Much has been written and discussed about the “Proverbs 31 woman.” This oracle taught by the king’s mother describes quite the strong woman.
- She “works with willing hands” (v. 13).
- She “considers a field and buys it” (v. 16).
- She “dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong” (v. 17).
- She “opens her mouth with wisdom” (v. 26).
Two books later is the Song of Solomon, which reflects on the more intimate aspects of a woman.
Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold you are beautiful! Your eyes are doves behind your veil. . . . Your lips are like a scarlet thread, and your mouth is lovely. . . . You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you. (Song of Solomon 4)
What these beautiful passages tell us is that women are more than capable of being Wonder Woman—strong, wise, independent, a skilled entrepreneur—and yet they also desire to be adored like Cinderella for the feminine beauty God created her as. And I would venture to guess that most husbands agree. They view their wives as strong and beautiful. Wise and precious. Fully capable and incredibly sexy. Wonder Woman and Cinderella.
The trouble comes when they get mixed messages on which one their wife is most wanting them to see them as in that moment—Wonder Woman or Cinderella? And can we blame them? Oftentimes, not even the wife is sure which one she is trying to be. For example, a wife wrote me recently:
Recently, my husband and I were deeply into what you call the Crazy Cycle. Crazy, really crazy. Emotions were high and I was feeling very stuck. I don’t know exactly how he was feeling. Likely very disrespected.
I called out to God, yet again, for help. I found a website that mentioned your book. Maybe I need to revisit this book, I thought. I was desperate. I found the book and the Holy Spirit lead me to this portion that was almost verbatim the argument my husband and I had just been in. I was shocked that my harsh, critical, and bitter words were right there. On that page. Staring at me. Bringing much-needed correction (conviction).
In that moment, I realized I had probably been disrespectful of him numerous times over our nine years of marriage. I was in hysterics in my living room all alone. I was literally crying out to God for forgiveness. I began to send him texts of my apology and of honor.
That’s not to say that he’s always been loving to me. He hasn’t. Although, after reading this portion of the book, I began to wonder if so many women have bought a bill of goods that was a lie. That somehow our man was to take the first step. That our man should be a knight in shining armor like Cinderella’s prince.
Actually, in my estimation, this is not true. Proverbs 31 is a great example of the woman who takes the bull by the horns. This woman is not wimpy. As a matter of fact she’s more like Wonder Woman than helpless Cinderella. Although we women do want to be so cherished as Cinderella!
I’m still trying to figure out how to honor him. I do believe he loves me, maybe I just have some repair work to do with honoring him.
Do you want your husband to see you as Wonder Woman or Cinderella? If both, pray tell, when is he to know who you are on any given day? If he treats you like Cinderella when you see yourself as Wonder Woman, will you overpower him with words and tell him he should be ashamed for belittling you like you’re a little girl in need of rescue? If he treats you like Wonder Woman when you see yourself as Cinderella, will you shame him for being unloving and uncaring and even cruel in expecting you to solve whatever problem burdens you, like how to deal with your sixteen year old son who is not obeying you?
Perhaps there is no cut-and-dry, easy way to navigate this issue except to acknowledge to each other that she is both Wonder Woman and Cinderella—and neither is something to be ashamed of, but rather both should be embraced. And on the days that he is not reading the clues right and is either allowing her strength and wisdom to stand on its own when she is really wanting him to hold her and let her cry on his shoulder, or trying to be her strong prince and savior when she is actually wanting to express herself as the strong woman God made her has, just allow for grace. No one can get it perfectly all the time.
And remember, Wonder Woman’s real name is actually Princess Diana. She is both warrior and princess. But ladies many husbands don’t know that, so again, when it comes to grace, he needs it too. He knows you are a Wonder Woman but there will be moments when he thinks, “I wonder about that woman. Who is she today?”
He isn’t trying to tell you that you are wrong.
He is trying not to get it wrong.
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