God’s Standard: What a Woman Should Be
King Lemuel gave us the model of the woman after God’s own heart in Proverbs 31:11–31. This writing is based upon the advice his mother gave him, to look for a balanced woman, who does take thought of her physical appearance, but one who recognizes that her spiritual life is the most important of all.
This passage describes a woman who is growing mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. She is maturing, becoming a deeper woman of God each and every day. Yet, she is also extremely practical.
She is virtuous.
“Who can find a virtuous wife?” (Proverbs 31:10).
The word virtuous in this text means “a woman of force and strength.” This is a woman of influence and strength, yet she is feminine. She is spiritually, morally, mentally, and physically strong.
She is trustworthy.
“The heart of her husband safely trusts in her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:11–12).
Truth is such an important virtue in the successful marriage. This is one of the reasons why adultery can be so devastating. The trust factor is dramatically damaged because a pattern of lying has usually preceded it. Yet this woman has her husband’s complete trust. The husband knows that she will always be supportive of him, no matter what. He also knows his money, resources, and possessions are safe in her care.
Here is something worth remembering in a Christian marriage: never criticize your mate to others or in a public setting. If you want to correct or disagree with him, do it privately. Publicly, however, always support him. Let people know that you and your husband are one.
She does her work eagerly and diligently.
“She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar. She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants” (Proverbs 31:13–15).
Not only does this woman keep her family well-clothed, she goes out of her way to find the finest, freshest ingredients for their meals. This requires good planning and management.
She is a good businesswoman.
“She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard.” (Proverbs 31:16)
The feminist movement has tried to prove that a woman who stays at home is really not working. However, anyone who has ever tended to a household knows that it is constant work. It is no nine-to-five job. It is basically 18 hours a day (and often more!). Though, this passage does not advocate that every woman needs to work out of her home. Its underlying theme is that this woman is resourceful, and she carefully manages her money.
She keeps herself in good physical shape.
“She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms” (Proverbs 31:17).
Needless to say, because of the constant manual labor required at this time, trips to the gym were not needed. In our time, however, we may need to make exercise a discipline of our life.
“Bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things” (1 Timothy 4:8).
The pursuit of godliness is more important than the pursuit of a slim waist and trim figure. On the other hand, Scripture does not forbid you from presenting yourself in an attractive way. It does say that physical training is of some value. Being sloppy and unkempt is not a virtue. The godly woman will find that balance between the spiritual and the physical in her life.
We have to work with what God has given us and do our best to be as physically attractive to our mate as we can, without neglecting our spiritual character in the presses.
She is submissive to her husband.
“Be submissive to your own husbands” (1 Peter 3:1).
The wife may protest, “My husband is failing to love me as Christ loves the church; therefore, I am not required to submit to him.” But that is not what the Bible teaches!
First of all, one needs a biblical understanding of what submission is and is not. It clearly does not mean that a wife is to have no opinion of her own, nor does it mean that she is destined to blindly submit herself to the whims of an overbearing husband. On the other hand, it does mean that she should not think of herself and her fulfillment first before submitting to her husband.
Are there limits to submission? Colossians 3:18 says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” The limit to submission would be if your husband asked you to violate God’s will. For instance, if your husband asked you to do something immoral or illegal, you would not be required to submit. Likewise, God would not require a wife to submit to the physical abuse of herself or her children. As long as it is fit in the Lord, however, you should submit.