3 Ways NOT to be a Proverbs 31 Wife

Are you striving to be a virtuous wife? Often I find myself struggling and failing and to be completely honest, I am not a Proverbs 31 wife. Over the years God has changed my marriage and me along with it but we are not done yet.

I’ve learned that living as a virtuous wife is more about staying with God in the process than actually achieving perfection anyway. So no, I am not an expert on this perfect Proverbs 31 wife life, but I can share how I am closer to her with a fun what not to do.

Before we see the 3 Easy Ways Not to Be a Proverbs 31 Wife, let’s narrow down our focus by answering some questions about her.

What is a Proverbs 31 woman?

Proverbs 31:10-31 An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.

To understand the Proverbs 31 woman you must understand who wrote the book of Proverbs 31. King Lemuel’s Mother must have been an amazing mom to have shared such wisdom with her son. Where else in scripture do we see words from a mother to her son like this? Color me impressed!

The Proverbs 31 Woman can be explained in two words – godly and virtuous. She was a godly woman and she was a virtuous woman, the perfect match for any mom’s son.

But was the Proverbs 31 wife a real woman?

No, probably not. A Proverb is written as wise advice, not fact or promise. This perfect woman was dreamed up by the Kings mom. She was not a real live woman. For years I completely ignored this passage for just that reason. The standards set in this one chapter of Proverbs alone were enough to fill me with guilt and shame at a character I knew I could never live up to. Can you relate?

And still, all scripture is God-breathed and has real application in our modern lives. While the Proverbs 31 Wife was not a real example for us to live up to, she does poses many character traits of a godly woman and we can learn so much from her. God pressed into my heart the need to pray through Proverbs 31 to get over my hang-ups about it. Check out this Proverbs 31 Prayer to use as an effective prayer strategy that can change your life!


Three Easy Ways Not to Be a Proverbs 31 Wife and How to Fix Them

First, A Proverbs 31 Wife is not a nagging wife

Proverbs 31:11-12 The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.

Most wives would dispute the label “nagging wife” because men and women understand nagging differently. Men feel nagged when women correct them, remind them, overly help them, pick up behind them, etc.

You ask your husband to take the trash out. An hour later you notice he did not take the trash out so you repeat the request. The bag is overflowing and you need to sweep up a mess the kids just made. In frustration you take the trash out yourself, muttering under your breath the whole way out just to be sure your lazy husband sees you doing the chore he neglected – again.

He sees this entire incident as nagging. You see it as giving him help, reminding him of his responsibility to help, picking up the slack where he, once again, failed to pull his weight. Or is that just in my house? Whew, it’s taken a long time to learn how to stop nagging my husband and being a controlling wife!

Respect is not at the heart of nagging. A Nagging wife is a disrespectful wife.

Do you trust your husband? Can your husband trust in you? Does your husband gain while you are around or does he feel like you are always taking him down a notch?

The issue of Respect in Marriage is huge, mostly because men and women understand respect so differently. Men need respect, it is a core need. It is critical for a godly wife to understand what her husband sees as respectful and disrespectful and make adjustments based on that. It doesn’t matter if you don’t see respect his way.

He could believe it’s disrespectful when you give him directions while driving or when you pay more attention to your book than him. That’s just how he feels about it and he’s entitled to feel his feelings.

A Godly Wife is called to respect her husband. To respect your husband you must know him, study him and apply that knowledge to your life. So, find out what he finds respectful and make adjustments if you want to be like the Proverbs 31 Woman who’s husband trusts in her.

Second, a godly wife does not openly criticize her husband’s faults

Proverbs 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.

Hands down open criticism is an issue of respect. Does your husband have faults? Yes. He will always have faults (just like you will always have faults). No matter how big those faults are, your husband expects you to accept him as he is and love him while God changes him. That is one of the biggest ways to show respect to your husband. Accept and love him as he is.

Do you need an extra boost in your couple conversation skills? Grab these Core Conversations for Your Marriage to help you navigate the rocky waters of communication and tackle tough subjects with grace.

Note: if your husband is abusive, cheats or involved in some other destructive behavior, seek help. Silence will not help your husband change if you are living in these narcissistic situations.

I used to be the wife who openly criticized my husband.

Bud is not mechanical and frequently breaks the thing he is trying to fix. Everyone person we know knows this about him… because I’ve told them. It may have been in a prayer request or a joke or just to vent my frustration, but it is an area he hates about himself and every single time it got back to him he pulled away from me.

My husband feels disrespected when I make light of a fault he hates in himself. I had to learn to take my frustration to God and be careful to only share our needs with a handful of trustworthy godly women. Now, instead of sharing his faults I share his successes, his victories! Sharing his successes is respectful.

A Biblical Wife shows respect when she openly praises her husband and shares his successes.

A Proverbs 31 wife does not misunderstand leadership and submission

Proverbs 31:16 She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard.

Honestly, almost every verse shows that the Proverbs 31 Woman is a natural leader. This woman works hard, she takes care of her home, makes decisions for the home, runs a business, cares for the servants and more. The part the puzzled me for years is that she leads seemingly without checking in with her husband.

If the Proverbs 31 Woman is a leader does that mean she is not submissive? How do you lead effectively and still submit to your husband?

At the heart of this seeming role reversal is a basic misunderstanding of leadership and submission.

Submission does not refer to a mindless woman following naively after her husband as he strong handily leads every aspect of their life. That is what we confuse submission with but there is not a single example of that kind of godly wife in the Bible!

Rather, Biblical submission in Marriage is about fitting each spouse’s gifts and talents together to work as a unit for the greater good of the family.

If the wife is great with finances and spreadsheets she can pay the bills. When the man is good at housework and scheduling he can take care of the home. None of that is out of line with submission in scripture.

The godly wife leads where that is her strength and works toward the good of the family while supporting her husband strongly; that is true submission.

The Three Characteristics of a Proverbs 31 woman that you can apply as a Virtuous Wife:

  1. Learn what your husband finds respectful and disrespectful
  2. Openly praise your husband about his successes
  3. Work in unity together leading in your strengths for the good of the family.

When you live out those three Biblical Marriage Principles from the Proverbs 31 Wife, your husband can say of you:

She clothes herself in strength and dignity!

in HIM,


Tiffany of Hope Joy in Christ inspires Christian Women to grow in faith, live out Biblical Marriage Principles and raise Godly Children. Join the Wives Only Facebook Group here or keep up with her through Pinterest.

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