Have you ever heard the expression “a Proverbs 31 wife”? A list of model attributes for wives to display, Proverbs 31 evokes many and varied feelings in men and women alike. Unfortunately, some men can start to feel that their own wife is sorely lacking in some way if she doesn’t live up to the paragon of virtue being described in this chapter. And sadly, some women have felt weighed down by a burden of guilt and responsibility because this chapter was too rigidly misapplied in their lives.
So, do you really want “a Proverbs 31 wife?” Who wouldn’t want a wife who put forth great effort to show love and support for her family? But 2 Timothy 3:16 reminds us that “all scripture is inspired of God and beneficial.” So, the intent of Proverbs 31 is not to shame a woman or make her feel inadequate; it was intended as praise for a diligent and hardworking woman who cared for the needs of her family. It is not a checklist that a wife should be measured against, but rather a reminder that women should receive acknowledgment and praise for the work they do. This is evident in verse 28 which states: “Her husband rises up and praises her.”
How can you and your family benefit from the sound principles recorded in Proverbs 31?
Consider some of the following:
- Verse 11: “Her husband trusts her.” A husband who trusts his wife won’t insist that she always gain his approval prior to making decisions. Rather, he trusts that she is capable of handling things herself.
- Verse 15: “She also rises while it is still night, providing food for her household.” This principle shows the importance of being diligent in caring for the physical needs of the family. It is not demanding that all wives wake up early so they can wait on their family like a slave. Husbands and wives can work together to apply this principle of diligence in their lives.
- Verses 16 and 18: “She sets her mind on a field and buys it… she sees that her trading is profitable.” These verses depict hard work and prudence as being necessary to attain a financial goal. Working together to establish a family budget will prove beneficial for the whole family.
- Verse 17: “She prepares herself for hard work, and she strengthens her arms.” Turning a house into an attractive home and then caring for all the necessary household chores takes hard work, so wherever possible, offer to lend a hand.
When viewed correctly, Proverbs 31 highlights the benefits of working hard, being diligent and showing prudence in making financial decisions. Importantly, it shows that caring for the needs of the family is something that wives should be valued and praised for, so never take the hard work of your wife for granted; instead, give her the admiration and the praise that she deserves. In this way, the whole family can benefit from the excellent example of the “Proverbs 31 wife.”