“Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth.” - Proverbs 5:18
Who doesn’t want to be ridiculously happy in their marriage? We all start off with that in mind. Engaged couples can be annoying to be around because they are just so enamored with each other. Something gets lost, though, for many as the years of living life together take their toll. When the enjoyment of the relationship is gone, most husbands I talk to blame either the circumstances or their wives. When they do this, I think they miss the opportunity that is right in front of their faces and are in danger of justifying destructive choices.
The “father” of the early part of Proverbs warns the “son” of the dangers of falling into the trap of adultery, painting a picture of a life squandered and riddled with regret. His career, marriage and reputation could all be destroyed for the fleeting passion of the “other woman.” How could he avoid this pitfall? The seemingly simple but wise advice is to indulge himself fully in enjoying the wife that he has. He is told to rejoice in her, to be satisfied with her and to be exhilarated or intoxicated by her. If he is able to be this enamored with his own wife, the allure of chasing something else (whether it is a career, lust, or another “more fulfilling” relationship) is lost.
I can almost hear men reading this and saying, “I would love to enjoy my wife, but (insert wife’s faults here).” You see, we tend to see happiness as a product of external circumstances, rather than cultivating a joyful heart and attitude. In this section of proverbs, the verb translated rejoice is a command. It is assumed, then, that it is something we should be able to do. So, how do you make this a practice in your life when you are living with an imperfect wife? Rather than spending your time lamenting your wife’s faults or regretting the decisions you have made, spend some time meditating on some of her great qualities. There is a reason you fell for her in the first place. Make a list of these qualities and how they have made your life better. Imagine how your life would suffer without them.
It should go without saying, but as you begin to appreciate some of the good qualities you see, take the time to make sure your wife knows how valuable and precious she is to you. The Hebrew word for rejoice could also be translated celebrate. Take the time to celebrate your good fortune in being married to someone so wonderful. As your attitude changes, you will likely find you are a great deal more satisfied with your marriage. In addition, I would be willing to bet your wife’s demeanor would change as well. What woman doesn’t like the idea of being adored, appreciated and celebrated?
Mike is the director of Safe Harbor Christian Counseling of Philadelphia and counsels at the Newark, Wilmington, Elsmere and Glenmoore locations. Mike counsels adolescents, adults, children, and couples.