Photo by Tim Wildsmith on Unsplash
Photo by Tim Wildsmith on Unsplash

Proverbs for Healthy Relationships

Many people view the Bible primarily as a book of great wisdom and insight. It is that and so much more. In over 30 years as a marriage and family therapist I’ve discovered that it is also a practical tool-kit that can be used to help couples identify strengths and build stronger relationships. I continue to be impressed with the power of a specific passage of scripture to provide couples with that “aha” that sheds light on a particular issue and gives them the encouragement to take that next step.

King David wrote, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” In these pages you will find illumination for the next step as well as for the path ahead. Take time to reflect as you read through them. “Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge over pure gold. For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can be compared with it.” Proverbs 9:10-11 (NLT)

Gary J. Oliver, Ph.D.
Executive Director
The Center for Healthy Relationships


Happy is the person who finds wisdom and gains understanding.

Drink water from your own well–share your love only with your wife. Why spill the water of your springs in public, having sex with just anyone? You should reserve it for yourselves. Don't share it with strangers. Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving doe, a graceful deer. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, with an immoral woman, or embrace the breasts of an adulterous woman? For the LORD sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes.

Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel.

The LORD approves of those who are good, but he condemns those who plan wickedness. Wickedness never brings stability; only the godly have deep roots.

Everyone admires a person with good sense, but a warped mind is despised.

People can get many good things by the words they say; the work of their hands also gives them many benefits.

Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”


Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving doe, a graceful deer. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love.

A gracious woman attains honor, and ruthless men attain riches.

A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.

A wise woman builds her house; a foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands.

A foolish child is a calamity to a father; a nagging wife annoys like a constant dripping. Parents can provide their sons with an inheritance of houses and wealth, but only the LORD can give an understanding wife.

Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

It is better to live alone in the desert than with a crabby, complaining wife.

A nagging wife is as annoying as the constant dripping on a rainy day. Trying to stop her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or hold something with greased hands.

There are three things that make the earth tremble–no, four it cannot endure: a slave who becomes a king, an overbearing fool who prospers, a bitter woman who finally gets a husband, a servant girl who supplants her mistress.


Let those who are wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. And let those who understand receive guidance

Fools think they need no advice, but the wise listen to others.

Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.

Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many counselors bring success.

Get all the advice and instruction you can, and be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the LORD's purpose will prevail.

Human plans, no matter how wise or well advised, cannot stand against the LORD.

A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength; for waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisers.


Do not accuse a man for no reason—when he has done you no harm.

Do not envy a man of violence, and do not choose any of his ways. For the devious are an abomination to the LORD; but He is intimate with the upright.

A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted.

Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counselors of peace is joy.

Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.

A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated.

Those who control their anger have great understanding; those with a hasty temper will make mistakes.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute.

Violent people deceive their companions, leading them down a harmful path.

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.

A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.

It's harder to make amends with an offended friend than to capture a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with iron bars.

A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

A man of great anger will bear the penalty, for if you rescue him, you will only have to do it again.

It is an honor for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.

A secret gift calms anger; a secret bribe pacifies fury.

Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.

Fire goes out for lack of fuel, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops. A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.

When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest.

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.

An angry man stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression.

If you have been a fool by being proud or plotting evil, don't brag about it–cover your mouth with your hand in shame. As the beating of cream yields butter, and a blow to the nose causes bleeding, so anger causes quarrels.

Gary J. Oliver, ThM, PhD
Executive Director at Center for Healthy Relationships | + posts

Dr. Oliver is the Executive Director of The Center for Healthy Relationships, and professor of Psychology and Practical Theology at John Brown University.  He has authored over 20 books and more than 350 professional and popular articles.  Dr. Oliver has over 40 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage  & Family Therapist and Spiritual Director.  He leads seminars & workshops both nationally and internationally on a variety of counseling-related issues, healthy relationships as well as Emotional & Relational Intelligence (ERI).

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