To begin this week’s study, please read Proverbs 31:1-9, the portion of scripture that comes just before the description of the Proverbs 31 Woman.
The description of the Proverbs 31 Woman, starting with verse 10, jumps right into application for a wife. But while this portion of scripture details attributes specifically for a wife, the focus lies not just there but also with the impact she has on her husband. More specifically, her impact on his reputation.
Remember that this portion of scripture was an account of King Lemuel’s mother telling him what to look for in a wife. She wanted to be sure that he found a woman that would not sap his strength (Proverbs 31:3 & Proverbs 12:4). She then went on to indicate that his focus should be helping others (Proverbs 31:9).
It’s no accident that Lemuel’s mother first tells him to not let women distract him, then tells him to focus on helping others, and then gives him a detailed description of the type of woman he should marry. This approach, it seems, indicates the significant impact that a wife can have on her husband.
Your Husband is Your Ministry!
Someone once said to me, “Your ministry is where your husband is.” Over the years, I have come to realize not only the truth of that statement but also the added idea that not only is my ministry where my husband is, to a large extent my husband IS my ministry. Let’s explore this idea further in the context of the Proverbs 31 Woman.
Read verse 10-12 again of Proverbs 31, and note the impact that this woman has on her husband.
First, he trusts her. Trust is earned and built over time. So, this woman apparently earned her husband’s trust because of the way she ran her household, raised their children and supported his ministry. And everyone knows that having someone you can trust to help you goes a long way in bringing success.
Next, he was enriched by her. To enrich someone means adding some desirable quality or attribute to their lives. To enrich someone’s life is to make it better and to enhance it in some way. When a woman focuses on enriching her husband’s life, not only does his trust for her increase, but his reputation – and hers too – along with his effectiveness greatly increases.
The third and fourth aspects warrant covering as a pair. Not only does this woman not hinder him, she goes beyond that and actually helps him too. In other words, not only can a wife refrain from saying negative about her husband, she can also advance his reputation by speaking positive. And sometimes, a wife can help and not hinder by choosing NOT to say or do something. For example, men generally do not want their wives fighting their battles for them, especially in the presence of other men. Knowing the difference between when saying or doing something helps or hinders your husband is key to his reputation.
What Does a Strong Marriage Do for a Man?
When a husband trusts his wife, when he knows she is doing whatever she can to enrich is life and build his reputation in a positive manner, he then becomes more empowered and confident. Let’s explore exactly how such a marriage strengthens him and allows a husband to do and be more.
The husband of the Proverbs 31 Woman doesn’t have to worry about whether or not his household is running smoothly. He doesn’t have to worry about whether or not his wife is sitting around and watching soap operas all day or spending her days (and their money) at the mall.
Instead, the husband of a Proverbs 31 Woman can focus on his work, and this is probably a big reason for his good reputation with the community leaders (Proverbs 31:23). He certainly has fewer distractions simply because his wife is “virtuous and capable” (Proverbs 31:10). This gives him time as well as mental energy to build a solid reputation and to be increasingly effective.
In verse 27 we find that his wife doesn’t “bear the consequences of laziness,” which stands to reason that he doesn’t either. What are those consequences?
- Ruin – Proverbs 6:6-11
- Poverty – Proverbs 10:4-5
- Dependence – Proverbs 12:24
- Excuses – Proverbs 22:13
- Lost opportunity – Proverbs 26:14
Once again, we see a theme threaded throughout the book of Proverbs to prove true in the life of the Proverbs 31 Woman and by extension, her husband also.
When a husband knows his house is secure and run efficiently, when he knows his reputation in the community is positive and solid, you’d better believe that the marriage as a whole is likely continually growing stronger. So, by building her husband and his reputation, the Proverbs 31 Woman also succeeds in building her marriage.
“Wait! I’m not married! How does this apply to me?”
Whether you’re married, single or widowed, understanding how the Proverbs 31 Woman builds her marriage holds tremendous value because it’s not simply a model for a wife to emulate. The Proverbs 31 Woman also provides an example for all women of how to acknowledge that we are also the bride of Christ and to realize that all we do and say reflects the His presence in our lives.
Also, even if you’re yet to be married, you can help build your future marriage by developing your faith as the Proverbs 31 Woman obviously has. Regardless of your marital status, you can build marriages by encouraging and helping other women in their marriages and by refusing to be a hindrance or distraction to anyone’s marriage.
So HOW do I Build a Proverbs 31 Marriage?
The following questions provide further study in helping a woman build her marriage:
- What instruction does 1 Peter 3:1-6 give for helping wives grow as Proverbs 31 Women?
- What does Ephesians 5:33 say a wife must do? Why do you think this is so important in building a marriage?
Please share your reflections on these questions in the comment section below!
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