Proverbs 31 is often seen as a standard of living for the Christian wife. If I’m completely honest, I must admit that I find the list of attributes to be quite daunting. It is certainly something that many Christian women strive for in their homes, but no woman can be the “proverbs 31 woman” every moment of every day. Believe me. I’ve tried, and it’s hard.
Even then, I love this chapter of God’s Word. It gives me something to work towards as a wife and mother. But I have to ask myself one question: is there such as thing as the proverbs 31 man?
What many people don’t realize is that Proverbs 31 was most likely written to a man… not a woman.
The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him. O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows, do not waste your strength on women, on those who ruin kings. – Proverbs 31:1-3 (NLT)
Proverbs 31:1-9 contains teachings given to King Lemuel (most scholars believe this to be another name for King Solomon) by his mother. In other words, this passage contains words of wisdom passed down from mother to son. Beginning in verse 10, we actually find an acrostic poem describing the character of the virtuous woman (readily seen in the original language, but not in our English translation). And while scholars vary in their opinion of whether or not this section was written by the same author as the first nine verses, this poem helps to reinforce everything that King Lemuel’s mother taught him… which is probably why it is included here after her motherly words of wisdom.
In her wisdom, she not only defined what it meant to be a virtuous woman, but she also taught her son how to honor, love, and respect his future bride.
The Proverbs 31 man values his wife. – He doesn’t waste his time with women who aren’t virtuous. (Proverbs 31:3) And when he finds his capable bride, he treasures her.
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. – Proverbs 31:10 (NLT)
The Proverbs 31 man trusts his wife. – Yes, the virtuous woman is trustworthy making it easier for her husband to trust her, but her husband must still choose to give her his trust. He makes himself vulnerable to her and allows her into his heart enabling her to enrich and strengthen his life.
Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. – Proverbs 31:11 (NLT)
The Proverbs 31 man recognizes his wife’s abilities outside of the home. – Unfortunately, many still view the typical Christian wife as a woman of the 50’s – cooking, cleaning, and working solely within the home. However, Proverbs 31 suggests that she also works outside the home and even earns an income. Granted, the home is her first priority, but that doesn’t mean she’s confined to it.
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. – Proverbs 31:16-18 (NLT)
The Proverbs 31 man is a respected leader. – Now this doesn’t mean that he’s a politician necessarily (although he certainly can be), but rather that he’s a respected member of the community. He is valued as a leader both inside and outside of the home.
Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders. – Proverbs 31:23 (NLT)
The Proverbs 31 man encourages his wife. – If you are a man, please listen carefully – women love being told how much you value and appreciate them! (Trust me on this one!) And women – our men need to hear it too! Many marital issues can be solved by simply telling your spouse how much you appreciate them and their hard work.
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!” – Proverbs 31:28-29 (NLT)
The Proverbs 31 man rewards his wife and allows her inner beauty to shine. – True beauty lies within. So many men (and women) in our culture today place more value on outward appearance than true inner beauty. The Proverbs 31 man, however, sees his virtuous bride for who she truly is in the eyes of God. He not only rewards this beauty, but he loves her in a way that will allow it to grow and flourish for all to see.
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. – Proverbs 31:30-31 (NLT)
The Proverbs 31 man compliments the Proverbs 31 woman by honoring her, by respecting her, and by thanking God for leading him to his treasure of a bride.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.