What is a Proverbs 31 woman? Growing up in the church, I’ve almost resented this term because when you read the passage, she seems like this unrealistic ideal formulated in the male psyche. She seems unattainable. Unreal. It reminded me of the scene in Pride and Prejudice when Darcy describes the ideals of an “accomplished woman”, and Elizabeth scoffs that his description would be a fearsome thing to behold.
But is it?
As a newlywed, I have started thinking more frequently about what makes a good wife, or even, a good woman. After months of studying premarital literature leading up to our wedding, when I finally sat down to do thank you notes after the honeymoon, I did my fair share of binge watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians. I have to say it was quite an entertaining education on exactly what not to do in a marriage. It’s like watching a How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days approach to relationships. Though the women on this reality show are wrapped in a pretty package, their attitudes, values, and behavior reveal an ugliness that is hard to mask with a spray tan.
This Netflix binge, that helped me identify all the things not to do, drove me back to the prominent scripture of Proverbs 31. Breaking this passage down, this example neither felt hyperbolic or unattainable, but rather, empowering to me as a woman. Proverbs 31 was doable. These principles are qualities that we can all strive for and will make us better. I will struggle with some parts more that others, but that doesn’t mean these healthy goals shouldn’t take precedence in my life.
To best utilize this passage in my daily life, I broke select verses down in a table that looks like this.
|11-12 “Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”||
|Follow through on my promises and live with integrity. Don’t gossip about your husband, but dwell in building each other up.|
|13 “She finds wool and flax and busily spins it” 18-19 “She makes sure her dealing are profitable, her lamp burns late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her finders twisting fiber.” 27 “She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers not from laziness”||
|Fight the temptation of sloth.
In whatever my career, work wholeheartedly.
|14&15” She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing food from afar. She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household…”||
|It takes energy and planning to make tasty, healthy meals for the family, but it is worth it!|
|15 “She gets up before dawn to … plan the day’s work for her servant girls.”||
Wake up Early
|Be intentional is getting up early to utilize your limited time well. Be organized in your tasks and your time.|
|17“She is energetic and strong, a hard worker”||
|Take care of your physical health of your body.|
|22 “She makes her own bedspreads”||
|Make sure the home looks clean and inviting. Be a good care taker of what you are given and take pride in your household.|
|22 “She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns”||
|Even on a budget, make sure you take time to look presentable. Makeup and clothes do not make the person, but reflect the care and intent in what you do.|
|20 “She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her heart to the needy.”||
|Be generous whether helping a cause overseas, or opening your heart to a friend. Be others-minded|
|25-26 “She is clothes with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise and she gives instruction with kindness.”||
|Our words are a reflection of our hearts. I need to be cognizant that my conversations do not fixate on worry, gossip, or harshness, but are that of dignity and discernment.|
|30 “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last, but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”||
Love for God
|Everything I say and do should be an outpouring of my love for the Lord. That means I need to read my Bible to stay in relationship with God.|
“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.”