We need to continually work towards our relationships no matter if we are newlyweds or grandparents.
Where do you think Potipher’s marriage fell on this grand scale? Off went Potipher, entertaining business dinners and meetings while his wife sat alone at home with a house full of servants. Wait, isn’t this pretty similar to the plot of Bridges of Madison County? Oh, hello traveling salesman, come on in.
Sometimes these things happen, as if by accident. Neither party starts off the day thinking “Hey, today I think it might be awesome to go about seducing someone.” Sometimes they do. “Oh if your husband is out of the country, then you can do what you want. It’s OK. It’s the International Rule.” Some women (and men!) decide that they can do what they want because they sacrifice so much. They do their shopping, get their hair done up wonderfully, max out the credit cards, and bed whom they want. It is their trade-off for living the life of a “business widow”. “He’s been gone for two weeks and I have needs, you know. Besides, he’s probably doing the same thing.” We sure do like to reason, don’t we?
Which woman do you think Potipher’s wife was? Was she slowly neglected until she fell into a trap of an out of hand crush or did she decide that infidelity would make up for the things she gave up to be the wife of successful Potiper? How many times do you think she tried to seduce someone before she got to Joseph? How did her actions change her?
Yes, she fell into temptation. She chose to try to lead another into temptation with her. Lucky for both of them, Joseph was strong in will and faith. If not, imagine the mistake they would have made. In the end, she may even find herself thankful for Joseph’s strength.
The story of Potipher and his wife teaches us a lot about marriage. Things to do, things not to do. There is nothing wrong with success and prosperity, but we need to be careful what we do once we have it. We need to watch our actions, our desires, our thoughts. When the need arises to work long hours, to be away from our family, we need to ensure that the time home counts for something.
The best thing a couple can do is to continue to work towards being in love. Not just a peck on the cheek and a quick “love ya” will do. If you keep the feeling of love fresh and new, your significant other in the forefront of your mind, they will be your first thought. Not someone else.
Keep the lines of communication open. What could have happened if Potipher’s wife had simply said, “Honey, I’m kinda feeling neglected here. Think we could go out to Olive Garden on Friday night?” Seems so simple, so easy, so silly. When was the last time you went out with your love? I know it has been a while for me! Seems our chance lately is a quick burger in the kitchen of our church before my husband runs off to help with the boy scouts.
Take what you have, and work with it.
The final lesson learned is found in the story’s conclusion. I asked how you think these actions affected Potipher’s wife. In that day, adultery was not taken lightly. Today a cheating spouse finds divorce papers served. Then the culprits risked stoning to death. Murdered for being unfaithful seems a far harsher penalty than alimony or child support.
Potipher had some pretty damning evidence. Joseph left his clothes behind, people witnessed him fleeing the scene looking rather guilty. Instead of asking for stoning, Potipher took a much less drastic route. Joseph went to prison, where he actually did well for himself. We read that as a blessing for his faithfulness.
It does lead us to wonder why Potipher would do this? Did he not feel the pain of betrayal from his servant and his wife? Maybe he realized his own failings as a husband. Perhaps he knew his wife, and seen her play this game before. Do you think he changed anything to improve his marriage?
Living with the guilt of the lie she told, Potipher’s wife continued on with her husband. Maybe she changed things to try to improve their marriage. Do you think she may have turned her powers of seduction on him, where they belonged? What about the guilt, did it cause her to worry that he secretly knew her falsehood? Or did she go on to try this tactic with the next pool boy that came along?
How would you live with that knowledge? I know me. It would take nothing for me to sing like a canary an fess up all my sins. Do you ever think if Potipher’s wife confided in her husband?
We must remain strong in our faithfulness and shy away from faithlessness. This couple could not remain faithful to one another’s heart, the same could probably be said for their spirituality. Joseph, we know, nurtured his faith. We need to make sure that remain strong with God, so we can stay strong from sin. Building a relationship with our partner built on the foundation of our faith will strengthen one another as well as the relationship itself.
Live. Laugh. Love. Daily wisdom we need to practice so we don’t become the next Potipher and wife.