Just as a disclaimer, I have been married less than 2 years and am in no way a Love Expert! Honestly, I gained a new understanding of this verse after I got married. But this verse shaped my view on marriage before I met my husband. So for all of you bachelorettes who are reading this, don't disregard it! In fact, any time you see a passage of scripture related to marriage (if you see marriage in your future...) ask yourself this question: Am I living a life that will attract a man that would allow our marriage to be a godly one? For those of you that are in that in-between phase, ask yourself: is this person allowing me to be a godly woman? Is he encouraging me in my walk with God? This verse is just as much for those who still that life-changing decision to make as it is for the wives out there.
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her...
The main characteristic that this verse highlights is trustworthiness.
This godly woman is trustworthy. Her husband, her family, can entrust their most important possession to her - their heart. In other words, they "have confidence" in her. (Scofield)
Like all of the qualities that this woman possesses, they are based on the example and character of Jesus Christ. In order to be trustworthy, her heart must also be placed in secure hands, the hands of her Lord. To be a truly safe place, she must know what is it to be safe.*
Trustworthiness is not just a Christian virtue that is taught in Sunday School, but it is part of one's character, demonstrated most strongly after it is experienced through a relationship with Jesus Christ.**
And just like in any friendship, the highest form of which is marriage, trust should be reciprocated in order to be fully exemplified.*** Can he really place all of his heart with you if he is not worthy of the same trust from you? Probably not.
... so that he shall have no need of spoil.
Consider this verse...
And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God. - 2 Corinthians 3.4-5
We should be content in knowing that our gifts, personal and temporal, are from the Lord and not just our own righteousness. Because we trust in Him, He reciprocates with His Spiritual closeness that gives us wisdom when reading and helps us to embody the qualities that Jesus possesses.
I understand that there are people who are not Christians who are still loyal and trustworthy, but there is something different and powerful about a couple who is grounded in the same thing, in God. Imagine two people love each other, and love the Lord even more. They make decisions based on what Jesus taught in the Bible. They emulate love by looking at the sacrifice Jesus made for them. They know they are on the same page, and God is the author of their book. So when troubles come or he does something to disappoint her, they recover, knowing they are grounded in the same thing. They are able to forgive because they know what it is to be forgiven. Imagine that each of them are at the base points of a triangle with God at the top. The only way for them to become closer is to walk closer to God. This builds true trust.
... so that he shall have no need of spoil.
You know that I am not an expert in Bible doctrine. There are many things in the Bible that I do not fully understand... including the second part of this verse! What I can do when I encounter those moments of "what in the world can this possibly mean?!" is to seek wisdom from other Christians. When asked what this phrase meant, my lovely husband paused for about 30 seconds, then eventually read me this verse:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. - 2 Timothy 3.16
To me, this means that every verse has a meaning and though I may not know the strict doctrinal meaning, I know what the Holy Spirit reveals to me when I read this. And if that revelation is in line with everything else I know to be true in the Bible, I am understanding what God would have me to know.
So when I read this, my first instinct was to define spoil:
"Plunder taken from an enemy in war or from a victim in a robbery" - Merriam Webster "Pillage; to plunder; to seize, snatch away" - Vine's Concise Dictionary
I believe this verse to mean that when we strive to emulate the example of Christ in love and trustworthiness we can create a safe place for our husbands (and families). They have no need to fight for their needs, whether that be acceptance, respect, affirmation, etc.
Consider this verse...
But the soldiers of the army which Amaziah sent back, that they should not go with him to battle fell upon the cities of Judah, from Samaria even unto Beth-horon, and smote three thousand of them, and took much spoil. - 2 Chronicles 25.13
Spoil is taken by someone who has won a battle. How often do we fight with each other just to have the last word, or be able to say "I told you so." How often do we feel like we are on the defensive when we are with each other, or discussing certain topics. Remember, you are on the same team. Sometimes this requires humility.^ Sure, you will butt heads sometimes, but your "reward" should not be the last word at their expense, but an understanding that leads to a stronger relationship.
I also don't believe that this verse is pointing to a one-sided relationship that puts pressure for peace solely on this wife. You should never be alone in your path to a godly relationship. However, we are responsible for upholding our end of the bargain and creating a safe place for our loved ones, away from the battles where there is no need for spoil.
Remember that you are are a treasure, a ruby, in God's eyes as one of His daughters. There is no spoil more valuable than you! Your love for God and all that entails will be enough for the man your Father has prepared for you.
Love you girls,
* He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him shall I trust... He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. - Psalm 91.1-2,4
** But let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because Thou defendest them: let them also love Thy name and be joyful in Thee. - Psalm 5.11
*** But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. - 1 Thessalonians 2.4
^ Better it is to of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
- Proverbs 16.19