Posts tagged Proverbs 31
LETTERS TO MY SON: the needy woman

Strength and dignity

 are her clothing,

and she smiles at the future.

She opens her mouth in wisdom,

and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Proverbs 31:25


Dear son,

So far I’ve talked to you about three kinds of women to avoid: the Manipulator, the Shamer, and the Drama Queen. Every woman I know has these tendencies, including me. These are ways women turn to in order to cope with past hurts or present helplessness.

But we don’t have to become entrenched in manipulation. We don’t have to give in to drama. We can stop it in its tracks if we fully entrust our lives to Jesus. We can humble ourselves, confess our sinful leanings and become beautiful.

But there is one more kind of woman I want to warn you about. I’ll call her the Needy Woman. And I’m not saying no man should ever marry this kind of woman. I’m warning you specifically because of your vision and calling to spiritual leadership in the church. The Needy Woman will engulf an enormous amount of a man’s time and attention in order to bring her to a place of spiritual and emotional dependence on God.

In many ways I was this kind of woman when your dad married me. I was barely 19 years old, mature and responsible on the surface, but dependent and needy whenever my carefully constructed corner of the world hit any sort of turbulence.

Your dad patiently led me into a deeper walk with God, never shaming me for my fearfulness or social inadequacies. But he also did not let my neediness hold him back from fulfilling the ministry he was called to.

To be honest, dear son of mine, I did hold him back. I cried when our monthly calendar planning outlined too many nights alone. I complained about his distraction, got my feelings hurt far too easily. I tried too hard to control a man who was born to lead, not to follow my ideas of a hunky-dory life.

In God’s unexplainable kindness, He matured me by constantly stretching me beyond myself. I wanted to be independent but I had no idea how to depend on God for my strength.  Then when disaster struck and I was diagnosed with progressive hearing lost and told I’d be deaf before long, I fell completely apart. And you know my story because you’ve heard it a hundred times.

God used that diagnosis to bring me into complete dependence on Himself.

To need Him alone. 

No one else could come close to bringing me the relief I needed from the fear and dread I felt at the prospect of going deaf.

That’s why I want you to avoid taking on the responsibility of a needy woman. To stop yourself from assuming that in your great strength you can help a woman whose helplessness may seem so appealing at first.

And though our marriage is strong and my respect for your dad is immense, it could have gone a different direction. Your dad, great spiritual leader that he is, could not have made me strong. He pointed me in the right direction, but I had to go there all by myself. And frankly, the only reason I followed that path to utter dependence on God is because in my failure I saw a terrifying glimpse of who I would become if something didn’t change immediately.

So, from personal experience, let me leave you my list of signs of…


  1. The needy woman is reluctant to go any where without you by her side.
  2. The needy woman always needs more time with you.
  3. The needy woman has no long-term goals of her own to drive her days.
  4. The needy woman gets her feelings hurt frequently.
  5. The needy woman will pull you away from friends and family and want you all to herself.
  6. The needy woman is easily intimidated by strong women.
  7. The needy woman is often critical of people who are different than her.
  8. The needy woman often appeals to a strong man’s strength, but will suck him dry.
  9. The needy woman resists suggestions to broaden her world, preferring to avoid adventure and remain in the confines of her safe structure.
  10. The needy woman requires vast amounts of reassurance, never having enough encouragement to fill her empty reservoir.

Please note, dear son. A needy woman is not bad. She is usually sweet and gentle and full of grace. But your calling will require a wife who is willing to let you go, just like I had to learn to let your dad go. Just like Tammy has to let your brother go. Just like most women of hard driving men have to allow their men space to follow their vision fully.

I love you, Matt, and am praying that you lean on God’s wisdom as you live your life. May He bring you a good and godly wife in His perfect timing.

From my heart,




LETTERS: the drama queen vs. the kind wife

Strength and dignity

 are her clothing,

and she smiles at the future. 

She opens her mouth in wisdom,

and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 

Proverbs 31:25


Dear son,

Can you imagine what it would be like to wake up next to a woman every morning for the rest of your life who “smiles at the future”? A woman who so fully trusts God that even when life is hard and not what she wants, she could find hope and rest? And then spill that bright vision of possibility all over you… and your children… and everyone who steps into her circle of relationship?

Can you imagine what it would be like to live with a woman who is fascinated by you? Who knows who you are with all your flaws and failures, and focuses on the good? Who watches when you mess up and instead of condemning or correcting or sighing or exploding, wraps her arms around you and loves you as you are right then and there?

Can you imagine?

Is that even possible?

Yes, Matt, I believe it is. I believe that a woman can choose to be kind. She’ll mess up sometimes, no doubt, but I believe that God has given every woman who fully gives her life to Him “everything pertaining to life and godliness”. (2 Peter 1:3)

Which means, no woman has to give into all those surging emotions we are born with. We can choose, instead, to bring those wild feelings to the Cross and let God help us work through to wisdom.

It’s not easy. But it’s doable because we serve a Redeemer who never stops redeeming all those raw, wounded, stubborn, self-willed parts of us as long as we let Him.

That said, my dear son, watch out for any woman who has not chosen that path of full surrender. She may be nice and charming and alluring and compelling, but if she’s not fully submitted her will to Him she has the capacity to make your life miserable.

How will you know?

A woman who is still determined to protect herself will be all about herself.

A woman who is determined to submit herself to God will be all about others.

It’s that simple.

Now here are my lists…


  1. The Drama Queen always brings the conversation back to herself, her stories, her accomplishments, her feelings.
  2. The Drama Queen decides how much attention she needs from you and lets you know in no uncertain terms if you’ve failed to give her what she needs.
  3. The Drama Queen is thrilled with your successes because it makes her look good, but she’s intolerant of any areas of your life that she deems less than worthy of her approval.
  4. The Drama Queen justifies explosions or sulking as a means of punishing you or others.
  5. The Drama Queen thinks the world revolves around her needs and therefore your life must revolve around her needs.
  6. The Drama Queen can be incredibly generous, but in the end, all her giving is with the expectation of attention and recognition.


  1. The Kind Woman is all about you. Whoever she’s with gets the full focus of her attention and interest.
  2. The Kind Woman does not demand more than you are able to give, though she may gently and honestly bring her needs to your attention.
  3. The Kind Woman waits a while before she acts on how she feels. She is distrustful of her own emotions and hesitant to make judgments based on how she feels. Instead she brings her feelings before the Father and asks for wisdom.
  4. The Kind Woman is not critical. She sees you in the best possible light, openly admiring the man you are.
  5. The Kind Woman adapts herself to you while remaining fully who she is. She brings her beauty to your vision and enhances your life while delighting in her own.

I do believe such women exist, Matthew, and here’s why: I know these kinds of women. They’re not perfect, but my goodness, they’re wonderful to be around. They are women like your Grandma Ruth. They can often be found serving somewhere behind the scenes— stroll through the children’s area at church and you’ll find a whole bevy of Kind Women. Women who are willing to wipe bottoms and corral kids with a smile on their face. Sometimes you can spot a kind woman loving on “the least of these”, people who are different or annoying or less than ideal.

May I respectfully offer one more word of caution?

Kind women are not always beauty queens. They are inclined to be understated rather than flashy. Their beauty may take a second look to discover. I have seen so many of these kind women emerge into breathtaking beauty by the love of their good husbands. There is something about a man finding you worth pursuing that often causes a woman to do more to enhance her beauty, to do her own version of a makeover in recognition of a man’s love of beauty.

You know I am praying for you, Matt, and for the other men who are in this process of preparing for a wife. Be wise. Be kind yourself. Pay attention. Don’t be passive. There is a woman out there just waiting to join her future to yours.

From my heart,



Dear Matthew, In Proverbs chapter 31 a mother writes to her son.

I can imagine her sitting at her desk in front of a window. A warm breeze wafts across the pages as she ponders what to write. She starts and then she stops, waddles up and throws away her first attempts, then finally decides to just say it.

And as a mother to a son, I feel that same angst. How do I say what my heart longs for you to hear?

Dare I say it? Should I?

When this mother of a king finally gets up the nerve to write what she knows her son needs to know, she does it, I believe, because she cares more about him than what he thinks about her.

And that’s no easy choice for a mama to make.

There is this nagging worry in every mother’s deep down places that if she’s not careful, if she says the wrong thing, if she says it too often and not just right— her son may move away from her heart and never come back.

And so King Lemuel’s mom and I have much in common. On these pages I’ll attempt to say what I mean in straight up man-talk form. And a few of the things I want to say I’ll probably say all wrong and too much. After all, women talk a whole lot different than men do.

We converse in circles and long sentences with lots and lots of before and after softening so we don’t hurt anybody’s feelings or step on toes or push people away from the relationship we crave and can never get enough of and don’t ever want to lose… yeah, like that.

Men talk short.

I’ll try.

But before I even get started, let me tell you something you need to know about women:

We love words and we love with words.

Some women talk a lot right from the get-go. You meet such a woman with a manly “hey”, and you get a paragraph thrown at you out of nowhere. The shorter your response, the longer hers will be. Because talkative women think that the way to coax a man to open his heart to her is to talk.

And talk. And talk some more.

You know these kinds of women because they’re my best friends. I love women who can carry the conversation, dragging me along into their fascinating world of verbal response. I can just listen and nod and throw in an occasional mh-mh to keep the bonfire burning.

Some men reject these kinds of women because they think they’re too much. Or that they’ll require too much from them. Or that all that verbosity signals something sinister like… neediness.

And sometimes it does… but most often those really talkative women are just a little nervous. And words start flowing like a broken pipe spewing water. Once she gets started she just can’t turn it off for the life of her. She’s terrified of silence and is begging you to jump into the flow and help her.

My advice to you? Be a man and rescue the poor girl.

What she wants is for you to know her. She’s inviting you into relationship at great risk to her heart. She’s bold and brave and beautiful in her attempt to bridge the yawning gap between your maleness and her femininity.

The absolute worst thing you could do, would be to leave her hanging there. Or to look away. Or to laugh. Please, please, don’t ever do that!

Ask her questions. Chime in with your own viewpoint.

Lead the conversation.

Most talkative women will be relieved that you did. Then they’ll settle down to a more reasonable pace of words… and you just might discover a delightful treasure of ideas and thoughts and passions and life.

Other women can barely sputter their thoughts out-loud. They back away in terror that they might say too much, or the wrong thing — so they say nothing.

And that can make men uneasy.

The whole world labels these kinds of women shy. And shy little girls are cute. But shy women? They’re stuck up and remote and cold and anything but cute. And that’s so not fair!

Women are not shy. Quiet maybe, but never shy. Because we women are all about words. Whether those words are streaming out of our mouths or galloping across our minds, we’re always talking. Always.

My advice to you? Be a man and rescue the poor girl!

What she wants is for you to help her. Just like the talkative girl, she longs to be known. And liked. She wants to know you too but doesn’t have the courage to overcome her angst about all that maleness standing in front of her to ask.

I know all about this kind of girl because that’s who I was when I met your dad. My mind would be racing with words that caught in my throat because I was so terrified that if those words left my tongue they’d just hang uncomfortably in the air between us.

So I said nothing.

But that didn’t stop your dad from talking. He led me into conversation. And as you know, I’m anything but shy now.

I talk. A lot.

And the only difference is that now I know how and now I feel safe and wanted and known.

That’s what a good man can do if he’s willing to lead.

And so, my son, here’s what I want you to know:

A woman,

whether she’s shy or

she’s way over the top talkative,

needs to share her thoughts like you need to breathe.

If you’ll pave the way and lead her skillfully, you’ll discover a land you never knew existed… a land that’s filled with ideas and dimensions and help and wisdom and perspective that you’ll never glean from just your guy friends.

And that, my dear son, is worth talking about.

With love,


P.S. For next week’s post I’ve listed and explained 10 WAYS A MAN CAN LEAD A WOMAN WELL WITH WORDS.



Several months ago, my son Matthew wrote me an email asking one simple question… would I do for him what I had done for his older brother many years ago... would I write a series of letters giving him specific advice as to what to look for in a wife?

Matt was seven when I first started writing those letters. His big brother was away at school in the days before email and Facebook and Twitter. For over a year I wrote letters, folded the paper, licked the envelope, and dropped those missives in the mail.

I tried to explain to him how women differ and what I saw as his greatest need. I painted a picture for my firstborn son of a woman whose life would mesh with his— of a helper, a partner, a lover, a friend for the rest of his life. I knew, in that way that mothers know, that John Mark would be a leader.

And I knew John Mark.

I called those letters, “In Search of Eve” – I know, I know, it does sound incredibly corny now, but this was back in 1998 when baggy jeans and white-bleached-sticking-in-every-direction hair was in style too.

It made sense back then.

And it sure seemed to work for John Mark. Those letters mystically coincided with his discovery of Tammy. There in black and white was a handwritten description of the woman who had captured his attention. As he read those letters from his mom he was astounded at how accurately I was describing a girl I had never met.

Well, you know the rest of the story. John Mark and Tammy have been married for ten years now. They have two of the most intelligent, amazing, engaging, handsome boys in the world (okay, maybe I’m just a tiny bit biased) and have just adopted a beautiful African daughter into the Comer heritage. There is no doubt in my mind that Tammy is God’s gift not only to my son, but also to me. I love her like my own daughters and she fit my son in ways I could never have envisioned while laboring at my desk over those letters.

And now Matthew wants letters of his own.

And so, over the next few weeks and months, I will be sharing with all of you what I write to my son. He’s agreed to forego his privacy just a bit in order to allow his friends and people neither of us know— but both of care about, to learn alongside him. I’ll be using the last chapter of the book of Proverbs to guide my advice to my son.

Proverbs 31 has long been studied by women hoping to learn how to be the perfect woman and the “ideal wife”. But that was never the purpose of this oft-maligned chapter of God’s Word.

It is simply a letter from a mother to her son.

Now, granted, included in the middle of that letter is a description of woman of such beauty it fairly takes our breath away.  And leaves us lowly less-than-perfect women more than a little intimidated.

But that, I would argue, is not what this mother intended. She was writing to her son, not to women. And she knew her boy. She’d studied him and prayed for him and watched over him since before he emerged from her womb.

Now he is a man, a leader, a king. His vocation as ruler/politician/warrior puts Lemuel under intense pressure to perform and provide. And his mother knows he needs a godly woman to come alongside him and bring balance and wisdom and grace to his leadership. A woman who will fill the empty places of his heart, while bringing him honor and immeasurable help.

And so she writes her letter to her son. And I write to my own son.

And both of us beckon you to read along. To think and ponder and imagine what a truly good wife can do alongside a truly good man. And what a truly good man should know about women. And what women should know about what it means to be truly good.

But while you’re reading, will you do one thing? Will you forget the idea of “ideal”? Will you set aside the fairy tale notion of “perfect”? Instead, will you look with me at what God has to say about the value of a good woman?

And will you give me lots of grace in these next series of posts? I’m writing to my son, not studying for a commentary.

I’m the mom of a man-boy who is preparing for his future of leadership and mission.

And I’m the wife of a leader— a truly good man who has taught me and corrected and protected me for just shy of 34 years.

I’ve learned most of what I know the hard way. By making mistakes and coming up short and being disappointed in my self-centered self. And then by turning to the Scriptures to find a better way of being.

This is my answer to my son’s question—

Mom, what should I look for in a wife?

From my heart,

Diane (aka Mom)

P.S. Why don’t you take some time this week to slowly read through Proverbs, chapter 31? Allow yourself to think through the wisdom in God’s words to you. Go ahead and jot down a few notes and send me any questions that come to your mind.