Peace and the Proverbs 31 Woman: Christian Wife 101

Have you ever thought that a peaceful marriage should exist by itself, an incarnate thing that springs up from the foundation you and your husband made on your wedding day? Peace would settle around you like fog surrounds a cozy harbor in the middle of a bustling and chaotic life. It would envelop you in its cocoon-like nest and cushion you from the hurts that scrape the rest of the world.

You married your love, after all. Why would it not happen? Your love for each other was the recipe for life-long peace and happiness, was it not?

I believed in this ephemeral peace and landscape of perpetual smiles but was deeply disappointed soon after saying I DO. Peace was not a warm, embracing fog, but a thin and fleeting vapor. Appearing one day I knew not why and disappearing just as quickly.

Marriage was a struggle because no matter how much I tried to emulate the revered Proverbs 31 woman and work, work, work, I couldn’t strong-arm the calm I desired nor would my flabby attempts at being a godly wife produce any lasting effect. I needed to work for the peaceful marriage I wanted, but I had it backward. Peace does not exist by itself nor can it be manipulated by scurrying about doing all the “right” things. I needed to stop believing in the power of myself and start believing in the power that comes from obedience to the God of peace.

 

Welcome to Christian Wife 101
This series is meant for all wives, newly married and decades married, living the oft-times difficult journey of marriage who want to rediscover the blueprint for joy and peace that God made possible and laid out in His word.

I’m in no way an expert on godly marriage nor am I a perfect wife—far from it. But thanks be to God’s merciful Spirit, He has taken my past mistakes and opened my eyes to how I was sabotaging my desires for a peaceful life. When we try to rewrite God’s design, we will fail every time. But, oh, that illuminating moment when we finally get it: only God’s way works!

Christian Wife 101 is about getting back to the basics of what God says marriage is. Getting back to what God says a “help meet” is. Christian Wife 101 is a study for wives who want to thrive (not merely survive) in their role as a Christian wife.

 

Christian Wife 101

“Stand up and do the hard, spiritual work. Do not languish about waiting to be served. SERVE YOUR MARRIAGE. Your marriage will only give you what you put into it.”
—desert.rain.gleniece

 

Like anything lovely and enduring, peace in marriage needs to be cultivated. It needs to be worked like a garden needs your faithful presence. But no matter how hard I worked, the rewards for my labor were fleeting like a vapor in the glaring sun. I somehow missed the correlation between the hidden work of repentance, letting go of stubborn ideology, and trusting in God, and kept expecting peace to appear out of the thin blue mist of my errancy.

 

 

That Proverbs 31 Woman

Before I got married, I looked up to the Proverbs 31 woman. She had everything under control and I loved that. She was kind, hard-working, never complained, and her husband and children adored her. What young girl who loved the idea of marriage and managing her own home didn’t want to be her?

But in my early days of fretful wifehood, it became quite apparent that trying to live like her was outright impossible. In my frustration and rising resentment, I wondered, “Does this woman even exist? Why was she recorded in the Bible? Was it to taunt struggling wives like me, and be a constant reminder of our failings and what we could never live up to?” I had a love/hate relationship with this woman now.

Look at all the action verbs attributed to the Proverbs 31 woman. She:

  • does only good to her husband
  • seeks
  • works (willingly)
  • brings
  • rises (early)
  • gives
  • considers
  • buys
  • plants
  • girds (herself)
  • strengthens
  • perceives (thinks)
  • lays hold
  • stretches (forth her hands to help)
  • reaches (out to those in need)
  • clothes (her household)
  • makes
  • makes (again)
  • sells
  • delivers
  • speaks (with wisdom and kindness)
  • looks well (manages her home)
  • rejoices
  • fears the Lord

What she does NOT do:

  • stop working at night
  • fear for her future
  • any evil toward her husband (or that would affect her husband)
  • be idle (waste time)

How is this long list of selfless acts achievable? Is she some kind of superhero?

After many years of being a Christian wife and studying the Bible, I think I understand. We women have ideals for what we want in a husband, don’t we? We want him to be loving, gentle, spiritually strong, understanding, brave, funny, etc. Well, men have ideals of what they want in a wife, too. And this ideal that graces the pages of Proverbs came from a king who learned these ideals from his wise mother.

 

The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. Proverbs 31:1

 

The Proverbs 31 woman was not a flesh and blood woman, dear wife. {whew. deep exhale.} She was merely a godly ideal. No woman (or man) can do all the right things all the time. The attributes of this ideal woman are a guideline for us wives. A gauge of actions and attitudes we should strive for but not stress over. Nobody’s perfect.

But if nobody is perfect (and nobody ever will be in this earthly life), then why does Christ say in Matthew 5:48, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”?

Jesus Christ tells us to be perfect, but not the way we think of the word “perfect” (because that would mean we would have to rely upon our own efforts to be good all the time. How utterly exhausting and completely unbiblical). Instead, Christ wants our hearts and minds to be “complete” in our Savior. Perfect in the King James Version means: “complete in growth, mental and moral character, etc.” Completeness is being a full-grown, woman leaning on God instead of a child still easily swayed by her emotions.

 

But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hebrews 5:14

 

When we rely on God, we are complete. Even when we mess up day after day. It’s not about doing everything perfectly, but doing everything faithfully. Repeatedly seeking the throne of God in humility and asking for help. Only then will we reap the reward of a happy, peace-filled marriage we dreamt about as a girl.

 

My inability to be the perfect Proverbs 31 wife was not the reason my marriage lacked peace.
The lack of peace in my marriage was a direct result of my inability to give myself fully to God.

 

 

 

Do you expect peace to bloom in your marriage on its own? Do you work hard like the Proverbs 31 woman but marital peace still eludes you? The phrase "be ye perfect" in the KJV is the key. #proverbs31woman, #godlywife, #peace, #perfect

 

 

Are you virtuous?

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. Proverbs 31:10

 

A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones. Proverbs 12:4

 

Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Proverbs 31:29

 

The words “virtuous” and “virtuously” are only found in four places in the Bible, three of them in Proverbs, and all written in regards to women.

“Virtuous” in the KJV means “a force”. “Might, power, strength, valor, wealth. Valiant (brave) as in an army.”

To be virtuous means to be brave and strong, not backing down, doing the right thing even in the face of adversity. Being a force to be reckoned with—but in a godly sense. The “force” coming from God.

When we strive to be Proverbs 31 women, we are being brave. We are brave when we resist the temptation of the world that says we should look out for ourselves. We are brave when we go outside the “norm” and refuse to go along with husband-bashing or even subtle disrespect. We are brave when we put ourselves in the hand of Almighty God by submitting to our husbands and are not afraid with any amazement (1 Peter 3:6).

In the pages of our Bibles, there is no mention in the long list of good deeds of this ideal woman when she rests, prays, or has a bit of fun. But if she were a real, flesh-and-blood woman, she’d have to do these things (in abundance), too. So take heart. Now that we know this woman is an Ideal Wife, not a real one, let’s examine how she can do all that she does.

The key takeaway in Proverbs 31 is that none of her praiseworthy deeds would be possible unless she feared the Lord (verse 30). All the good deeds she does throughout verses 11–29 are only possible because she has the Spirit of God giving her the strength and fortitude to live godly. This is what produces peace and this is what makes her virtuous.

 

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30

 

Three verses stand out in Proverbs 31: verse 11, 23, and 28.

  1. “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil” (Proverbs 31:11). When you adhere to a budget and spend wisely what you have; when you stay flexible to circumstance and give a smile to your thwarted plans, your temperance and contentment show strength of character and faith in God, and your husband’s heart can safely trust in you. (What better path to marital peace than this?)
  2. “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land” (Proverbs 31:23). Your good deeds don’t go unnoticed. As your husband’s wife and most trusted confidante, you have the incredible power to influence what others think of your husband and what kind of standing he has among his friends and colleagues. What a gift (or a curse) you wield.
  3. “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her” (Proverb 31:28). There is nothing more glorious, dear wife, than to hear your husband praise you! (Except when we hear those rapturous words “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” by Christ at His return).

Proverbs 31 lived out is more than an impressive display of industriousness. Living as a virtuous, Proverbs 31 woman is being faithful, submissive, patient, and brave on the inside. These spiritual traits take more effort than getting up early or making dinner every night, but God is right here ready to give you the fruit of your hands. And the loveliest of fruit you can reap is a peace-filled marriage.

 

Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31:31

 

 

Abiding in the Vine,

~ Gleniece

 

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About Gleniece

Writer/Editor at Desert Rain. Wife to Mighty Man. Homeschool mom, Bible study-er. Lover of wine and chocolate. Ever thankful for the gift that is Christ.

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