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Women Who Win

Fruitful Wife

Is the Preacher’s statement true? “I found one upright man among a thousand, but not one upright woman among them all” (Eccl 7:28). Very true. One reason why men need few practical talks is that they are naturally practical. But we women are ever
learning, and never practical ( 2 Tim 3:7).

The Bible portrays the wife as a fruitful vine by the sides of the house (Psa 128:3). But we have proved ourselves to be brambles, pricking as thorns in the flesh. Is our home satiated with our fruits? If not, let us start working at it.

1. Love

The first fruit to qualify a woman as a wife is love. Love is not a gift endowed on the wedding day but an art to be learned. This is why Paul admonished Titus to instruct the aged women to “teach” the young women to love their husbands (Tit 2:4). The first step in love is to accept the husband as he is and not dreaming of an ideal one. The Bible says that when Rebekah became saac’s wife, “Issac was comforted after his mother’s death” (Gen 24:67). Rebekah was able to fill up the love vaccum in his life. Be ready to accept and respond to his love lest it be diverted (Gen 26:8). When wives tell me to pray for their husbands who return home late, my first question is, “Where have you failed to attract him?”

It is the kind of self-ignoring, self-sacrificing love. It is the kind of love which fulfills her marital duty to the husband, that cares about the affairs of the world, how she may please her husband (1 Cor 7:3,34). The proverbial woman knit a sweater for her husband because she was afraid of the winter for his sake! (Prov 31:21).

“…In the last days…(wo)men will be lovers of themselves..unloving.” “But the fruit of the Spirit is love” (2 Tim 3:2; Gal 5:22).

2. Joy

A joyful wife is the attraction of the husband, but a dull and dreary one gets on his nerves. We have a torrent of complaints, problems, burdens and reports which we tend to shower on our husbands on their arrival from work. Often an acrimonious gesture
puts off his hilarious moods. Be wise to give him a warm welcome, not straight from the kitchen with a gingerly look but fresh as a flower. What a husband needs is not a cook but a wife. Also avoid overly attention to the children neglecting the husband
and provoking him to jealousy. You are first a wife and then a mother.

None of his defects should steal away your joy. Start enumerating his good qualities and you’ll have plenty to praise God for. Appreciate him for what he is. Murmuring is the murderer of joy. An unthankful spirit embitters the soul (and makes us look  older, mind you!). After 14 years of courtship Rachel ended up with a doleful married life for the one problem of childlessness, inspite of her husband’s partiality for her. Her nagging triggered his anger. Whereas Hannah who sailed the same boat poured
out her sorrow at the feet of the Lord, “and her face was no longer sad” ( 1 Sam 1:18). No wonder Elkanah loved her! Nagging (the identification mark for us!) drives any man mad and makes him feel one is better than two.
Joy in marriage is often impaired by divers interests of partners. A hard and fast rule to stick together is the confession, “Wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you stay, I will stay; your people shall be my people, and your God my God; Where you
die, I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me” (Ruth 1:16,17). If we learn to like our husband’s hobby, job, friends and outlook on life, often the problem is  solved. Learn to think and feel as he does so that your spirit merges with his. Joy is highly infective and catches your husband quick. The ability to laugh together is the essence of love. Never reflect your bad moods on members of the family. Have you  heard of the husband who hung a board, “Beware, wife fasting!”? Don’t shut yourself for fasting and prayer or walk off to a meeting when your husband needs your company. The Proverbial woman’s life was one of continual joy (v25).

“ In the last days (wo)men will be…ungrateful.” “But the fruit of the Spirit is joy” (2 Tim 3:2;Gal 5:22).

3. Peace

Marriage is not a 50:50 contract. “ I will give up 50%” should not be our attitude toward the husband. If you can give up 100% on all his demands, you are truly successful. A feud results only when there are two leaders. If one loses the feud ceases. Why
not choose to lose? If we can learn to submit ourselves to the authority of our man, there will be absolutely no conflict. The Bible gives no room for authority of a wife over the husband (1Tim 2:12). So much the better for us, because we need not have to take decisions but simply follow. I would rather be a wife and obey than get into a man’s shoes and shoulder greater responsibility before God. The most invigorating is that we must submit to our husbands “in everything” (Eph 5:24). Praise the Lord!

We will appreciate the man’s authority better when we realise that we are more prone to deception by the Evil One. “And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner” (1 Tim 2:14). If our mother Sarah accepted her husband as the lord, let us also, whose daughters we are, subject ourselves as to the Lord. I simply admire grandma Sarah who at the age of 90 “in the heat of the day,” made ready quickly three measures of fine meal, kneaded it, and made cakes upon the hearth (Gen 18:6; 1 Pet 3:6) to entertain her husband’s untimely guests, and could laugh after all that! That is what I mean by “obeying as to the Lord” ( Eph 5:22). A forgiving spirit is the secret of peace at home. Never harbour ill feelings and brood over the past. Marriage is a school of forgiveness. ‘ To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it,’ said Confucius. “God has  called us to live in peace” (1 Cor 7:15).

The Proverbial woman did not claim equality but boosted her husband to the position of elders of the land, while she herself was content to be a simple housewife (v23).

“In the last days (wo) men will be …traitors.” “But the fruit of the Spirit is peace” (2 Tim 3:3; Gal 5:22).

4. Patience

If the husband has shortcomings, the quickest way to correct them is to be suffering long and l…o…n…g suffering. The more we point out their defects the more adamant they become. If he is a temperamental person, let’s not worry. With whom else can he get
angry at no cost? Let him not lose the privilege of having a silent listener.

Job’s wife flung stinging remarks in her desperate moments (Job 2:9,10). I often imagine this foolish wife with downcast eyes in her husband’s latter glory. How often we threaten our husbands for silly reasons that we would walk out of the house!

It is not a sin against our husbands but a sin against the God of our husbands (Ex16:8). The proverbial woman must have exhibited tremendous patience to have done her husband good and not evil ALL the days of her life, i.e., every day of his life span,
in his good moods and bad! (v12).

“In the last days…(wo)men will be…unholy, slanderous.” “But the fruit of the Spirit is…patience” (2 Tim 3:2,3; Gal 5:22).

5. Kindness

We are too sensitive to stand even simple comments or criticisms by the husband. Remember God has all our tears in bins (men’s must be in bottles) and we must give account of each drop (Eccl 12:14). Once we are upset we lose all Christian virtues. The
force with which the dosai falls on the plate is in direct proportion to our turmoil. If one of our requests is turned down, how wildly we react! This is nothing but wounded pride and ego, of which we should repent.

We are not to refrain from advising our husbands. We may always feel free to express our opinion but not interrupt and correct them before others, but gently in private. Here is where we need the discretion spoken of by Paul to Titus for wives (Tit 2:5).
“A prudent wife is from the Lord” ( Prov 19:14). Any husband would be thankful for helpful suggestions.

I admire the way Pilate’s wife sent a note to him. “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of Him” (Mt 27:19). Just put in the thought with the reason for it and allow him to decide.
Listen to the “great” woman (so the Bible calls her rather than her husband) making a request to her husband. “Please, let us make…let us put…” (2 Ki 4:10). That is kindness. Look at her accomplishment for the ministry—a chamber, a bed, a table, a stool and a candlestick! And that is intelligence! Kindness pays. The proverbial woman opened her mouth… and in her tongue was the law of kindness (v26).

“In the last days…(wo)men will be boastful, proud, abusive…” “But the fruit of the Spirit is…kindness” (2 Tim 3:2; Gal 5:22).

6. Goodness

This is walking the second mile. Loving the husband is the first mile, but loving the in-laws is goodness. We can never truly love the husband without loving his parents. Here comes the utter failure of womanhood. “Husband—father-in-law” problem is not
spoken of as anything but “wife—mother-in- law” problem is universal. Many a young bride has in the enthusiasm of an ideal marriage mistaken “leaving” for forsaking (Gen 2:24).A monthly “Corban” is not what in-laws need but the love and fellowship of the
children (Mk 7:10-12). As wives we must always remember that one day we would be mother-in-laws and with what measure we measure, it shall be measured to us (Jud 1:7). Especially when they are helpless we need to care for them.

I consider my mother-in-law a boon to our household and an asset to our ministry and truly testify that just as “the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake,” He has blessed ours for her sake. We were not born Ruth and Naomi, but over the
years, learned to forgive and forget, comfort and console, and stood the time of trials together. She became a mother-in-love to me! How I miss her today since she went Home to be with the Lord in 1981! This is the acid test of our spirituality. For Ruth
was known in all the city that she was a virtuous woman, by what she did to her mother-in-law (Ruth 2:11; 3:11). If neighbour women can certify that we are better than 7 sons to our mother-in-law, we have passed the test (Ruth 4:14,15).

Goodness includes orderliness too. Any husband loves to have an orderly home to relax. Religion should not result in neglect of home. But for us orderliness seems to be inversely proportional to our spirituality. “Be…home makers, good” (Tit2:5). Note the
life of the proverbial woman. All because she was systematic! I wonder if it was her mother-in-law who told about her to king Lemuel!

“In the last days…(wo)men will be…brutal, not lovers of the good.” “But the fruit of the Spirit is…goodness” (2 Tim 3:3; Gal 5:22).

7. Faithfulness

Faithfulness is trustworthiness. If husbands do not confide in us, it is time for us, to search ourselves. Can he trust us with the money? Even if we earn, our job is not a modern licence for laxity. Our income belongs to the husband because we belong to
him. Can he trust us with his secrets? We are very loose in talking to our neighbours about our husband’s weaknesses. The tongue is a leaking point for us. This is why most husbands do not trust their wives. Can’t blame them. Tell all your neighbourhood,
friends and relatives to pray for your husband’s salvation, smoking habit, etc., and he is looked upon as the black sheep of the fellowship. No wonder he is a dropout soon. We should learn the secret of praying in secret (Mt 6:6). “A gossip betrays a
confidence, but a trustworthy (wo)man keeps a secret” ( Prov 11:13).

Stand by your husband at all moments in all things. Never take shelter in your parents whenever you face a problem. That will only widen the gap. Remember your own people and your father’s house; your husband will hardly desire you!!! (Psa 45:10,11).
Boaz was drawn to Ruth because she dared to leave her parents and her native place and came to a new settlement (Ruth 2:11). Be dependent on your husband. Too independent a spirit undermines his natural ownership of you.

Trust is mutual. Trust him with your property, savings, etc. The husband of the proverbial woman had confidence in her, so that he was not worried about health, fame, finance, children, etc.(v11).

“ In the last days..(wo)men, will be…treacherous.” “But the fruit of the Spirit is..faithfulness” (2 Tim 3:4, Gal 5:22).

8. Gentleness

A gentle and a quiet spirit is the ornament of a woman (1 Pet 3:4). Ask a man and he will say, “Better to live in a desert than with an ill-tempered and wife.” “A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day” (Prov 21:19;
27:15). Does your husband try to hide the tempest in the home when unexpected guests arrive? Then he is the poor man of Prov 27:16. “Under three things the earth trembles, an unloved woman who is married” (30:21-23). No better choice of words could be found than that of the wise man who had 1000 wives for a character study (1 Ki 11:3). Hence his was a very reliable source; and hence Eccl 7:28. How sad that he wanted to run away into the wilderness leaving his 1000
wives! The Song of Songs may be the heartcry of the broken, love-starved husband, who not being able to find one among the 1000, lived in a world of dreams with an imaginary Shulamite, who satiated his passions as he would have her to.

Keep short accounts with your husband. Don’t allow pent up emotions to blow your top. Settle any misgivings before going to bed. I never can go to sleep with bitterness against my husband. Though I fear a flare, I open up and most often it is just a
misunderstanding due to communication gap. We have always been able to quench the fire at the smoking stage. When your husband is upset or angry, guard your lips. A soft answer turns away wrath. Gentleness, in words, tone and attitude. If you want to win your husband, try the following prescription— Is he

unhappy? - Offer hot water for bath!

upset? - Polish shoes!

angry? - Serve cool drink!

very angry? - Cook his favourite dish! (For other problems refer Romans 12:21).
The proverbial woman opened her mouth in wisdom (v 26)

“In the last days…(wo)men will be…headstrong, haughty.” “ But the fruit of the Spirit is…gentleness” (2 Tim 3:4; Gal 5:23).

9. Self-control

What a shame for us wives that the Preacher so spontaneously calls the children of the leech which cry ‘give, give,’ as daughters and not sons! (Prov 30:15). Wives should always be means of salvage and never of debts. A man in debt loses his face and
cannot be a confident husband. That‘s why perhaps Mr. Peter wrote, “..Wives be submissive to your husbands… adorning not.. of gold, or fine clothes’’ (1Pet 3:1-3).He was married you see! Be happy with his salary and adjust the budget with a marginal savings. Desire never reaches satisfaction. So reach for satisfaction where you are. Needless to say, the proverbial woman was frugal in all her ways.

“In the last days.. (wo)men will be lovers of money.. without self-control.. lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.’’ “But the fruit of the Spirit is… self-control” (2Tim3:3, Gal 5:23).

To conclude with a question: If your husband is given a chance to marry again , will he once again choose you, praising, “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all ... A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has
earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate” (Prov 31:29-31).


   Address for Correspondence & Contributions:

Lilian Stanley
13 Church Colony
Vellore 632006, India
Tel: +91 9843511943
Email: lilianstanley@gmail.com