You think the Proverbs 31 woman achieved her status all by herself? I doubt it. She probably had an encouraging husband.
If you read last week’s post, you’re expecting a post on goals. What does being an encouraging husband (or wife) have to do with goals? A lot!
NOTE: There are TWO free bonuses in this post. Make sure you read the whole thing!
Goals that don’t involve your spouse will fail. Achieving goals requires sacrifice. Sacrifices that your spouse didn’t agree to will cause conflict. Conflict with your spouse will slow progress on your goals, if not stop it entirely.
The best way to achieve goals – include your spouse. The best way to be an encouraging husband – include your wife in your goals. The best way to be an encouraging wife – include your husband in your goals. Include them on the front end when you set your goals, include them in the journey, and include them in the celebration.
There’s all kinds of stuff on the internet about how, why, and what to do when setting goals. There’s not as much about WHO – both in terms of who you need to be, and who to include on your team.
Before I get to the WHO, here’s my spin on how, why, and what to do. Goals must be SMART and CLEAR. There is built in redundancy in this so that by the end of the process you have something useful.
- S – specific. It has been said that if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time; if you aim at everything, you’ll hit nothing. What are you going to do (verbs)? How are you going to do it (adverbs)? What are you going to do it to or with (nouns, tools, resources)?
- M – measurable. Put numbers on it. How is this goal measured (inches, pounds, hours, dollars, etc)? How much change do you want?
- A – attainable. Given your resources (time, money, energy, etc), how realistic is this goal?
- R – relevant. What is the connection between this goal and your problems or desired changes?
- T – time bound. Put a deadline on it. This, plus making the goal measurable, will allow you to break your goal up into milestones. Milestones will help you know if you are on pace.
- C – collaborative (the main point of this post). Who are you going to have help you achieve your goal? Who do you need to be to earn their input and have them share their resources?
- L – limited. What sacrifices are you not willing to make to achieve this goal?
- E – emotional. How do you feel now? How will you feel after achieving your goal?
- A – appreciable. A better word might be “scalability,” but that would break the nice fancy acronym. How does this goal fit into your big picture? What larger goals or dreams is it a part of?
- R – refinable. How will you know if you need to adjust? How will you adjust if you make faster progress than expected? How will you adjust if progress is slow? What if you make no progress?
My goal in this post is to help you function better in your relationship, as you reflect on the past year, and envision the coming year. The key word there is relationship. You both bring different resources to the table. I want to help you capitalize on them by looking at an example of a great marriage in the Bible.
Set your goals for yourself based on who you need to become. Encourage each other as you pursue your individual goals. Collaborate together to do something great.
The Encouraging Husband in Proverbs 31
What kind of guy scored that kind of girl? She was probably already a great woman when they got together, but clearly their success is mutual. We’re told what kind of woman she is now, but we only need a little imagination to see the man who encourages her.
An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
An encouraging husband trusts his wife. Trust is both offered and earned. He must have trusted her up front, given her some freedoms to try new things. He trusts her even more now because she has both learned from mistakes and been fairly successful. His trust is rewarded with “no lack of gain.”
A woman like this is incredibly hard to find, because so many men look for charm, beauty, or things other than character and fear of the Lord. But this man was wise. He married a ringer. He found a treasure more precious than jewels because he wasn’t fooled by a fake.
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
She works HARD, both inside the home and outside it. Again, because he trusts her. He encourages and empowers her, and he gets to eat well, because she “provides food for her household.” She is incredibly entrepreneurial.
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She is fashionably dressed and fit, both in character and body. He must not complain when she goes shopping. More importantly, he encourages her and builds her up. When she goes out, she does not look depressed, because she is married to an encouraging husband. She’s got a good sense of humor and exudes joy. Anyone seeing this woman would know that she is loved and appreciated at home.
She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She is generous and charitable. Not only with their possessions, but with her knowledge and wisdom. He doesn’t complain when she gives, but appreciates it. He doesn’t tear her down or assault her credibility, but builds her up.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her home is well maintained and well decorated. He probably fixes things with out complaining (I need to work on that, big time), or he pays for them to be fixed. We also get the idea she’s just as comfortable working with contractors or laborers as he is. She’s business savvy, she’s tool savvy, she’s not going to get taken for a ride. He trusts her a lot. Because he trusts her, he doesn’t have to be worried about being cold.
Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
The encouraging husband is not merely a cheerleader for his wife. He is a businessman (the gates were the place of business), he also has some political pull “when he sits among the elders of the land.”
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
This man’s praise for his wife is not only given in private. He sets an example for his children by building up his wife in public. Because of his example, they do the same.
- What will you do to be a more encouraging husband (or wife) next year?
- What will you be able to accomplish together by being more encouraging to each other?