"STUDIES IN THE PROVERBS" Wisdom In Selecting A Spouse INTRODUCTION 1. The value of "The Book Of Proverbs" is that it provides wisdom from God to guide us in every realm of life 2. Whether it be family, business, social or spiritual relationships, we can find "inspired advice" that enables us to walk in wisdom, "redeeming the time, because the days are evil" - Ep 5:15-17 3. The purpose of this series is not to present an exhaustive study of the Proverbs, but to demonstrate in a few lessons its practicality in providing wisdom for the Christian today [In this study, the first of three dealing with "family relationships", we shall glean what wisdom we can from "The Book Of Proverbs" in regards to selecting a spouse...] I. ADVICE IN SELECTING A WIFE A. THE IMPORTANCE OF MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE... 1. Much happiness in life depends upon make the right choice - Pr 12:4 a. A good choice greatly enhances the life of the husband b. But the wrong choice can destroy a man from the inside out! 2. It is folly to think that a mistake in this area can be easily corrected a. Many think divorce can be an easy solution b. But God hates divorce (Mal 2:16 ), and remarriage may not be a viable option for the disciple of Christ - Mt 19:8-9 c. Even when it is, if there are children the selection you made will ALWAYS be the mother of your children (for better or worse!) B. SOME GUIDELINES FOR FINDING A GOOD WIFE... 1. Seek help from God - Pr 19:14 a. Success in this "venture" may depend more upon God than we think! b. In view of the seriousness of this matter, dare we go about it alone? 2. Do not place priority on "good looks" alone - Pr 31:30 a. Beauty is skin-deep, temporary, and to which we can easily grow accustomed b. It is therefore a poor foundation upon which to build a life-long relationship c. Sadly, most marriages are built on little more than physical attraction 3. Instead, look for these characteristics in a woman: a. The fear of the Lord - Pr 31:30 1) Such a woman possesses the beginning of wisdom - Pr 1:7 2) Having a wife who is a devout Christian, then, should be a primary concern b. Discretion - Pr 11:22 1) This is the ability to do the right thing at the right time 2) Without this, beauty is worthless, and can even be the object of ridicule (e.g., "dumb blonde" jokes) c. Wisdom - Pr 14:1 1) With this virtue in a woman, a good home can be built 2) Without it, efforts by the husband will be undermined by the wife! 4. To be avoided is the woman who is contentious (argumentative)! a. Picturesque descriptions of such a woman are found in Pr 19:13 ; 27:15-16 b. My grandmother (a faithful Christian who as a widow raised six children through the Great Depression, and remained a widow for over fifty years), pointed out these two verses to me when I was a teen-ager: Pr 21:9 ,19 [It is better to be single and alone, than to be married to the wrong person. To be married to a godly woman, however, is a wonderful blessing from the Lord (Pr 18:22 ). With the help God gives us in "The Book of Proverbs," we can increase the likelihood of finding a good spouse. The same is true for women seeking a good husband. Much of what was said earlier is applicable, but there is more we can glean from the Proverbs...] II. ADVICE IN SELECTING A HUSBAND A. THERE ARE WAYS TO LEARN A LOT ABOUT A MAN... 1. How does he treat animals? This reveals a lot about his character - cf. Pr 12:10 2. Does he listen to the advice of others? That will tell you whether he is a fool, or a wise person - Pr 12:15 3. What type of company does he keep? You might be destroyed right along with him - Pr 13:20 4. Is he quick-tempered? That determines whether he is a person of understanding - Pr 14:29 5. How does he make money? You will suffer the consequences of his business decisions - Pr 15:27 6. Does he feel like he always has to put in his "two-cents" worth? If so, he lacks knowledge and a calm spirit - Pr 17: 27-28 7. Does he have compassion for the poor? If so, his prayers will then be answered - Pr 21:13 B. MEN TO AVOID... 1. The womanizer (or flirter). He will destroy himself and hurt all those involved - Pr 6:27-29 2. A quick-tempered man. You will become like him and destroy yourself as well - Pr 22:24-25 3. A drinker - cf. Pr 23:29-30 CONCLUSION 1. Some of the most important decisions we make in this life will be... a. With whom shall I spend my life? (Divorce and remarriage is not an option for the faithful Christian, with one exception - Mt 19:9 ) b. Who shall be the father or mother of my children? (This choice cannot be undone once the children are born) 2. Dare we make such decisions without consulting the wisdom found in the Word of God? a. This certainly does not exhaust all that "The Book of Proverbs" has to say about selecting a spouse b. But I trust that we are seeing that the Proverbs are extremely practical, worthy of our careful study and application to our lives 3. In the next lesson, we shall consider "gems" of wisdom in regards to BEING a good spouse... Speaking of important decisions...have you made the most important decision you will ever make in your life concerning Jesus Christ?