April 29, 2015

Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds what is good
and receives favor from the Lord.

I checked various English translations and they all pretty much agreed with the NIV, but I personally like this Japanese translation very much: “He who finds a good wife finds happiness, and receives grace from the Lord.” The generic statement of “find a wife” has too many pitfalls. I’ve met lots of women of whom I have thought, “I’m glad I’m not married to her!” However, the definition of “a good wife” is going to be different to some degree for each man, because each man is different. At the same time, searching for “the perfect woman” is a bad idea, because there are no perfect men! It all goes back to Genesis: “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” (Genesis 2:18) In English we have so misunderstood the King James English that we’ve thought “helpmeet” meant “wife,” when “meet” meant “suitable” back then. Even though modern translations are pretty consistent in straightening that out, we tend to stick with confused tradition in our minds. The question then becomes, what is suitable? Again, that will be different for each man. That said, there are no “perfect fits;” every couple has to do a good bit of adjusting to each other. Even so, a good marriage is indeed a huge avenue of God’s blessing. Some psychologists say, with good reason I think, that marriage and family are the greatest source of the psychological feeling of happiness. That’s what this verse says, in Japanese at any rate!

I do a lot of marriage counseling, mostly premarital but with a fair bit of conflict resolution as well. Thankfully, my own 46 years of experience help a great deal! It is possible to do marriage counseling on a theoretical basis, but that’s much like the Child Development teacher I had in seminary, who wasn’t even married, much less a mother. Her pronouncements had a lot of the parents in her class laughing, or disgusted or even angry. Theory alone doesn’t cut it in such intensely personal interaction. That’s certainly true of marriage, but there are principles that are good for every marriage. I shouldn’t try to include a marriage seminar here! I have been enormously blessed by a wife who is indeed suitable for me and I am deeply grateful, both to God and to her for her cooperation with His plan. There are many who look at our relationship enviously, often thinking that such a relationship would be impossible with their own spouse, but I disagree with that last point. As I am given opportunity, I am to speak God’s truth in love to everyone, including to those who have less-than-optimal marriages. God can do amazing things! We are called to destroy the devil’s works (1 John 3:8) and to be agents of God’s kingdom, doing His will. (Matthew 6:10) That includes in marriage! Good marriages always require adjustments, often major, on the part of both partners. God is the only one who is right all the time! I’ve got to be careful not to come across like I think I have all the answers personally, but I am to rest assured that God indeed has all the answers, even if they are not what we would expect.

Father, thank You indeed for your incredible grace in giving me my wife. May I be the husband suitable for her that she deserves, and may I be Your agent of blessing in many marriages through speaking Your truth, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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