When you’re married to a woman for nearly 51 years (September 4), you learn a bit about her. So I can say without hesitation, my wife Carolyn is nasty.
My wife is nasty because she’s independent. She thinks for herself. She insists on standing on her own two feet, not under my thumb.
My wife is nasty because she believes that racial justice is long overdue and that Americans must do all that they can to achieve it. Likewise, she supports the broad and varied LGBTQ community. Of course, Carolyn has her selfish side. We have a trans son and a gay son in addition to a straight son.
My wife is nasty because she believes in reason and science. She wears a mask when we go out. More, she sews them. She’s given out over 180. Our dining table hosts her ancient sewing machine—refurbished several months ago—and cotton cloth plus polyurethane for a lining that makes them quite effective.
My wife is nasty because she believes that women, as well as men, can hold positions of power and influence, up to and including the White House. She doesn’t insult men. Neither does she accept insults to women whose achievements are notable and add so much to every component of American life.
My wife is nasty because she believes that every American is entitled to healthcare. She gets it that this is essential to unlocking the full potential of every American and providing comfort to those whose means don’t match ours. That’s only natural, since like so many wives and mothers, she’s the family nurse, always there to provide assistance and insist that when it’s time to see the doctor, we go.
The Book of Proverbs lauds the eshet chayil—the woman of valor. “Her worth is far beyond that of rubies.” In the days of Proverbs’ writing, women’s and men’s roles were pretty much divided. The woman of valor was lauded for performing specific tasks connected to home and family. Yet the woman of valor also is heralded for a particularly important trait—giving generously to the poor (31:20). Advancing only her own family’s status and that of the wealthy never comes into play.
Above all, the woman of valor remains defined by the verse reading, “It is for her fear of the Lord / That a woman is to be praised” (31:30). The Bible, viewed in all its perspective and context, demands that a woman of valor adhere to the deep moral principles it prescribes. Lip service doesn’t cut it—for anyone.
Today, women and men share a great many tasks. Being home, where I write these posts and fiction, I do lots of cleaning, house chores and occasional cooking. Carolyn and my relationship has evolved with the times, not to lessen fear of the Lord but enhance it. We seek to create and maintain a real partnership, reflected in Genesis 2:24: “Hence a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, so that they become one flesh.”
A woman of valor clings to her husband as he does to her but never surrenders her individuality. She champions honesty and kindness to everyone regardless of race, nationality, religion, gender preference or gender identification.
Carolyn truly is an eshet chayil. You can’t get nastier.
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