Growing up, I heard it constantly. To be a good woman of faith, you must exemplify the qualities of a Proverbs 31 woman. We were given verses to memorize. We were told to think on them. How often were we actually told how to do it? How often were we given a way to act this out in the modern world?
As my wedding day draws near, I find myself reflecting more and more upon what it means to be a good wife. I have done my typical scouring of Pinterest for articles and blog posts. Through all this searching, Proverbs 31 keeps echoing in my heart. As I reread the passage, I was a bit perplexed at some aspects. How often do we deal with flax or wool? What does a woman dealing with ships of merchants mean for a modern woman? Like He so often does, the Lord reminded me that I have access to the answers I seek. I just have to do the research.
I decided to break up the passage and study each section. Here is the reading plan for the next seven weeks.
- Proverbs 31:10-12
- Proverbs 31:13-16
- Proverbs 31:17-20
- Proverbs 31:21-24
- Proverbs 31:25-27
- Proverbs 31:28-29
- Proverbs 31:30-31
I hope you can hold on with me over the next few weeks. I will examine each section and attempt to apply it to the modern life.
(Hopefully, I will avoid any semblance of heresy.)
Let’s jump in. Shall we?
An excellent wife, who can find?She is far more precious than jewels.The heart of her husband trusts in her, and will have no lack of gain.She does him good, and not harm all the days of her life.Proverbs 31:10-12
What does it mean to be an excellent wife?
Be the crown of your husband.
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.Proverbs 12:4
Be kind. Be faithful. Act appropriately. Bring gladness to his heart. Make your home a place of peace and rest. Proverbs 14:30 tells us that a tranquil heart gives life, but envy (discontentment, resentfulness, jealousy) brings rotting bones.
Let him take care of you.
And now my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.Ruth 3:11
The above verse is Boaz’s response to Ruth when she asks him to be her kinsman redeemer. Boaz goes on to say there is another closer than him, and he must ask this man’s permission before he takes on the task. Before Ruth goes to sleep, Boaz says, “As the Lord lives, I will redeem you.”
Your husband wants to take care of you, but you have to trust him to do it. Trust that his intentions are good. Trust that he wants to do things the right way. Remember, that doesn’t mean it’s always going to look like what you think it should.
He knows he has a good thing. You don’t need to constantly remind him.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.
A man who is truly committed knows what he has in his wife. He chose to marry you as much as you chose to marry him. He knows your good qualities as much as he knows the bad. After all, we’re told in Genesis 2:18 that man was not made to be alone. He has a companion, a partner, a lover, for the rest of his life. He never has to do anything alone. He knows he has you for support no matter what you face.
Can the heart of your husband trust in you?
Can he be confident in you?
Do you offer a safe place for him to be vulnerable?
Can he come to you with a need without fear of rejection?
Does he trust you enough to show you his transparent self?
Do you do your husband good and not harm?
When you’re with your friends, are you constantly badmouthing him?
Do you ever speak well of him?
Are you constantly tearing him down or are you building him up?
Nobody is perfect. Not even you. Not even the man you married. He’s not always going to do the right thing, but neither do you. Do you give him the space to fail? Does he trust that you’re not going to leave when things get hard? Do you respond with nagging or with grace?
I need to place a small disclaimer here. If there are serious issues, those do need to get talked about. Abuse is not something that should be shoved under the rug. I’m talking about letting go of the little things.
Take the time to examine yourself and your heart. After all, marriage is designed to reflect the love between Christ and the Church. Where would we be if He didn’t show us grace? The least we can do is offer the same to the ones we are to love as much as ourselves.