The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about “Loving the Right Woman Well.”
Honestly, why should we listen to a man like Solomon who, in spite of his incredible wisdom, couldn’t seem to bring order to his own love life?
Here’s the best answer I can offer: All truth is God’s truth and God used King Solomon in spite of himself and his relational blunders. From a man who was a total failure at marriage, we learn how to navigate marriage well with God’s wisdom.
There are three important questions our texts from Proverbs address: Whom are you to love? How are you to love her? Why are you to love her?
Selected verses from Proverbs 5:15-23
Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs
overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone,
never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of
your youth. Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress?
For a man’s ways are in full view of the LORD and he examines all his paths. The evil deeds of a
wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led
astray by his own great folly.
Proverbs 11:22—Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.
Proverbs 12:4 – A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.
Proverbs 14:1 – The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
Proverbs 18:22—He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.
Proverbs 19:13—A foolish son is his father’s ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like a constant
Proverbs 19:14—Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the
Proverbs 21:9—Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
Proverbs 21:19—Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.
Proverbs 23:27—A prostitute is a deep pit and a wayward wife is a narrow well.
Proverbs 25:24—Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
Proverbs 27:15 — A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day…
Proverbs 31:10—A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
- Whom are you to love?
The Temptation of Loving Strange Women. The counsel of wisdom is simply to avoid and stay clear of promiscuous women. “As the father instructs his son in the first nine chapters, there is really one teaching that prevails: avoid immoral women. In fact, the entirety of Proverbs 5 and 7 are occupied with this theme. Proverbs 2:16-17 – It will save you also from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God.
God has so ordered the world in such a way that promiscuity is self-destructive. The metaphor that the wisdom writer uses for infidelity in marriage is that of building a fire in your lap. Proverbs 6:27 – Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?
Application: Avoid this disaster for some of you might mean a change in jobs, a change in your magazine subscriptions, and a change in your set of friends.
Love one woman – your wife – until death parts you. How do we know that God’s Word mandates this?
What does the text say? He who finds a wife (18:22). A prudent wife is from the LORD (19:14). A man’s energy and focus is to be exclusively on one woman and one woman only – his wife. The first line of defense against temptation is a healthy, intimate relationship with your own wife.
Malachi 2:15 – “Guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.” What if you are here today and you have broken faith and have become an adulterer? You don’t have to be condemned to walk around with the letter A on your conscience for the rest of your life. Be encouraged. We are all spiritual adulterers here.
1 Corinthians 6:11 – Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
- How do you love her well?
Rejoice in her and be captivated/intoxicated with her love (Proverbs 5). Rejoice in the wife of your youth. How do you do this? What you rejoice in is the thing that is your central sweetness and comfort in life. To rejoice in the wife of your youth is to treasure her, to reflect on her beauty and importance until your heart tastes the sweetness of the gift of your bride. Acknowledge that she is a special gift of your heavenly Father’s hand. Cherish her with gentleness and purity. Show her tender affection.
Dan Fogelberg: “Longer than there’ve been fishes in the ocean, higher than any bird ever flew, longer than there’ve been stars up in the heavens, I’ve been in love with you…”
Bear with her infirmities and cover her sins. That is why, love covers a multitude of sins… Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs. Whatever interrupts the harmony in your marriage relationship opens the door to imminent temptation. Proverbs 17:9 reiterates that “he who covers over an offense promotes love.”
Actively look for evidences of God’s grace in her life and compliment her frequently (31:28 – Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her). Actively look for ways that God is at work in the lives of other people. Make it a practice to become a student of your wife. How is the Holy Spirit revealing His fruit and His gifts in her life? Have you taken time for prayer and reflection on this crucial method for loving your wife well? What is she more aware of – evidences of grace that you’ve noticed or your persistent pressure on her to change?
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, one of the protagonists, Mr. Darcy, is described as a man “who never looks at any woman but to see a blemish.” How about your wife? What evidence of God’s grace have you seen lately in your wife? Tell her.
In age of infidelity, intentionally pursue marital intimacy and fidelity (5:18-23). Frankly, this passage is intensely erotic. So much so that I’ve had to mark my words very carefully. Fidelity in marriage always leads to God’s blessing (vv.15-17). We live in a low-commitment culture that values intimacy without attachment… relationships without rings…
Wives, in Proverbs 5, you are compared to a cistern and fountain because you, like water, satisfy desires.
Husbands, ensure that your wife is the sole object of your stimulation, satisfaction and delight! Confine all acts of physical intimacy to the marriage bed. (Hebrews 13:4 – Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.) Husbands are advised to spend their energy at home. Physically delighting in one another is not only a gift from the Lord, he sanctions and blesses it.
- Why should you love her well?
Loving her well leads to life. A relationship with strange women leads to death. 5:23 – He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.
18:22 – Finding what is good. The word “good” describes that which is pleasing to God, beneficial to life, and abundantly enjoyable.
Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman” was recorded in 1966 at Muscle Shoals, AL. It was listed 54th in the List of Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 greatest songs of all time. When a man loves a woman; Can’t keep his mind on nothing else. He’ll trade the world; For the good thing he’s found!Loving her well ensures that you cherish and value a most precious gift of God.
Proverbs 18:22 – He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD. Proverbs 19:14 – Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD. She is a tangible evidence of God’s favor. Finding a prudent wife is a more valuable gift than house and riches. She contributes more to the comfort and credit of a man’s life and the welfare of his family.Thus, you do well to appreciate her as a precious gift from the Lord (18:22; 19:14).
Loving her well serves as a protection against the immoralities and idolatries of this world. 1 Corinthians 7:2 (But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.)
Thomas Watson – It is not having a wife, but loving a wife, that makes a man live chastely (purely)… He who loves his wife, whom Solomon calls his fountain, will not go elsewhere to drink of muddy, poisoned waters. Pure marital love is a gift of God, and comes from heaven; but like the vestal fire, it must be cherished, that it go not out. He who loves not his wife is the likeliest person to embrace the bosom of a stranger. (1620-1686 AD)
Solomon’s wives (1 Kings 11 – turned his heart to idols).
Loving her well unleashes her to become a source of great blessing and joy to you and the generations coming behind you. Proverbs 31:12 – She does him good and not harm. The wife who is blessed by God becomes a source of joy for her husband. Proverbs 12:4 – A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones. Do people recognize your husband as eminently honored and blessed because he has you as his wife?
Wives, you have incredible power. You can do your husbands great good or great harm. You can build up your house or tear it down. You can bless your family or curse them. Are you making it easier for your husband to love you well? Are you tearing your family apart by a contentious, quarrelsome, critical spirit and manner? Do you continually find fault with those around you? How many men whose wings have been clipped by a critical, contentious wife! Designed to soar… they are earthbound. Will you be a crown to your husband, or one who brings him shame? Will you serve in the manner in which God designed – as a helpmate? Or will you serve Satan’s purpose as a tempter and thorn in the side of your husband? (Genesis 3:6. 1 Kings 21:25. Job, 2:9.) Soul searching…
Ephesians 5 – Without embracing and appropriating on a daily basis how the perfect bridegroom has loved you by sacrificing himself for you, there is no way that you will ever love your wife well.