A mother's teaching
"Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck." (Proverbs 1:8-9) I did a lot of teaching when my kids were young. Homeschooling moms get that special privilege of imparting all sorts of life's lessons on a day-to-day basis, lessons that fall under the heading of "schooling", but also lessons about God, about life.
Questions about life and God were the types I loved best. When a child honestly sought my advice, I was more than pleased to sit down and share whatever wisdom I had gained. Of course, sometimes the questions caught me by surprise, and if I had it to do over again, I might have answered in more detail than I did the first time. Such a thing happened to me one day when one son came to me and asked,
"Mom, what should I look for in a wife?"
I would like to tell you that I had a wonderful answer to put this son's heart at ease. Perhaps whatever I said helped, but I recall later wishing I'd had more time to think it through, and had been more specific. I told him that the most important thing to look for was to find a Christian girl, one who shared his faith. But other than that, I didn't get too specific.
I think Solomon would have elaborated much more than I did, or at least his mother would have. She had a lot to say about a good wife in Proverbs 31. And I think her advice was good and sound - to seek a woman who does him good and not evil all the days of her life, one who works hard, whose husband and children can be proud to call her wife and mom.
If I could paraphrase King Lemuel's words (King Lemuel is thought by some to be Solomon) - the oracle his mother taught him, this is what I would have said to my son:
“O my son, son I gave birth to, son of my heart, do not spend your time on women who will steal your strength and who ruin men.
Do not, O my son, waste your time on wine that causes you to forget or crave beer to escape your troubles, lest you be tempted to deprive the oppressed of their rights. Rather, speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.
When the time comes for you to seek a wife, look for a woman of noble character. Her worth is far more than the most precious of jewels. She will inspire your confidence and your trust, and you will lack nothing of value that you place in her hands. She will do you good, not harm, all the days of her life.
Seek a woman who works with eager hands, who is not frivolous in her spending, but makes wise purchases. Look for a woman who knows the value of good nutrition and who chooses wisely in the way she dresses. Do not be tempted by those who would dress to entice you, to tempt you before love's proper time. Rather seek a woman who clothes herself with dignity, who will know how to provide well for her family. Such a woman will use her earnings to add to her family's income, and she is not lazy. She is generous, giving freely to those in need.
The woman who would be a good wife to you is a woman of grace and dignity. She is one who has goals of her own, but who supports you and respects you. She is not a woman given to nameless worries or unwarranted fears. On the contrary, she does not fear the future, for she knows she has done all she can to plan for it, and she trusts in God to carry you through any challenges you will face.
She is easy to talk to, not self-centered or dramatic. Though she loves to be with you, she is not overly demanding of your time, or always insisting on her own way. She speaks with wisdom, and when you share your heart with her, she will keep your confidence and ensure your trust in her.
Seek a woman who fears the Lord, who loves Jesus more than she loves you.
Above all, seek God first in your own life, loving Jesus with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Then you will recognize the woman that He has in mind for you, the wife of noble character that is worthy of your love and trust."
To give such advice would be the ultimate privilege in a mother's teaching.