by Molly Audiss

Proverbs 31:11, “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her: so that he shall have no need of spoil.”

 This morning as I opened my Bible, the pages fell open to Proverbs 31, and, because I had underlined this verse, my eyes were immediately drawn to it. This popular chapter is a “go to” for wives and mothers. It is a description of the type of woman about which a queen spoke to her son, the prince, detailing the woman she hoped he would find to marry.

Interestingly enough, the queen does not describe a woman who would be sitting in a palace, doing “royal duties.” The queen paints the picture of a woman whose husband holds a respected position in his village, sitting at the gate. He also, quite possibly, would have been part of the town’s military, as she mentions “spoil,” which are the goods brought home from war by the victorious army.

As the prince’s mother continues her narrative of what a virtuous woman looks like, I must wonder for what purpose she is teaching this to her son. In that day and in that culture, children’s spouses were most-often chosen by their parents years before they were old enough to marry, and the future king’s marriages were often alliances made with the royalty of other nations, to insure peace. My curious mind wonders if this mother (most scholars think this was a conversation between Bathsheba and her son, Solomon) knew that her son would be choosing his own wives (many, many wives!)

Regardless, I am always amazed that a queen would want her son to find a woman with such an amazing work ethic! The woman described in Proverbs 31 is up before dawn, working. She works through the day. She is an entrepreneur who makes daily, important business decisions. She stays up late, working. She and her family are well-dressed. Her children have their needs met.  She is disciplined and wise. She is kind and loved by all who know her. This is not a historical of account of a woman who actually lived; it is a checklist that a mother created for her son… things to look for in a future wife. I am motivated to want to be like this ideal lady!

Here are the things I see in this lady that I strive to add to my own life:

  1. She is trust-worthy.

Her husband spends zero seconds wondering if she will over-spend on the budget. He knows that he can love her with the confidence that she will be loyal and faithful to him while he is away. She is content and does not need “things” to be kept happy.

  1. She knows how to make big decisions and manage her family’s affairs.

Sometimes I struggle with indecision. I know that my husband greatly appreciates it when I know what I want, and when I know what needs to be done without asking 100 questions about every little decision that must be made for our family. I strive to grow in this area. Making decisions in my areas of running the home frees up my husband, so that he can relax when he is home, after making tons of decisions each day at work. It would be lazy of me to assume that all decisions must be made by him.  Forcing every tiny decision back on the husband’s shoulders is not submission; that is incompetence or laziness. The ability to make decisions in my areas of authority is helpful; that makes me a valuable team member in my home.

  1. She is known by her kindness.

“In her tongue is the law of kindness.” If it’s a “law,” that means that it always happens. She is not up-and-down and moody. You know what to expect with her. She will show up with kindness. That is goals! What a wonderful thing to be said of a person, that they are always kind to everyone. This one characteristic alone is worth aiming for the rest of my life. Oh, how I desire to be known by my family as a kind woman!

This mother’s advice given in Proverbs 31 is so practical. She skipped all the “fluff” of things that might have seemed important in a future wife, and she went straight to the heart of the matter- hard work, decisiveness, faithfulness, contentment, kindness. Let’s strive to be sure that these are the attributes that are most outstanding in our own lives, and that we pass them along to our daughters and younger girls under our influence.