A Wife of Noble Character, Who Can Find?
I was 21 and she was 20. We were still in college and just kids by most standards. The tempo of conventional wisdom handed down from all well-intending relatives was to wait, live life a little and enjoy being free. But waiting was not going to happen. I had found what few men had – a woman of noble character. Apparently, they must be in short demand. Lemuel laments, “A wife of noble character, who can find (Proverbs 31:10)?” No, I intended to make her my wife. We married on a gray but pleasant December evening. To our delight, the world seemed to be in attendance. Family, friends, and people I hadn’t seen since my road led me away from home – all came to participate with us in holy matrimony.
That was 14 years ago today. All of that has changed…for the better! Today, my wife is more than just a noble woman, she is a wife of noble character. She is worth more than precious jewels. Now 14 years must seem like chump change to some marriage pros out there. We have couples in our church that have been married over 60 years! To say it as Millennial as I can, they’re killing it! They are at hero status as far as I’m concerned. But in perspective, my entire adult life to this point has been with this one woman!
While she has her struggles and quirks (which are eclipsed by my bumbling character qualities) she has been, is, and will continue to be a brave matriarch and pillar of godliness in the house of Hollis. Here are a few reasons why… a few, mind you:
She is a cultural warrior. Our family is typically the “odd man out” when it comes to cultural norms. Before we ever had children we were convicted in Scripture that we should home school our children and that she would stay home to raise the children while I worked. So we trimmed down, cut back on anything excessive and made it work. But to some we are often considered backwards, super religious, overly protective, and making life harder than it has to be for ourselves. Most folks are kind enough not to comment on our large family and home school convictions. But there’s plenty of “You know what causes that, right?” and “Public school would be so much easier on your wife,” to go around. But I’ve watched my wife on the verge of giving up all of our family-rearing convictions only to back off the ledge with renewed faith in a sovereign God. Maybe it is harder to do life this way but with God all things are possible. My wife’s struggles reflect her deep-rooted faith that God wants us to do hard things so that we can watch Him work in ways we cannot in our own power.
She is a steady presence. For 6 years I worked 3rd shift, traveled regularly, and was not much of a presence in our home. We had three children ages 0-6. She cared for them, fed them, and schooled them without much of my help. Since babies are often flip-flopped in their days and nights, it worked out perfectly for me: they slept during the day when I did and kept my wife up at night while I was working. Her’s was the tougher shift by far. Still, she has always been a steady and reliable presence and leader in our home. I have no doubt in my mind that when our children are adults they will look back with childhood memories of our home and remember her “thereness” and commitment to shepherd her little (or not so little) flock.
She is a fierce defender. My wife definitely has a mother hen mentality. She is a defender of our children, our family values, the Scripture in all it’s sufficiency, and of her husband. We’ve been in active pastoral ministry for 11 of the 14 years we’ve been married. Criticism is common and regular. It comes with the territory. But I have valued having my wife and helper stand behind me and supporting me when I’ve been unfairly criticized for something. Woe to any who wants to come after this pastor! In all seriousness, she bears her defense in a silent but dignified manner. She is not combative or gossipy even when she could have much to say. Nevertheless, she is a helper suitable for me.
She is many other things that I couldn’t possibly fit into a blog. Yet, I’m writing this as if in response to Lemuel’s rhetorical question, “An excellent wife, who can find?” And I want to say, “I have.” And I give all of the glory to God for it! If “He who finds a wife finds a good thing (Proverbs 18:22).” Then he who finds and excellent wife finds a rare thing – a thing worth protecting, a thing worth proclaiming, and a thing worth admiring a fresh and anew.
Happy Anniversary Amanda!