Proverbs 31:10-31 reads like a grocery list of wifely characteristics. What’s more, the verses begin by asking, “Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?” My immediate response is, “That’s a good question.” Who could possibly possess all of the qualities listed in the next twenty verses? Verse 10 goes on to explain, “She is worth more than precious rubies.” Proverbs in general points us to moral and ethical human emotions, attitudes and relationships, but Proverbs 31 speaks directly to wives.
The Proverbs 31 wife has many skills. She is a wife, mother, teacher, manufacturer, importer, manager, realtor, farmer, seamstress, upholsterer, and merchant. What a resume! She possesses countless character traits. Among them she is wise, faithful, strong, energetic, careful, dignified, generous, and kind. The only reference to her appearance is in verse 25, “She is clothed with strength and dignity.” Her pleasant appearance comes exclusively from her character. The key to her success, however, is in the fact that she respects God for who he is, trusts him, is obedient to him, and shares her godly values with others.
As women, we aspire to be and do many things. But who of us has been trained in being the optimal wife? Is the wifely role one we take for granted? How many of us have made a conscious effort toward being a better wife? We would do well to look at Proverbs 31:10-31. I don’t think, however, we are to look to her as an exact model to emulate. Instead, see her as a motivation to be all you can be within God’s purposes.
Let’s look at her reward. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life (v. 11). Her children bless her. Her husband praises her by telling others she is very capable (v. 28). Her deeds publicly declare her praise (v. 31). Her character traits, along with her fear of God, lead to enjoyment, success, honor, and worth. Who wouldn’t want to be found as a virtuous and capable wife?