As we make our way further into the twenty-first century, the term hope chest is becoming fairly extinct.  In fact, many of you reading this may have no idea what I'm talking about. 

Also called a dowry chest or a glory box, a hope chest is a box—usually made out of wood and sometimes decoratively painted or intricately carved—in which unmarried women would place objects that they hoped to bring with them to marriage one day.  These could include linens, dishes, silverware, household items or perhaps family heirlooms. 

While I was growing up, there were still some visible sightings of hope chests being recorded.  I made note of a few of them myself in my friends' bedrooms (they were usually positioned at the foot of their beds).  If their fathers were handy with woodworking, they would have crafted them for their daughters (or grandfathers for granddaughters).  The boxes might have also been passed down to them in their families or purchased at furniture stores.

I didn't have a hope chest, but I did collect a few items to bring with me into marriage one day:  an apron, a silver-plated, commemorative, bicentennial server and some tablecloths, among other things.  These were all given to me by one of my grandmothers—but when I received them, I didn't think they were such great gifts (I was young and really just wanted a Lite-Brite, some Luv-It jeans or a Barbie doll instead).  So, I said "thank you" and stored them away somewhere in the back of my closet.

Many years and multiple moves later, I now cannot find any of these objects.  But honestly, it really doesn't matter to me that much—for I know that it is really the intangibles I bring to a marriage that are most important.  And I must carefully (and continually) add to this trove of "gifts" while I prepare myself for marriage. 

As of late, I have thought about these qualities a great deal.  Of course, the Proverbs 31 woman is a natural go-to model of the "perfect wife," and I have been encouraged (and overwhelmed) by reading through the verses that describe her way of living. 

But recently, it dawned on me that the ultimate example who should inform my life is Christ.  His relationship with his Father, his interactions with others, his choices, his words reflect so well what I hope to bring to my marriage and to my future husband. …

A Humble Heart and a Submissive Spirit

When Jesus walked the earth, he did so in humility and in submission to his Father. 

"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.  And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.  For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:38-40).

Imagine, if you will, had Jesus not done the will of his Father.  Had he not walked in humility.  Had he not submitted.  Had he not followed when being led by the Spirit.  Everything would have been thrown out of whack.  He wouldn't have been raised on the last day, and we wouldn't have eternal life.  We would have no way to the Father and no relationship with our Creator.  Jesus knew that there was an important plan in the works and a purpose for God sending him to earth.  In obedience, he humbly submitted to his Father.

Now, in considering how a woman brings a humble heart and a submissive spirit to her marriage, she would also upset God's design of the husband and wife relationship if she did not follow this same example.