Companionship in Deep Waters

by Catherine McNiel on July 06, 2020

He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.

 —Proverbs 18:22

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm.

 —Proverbs 13:20 (NRSV)

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.

 —Proverbs 20:5


Earlier this week, I read something that stuck with me: If you want to know why you see the world, or current events, or faith the way you do, look no further than your spouse.

You and your marriage partner spend countless hours talking over coffee, while brushing teeth, while scrubbing floors, while on vacation, while unloading groceries. Even if you don’t have an appointment to sit down and discuss theology or politics every Tuesday at 7pm, marriage is the long-term process of cross-pollinating ideas and behaviors. Our closest companions change us.

Throughout the Bible, companionship is considered a valuable gift. Adam and Eve are given to each other. The Psalmist longed to see the lonely placed in families. Ruth and Naomi clung to each other during deep seasons of grief. David and Jonathan found joy in their friendship. The early church found identity as the body of Christ. Marriage is not the only (or even primary or pinnacle) source of companionship described in the Bible, but it is an important one. If you are married, your spouse will inevitably make an impact on your life, for better or for worse. Their character, perspectives, and behavior will impact who you are and how you see the world.

This week, we turn in our study of Proverbs to the topic of marriage. To be honest, these thirty-one chapters don’t have a great deal to say regarding the nuts and bolts of marriage. But then again, marriage is not separate from the rest of our lives. Proverbs says much about positive and negative companions, communication, and conflict. It teaches about hard work and faithful labor; seeking wisdom and turning away from folly; the need to listen to good friends; the process of seeking God with our lives. The fact that these sentences do not include the words “marriage” or “spouse” does not make them any less necessary and applicable to marriage.

I turned back to this word picture:

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.

—Proverbs 20:5

Yes, our hearts and minds are deep waters; we need insightful companions to draw them out.

Let’s dig in and see what Proverbs has to teach us.

Questions for reflection and discussion: How have you experienced the need for companionship in your life? How do the comments on companionship in Proverbs apply to marriage? How does they apply to your other relationships?

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