There are three important questions that the book of Proverbs addresses on our theme: Whom are you to love? How are you to love her? Why are you to love her?
I. Whom are you to love?
The Temptation of Loving Strange Women. The writer of the Proverbs emphatically call for men to avoid promiscuity. As the father instructs his son in the first nine chapters of Proverbs, there is really one teaching that prevails: avoid immoral women. In fact, the entirety of Proverbs 5 and 7 is 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?
For some of you, this 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.
II. How do you love your wife 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.
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 our age of infidelity, intentionally pursue marital intimacy and fidelity (5:18-23). Frankly, this passage is intensely erotic. So much so that preachers have to mark their 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…
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.) Physically delighting in one another is not only a gift from the Lord, he sanctions and blesses it.
III. 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 – He who finds a wife finds 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)
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.) Ask the Lord to search your heart with these questions.