Many years ago when I was a young mom of one (as opposed to four), I co-led a Bible study using the book Bad Girls of the Bible. Written by one of my favorite authors, I knew I would enjoy the study, but I have to admit that I was a bit surprised by how well I could relate to many of these off-course women. Not necessarily their actions but definitely their attitudes. Unforgiveness. Bitterness. Discontentment. But the story that impacted me the most was not one that I could relate to but was one that scared me.
We pick up her story in Genesis 39. She was identified as a wife but acted like anything but a married woman. She was obviously headstrong, persistent and used to getting her own way. It would seem that this was not a new trick for her – going after the household staff. If Joseph was not such a man of God, I am sure he would have been one of her victims. After all, it would have gained him status, being with the boss’ wife. Even if she wasn’t naturally beautiful, she had the money and resources to at least appear that way, and power can definitely be enticing.
God used her to teach me an unexpected lesson – if I do not pay attention to my husband, there will be someone else who will. Some of you might be a bit rankled with me at the moment – please let me clarify a few points. First if a husband is unfaithful, that is sin. Even if the wife is a shrew, his unfaithfulness is still sin. We are all responsible for own actions. Just because your husband no longer makes you happy or is no longer attractive to you, you are not excused to find someone else. That “perfect man” would eventually leave his clothes all over the floor and the cycle of dissatisfaction would begin again. Potiphar’s wife obviously had discontentment or even boredom issues. But that is for another column.
I realized that if I am to be the only one to be with my husband, then I need to be with him. Then I need to make an effort. Not that I am the one responsible for his every happiness – only God can bring satisfaction to his soul. Yet I need to continue to try to be the woman of his dreams – not just settle in. There will be beautiful women that he will interact with often – if all he has to look forward to is a disheveled woman in sweat pants that has to be disappointing. Just to reassure you, I do live in comfy clothes when I am home all day, but they are clean & I do at least take a shower. But I know that I sometimes need to try more.
I needed the reminder yesterday that Robin Gifford made during our meeting. Being a mom does not excuse frumpiness. At least not all of the time. While I am not wanting to be a trophy wife, I do not want people to perpetually wonder, “Now why did he marry her again?” Partly beauty can happen when I make an effort to look more attractive on the outside. But even more so when I grow my inner qualities by spending time with my Savior and time growing as a person – letting that shine through. That is the unfading beauty talked about in I Peter 3.
While Joseph may have been a handsome man, part of what had to have attracted Potiphar’s wife had to be the strength of character that shined through him. The very integrity that kept him from being with her. He was not open to her advances because he had another source of fulfillment. I do not want to leave my husband vulnerable to attack. I want him to feel so loved and needed that going elsewhere is not appealing. Not that this means I need to entirely give up myself, but it does require some selflessness sometimes. Note: I realize that people can still stray – Satan isn’t called the devouring one for nothing – I am not in control of another’s actions – including my husband. But I just know that for me I want to be the Proverbs 14:1 woman, wisely building my house. I do not want my house to be open to the influence of a wandering woman like Potiphar’s wife of old!
P.S. If you are wanting to visit any of the websites that were mentioned in yesterday’s newsletter (including Robin’s), here are the direct links.
http://www.springboardforsuccess.com (her 2nd site – not mentioned in the newsletter)