Making Peace With That Goody-Goody from Proverbs 31

Just incase you aren’t familiar with it, here is Proverbs 31:10-31. In most Bibles, the heading above this section is called “The Wife of Noble Character”.

Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.

Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.

She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

She finds wool and flax and busily spins it.

She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar.

She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard.

She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.

She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night.

Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.

She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.

She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes.

She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.

Her husband is well-known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders.

She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.

When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.

She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.

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!

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.

Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

So, as if women don’t put enough pressure on themselves, there’s this woman to live up to! I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard many yet-to-be-married men who align themselves with the Christian faith proclaim self-righteously, “I’m looking for a Proverbs 31 woman.” Yeah – I bet you are. So, what are you doing to make yourself worthy of such a remarkable woman I wonder?

I have to say, it gives me great pleasure to think about what it might be like if there were a whole 11 verses in the Bible specifically devoted to outlining the perfect husband. What then fellas? What if something like THIS were in the Bible;

Who can find a wise and honorable husband?

He is more precious than diamonds.

His wife can trust him and he will greatly enrich her life.

He brings her good, not harm, all the days of his life.

He finds prosperous, steady work and faithfully provides for his family.

He is like a great adventurer seeking out ways to create wonderful memories with his family.

He gets up early to brew the coffee and feed the cat.

He keeps a close watch on all his investments and increases his positions at the correct time.

He is energetic and strong, a hard worker.

He will not rest until his family is secure and lacking nothing.

He hones his skills and shares his talents.

He is tender-hearted and generous and communicates his feelings with ease.

He has made provision for any circumstance his family may face.

He can fix anything that is broken and he looks good doing it.

His wife is well-respected, well dressed, and well-groomed.

He is skilled in business and can make wise and profitable transactions.

He is known for his discernment and wisdom and is well-respected in the community.

He is self-confident yet humble.

Others seek his counsel and advice.

He is constantly vigilant and keeps careful watch over his family, and is never lazy.

His children stand and bless him, his wife praises him; “There are many wise and honorable men in the world but you surpass them all!”

Charm is deceptive, and rugged good looks won’t last;

But a man who seeks God will be greatly praised.

Reward him for all he has done.

Let his deeds publicly declare his praise.

(any resemblance to my actual husband is purely intentional)

Why can’t THAT be in the Bible? “Oh sweetie, it says right here in God’s holy word that you should be the one to get up early to pour the coffee and feed the cat – and you know that new kitchen, well, it seems you aren’t supposed to rest until we lack nothing and right now I am lacking a kitchen from this century.”

Ridiculous right? It is unfortunate when God’s word is used as a leveraging tool to get what we want from others. It’s meant to be used more often as a mirror and less often as a microscope. And while it’s true that many a young man I knew in my former years held this wonder woman up as the gold standard among women, it is also true that I did the same – placing myself under the bondage of performance that has no place in the life of a Christ follower.

But here’s the thing. As perfect as she sounds, most women I know are their own unique expression of this very woman! I am consistently astonished by what I see my sisters doing.

I see college women volunteering in the community, going on mission trips, supporting themselves, and keeping up with their studies.

I see young mothers running their households and raising their children with grace and wisdom.

I see women who are balancing a career and their home with finesse and amazing attention to detail.

I see older women mentoring younger women; sharing the secrets of a well-balanced life.

Some of us are up before dawn to manage our homes well. Others burn their lamps late into the night. But we all, to some degree, personify this woman who is to be greatly praised.

We clip coupons to stretch our dollar, we exercise to care of our bodies, we sit through soccer games, swim meets, dance class, and campfires to support the development of our children. We take our place in our individual households as home-makers or income earners and we still manage to plan all the annual holiday celebrations of birthdays, Christmases, Thanksgivings, Easters, and everything in between. We shop Craig’s list and thrift stores for good deals. We are there for our friends in the middle of the night in a moment’s notice. We are vital to the infrastructure of our communities and our homes.

Whether you’ve realized it or not, you ARE that amazing woman. So stop comparing yourself to her or any other woman. Your children may never stand and bless you, nor may your husband shower you with praise, but that does not diminish your vital role in the creation of God’s beautiful tapestry.  Thank you for your amazingness.

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6 thoughts on “Making Peace With That Goody-Goody from Proverbs 31

  1. Being a Christian and recently married, I cannot say that I’ve ever felt intimidated by Proverbs 31. I’ve only ever received joy and honor from reading that chapter. How wonderful is it that God entrusts me to carry out all these responsibilities and tasks for myself, my husband and our future family! I take great joy in this and know that my strength and ability to be a Proverbs 31 Woman comes from God alone.

    As for my husband, he was looking for a Proverbs 31 Woman before he met me (not to say I am perfect). And the question you pose, “What are you [men] doing to make yourself worthy of such a remarkable woman?” — I must admit I’m having a hard time not being offended by it.

    You have to know that a man who understands Proverbs 31 is a man of God. He probably studies the Bible and tries to follow Jesus as best as he can. He isn’t looking for a wife of good looks or style. He knows that he will find fulfillment in marriage if he waits on the right woman.

    I think Solomon writes Proverbs 31 as an encouragement to women. Historically, women have been oppressed, limited, controlled. That isn’t what God desires for us. Proverbs 31 may also serve to teach men that women actually are capable, independent and strong.

    Personally, I love to hear a man say that he’s waiting on his Proverbs 31 Woman. It gives me so much respect for him.


  2. God is certainly good. Thank you for your blog post. It is always good to read through Proverbs 31 as a reminder of who God created us women to be. Have a great day!

  3. Victoria & Angie, I must admit, I initially thought the same thing about the comment of “So, what are you doing to make yourself worthy of such a remarkable woman I wonder?”…but then I continued to read on and Victoria came to the point, which was not to be overlooked by the previous statement:

    “Whether you’ve realized it or not, you ARE that amazing woman. So stop comparing yourself to her or any other woman. Your children may never stand and bless you, nor may your husband shower you with praise, but that does not diminish your vital role in the creation of God’s beautiful tapestry.”

    Besides, the man has a whole other set of responsibilities and expectations lined out in Ephesians 5. It isn’t the man’s duty to live up to what’s outlined in Proverbs 31, nor is it the woman’s duty to live up to what’s outlined for the man in Eph. 5.

    God created us differently and uniquely for a reason – so that the joining of those differences would result in an even greater force in the Kingdom, balanced and effective because of what sets us apart and what we’re called to do.

    Victoria, I don’t think you could have said it any better than to say that too often, we use the Bible as a microscope to put others beneath for close scrutiny, when the truth is, a mirror is exactly what we need. We need to keep looking into it for evidence of Christ-likeness.

    1. Thanks Jen – It certainly was not my intent to offend. I agree that God has created both men and women to be unique and to beautifully compliment one another when we are funtioning in full spiritual health.

      1. No offense taken. It was a gut-level reaction without having read the entire message you so eloquently wrote. 🙂

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