"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
June 17, 2009
Jon and I will be celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary tomorrow on June 18th. How blessed and wonderful those four years have been. In some ways it seems as if we've been married a lot longer than that; in a good way, of course. Our lives have become so intertwined with each other, that it feels like we've been husband and wife for many years. It's hard to imagine our lives without the other person being a vital part of it. In the scheme of things, we really haven't been married very long, and I'm sure we still have a lot to learn.
I have great admiration for couples who have been married for many years; especially those who have truly been happy in their marriage. All couples experience times of hardships or adverse circumstances, and there are times when love is a choice. But when they choose to honor their wedding vows instead of allowing those things to tear them apart, it can make their relationship stronger. At least that has been my observation.
Recently, Jon and I attended a 50th anniversary celebration for his aunt and uncle. It was obvious that they still deeply love and care for one another. Furthermore, they still like each other.
At times you can love someone, but not really like them. When you can spend fifty years together and still like being married to one another, it says a lot.
Jon's brother and his wife were also at the anniversary party. They got married exactly three weeks before Jon and I did, in 2005. The four of us were talking that we doubted that either of us would ever make it to our 50th anniversary; and if we did, we'd be too old to enjoy it. I would be two weeks away from my 90th birthday on our 50th anniversary. If Jesus doesn't return before then, I'm not sure I want to live to be that old. Jon's brother is the same age as I am, and he feels the same. The four of us decided that we need to make our 25th anniversary the big celebration. I was later joking with Jon that since we don't have kids, I was going to bribe my nephews and nieces by telling them if they wanted to be in our will and inherit all our "stuff", that they had to throw us a big party on our silver anniversary. They more than likely would say that we don't have anything that they want!
Probably the writer, in the Bible, that had the most to say about marriage was King Solomon. Now, he actually had more to say about wives than he did about husbands or marriage itself. That could be because he had 900 wives and concubines. I don't think he probably even knew all of those women, but some were more than likely given to him as gifts from other kings and nations, or trophies of war. I'm not sure how he acquired all of them. But he knew enough about some of his wives to know the difference between a good and a bad wife. He knew what it was to be in love and have a godly wife, and what it was to have a nagging, troublesome wife. There are many scriptures in Proverbs and Song of Solomon that deal with these subjects.
In Song of Solomon we read a love song between Solomon and a Shulamite woman. It is an extremely personal, very poetic and heart-to-heart dialogue between the two of them. Their deep love, devotion, and longing for one another is very apparent. It is a beautiful pictorial song between two lovers, who are a bridegroom and his bride.
In Proverbs 18:22 Solomon writes, "He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord."
Then in Proverbs 19:14 he writes, "Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers. But a prudent wife is from the Lord."
Solomon realized that a good wife was a blessing from the Lord. He says that the man who finds a wife will obtain favor from the Lord.
The scripture the minister used at Mama's funeral was Proverbs 31:10-31. He commented that those verses fit my mom more than any other woman he had ever been acquainted with.
This passage of scripture says: "Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. 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. 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. 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 to the spindle. She extends her hand to the poor. Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. 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 line and purple. Her husband is knows 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. She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. 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."
Basically what these verses are saying is that a virtuous wife is worth more than precious jewels. Her husband will trust her, and she will do him good and not evil. She keeps busy in order to see that the needs of her family and household are taken care of. She will use wisdom and work hard in order to care for her home. She fortifies herself with strength. She will reach out to those in need and lend help. Her household doesn't have to fear what they're going to wear, for she will see that they are clothed. Yet more important than physical clothing, she, herself, is covered with strength and honor. Her mouth speaks words of wisdom and kindness. She's not lazy, but watches over her home. Her children and husband call her blessed, and her husband praises her. Looks and physical appearance will pass, but a woman who fears the Lord, will be praised. Her deeds will be noticed and will praise her within the gates of her community.
When Jon and I first got married, I wanted to be the perfect wife. We had both been single and on our own for many, many years. We adapted amazingly fast to married life. I think it was because both of us were alone for so long, that we were extremely grateful to finally find one another, and thankful that God had finally brought us together. Jon has never one time tried to pressure me to conform to his concept of what the perfect wife should be. He has never lorded over me and quoted scripture about how I should conduct myself as a wife. I may have stressed myself out occasionally by trying to be the perfect wife, but he's always been completely content with how I've cared for him and our home.
I used to read those verses in Proverbs 31 and think, "There is no way I can ever measure up and be that kind of wife!" I felt like I was going to fail my husband and not be the virtuous woman of scripture. It was only when I stopped pressuring myself and relaxed and just started loving my husband, that I suddenly realized that it really wasn't that hard. I trust and respect Jon, so it's not difficult to be a wife that he can trust in return. I enjoy treating my husband well, and don't want to do anything evil or harmful to him. Caring for our home and seeing to the needs of my husband is a blessing. Jon works to provide finances, and it's my responsibility to use those finances wisely to care for our home and our personal needs. That's also not difficult. I see that we both have sufficient clothing. When Jon and I see opportunities to help others, we try to lend a hand and give aid. I purposely choose to not be lazy, but to care for our yard and home and watch over our household.
We don't have children, but I still have a responsibility to set an example to other family members. I need to be diligent about conducting myself in such a way that is a pattern that others can look up to and follow. I can live my life so that the younger generation wives can see what a godly wife is like.
My husband often praises me for my care of him and our home.
Physical appearance won't last; and there will be wrinkles, sagging skin, poor eyesight, age spots, flab, and other signs of aging. Regardless of all that, I can still choose to fear and honor the Lord.
So I really can be the virtuous wife described in Proverbs chapter 31. This is the kind of wife that I want to be, for however many years Jon and I are blessed with. But it's a choice.
Proverbs 21:9 says that it is better for a man to live on the rooftop then share the house with a nagging wife.
I don't think that scripture needs a lot of explanation, but it's about as clear and self-explanatory as it can possibly be.
Only I can choose what kind of wife I will be. I would much rather be the wife of Proverbs 31 and live in a peaceful household. I'd hate to think that Jon would rather live outside on the rooftop, than be inside the house with me.
Even though these scriptures speak to the wife, that doesn't negate the responsibilities of the husband. If a man wants a loving wife whose worth is more than precious jewels, then he must treasure her and treat her with respect and honor. He can't demand that she be that way, but must make her feel so secure, loved and cherished that she desires to care for him and their household.
Ephesians 5:25-29 gives instructions on how the husband is to love his wife. He is to love her as Christ loved the church and gave His life for her. In that respect, a husband must love his wife so much, that he would be willing to die for her, if necessary. That's a whole lot of love! That's also a whole lot of responsibility.
What type of spouse are you? Only you can choose.
I am truly blessed. Loretta is a fantastic wife. But Solomon forgot to mention what a blessing it is to have a good wife who is also a great cook. I think he also forgot to stress the importance of peace in a marriage.
I'm happy to repay her kindness, love, and hard work. But it's also important to show her my love without her needing to 'earn' it. If we each had to earn peace and kindness from the other, once we lost the peace, we may never get it back.
5-6 slices of jalapenos -- chopped
1 Tbsp. Lime Juice
Salt & Pepper -- to taste
1 tomato -- chopped (don't use the tomato pulp)
Cilantro (can use fresh or dried that you can buy in a jar)
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mash together to mix. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (better if eaten fresh). You can put the seed of the avocado in the bowl with the guacamole to keep it from turning dark (remove the seed before serving).
You can buy a jar of sliced jalapenos, and only chop up 5-6 slices (that is NOT 5-6 whole jalapenos!), or use a fresh jalapeno and chop up a little (depending on how spicy you want it). Start with a small amount of cilantro and minced garlic, then add more to suit your personal taste. You can also use more avocado's to make a larger serving, depending on how much you're going to use. This doesn't save real well for very long, and is better when used right away.
I was recently visiting with my sister and another lady. This lady and my sister were talking about how laid back, easy going and even-tempered her [the friend's] husband was. The woman said that ever since her husband found out about the scripture that says, "It's better to live on the rooftop then dwell in the house with a nagging wife," he reminds her of that whenever she starts nagging or gets upset and begins getting mouthy. When that happens he will tell her, "I'm going to go sit on the rooftop for a while," or the modern day equivalent of that scripture, "I'm going to go to Walmart for a while."
Many waters cannot quench love , nor can the floods drown it. - Song of Solomon 8:7
We love you!
Loretta & Jon