Intentional Mothering

More Thoughts on the Proverbs 31 Wife.

December 14, 2015


This is another installment in my on-going series Beautiful Examples of a Proverbs 31 Wife. My first post can be found here.

The incredibly high standard of the Proverbs 31 wife often has women grinding their teeth in insecurity, rebellion and a stubborn refusal to accept that this portion of Scripture may be someone God wants us to emulate. I am at the front of that line! I have battled MANY feelings about this woman, but over the years, as God has brought me closer to him, my heart has softened towards her. I now have a desire to actually work at becoming this amazing woman of God.

In several of my readings today, I came across some commentary on this passage that encouraged and challenged my heart. I would love to share them with you.

From What Is A Family?  {yes, I talk about this book a lot, it is that good}, Edith Schaeffer says that, among the many others, there are two vitally important points to remember about this virtuous wife. 

First, her husband trusts her to manage their home, physically and financially.


These two areas are my biggest struggles as a wife. Lack of organisation and understanding finances have been sources of contention between my husband and I. I have already talked about my growth in this first struggle, but I have never talked about my weakness in math and money.

I won’t go into my history of math, but let’s say it is infamous and that there is a wall in my mind that I cannot climb over. Furthermore, in the small area of money I do overlook in our cash system, I regularly lose money. To me, I cannot think where it has gone or how it has been spent. To my husband, there is much slow breathing and patience!!! Tim does organise most of our money, but the physical money we use on a daily basis {grocery shopping, petrol, birthdays etc} is my responsibility – and I have sadly failed in this area many times.

I know I am at fault because I know my heart. I know I have let Tim down and this area of the Proverbs 31 woman is a big mountain for me to climb.

But, Edith is very encouraging, she says,

“If a woman has ability to be a good manager, she ought to have some scope in which to show forth this ability and have it be a practical help to the family. Always remember that trust needs a very real place to be demonstrated, and ability needs an opportunity to develop.”

I can grow, I can get better, and I can honour my husband in this area. I’ve already talked about how managing our homes honours our husbands — handling the money they earn and managing that well is something that they really need us to do.

Second, there is no competition with the husband.

In the context of this point, Edith is writing a chapter on the economic unit of the family. And, as part of her thoughts on the Proverbs 31 wife, she is speaking of the role of the husband to earn the money to provide for the family {as part of Genesis 3} and the work the wife does within the home to contribute. Edith is quite clear that she believes women are not to be bread winners at the expense of the family. If there are children home, the mother is to be as well.

She says,

“Whatever this wife, this virtuous woman, does, it enhances her husband’s leadership and his place ‘in the gates and among the elders of the land’ [vs.23]. She does not compete with him. She does not put her work before his and cause his place to be diminished.”

Whatever she does…it enhances her husband’s leadership. His work is her work. 

This is so contradictory to every single message girls growing up in our society hear. The main message is this: Do your own thing. Get what you want. Follow your path. You can be whatever you want to be. Girl power.

…But, many times, at the expense of the person you love the most. We cannot have the marriage we deeply desire and pursue a career with everything we have. Something has to give. Career’s will always eat up time, money, energy, focus, priority, emotions and drive.

“Two people with two separate careers and living in one house, but infrequently together – with children who are more frequently cared for by other people than by their parents – have not really formed a family, and the economic things have become a kind of people-eating monster taking all the humanness out of relationships….

If affluence is the goal – no matter what – it can only be the result, with the family completely lost.”

Though I don’t work outside the home, that doesn’t mean I cannot be distracted away from my family. Am I competing against my husband in other areas? Am I jealous of — his fitness, his relationship with the Lord, his friendships, his gifts, and, his position in the family? Our mother Eve knew what it was like to covet Adam’s position.

Our main goal, as we pursue the Proverbs 31 wife, is to deeply and wholeheartedly love our families before ourselves. We’re industrious, we work hard, we may earn money, we have many gifts and talents. But they are to be invested in the service of the Lord towards our families. 

To finish, Edith says that, in all her busyness and hard work,

“Her children have enough of her time, however, and know her well enough and are happy enough with her as their mother to ‘arise up, and call her blessed’, so this speaks of a family life of some very definite kind, as well as a good relationship with her husband who ‘praiseth her’.”

  1. Thanks for sharing Edith’s wise words and your thoughts as well, Sarah. I appreciate your vulnerable and honest assessment of how you’re doing in regards to the Proverbs 31 woman. I think your desire to continually work toward that goal makes you more like her than you know! Thanks for encouraging the rest of us to think of these weighty aspects of motherhood and marriage. It is a worthy pursuit!

  2. Love this post! It’s a blessing to find other women that are striving to be godly keepers AT home. Feminism is deeply rooted in our flesh and a cultural that embraces it makes it all the harder to fight. We are in a spiritual war, that is for sure! I’ll be checking out the book you qouted. It sounds like a great resource.

  3. I love love love this post. This is where I think people want to criticize me the most. My profession makes 2 1/2 times what my husbands does, yet I quit working to stay home with our children. I had prayed about it and know this is the correct thing for us but many of our family thinks we are crazy. We have tried in the past for my husband to be the stay at home dad but it just doesn’t work. Its not what God has designed for us. I think just by stepping out in faith and doing the right thing God will bless our finances. We gave up the new car, the big house, the designer clothes, and we could not be happier.

    I also love the discussion about the role of the wife in finances. I do believe it is our responcibility to always be trying to find a way to run our household cheaper. My husband does praise me on this and has done so in front of others so at least I can say I have this part handled……..I am desperately lacking in other areas …….but this I got…..thanks to the blessings of God of course. I think it is also worth saying that there are many phases to raising a family and as kids get older things change. When you have little ones to run after all day sometimes it is easier to just pay the money for conveniences, like pre packaged food while saving money on clothing by buying them second hand because the children will outgrow them so fast. As they get older (especially boys) they need new pants so that they last till they outgrow them, and scince older children are a little more self sufficient, you have more time to save money by cooking from scratch. We as moms need to continually re evaluate our homemaking budget. Sry my reply is so long, I’ll be quiet now….lol

    1. No, thank you!! I love heartfelt comments and you make some really good points. I am sure the Proverbs 31 woman {if she had been a real person} would NOT have been getting up before dawn when she was awake several times a night with a newborn baby 😉 God has determined different seasons as a mother {and wife} with their own unique blessings and challenges. He wants us to be wise and trusting on him.
      Danielle, I really admire and respect the choice you and your husband have made for you to stay home. He WILL bless that choice in the togetherness your family will have and the legacy that will produce in your children’s lives.

  4. Great, great post, Sarah! You share with such honesty and transparency. What a blessing you are, beautiful friend! May THE LORD bless you and keep you and make HIS face shine upon you! 🙂

  5. It is greatly encouraging to read and see other women fighting against the normal grain of our culture we live in these days. I love the idea of being a strong independent woman,but when studying the Proverbs 31 woman I realized she isn’t independent on her own, she is in dependence on God. (random thought there)
    Thank you for your honesty and willingness to share your heart on this. God bless you!

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