This is the title the Message gives  verses 10-31 of Proverbs 31  in praise of a good wife.  It begins with, “A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds” (v 10)  and it ends with “The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God” (v 31).  Today (June 11th) is our 54th wedding anniversary.  Here are a few reflections on my wedding anniversary.

First of all, marriage is a gift given to a man and woman to celebrate.  God said to Adam, “It is not good for a man to be alone.  I will make a companion who will help him” (Gen. 2:18 NLT).  If this is true, then a man can trust God to provide a “companion.” Paul’s advise, “it is better to marry then to burn with passion” was meant for me.  Judy, has been a God given “companion” for me.  Her companionship means more to me now when  we are older.  I praise God for the gift of her companionship.  I tell her many times a day how much she means to me.  I could not make the journey without her.  Don’t allow your bride to think she is “a spare tire” in your journey together.  Let her know how much you need her.

Secondly, men learn to be open and vulnerable before the Lord and your bride.  Adam did it wrong when he hid. He replied to God in the garden, “I heard you, so I hid.  I was afraid because I was naked” (Gen 3:10 NLT).  It is not easy to  be spiritually and emotionally vulnerable before the Lord and then your wife.  My advice after 54 years – be transparent before the Lord in the presence of your wife.  That mean a  willingness to express fears and insecurities,  confession of  shortcoming in marriage and being dependent on the prayers of your “helpmate.”  Never, never take her presence in your life for granted. This is so easily done by hiding emotionally in our stubborn, willful “man cave”

Thirdly, men you will have to die daily to your own plans and desires.  Remember the words of Paul, “I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20 NLT).  Nothing will keep you more humble then your relationship to your wife and kids.  I put it as  straight forward as I can – you have to give up your ego each day. Don’t expect your wife to surrender her ego first. If you are tempted to take control or retreat let the words of Paul be burned into your soul.  “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her” (Eph. 5:29 NLT).

Fourthly take responsibly.  Again don’t follow the example of Adam.  When God asked Adam about eating fruit from the  forbidden tree he said, “Yes, but it was the woman you gave me who brought me the fruit, and I ate it” (Gen 3:12 NLT).  Not only did Adam put the blame on Eve, but he was even blaming God for his marriage saying to God, “you gave me” Eve.  Men, we are to stand and face the winds of adversity when they appear in our marriage.  There will be times when you will want to run and hide.  Don’t do it.  God will give you strength to stand tall.

Fifthly,  never, never take your marriage for granted.  Work at your relationship as though it were the most important task in your life.  Peter reminds us, “….you husbands must give honor to your wives” (I Pet. 3:7 NLT).  This means that at all times she is first in our life after the Lord.