Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Psalm 128:3
Our pastor mentioned that verse in a message last year, which prompted me to study the idea of children being like olive plants. Boy, did I learn a LOT! I came up with 12 Lessons About Child Training from an Olive Tree and it has been one of my most popular posts. I love going back and reviewing these things every so often.
Fast forward to about a week ago, and I read over that verse again in my daily devotions.
I thought, “Hmm…since there were so many lessons to be learned from the idea of children being like olive trees, I wonder if there are lessons to be learned about the wife being like a fruitful vine?”
I couldn't resist digging into that further, and here's what I found:
First, I needed to know if there was a specific type of vine the verse was talking about. I looked up the Hebrew word for vine in that verse and found out that it basically means…vine.
So then I looked up the Hebrew word for fruitful and it basically means…to bear fruit.
Okay, so that left me with basically any type of vine that bears fruit. Take your pick – grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe…it doesn't really matter.
Then I began researching every other instance in the Bible where that same Hebrew word for vine was used, and that's where it got interesting.
I noticed right away that over and over, God was talking to Israel about the fact that when they turned away from God part of their judgment would be for their vines to be destroyed.
I also noticed that when God spoke of his blessing on Israel, he would mention how that their vines would be fruitful. In fact, in the very verse of which I am talking, God is telling Israel that part of his blessing on them would be for their wives to be as fruitful vines and their children like olive plants.
The verse is speaking of prosperity and blessing upon the children of Israel when they followed the Lord and obeyed his commands.
Lesson #1 from the fruitful vine – Am I a blessing to my husband? When he thinks of me, does it make him thankful for how God has prospered him by giving me to him? Am I flourishing physically, spiritually, and emotionally so that I am a joy to be around? Or am I dried up and withered? Yes, my husband has some God-given responsibilities to keep his “vine” well-watered so that it can easily flourish, but how am I responding? Does my husband see caring for me as a duty or a delight?
The concept of “fruitful” also carries with it the idea of bearing children. God has stated over and over that children are a blessing and a reward. In the verse we are studying, He clearly states that a fruitful wife and the little “olive plants” are part of the blessing he would pour out when his people obediently followed Him.
Lesson #2 from the fruitful vine – Children are a blessing; not something to be avoided! When God states that children are a blessing and a reward, why are so many married couples doing all they can to prevent their blessings from coming?! I am not an advocate of the so-called “quiverfull” movement, where many families hold to the idea that they are supposed to have as many babies as the wife's body will carry. If a couple feels that the wife is physically worn out, I don't think God intends for her to be a haggard, run-down woman, forcing her body to continue producing “blessing” after “blessing”. God gave us the knowledge of how babies are made and I believe couples should use that knowledge responsibly, with the understanding and willingness for God to override our personal plans according to his will.
But at the same time, couples do not need to fear the idea of large families. I'll say it again; children are a blessing; not something to be avoided!
Finally – and this goes right along with lesson #2 – in the Bible, vines had a lot to do with lovemaking! Read Song of Solomon, and you'll find that they made love among the vines. You'll also find multiple references to body parts being like the fruit of the vine.
Lesson #3 from the fruitful vine – A fruitful wife is a wife who satisfies her husband's physical desires. Read Song of Solomon to get an idea of the demeanor we wives should display in the bedroom! We need to be doing as much as we can to take care of our bodies and keep them beautiful for our husbands. We need to delight him and allow him to delight us.
1. I'm praying for you.
Every husband should have the privilege of knowing his wife is laboring in prayer for him as he faces the pressures of the day. But don't stop at praying for him…let him know that you are!
2. Thank you for…
Show gratitude even for the little things.
3. I love it when you…
Don't focus on what you don't like about your husband. Telling him about the things you like will encourage him to do more of it.
4. You do such a great job at…
Husbands love it when their wives pump up their ego a little bit. Just sayin'.
5. I made this/did this/bought this for you.
When's the last time you did something for your husband just because you love him?
Other posts you might like:
We've all heard that husbands and wives should be best friends. But how does that actually play out in real life?
You might want to be best friends with your husband but you lack the knowledge to do so.
I talked this post over with my husband before I wrote it because I wanted to be 100% sure that what I was writing was something with which he would agree!
When you're out with your girlfriends no doubt there is a good deal of laughter that goes on. You enjoy each other's company and you're naturally going to smile and laugh with each other.
But it goes to a whole deeper level when you're laughing with the one who is also the love of your life.
My husband and I share a million and one inside jokes. We're always cracking up at what seems to others as random moments. But we each know without even looking at the other what the other one is thinking.
It's funny. And it's beautiful.
My closest friends throughout the years have been those with whom I share a spiritual bond. Those with whom I've shared my prayer requests, no matter how big or little. Those who aren't afraid to give me a spiritual kick in the tail when I'm off track. Those who challenge and edify me through our conversations.
A husband and wife who want to be the best of friends will also help one another grow in Christ. They'll pray together. They'll share with the other what the Lord has been teaching them through their personal quiet time. They'll ask the other for help when they're having trouble overcoming a certain character flaw.
Quality time together is one of the foundations of friendship, isn't it?
Why then do so many husbands and wives neglect to set aside regular time to date one another – to make time to talk about something other than which bills need to be paid and what time Johnny needs to be at soccer practice?
Do you know your husband's hopes and dreams? Have you spent enough time with him to find out?
I get that life is busy, but you truly have time for what you make time for. Make time for your husband. Get creative. (Here are 25 Stay-at-home Date Night Ideas if you need some help, then scroll down for a super-fun date night giveaway!)
I'm not talking about major tragedies that couples might face. Of course you're going to bear that burden with him. I'm talking about the little things.
When your husband comes home from work frustrated because he didn't have a productive day, give him a shoulder rub and tell him you're sorry. Don't roll your eyes and say “Oh yeah? Well let me tell you about my day!”
Physical intimacy in the bedroom should be just that – intimate. Rather than succumbing to the temptation to make it a purely physical act, strive to connect on an emotional and even spiritual level.
Little touches throughout the day also tell the other person, “I enjoy being around you. You're special to me. You're my best friend and there's no one I'd rather be with right now.”
For some awesome, inspirational reading, I recommend the following books:
100 Ways to Love Your Husband: A Life-Long Journey of Learning to Love (by Lisa Jacobson)
I've not written a whole lot about marriage here. Most — not all, but most — of my posts are borne out of whatever I'm personally reflecting on at the moment. A lot of that has to do with the struggles of motherhood. That is something that is immensely more difficult than I ever imagined!
But marriage has never been all that difficult. We're not perfect, but it's not something that my husband and I struggle with. He's a good man! We always seem to be on the same wavelength, so arguments…I mean, disagreements…are not something that frequently occurs. It's pretty smooth sailing between the two of us most of the time, therefore I've never felt like I had a ton of stuff to write about from personal experience.
But yesterday I realized I had an important message to share. To myself first of all, then to all the other ladies who are living in a non-difficult marriage.
So here it is: Marriage Advice to the Woman In a Good Marriage
“Why is he so grouchy?” I wondered. “He's usually only grouchy when he has a headache, and I don't think he does today.”
I began to ponder what the problem could be. Before too long the light bulb went off. Stress! My husband is under a lot of stress! And what have I been doing to help him? Pretty much nothing.
When you're married to a good man, it becomes easy to start expecting him to be a good man. I mean, that's just what he does. He helps me with the laundry, speaks tenderly and lovingly to me (and tries to understand my crazy womanly ways!), and plays with the kids. He works hard to provide for his family, keeps things repaired around the house, and serves at church in whatever ways he can.
He does all of these things faithfully. He's so good to me and the children; I couldn't ask for a better man!
But I've taken it for granted.
I haven't needed “marriage advice” because we don't argue. We try to serve one another in the home. We understand each other.
But there are some things I've neglected to do this for this wonderful man of mine.
1. Pray for him faithfully.
It took some stress in his life for me to realize that I've not been praying for my husband like I should. But my husband needs God's power and protection on his life when times are tough and when the path is smooth. I shouldn't have waited until he was under pressure to pray for him. I should be praying more than just “help my husband to have a good day”. I should be fervently praying. Satan wants to destroy the lives of God's children, and that includes my husband. (One of my contributors came up with a printable prayer calendar for your husband if you'd like to use it for some ideas of specific things to pray.)
2. Thank him.
It's easy to start taking for granted all the things my husband does. But I don't like to be taken for granted. Sure, it's my job to clean the house, make the meals, and take care of the kids all day. But that doesn't mean it's not hard work. And I sure do like it when my husband thanks me for supper and gives me some recognition for the hard work I've done that day. I'm sure some appreciation shown to my husband for the hard work he does for our family would be an encouragement to him too.
3. Encourage him.
Words of appreciation would be encouragement in and of themselves, but I can also let him know I'm praying for him, jot down words or verses of encouragement, and be excited for him when he has a great day at work. (I can also be ready with a shoulder massage and sympathetic ear when he's not had such a great day.)
4. Help him.
What can I do to take some of the load off his shoulders? Is there a responsibility around the house that I'm capable of taking care of? Sometimes I can't think of anything to do, so I simply ask him, “Is there anything I can do for you tomorrow?” Often he will have something that he's happy for me to take care of that I didn't even know he needed to do. Sometimes it's an errand to run, sometimes a bill to pay — little annoying things that hang over his head, especially when he's super busy at work and feeling the pressure of getting it all done while still having time to spend with his family.
Last week I talked about how you can strengthen your marriage by showing your husband that you love him. It's important to keep the spark of romance alive in your marriage, even (especially!) when life is crazy busy.
One simple way to do that is to flirt with your husband.
Bringing up inside jokes, playing footsie under the table, flicking water at him as you're washing dishes — these are all subtle little ways to say “I love you; you're my best friend; and I enjoy being with you!”
We are a very frugal family, never (or hardly ever!) spending money unnecessarily and considering each purchase very carefully. Because of that, I don't have a smartphone. (Yes, I confess. My Instagram photos aren't always “instant”. I wait until my husband comes home with his smartphone from work.) For the longest time I did not have unlimited texting on my phone either. Finally, after much consideration, we decided to pay a little extra each month for unlimited texts on my phone. That was mainly because we hadn't yet caught up to the rest of the world technologically and it was frustrating for people who's primary mode of communication was texting not to be able to text me.
But the unlimited texting came with an unexpected perk.
Now I've got all day access to my husband, and I can “spend time” with him much more often than I used to!
Whereas before I couldn't exactly call him at work, I can send him texts to let him know I'm thinking about him. And let me tell you, the inside jokes and the flirting roll back and forth all day long! To be honest, that new phone plan has strengthened our marriage due to our being able to connect with each other more often.
Today's Challenge: Flirt with your husband. Maybe you'll want to send him a text or write him a love note. Maybe you'll choose something else. But do something!
If you’re just joining the 31 Days of Imperfect Homemaking series, you can see all the posts here.
For many of you, paying a babysitter is not in the budget, so you skip out on dating your spouse. But you don't have to! Here are 25 stay-at-home date night ideas that hardly cost anything and will give you and your spouse the opportunity to communicate and strengthen your bond.
Plan ahead for which night you want to have your date, feed the kids an early supper and put them to bed early. Then you can do one of the following:
1. Light a fire in the fireplace or light a bunch of candles. Have an indoor picnic by the fire.
2. Make cookies together and eat them warm right out of the oven.
3. Snuggle on the couch and watch a movie. Treat yourself to your favorite snacks while you watch.
4. Play board games together.
5. Read a book aloud to each other.
6. Eat a candlelit dinner.
7. Work on a home improvement project together.
8. Work out together.
9. Play video games together and enjoy the competition.
10. Watch a sports game.
11. Set up a pair of chairs in the backyard and stick your feet in the kiddie pool.
12. Make breakfast for dinner and have breakfast in bed.
13. Take a walk around the backyard.
14. Watch your wedding video.
15. Look at old pictures.
16. Watch home movies of the kids.
17. Read your love notes from when you were dating.
18. Dream and make plans for the future.
19. Do a puzzle together.
20. Have a spa night. Pamper each other with massages or pedicures.
21. Do brain teasers together. See who can solve them the fastest.
22. Read the Bible and pray together.
23. Sit outside and look at the stars.
24. Make a fire in the backyard and roast marshmallows.
25. Take an online class together.