Marriage according to the Bible Proverbs 31 Woman – shows how a woman can and should conduct herself to be the wife of a happy husband.
The very first time that I heard about this remarkable woman of Proverbs 31, I was a young teen in Sunday School. My teacher said that to exemplify this woman, it is a lifetime of learning and practicing. Sadly enough, the marriage of the man who taught these truths was an eventual failure.
The book of Proverbs is a book teaching practical knowledge and it ends with the description of an ideal wife, described by a woman herself. King Lemuel’s mother wanted her son to have a good marriage and to have a good marriage, he would need to have a good wife.
Men are not born knowing what to look for in a good wife. They have to learn. They learn by both observing the marriage and actions of their parents, as well as by listening to wise advice such as that given by King Lemuel’s mother.
The type of woman that King Lemuel’s mother described for her son is a pattern for all Christian women today, including young girls. She describes the attributes of a good woman – a woman who is good enough to marry any mother’s son.
Perhaps King Lemuel’s mother was describing herself, or the rather ideal version of what she wanted to personally aspire to herself, as she related this good advice concerning and describing a godly wife to her son.
The woman that King Lemuel would marry would be a queen. She would not have to work. Usually, for a queen, she has her servants doing manual labor.
Yet in these twenty-two Bible verses which describe the ideal wife, the wife fit for a king, half of them describe her work. And the hard work of her hands is done in profitable occupations so that she can add to her husband’s wealth rather than diminish it.
This description of a wife of noble character is truly describing a queen-like woman, whether or not her social station verifies it. In imitating the characteristics of this noble lady, any woman can mold herself to be worthy of royal marriage.
And a man with such a woman by his side is truly rich.
Here is a verse-by-verse Bible study of this remarkable woman with an emphasis on the marital relationship.
Marriage According to the Bible – Proverbs 31 Woman
Verse by Verse Study and Application
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. (KJV)
Some synonyms of virtuous are good, worthy, honest, and righteous. King Lemuel’s mother begins by telling her son that there are many females in the world but not all are women of virtue. The type of woman she will describe is like precious gemstones – very rare. But unlike beautiful and exceptional rubies, this woman is far more valuable than mere rocks. She is a living and loving human. A wife described in these verses is something that God can and does provide according to Proverbs 19:14 “House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.” (KJV)
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. (KJV)
Even though this lady is married to a king who by position and definition is a rich man, this industrious woman does not desire to simply spend her husband’s money on a good time which would diminish both his morale and deplete his finances. With a woman who possesses the characteristics described here, a man does not have to fear any lack of gain since she desires to increase his wealth. In doing so she not only raises him financially but also gives her husband the priceless wealth of being a loving and godly spouse.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. (KJV)
The husband of this wife of noble character has full confidence in her because she submits herself to him as her husband. While she may not agree with everything her husband says or does, she willingly follows his leadership. She obeys the command given in Ephesians 5:22 “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” (KJV) Since she is not rebellious, she obeys him means that she will not do him any evil. This idea of submission and doing good for her husband also includes the idea of being a sexually faithful woman.
She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. (KJV)
This woman looks for inexpensive raw materials to fashion useful and beautiful things. She wants to enhance her husband’s wealth and knows that with her labor and creativity, she can. She enjoys both the challenge of her work and the resulting high-profit margin of her merchandise.
She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. (KJV)
After she creates things that others want or need, she exports her crafts, by selling or bartering them for better things. Just as merchant ships travel, searching, buying, and selling wares from faraway places, so too does this lady reach past, and beyond out of her comfort zone. Her labors are rewarded with the profits that she earns, so she can purchase gourmet food produced in distant climates, by which she can use to delight the taste buds of her husband, children, and even servants.
She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. (KJV)
Despite having servants, this noble wife arises before dawn so that she can cook. She seasons every dish with the common, but exotic spice called “love.” She knows that food is more than just nourishment and that preparing food is an expression of love. So she does not delegate this vitally important service to others, she does it herself even as prepares food for the hired help. Perhaps the servants do the dishes?
She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. (KJV)
This woman is a thinker. She has a dream and ideas. After getting wise counsel, she decides, to invest in a business, and immediately starts to work it so her investment becomes profitable. This verse describes both a field and a vineyard. Because of her wise and careful planning, getting counsel, and making wise business decisions, one investment leads to another.
She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. (KJV)
Marriage vows usually include some clause about the partners being faithful to each other in both “sickness and health.” While illnesses do occur, this woman is careful to take care of her body as best she can to reduce the severity and occurrence of disease. Physical exercise also enhances mental health. She works out to keep both her body and her mind strong. When a woman takes care of herself, her poor health is one less thing with which her husband has to concern himself.
She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. (KJV)
This woman does not cut corners in her work. Before she sells her goods, she makes sure they are perfect, even if it means investing late hours as she double-checks her products. She knows that her products are a reflection of her and she wants to have a good reputation as a manufacturer. In all of her labors, she applies the concept of Ecclesiastes 9:10a – “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might. (KJV)
She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. (KJV)
The spindle and the distaff are both tools used to spin yarn. This woman values the instruments of her trade. Today this concept could be applied to any tools of a woman’s profession such as a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff for those who have a medical career, software programs for the graphic designer, or a mop and vacuum for those who clean houses.
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. (KJV)
The same hands that eagerly use the tools of her trade also reach out to those who have less than she does. While this wife of noble character is generous and can give financial help to those in need, this verse indicates that she is willing to teach others how to make money as she does.
She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. (KJV)
This ideal wife provides both weather and season-appropriate clothing for her entire family. But she also knows clothing is an ornament of beauty. Not only does she make warm clothing, but she makes it brightly colored as well. The members of her household who wear the garments she has fashioned for them feel good since they are protected from the elements, but also feel good about themselves because they enjoy wearing their beautiful clothing.
She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. (KJV)
This excellent woman modestly covers her body, but she knows that being modest does not mean looking dowdy. Her clothes are made of rich and beautiful fabrics decorated with lovely designs.
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. (KJV)
Because of what this woman does at home for both her husband and her family, she gives her husband a good name. When he goes to the city gate – a public place, other men hold him in high esteem partly because of the excellent reputation of his wife.
Proverbs 12:4a accurately describes how this type of wife elevates her husband: “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband.” (KJV) While a godly man can and should be held in high esteem, for who he is as an individual, when such a man is married to this sort of woman, she enhances his reputation.
1 Corinthians 11:7 further reiterates this concept of a woman bringing glory to her husband when it says in part, “The woman is the glory of the man.” (KJV)
She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. (KJV)
This wise woman is an artist, creating linen garments that are prized by women of other cultures. She meticulously creates them and then sells them wholesale.
Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. (KJV)
This wife of noble character who dresses well also knows the importance of clothing her inner self, her soul, her real self, with beautiful and practical spiritual clothing specifically strength and honor.
The prophet Isaiah also spoke of spiritual clothing in Isaiah 61:10 “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” (KJV)
Wise women throughout the centuries seek for and cover their hearts and souls with the garments of salvation. Then all those who are clothed in His righteousness can like this woman, also rejoice in the future, because we are dressed appropriately to meet God.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. (KJV)
This ideal wife speaks wisely, kindly, and respectfully to her husband. Her words are those of kindness. She is not a mouthy woman. Her kindness in her speech is first to her husband and also to others.
She has disciplined her words so that if she cannot speak kindly, she will not speak at all. Her speech is with pleasant words, like Proverbs 16:24 instructs: “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”
Also, she does not use corrupt communication as Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (KJV)
Her kind and loving words bring a melody of peace and help to make her home a comforting place.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. (KJV)
This woman is diligent in both serving and knowing about the details concerning the important issues of her home. While she can delegate some tasks to others, she is diligent in knowing about and overseeing her household. She refuses to be content while others, including her husband, labor while she does little or nothing.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. (KJV)
As a result of all of her hard work, she will receive words of praise from both her children and her husband. Her husband and children appreciate her sacrifices and hard work on their behalf, and they make it a point to publicly give her well-earned praise.
Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. (KJV)
This may be one of the things that her husband tells her. Her husband may be biased, but from what he knows about other ladies, even other good and godly women, he realizes that his own wife’s works surpass those of other wives.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. (KJV)
King Lemuel’s mother ends her dialogue about the perfect wife, telling her son that favor can be fickle and physical beauty while nice, has very little worth. Then his mother reveals the secret of the kind of woman that she has been describing.
This virtuous wife is so, because she serves, loves, and is afraid to displease God. She knows that her service to God is reflected in the way she treats her husband. This ideal woman exemplifies the truth of Proverbs 22:4: “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.” (KJV)
Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. (KJV)
This excellent wife will be rewarded for all of her labor. And she will be publicly praised for the efforts that she puts forth in her marriage and her occupation.
This wife of Proverbs chapter 31 does not complain about the inadequacies and the faults of her husband, although he must have some.
Rather she concentrates on herself, using her willing hands to do whatever good work she can to personally improve herself, making sure that her husband, her children, and her servants; as well as the men who interact with her husband, are all either directly or indirectly blessed by her good work.
The result is that she and her husband enjoy a strong and mutually favorable marriage.
Marriage According to the Bible – The Proverbs 31 Woman and Wisdom
The woman described in the last chapter of the book of Proverbs is eerily similar to the attribute of wisdom which is personified as a woman and described near the beginning of the book of Proverbs, specifically chapter 3.
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. (KJV)
For a man to find anything, he must be looking for it. Just as a man looks for and eventually finds wisdom, so too does a man look for and eventually also, find a wife. “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.” – Proverbs 18:22 (KJV)
May the woman that a man finds, have first looked for and found wisdom for herself. A man with a wise wife is a happy man.
For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. (KJV)
Gaining wisdom is far better than gaining silver and gold. But since money is necessary for living, being a wise man and then finding a wife who also has wisdom, produces something far greater than mere riches.
But this combination also results in financial gain as well since this wise woman works to increase, rather than decrease, her husband’s wealth.
She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. (KJV)
Wisdom is portrayed as a woman. This description is very similar to how the virtuous wife is described. Both wisdom and the ideal wife are more valuable than the rare and beautiful rubies, together, they are a priceless combination.
Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. (KJV)
Wisdom by itself will bring longevity, gain, and respect. When a man adds a wise wife to his wisdom, the resulting marriage is an incredibly valuable relationship.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. (KJV)
Wisdom itself, again described using a female pronoun, brings comfort and peace – harmony. The wise wife who speaks using wisdom and kindness (Proverbs 31:26) makes a house into a calm settled, peaceful retreat for the husband to relax, enjoy and recharge after a challenging time at work. The woman with wisdom is truly the ideal homemaker who both creates and maintains her house into a home that is a loving, nurturing, comforting environment and peaceful retreat.
She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is everyone that retaineth her. (KJV)
Just as the writer of the book of Proverbs instructs his readers to embrace the concept of wisdom, so too does the wise man find and hold onto the virtuous wife. Both wisdom and the wise wife bring happiness to those who have them.
In marriage according to the Bible – the Proverbs 31 woman, both found and applied wisdom to herself first. Then this woman brings her wisdom to her marriage and in so doing, brings into her home and relationship, riches, honor, pleasantness, peace, and happiness.
For more verse by verse study about being a good wife – check out 48 Excellent Bible Verses About Being A Good Wife.