The way she tilted her head up to gaze into the face of her fiancé repulsed me.
Not a very nice sentiment, I realize, but this is the impression I am left with. I finally met David’s fiancé but I had to throw them an Engagement party to get the opportunity. In our circle of friends, we didn’t know she even existed before last Thanksgiving, but even then it was obvious to the one or two people who knew they had gotten together that this relationship was on a rocket-speed trajectory. They met, and they decided to get married. It was ‘ordained by God.’
Let me come back, then, to the first sentence of this post. The way she tilted her head up to gaze into the face of her fiancé repulsed me. I’ve seen that look before, the one where a woman looks up into the face of her spouse in silent, rapt attention as he engages in a conversation. But never in anyone under eighty years old. I realize she had never met the people attending her party before, but she could have spoken for herself. At the very least, she could have made sounds in agreement with David. A ‘yes’ or an occasional ‘uh huh’ would have sufficed. We all were waiting to hear about her. Everyone wanted the details of their whirlwind courtship, and would have loved to hear it from her mouth. But she remained silent in words and allowed her eyes to say, “Ask him. He will speak for me.”
I do not believe this comes from a fundamental shyness. What struck me as so odd, and so nauseating, was it appeared to me that she was acting in deference. Her entire attitude– the turn of her eye, the slant of her head, the angle of her body in the chair–spoke to her contented submission to her man. David had mentioned once that she was a perfect Proverbs 31 woman, and I had no idea what that meant. I only knew if he was judging a woman based on the Old Testament, it could not possibly be flattering to me.
After the party, I was so struck by her behavior that I looked it up. I was not too surprised to find a whole industry devoted to Proverbs 31 women—books, websites, blogs, sermons galore, public speakers for hire. It’s a verse cherished by those Prairie Homeschooling Christians.
Which reminds me where I have seen that look before: on the face of the Michelle Duggar.
10 [a]A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:10-30 NIV