While these verses speaks primarily to husbands, there are implications for wives as well. For example, even though a husband may be unfaithful, the wife doesn’t have to be. This passage acknowledges that if a husband doesn’t avail himself of the thirst quenching water he has at home (a satisfying sexual relationship with his wife), he may seek it elsewhere. When he does so, he leaves his wife emotionally starved and unsatisfied. Solomon acknowledges that some women in this situation may become springs that overflow in the streets; that is, they seek love and romance else where.
But, they don’t have to. They shouldn’t. Since Proverbs is addressed primarily to young men, most of the moral instructions are directed to male temptations: the lure of attractive women, voluptuous kisses and sensuous perfume (cf. Prov. 7:10-18). But Proverbs is concerned about developing wisdom and a moral consciousness in everyone, male and female. Proverbs warns against the wiles of the immoral woman who draws men from the moral path (chapters 2, 5,6,7) and who seeks pleasure in stolen water (a likely metaphor for immoral sexual behavior). But it also honors the moral woman for building a healthy home (14:1). Also, the Wise Wife of Proverbs 31 is extolled for the selfless attention she showers upon her husband and children, something she likely would not do if her energies were spent upon a secret lover.
Photo from Amy Free Photography
While Proverbs enjoins moral behavior for the male, it clearly assumes it for the female as well. So, if a husband is unfaithful, seeking sources of sensual refreshment from a woman other than his wife, that doesn’t mean the wife has to do the same. She can exercise her moral fiber and rededicate her efforts to do all she can to preserve her home.
A wife has tremendous power to nurture refreshment in the home to help prevent it from deteriorating to the point of either partner seeking affection elsewhere. She can use initiative and creativity to ensure that the springs and fountain of the home continually attract the attention of her husband.
Proverbs 7 presents us with a sexually aggressive married woman who, unfortunately, is unfaithful to her husband, and is directing her energy toward an unsuspecting young male visiting the big city. She spots the aimlessly wandering boy and accosts all of his senses with her feminine appeal. She wears alluring apparel (v.10), envelops him in a passionate embrace, kisses him energetically (v.13), speaks temptingly (v.14-18), and perfumes her private chamber (and likely herself, v.17). Everything she does inflames the young man’s mind and body! Yet, everything she does is so wrong because she is not married to this young man. Her drive and ambition is completely misdirected because such affection is meant for her husband.
Why the woman acts this way Proverbs doesn’t say. It just warns young men to avoid such volatile, moral situations. God gives men five senses to experience pleasure. When all five of them are under sensual attack at one time, it will be difficult for even the strongest, most centered of men to resist for long. The immediate response in a family-oriented man must be to just run!
But let’s look at Proverbs 7 from another perspective. What makes the woman of Proverbs 7 so dangerous to a man? The fact that she is offering what every male craves: a healthy, inviting, and energetic romantic encounter. And while the approach of the Proverbs 7 woman is so wrong when exercised outside of her marriage, it is so right when directed toward her husband.
Tell me, what man wouldn’t double time it home if he knew ready to embrace him was the love of his life acting out Proverbs 7 toward him!? Wives, the greatest weapon your husband has in his arsenal to ward off the overtures of the seductress is you. At least occasionally, show him the same level of excitement and interest that the immoral woman may have already tempted him with earlier in the day.
Jobs, demands of the home, and caring for energetic kids often leaves a wife and mom so exhausted she simply doesn’t have the strength to give an energetic and sensuous greeting to her husband. It’s unfair to expect her to. At least all of the time. There are years when the children are little when romance seems to take a back burner. While that is understandable and sometimes unavoidable, it is also very dangerous. The sizzle in a marriage may falter and die, but the need for love, acceptance, embrace, and sex does not. And if a husband and wife don’t find them in each other, they become easy pickings for any aggressor on the prowl. Don’t let exhaustion give room to a Proverbs 7 woman claiming what is yours. And, yes, while all the adultery chapters in Proverbs hold the man accountable for his moral offenses, even when he is under assault by an aggressive woman, a loving wife who is equally aggressive at home can do so much to assure the faithfulness of her man.
Wives, be the spark plug sometimes. Your romantic aggression means more to your husband than he will ever tell you, largely because men don’t like to talk about their feelings. But if you notice your husband smiling more, being kind and gracious in the home, telling you to go shopping while he watches the kids, and taking out the trash without being asked, you’ll know why. Your initiation of a sexual encounter will make your husband feel valued, proud (in a healthy sense), wanted, and deeply, deeply thankful to you. Conversely, never initiating can leave your guy feeling bruised in his self-esteem, unwanted, and hurt. Pride will keep him from saying, “I’m hurt,” so he will likely mask his bruise in anger, speaking and acting in ways that will hurt you back. Eventually, he may even begin to withdraw from you.
Men want to know that their wives do more than tolerate their advances; they want to know that they are wanted, sexual needs and all. You can communicate that by occasionally being the aggressor. If you don’t, the Proverbs 7 woman is ready to.
Don’t leave sensual allurement for your husband to women who shouldn’t be offering it. Your husband picked you because you were the most beautiful and alluring of women to him. He loved you. You are the one he wants to knock his socks off, and if you do, the Proverbs 7 woman doesn’t stand a chance.
God wants a husband’s fountain to be blessed. That means you share in that blessing. You are that blessing! Keep the cistern cool and refreshing, and you guarantee where he will be coming to drink.