Pearls From Proverbs
Good Wife, Good Thing
Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord (Prov. 18:22).
Finding A Wife
Here are some basic guidelines that should help one in seeking a wife, especially if he expects to find "a good thing" and obtain favor of the Lord.
(1) Blind passion may make a poor selection. As Irven Lee has expressed it, "Love and lust are not the same . . . Some have said that love is blind. Not so. It is lust that cannot see straight" (Good Homes In A Wicked World, p. 34). The girl with a lovely figure, beautiful face, and charming voice may have a very ugly disposition.
(2) Haste should be avoided. "Every woman is not suitable for every man. Hasty courtships may lead to miserable marriages. So serious a matter as the choice of a companion for life is not to be lightly undertaken if there is to be any hope of its issuing in happiness" (Pulpit Commentary). Don't assume that a girl is what she appears to be. Give yourself time to get to know her in a variety of circumstances. A lifetime of heartache sometimes results from a speedy courtship.
(3) Social and educational background must be considered. Although a marriage may succeed in spite of sharp social and educational differences, these divergent experiences may result in a mismatch. A girl who has been reared in the lap of luxury is not likely to be contented to live and rear a family in poverty. A young man of learning and refinement will not be happy with a girl who has had no opportunities for education and for learning some of the niceties of social life" (Roy H. Lanier, Sr.).
(4) A mate should be chosen for life. The New Testament teaches that marriage is a lifelong contract. It should not be entered on a trial basis, or as though it can be terminated at will. "To sunder one's parental relationships and join oneself in intimate, life-long union with a person who hitherto has been a stranger demands a considerable degree of maturity - as expressed in a capacity for self-giving love, emotional stability and the capacity to understand what is involved in committing one's life to another in marriage. Marriage is for those who have grown up" (Baker's Dictionary of Theology).
(5) There must be the scriptural right to marry. One who puts away a companion for some cause other than fornication has no biblical right to enter into marriage with another (Matt. 19:9). "And whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery" (Matt. 5:32). The fact that civil laws make someone eligible for marriage does not change God's laws.
(6) Character is to be carefully considered. A Christian should desire for a mate one who is of the highest moral and spiritual character. It is risky business to team up with someone who does not love and respect the word of God, or who has thrown moral restraint aside, or who shows more interest in material things than spiritual values. Marriage is such an exclusive giving of oneself to another that in the absence of a common spiritual bond there can be little hope of attaining the highest level of happiness.
A Good Thing
The Septuagint, a translation made in the third century B.C., renders Proverbs 18:22 as follows: "He that has found a good wife has found favors, and has received gladness from God." That version adds the following which is not in the Hebrew text: "He that puts away a good wife, puts away a good thing, and he that keeps an adulteress is foolish and ungodly."
Clearly, it is a good wife that is under consideration in the proverb. To find her is to find a good thing for the following reasons:
(1) It is good for man to have suitable companionship. God said concerning Adam, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make an help meet for him" (Gen. 2:18). Contrary to the thinking of some theologians, celibacy is not good for man. Aside from the male-female relationship to produce offspring, man needs someone to share with him in the joys and sorrows of life, someone with whom he can confide, someone who can be his constant helper. God ordains that the marriage partner be that someone.
(2) Marriage is honorable. The Bible says, "Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge" (Heb, 13:5). It is honorable and praiseworthy to find a good wife.
(3) To avoid fornication. Paul taught that to avoid fornication (illicit sex), "let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband" (1 Cor. 7:3). He further pointed out that the husband has the right to his wife's body, and she has the right to his body (v. 4). Neither should keep away from the other except by mutual consent (v. 5). It is good for one to follow the course that avoids fornication.
(4) A jewel of great value. A good and worthy wife shines with exceptional splendor, "for her price is far above rubies" (Prov. 31:10). She is a crown to her husband (Prov. 12:4).
Favor of God
To find a good wife is to find a good thing and to obtain favor of the Lord.
(1) A gift from God. It was God who created Eve for Adam and who ordained the marriage relationship. "House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord" (Prov. 19:14). Every husband when has a good wife should thank God for her!
(2) God helps man through her. She is not enslaved by fulfilling her God-given role in the home. The women of our day who are abandoning the divinely appointed role to compete with men, dress and act like men, and shatter the "family image" are foolishly enslaving themselves. God does not look with favor on a society which disregards His revealed will.
God's good word, respected by good people, teaches that a good wife is a good thing.
Guardian of Truth XXX: 17, pp. 523, 525