Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.
Imagine the perfect man’s world. Work is easy; you and the world are perfect; there is no sickness, pain, sin, or trouble; great food is everywhere; you have the world to yourself; it does not rain; you are very intelligent; Almighty God is your friend; you can live forever!
What is wrong? Adam did not have a wife – a woman of his own. The LORD God said his perfect situation was not good, even though Adam and He were friends (Gen 2:18). Adam needed a perfect companion to help him maximize his life in this world. So God made a woman from a rib, introduced her to Adam, and arranged the first marriage.
Two are better than one. Regardless of what good is written about the single life, God said it was not good. Two are better than one for at least five reasons (Eccl 4:9-12; I Cor 7:2-5). They share the results of labor, help each other through difficulties, complement each other’s abilities, help fight enemies, and have a regular and committed lover. If this superiority of marriage were true in perfect Eden, how much more in our sinful world?
But not any wife will do, and Solomon never taught that any wife will do. He warned against odious women (Pr 30:21-23). He warned against whorish women (Pr 6:26; 7:18-20; 22:14; 23:27-28). He knew a bad wife was worse than being alone (Pr 12:4; 19:13; 21:9,19; 25:24; 27:15-16). For though he tried 1000 women (I Kings 11:3), he found them all bad and more bitter than death in the pain they caused him (Eccl 7:26-29).
But the proverb does not say good wife – it only refers to a wife without a modifier. How can you prove there is an ellipsis here? You know by this wife being a good thing, by God’s favor in the matter, by the other marital lessons of Proverbs, by the use of the adjective elsewhere (Pr 19:14), and by such ellipses in Pr 15:10,23; 16:10; 29:4; Ec 7:28.
Solomon intended only a virtuous wife (Pr 12:4; 19:14; 31:30), and she had to be fully committed to fear and love God (Pr 31:30; I Co 7:39). Who can find such a woman (Pr 31:10)? She is so rare, Solomon did not find her. Only God’s blessing will find her (Pr 19:14), so set your heart to seek her, and beg and trust Him to direct your steps (Pr 16:9).
How should you rate women? By fear of God (Pr 31:30)! Young man, put away foolish lusts of beauty first (Pr 11:16,22), and ignore her offered or given favors (Pr 23:27-28). Listen to Samson’s parents warn him (Judges 14:3). Search in the right places, with fervent prayer to God, and trust His loving providence to lead you to her (Gen 24:1-67).
How thankful are you, reader? If you have a wife that fears God and fulfils her role, you are a very blessed man. Does the Lord know your thankfulness? Does she? If she is not perfect, it is your fault; for it is your privilege and duty to perfect her (Eph 5:25-29).
And wife, you must ask, am I truly a good thing and blessing from God? Or a curse? The answer is found by your husband’s happiness and your reputation with others. You should further ask, how can I better fulfill the role God gave Eve in Eden and me for my life? Perfect instructions are from your Matchmaker in His marriage manual – the Bible.