A Wife’s Commitment
“She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:12 It doesn’t say she does him good and not evil as long as he does her good—as long as he’s kind to her, as long as remembers her birthdays and anniversaries, as long as he meets her needs. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. Why? Because she’s a covenant-keeping woman.
I enjoy sometimes studying or reading about the lives of the wives of great men. It’s amazing how often, behind those great men of God, it’s really true that there was a wife who had a heart for God and was encouraging and supporting her husband in his work, being a helper to him.
One of the women I’ve been reading about recently is Catherine von Bora. Now, that name may not be familiar to you, but the name Martin Luther probably is familiar to you. And Catherine was affectionately known by Dr. Martin Luther as his “faithful Kate.” She was the wife of Dr. Martin Luther. [We do understand he was not called of God, but this is a good example of a wife’s devotion].
He did have some bouts with depression and a lot of physical ailments that probably contributed to that over the years. He was an extremely busy man—and for various reasons, not the least of which is probably all the pressure that he was under, as he was an object of attack and ridicule during the birth of the Reformation.
So there were times when he really did struggle with physical and emotional depression. And God gave him just the right woman in Kate, or Catherine. As we read about her, we’re told that instead of murmuring at these times when he was really discouraged, she would do all that she could to comfort him, to encourage him, to cheer him up in any particular occasion when he was really discouraged, and nothing Kate did could seem to lift him out of the doldrums. So Luther actually left home for a few days to try and get back his cheerfulness—went off to be alone and to try and get restored. But when he came back, he was still very heavy-hearted.
The story is told that when he entered the house, he found Catherine sitting in the middle of the room, dressed in a black gown with a black cloth thrown over her and looking very sad. She had a white handkerchief in her hand which was wet as if it had been moistened with her tears.
When Dr. Luther encouraged her to tell him what was the matter, at first she was hesitant. Then she said, “Oh, dear doctor. The Lord in heaven is dead, and this is the cause of my grief”—at which point he burst into laughter, knowing that she was doing this to show him what he was acting like.
And he said, “Oh, dear Kate, it’s true. I’ve been acting as if there were no God in heaven.” And the story is told that from that moment, his melancholy and despair left him. Here is a woman who knew how to do good to her husband, how to encourage him, and how to be a helper suitable to him.
That’s the heart of what we come to in the next verse of Proverbs 31. We come now to verse 11. We’re reading about a virtuous woman, an excellent woman. We’ve seen in verse 10 of Proverbs 31 that she is rare, that she is more valuable than any amount of material wealth that her husband could have.
Then verse 11 tells us, “The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.” Verse 12: “She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” I love these two verses because they describe for us something that is true of a woman who reverences the Lord—and how this affects her relationship with her husband.
“The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain”—or “no need of spoil,” your translation may say (KJV). Another translation says he “lacks nothing of value.” He trusts her, and he has in her all that he needs. And then verse 12: “She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”
When I read those verses, there are a couple of words that come to my mind. First of all, the obvious word: trustworthiness. Here’s a woman who is trustworthy. Then, the word loyalty. She’s loyal to her husband. She has a permanent, unconditional, lifetime commitment to act in a way that is according to his best interests—not to serve herself, but to serve her husband.
I like the way the Amplified Bible reads at this point. Listen to what it says: “The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil. She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.”
Here’s a woman who is loyal. She’s got a covenant relationship with her God that enables her to keep her covenant relationship with her husband, regardless of what he does. And don’t even think for a moment that this husband doesn’t ever blow it, that he doesn’t ever fail, or that she doesn’t ever have to love him unconditionally—on faith, rather than based on her feelings.
First Corinthians 7 says that the godly woman is concerned about how she may please her husband (verse 34, paraphrased). She’s always looking for ways to do him good.
Now, in the Scripture there are illustrations of some women who did evil to their husbands rather than good. Who’s the first one that comes to mind? The first woman—Eve. The woman who was made to be a helper became a tempter. And then we have Solomon’s wives who drew away his heart from Jehovah God.
And then Jezebel—that name kind of, for us, epitomizes the evil woman. But she was not just an evil woman. She was an evil wife who did evil to her husband. She stirred up her husband to commit wickedness. Then do you remember Job’s wife, who called upon her husband to curse God and die when he was suffering?
Proverbs talks about women who do their husbands evil and not good. It talks about a brawling woman, a contentious woman who makes life miserable for her husband. I think all of us as women have known what it is to be contentious—to be that whiny woman who’s like a dripping faucet and makes her husband wish that he could live on the corner of the roof, or out in a desert somewhere, once he gets tired of that kind of woman who is not doing him good. She’s doing him evil.
She does him good all the days of her life. He trusts in her. He has no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. How long is that? As long as she’s alive; as long as he’s alive.
It doesn’t say she does him good and not evil as long as he does her good—as long as he is kind to her, as long as he remembers her birthdays and anniversaries, as long as he meets her needs. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. Why? Because she’s a covenant-keeping woman; she’s a woman who’s made a vow, and her vow was first to God.
So she says, “I will be faithful to you, regardless of what you do or don’t do to me.” She’s loyal. She’s faithful in financial matters. She’s not going to spend beyond their means. She’s going to do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
I have a friend who told me recently about how disconcerting it is to her . . . She said, “We have friends who have million-dollar mortgages, and their husbands are working like crazy to pay the bills for a wife who cannot be content to live within their means.”
This woman is faithful. She’s loyal. She’s a covenant-keeping woman in implementing her husband’s heart in the home with the children. When she gives direction to the children, she represents the heart of her husband, and he can trust her. When he’s gone from home, she’s going to be implementing his heart in the home.
He can trust her to speak well of him and to keep confidences, not to go out blabbing things to other women that are private matters in their marriage. He can trust her in the way that she speaks about him. He can trust her to protect his reputation.
Now, by saying that, I don’t necessarily mean absolutely. There are times when to do good to a husband may mean to appeal to the appropriate authorities at the church or the civil authorities. If a husband is breaking the law, to do him good is to get him into a position where he can be helped by the law, or restrained by the law, or by the church authorities.
So the concept is that you will always speak things that will do your husband good, that he can trust his reputation in your hands. It makes me very sad to hear women making jokes that are negative jokes, or sarcastic, or put-down lines about their husbands. And they all laugh, but it’s not right. She’s not being trustworthy. She’s not being faithful. She’s not being loyal.
This man can trust his wife to meet his physical needs. He has no need of spoil. He has no need to seek marital intimacy elsewhere because his wife is faithful. Whether she feels like it or not, she is committed to be a giver in the physical aspect of their marriage, to meet his needs sexually.
Ladies, let me just say here, if you don’t meet your husband’s physical and sexual needs, there’s another woman somewhere who would be happy to. And you may end up putting him in a position where—not justifying, not excusing, his sin—but you may make him more vulnerable to temptation and to immorality if you are not faithful to him in even your physical and sexual relationship, as a giver.
She’s faithful to the marriage vow. I hear and read about women—Christian women—leaving their husbands and leaving their children. Twenty years ago this was unthinkable—certainly highly unusual. Today it’s not particularly unusual. If a woman wants her own life—to do her own thing, to have her own way—she just takes off. God’s way is that this woman will do her husband good and not evil all the days of her life.
So he has no need for jealousy or suspicion. He doesn’t have to doubt her love. He doesn’t have to be insecure. He doesn’t have to look elsewhere to have his needs met. He’s confident that while he’s gone, while he’s at work, while he’s at home, she is one in spirit with him. His interests are safe in her keeping.
She’s consistent. She’s a covenant-keeper. She has an unconditional commitment, and that is what earns the trust of her husband. She always, always, always has his best interests at heart. She’s not in competition with him. She’s committed to his success.
That’s what inspires the man to be worthy of her devotion. He rises to that because he knows he has a woman who is an asset, not a liability—a woman who supports and encourages and helps him in every way possible.
Now, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be that kind of woman. You don’t have to be incredibly talented to be that kind of woman. You don’t have to be physically beautiful to be that kind of woman. You just have to have a heart that reverences the Lord. Out of that heart for God will come that kind of commitment and devotion to your man, to your husband.
Do you have that kind of commitment to your husband—a commitment that, by God’s grace, you will do your husband good and not evil all the days of your life? That, by God’s grace, you will be faithful to him regardless of what he does, regardless of how he may or may not live up to your expectations or hopes or dreams?
Purpose in your heart: “God, by Your grace”—and it takes the grace of God; no woman can live up to this apart from the Lord—”by Your grace, I will do my husband good and not evil all the days of my life.”
Doing good to our husbands doesn’t always seem natural or easy.
~We’re going through Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ 30-Day True Woman of God Makeover Challenge