Loving the Right Woman (Prov. 5:3–14)
In Proverbs we read about wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, which all begin with fearing God. The “strange” woman of Proverbs 5 has lips that drip honey, and her words seem to be extremely attractive (verse 3). Nevertheless, all that apparent beauty and attractiveness ultimately leads to bitterness and remorse (verse 4). Men should keep themselves away from such women. In Proverbs 5:3–14 Solomon further explains the bad things that can happen if one falls into such temptation and reiterates, “Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave” (verse 5, NIV). Such a temptation should be viewed with extreme caution. The advice becomes an imperative in verse 8, “Keep your way far from her” (ESV), which means to stay away so that you don’t live with any regrets the rest of your life.1
The choice of a life partner is something that must be made carefully through prayer.
By contrast, a God-fearing woman can bring happiness to a wise man who follows God’s advice. This is especially obvious in Proverbs 31:10–31 where, throughout the description, the ideal is presented as “a wife of noble character” (verse 10, NIV).
Life on the Rooftop?
Proverbs not only counsels avoiding mingling with strange women but cautions against living with a “quarrelsome wife” (Prov. 21:9, 19; 27:15, 16, ESV). Getting stuck in a dysfunctional relationship is extremely uncomfortable. One would rather sleep on a rooftop alone (Prov. 21:9) or dwell in a desert with the possibility of being devoured by wild animals, or still yet in a place where someone might die from starvation or dehydration rather than live with a fretful woman (verse 19). The choice of a life partner is something that must be made carefully through prayer. Proverbs provides principles that apply to both men and women in selecting whom to marry. Character traits including gratitude, peace, and joy are important in considering a life companion.
The Ideal Woman to Marry
The ideal woman to marry is described in Proverbs 31:10–31. Here are ideal characteristics that should not be overlooked. The description covers many different facets, including being diligent and hardworking, having foresight and discernment, and most of all, having a personal relationship with God. What is especially noteworthy is that these traits come from a time when a woman was not usually recognized for such attributes. This section was so important that Proverbs ends with this chapter. It is divided into three parts: (1) her value (verses 10–12); (2) her activities (verses 13–27); and (3) praise for her actions that result in blessings upon both her family and all within her sphere of influence (verses 28–31). The woman who fears God and brings good upon all around her is praised by all. Proverbs thus describes and contrasts the consequences of living with a troublesome person versus being in a relationship with someone who fears and obeys God’s commands.
Fathers Matter (Prov. 14:26; 15:1, 18, 27; 16:32)
Wise words for families include the importance of fathers and how they raise their children. Proverbs also emphasizes the vital trust God gives to those who bring children into this world. Parents should be a “refuge” for their children (Prov. 14:26). What does this look like? Someone who fears God will not do anything against those entrusted to them as a part of God’s love. A Christian must protect the next generation in a way that the world simply cannot. Fathers should thus be “slow to anger” (Prov. 15:18). They should also refrain from a wrathful spirit by showing restraint (Prov. 16:32, NKJV). Such discipline must recognize the weak spots that might lead to their downfall, such as an impulsive character. Family relationships should always be in the context of love.
Correction With Love (Prov. 10:17; 13:24; 29:15)
Finally, correction must always be done in love. As it says in Proverbs 29:15, “Correction and discipline are good for children” (GNT), and those who love will discipline with diligence (Prov. 13:24). Just as a potter whose vase has a defect must continue to mold it (Jer. 18:6), in the same way, parents should both model for their children a Christlike character and mold their characters for God’s kingdom. Discipline should be implemented only in a redemptive way that leads toward salvation.
1. Is it possible to identify a troublesome person before marriage?
2. What character traits should a Christian look for in a life companion?
3. How can you show redemptive discipline when dealing with a child? Together they protect one another; they help each other.