“Who can find a worthy woman? For her price is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her; she shall have no lack of profit. 12 She does him good and not harm him all the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax and works eagerly with her hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships; she brings her food from afar, 15 She rises also while it is yet night, gives food to her servant girls. 16 She considers a field and buys it. With the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 17 She arms her waist with strength and makes her arms strong. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp doesn’t go out by night; 19 She lays her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. 20 She opens her arms to the poor; yes, she extends her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet. 22 She makes for herself carpets of tapestry, her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and delivers sashes to the merchant. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, she laughs at the time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household, and doesn’t eat the bread of laziness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed. her husband also praises her; 29 Many women do noble things, but you excel them all! 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears Yahweh, shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands! Let her works praise her in the gates!” Proverbs 31:10-31.
Growing up in the church I saw very many young couples getting married. When I say young couples I mean early 20’s. This is so common in the Christian world, and so I have always been looking for my future spouse, wondering when I would meet them, who they would be, how we would begin our dating lives, and eventually begin our lives together. As a 20 year old single christian woman, sometimes this is difficult. I am such a strong headed and independent person that sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever meet someone and get married. Statistics say that I should already have met my future spouse, we should already be dating and maybe even be engaged. I am certain there a lot of young people out there that feel this way.
Single-ness is not something to despair about; it is something to revel in and work on yourself in. When I read the above passage from Proverbs 31, I sometimes think that I will never be that good, I will never be the perfect Proverbs woman, there is absolutely no way. But then I read it again, and there are deeper messages in everything. First and foremost every young christian should be focused on their relationship with God. God is the giver of all good things, and a spouse is a gift from him. We are not entitled to anything, and this is something God will grant us in his time. If we try to rush his timing, we may find ourselves in broken relationships, or in deep heartbreak. These are things that God does not want for us, his precious children. So wait, calm down, and let God lead you where he wants you to go. A worthy woman is more precious than rubies; a spouse is a jewel and a gift and they should be treated as such. I have seen many married couples who forget this truth and they neglect their partner and they stop putting in effort to be there, to be present and to be a team. This is something to work on in a time of single-ness. Work on being present in your job, in your classes and in your friendships. Being present is easier, the better you are at it, and the best way to get better at something is to practice it.
In dating relationships, again treat your partner as a gift, as something as precious as jewels, because the reality is they may not be your future spouse, they may be someone else’s future spouse. If that is true, you should respect them and their future relationships by taking care in not going too far, yes physically, but also in the words that you say. Do not be mean, and do not be controlling. Do not damage their trust of people, because that may effect not only them, but their future relationships.
Also in this passage from Proverbs, it talks about a worthy woman seeing a field and buying it. Husbands and wives need to trust each other with finances, and be fiscally responsible. This means working together as a team, but also trusting each other in the decisions they make, and this goes for both partners. One partner should not be the only person in charge of finances, because that can lead to a power trip and a manipulative relationship. Work together. We are all called to be stewards of the things of this earth, this includes finances, but it also includes time. As college students we may not have the most money, but do you have a plan to work on your student loans post graduation? Does the person you are dating have a plan? If not, that is something to consider. Back to being stewards of time. How does your partner spend their time? Do they work to balance it? Making time for you, and for work and studies, friends and family? Do they have God in their life and make him a priority? These are all things to consider when looking to date and looking to get married.
One final point I want to discuss is how reputation play’s a role in dating and in marriage. Are you ready for your reputation to be wrapped up in someone else’s? Are you ready to be introduced or thought of as someone’s wife, someone’s girlfriend, someone’s husband, someone’s boyfriend? Would you be proud to be known as one of those things, because you are proud of the person you are dating or the person you are married to? Consider this before dating or marriage. Two become one in marriage, so everything you do no longer only affects you; there is another person in the equation, and you need to be comfortable with this before entering into such a life-alerting phase.
Proverbs 31 is not the end all be all of a good spouse, because the truth is that we will all fall short. We are imperfect beings, and we make mistakes. However those are all things that we can strive for. We can work for financial responsibility, we can work for helping others, we work for planning, and taking care of those we love. We can practice being present, and we can practice being kind and showing love to people around us. We can ask for a relationship with God and we can become more committed to him in the words that we say, and the time we take to spend with him. These are all things we can do in a period of single-ness, and they are all things that we should continue to do in a marriage.