/blogger/preacher/whatever, or even my spiritual success as a child and ambassador of God. And today I want to tell you why.
Now let me preface this post with two things:
FIRST, Marianne would kill me if she knew I was going to be writing this today. I had to wait for her to leave the house before beginning to write, just in case she walks in and catches me (remember, the head and the neck analogy). Anyone who knows her knows that she hates the spotlight and the attention (ironic that she married me huh?). She’s never one to speak about herself so therefore I have to do it for her.
SECOND, me talking about how great my wife is doesn’t mean that a) she is perfect, or that b) we have no problems and we never fight in our marriage. If you tuned in for the marriage book club scopes, you know that we go through the same speedbumps as every couple.
Marianne has her faults just as I do as well. No one is perfect or better than anyone else so please don’t take this as me saying “she’s perfect and we’re perfect and you’ll never be as perfect as we are.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
What I'm saying though is that my wife exemplifies many of characteristics that I believe make for a successful marriage and happy, God-honoring home. And today I want to share those characteristics with you, hoping it’ll inspire you to pursue them as well.
Ok? Let’s jump in.
First we have to come up with a measure of success. What makes for a godly wife? How can we measure it? Thankfully, the Scriptures help us out.
Proverbs 31 is the famous chapter written by Solomon (aka, the wisest man ever) where he describes the characteristics of a godly wife. Verse 30 summarizes it best:
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
Marianne hates when I reference this verse and I can feel her cringing right now. That’s because I usually say it in my unromantic, unemotional, overly blunt and straight-to-the-point manner – ie, “You know Marianne, you aren’t the most beautiful woman in the world, nor are you the most charming either. I’ve never thought of you as either of those two things for one second!”
(probably just lost a whole bunch of points for that one)
But it’s not that I don’t think she’s beautiful – believe me, her face still makes me light up when I wake up in the morning (that should get me out of the negative with the points) – it’s just that what makes her beautiful to me is more about what’s on the inside vs the outside.
St. Peter summarized it perfectly when he said:
“Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands” (1 Peter 3:3-5)
That’s Marianne! That’s what makes my wife beautiful. It isn’t just her face or her hair or her eyes (notice I said “just”, gotta hold on to those points), it’s her “gentle and quiet spirit”… it’s her “submissive” attitude… it’s the “incorruptible beauty” that’s within her that makes me so attracted to her.
So with that said, I want to go back to Proverbs 31 and mention four characteristics based on that passage and I'll expand on them more during today’s scope at 12:30 pm EST.
Proverbs 31:10 “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.”
Amen to that! I’d trade the house, the car, all my clothes and maybe even throw in a child to keep Marianne by my side.
Proverbs 31:11-12 “The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”
Being trustworthy is about more than just fidelity in marriage. I don’t just trust Marianne to not cheat on me; I trust that I can my true self around her and she will never use that to hurt me or manipulate me or make me feel stupid for who I am. I trust her enough that I can be “naked, the man and his wife, and not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25) – naked physically and emotionally and spiritually, etc.
KNOWS HER ROLE
Proverbs 31:13-15 “She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands.She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar. She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants.”
Marianne is opposite of type-A, go-getter – but that isn’t what this passage means. The godly wife does what needs to be done. She humbly accepts whatever role she is given. That is Marianne! She lets me lead and she's willing to accept her role without grumbling or complaining or comparing or any of that stuff.
Proverbs 31:16-20 “She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms. She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle. She extends her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.”
Why is this important? Because all men are wimps inside. We’re all insecure and feel incompetent in so many ways. Marianne always finds a way to lift me up in the most gentle and compassionate way. She makes me strong when I’m weak and she picks me up when I’m down. No matter how I feel when I come home at night, just lying in her arms always makes me feel like million bucks (HUGE points for that one!)
Proverbs 31:21-26 “She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet. She makes tapestry for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants. Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”
Wisdom isn’t just about knowing what to say; it’s about knowing when to say it and when to SAY NOTHING – a virtue many wives lack today.
Ladies, trust me on this one: YOU NEED TO PRAY FOR WISDOM. Your words have a much greater impact on your husbands than you realize. Trust me. Your words can build him up and they can destroy him as well. Pray for wisdom and learn to keep silent sometimes.
Recap - the four characteristics of a godly wife are:
Knows her role
“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.” Proverbs 31:28-31