Some years ago, and I can’t remember how, I stumbled across this concept of the Proverbs 31 woman. It is a verse from the bible. If you are ‘anti religious’ or simply not religious, don’t switch off just yet ! View the concept as you would any quote from Ghandi, Stephen Covey, Tony Robbins or any other personal development ‘guru’.
The basis of the verse is a mother telling her son what sort of woman he should look for in a wife. That basic idea written thousands of years ago has been the basis, particularly in America, for women to adopt a particular way of life, that is, the mother who serves her family.
I personally love the philosophy behind the ‘concept’ of the proverbs 31 woman. I will paste the full text here for those of you that are not familiar with it. Once again, I ask you to put your religious position aside and read it as a text. I have kept it in the ‘old’ language for effect and you must remember it’s about 2000 years old.
10 A virtuous woman who can find? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband trusteth in her, and he shall have no lack of gain.
12 She doeth him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant-ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and their task to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and maketh strong her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is profitable: her lamp goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She spreadeth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh for herself carpets of tapestry; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh linen garments and selleth them; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing; and she laugheth at the time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and the law of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her, saying:
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her works praise her in the gates.
I love this ideal. The proverbs 31 woman is loving, intelligent and entrepreneurial. When I read through each verse it gives me ideas of how to work harder at aspects of my life.
I am reminded that by doing my husband ‘good and not evil all the days of his life’ I am insuring a good marriage. I have found that over the years the more I do for him the more it is returned to me. I find it a sad part of society today that many relationships break down because of this ‘why should I do that for him, he never does that for me’ philosophy. Going out of your way to do things for your partner brings gratitude and then it turn they do something for you and the cycle continues.
When I read through this passage I am reminded of the importance of the 6P principle. When it snows I want my household clothed in scarlet – meaning that I have an emergency fund so that if something goes wrong I am prepared.
I also think…..
- I want my husband to have full confidence about the way I manage the family finances and plan for our future.
- I want to be entrepreneurial , that is, I can invest wisely and see a return on the vehicle I chose to build our family wealth.
- I want to be ‘strong for my tasks’ in that I think it is important to remain healthy and look after myself physically.
- I rise early and prepare the day for myself and my family
Of course, the verse that always gets me off the chair and into action is the one which mentions “she watches over the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness”
I believe that society’s view of the stay at home mother is significantly shifting. It is slowly crawling out from under the grip of the feminist model that degraded the role of being “just” a mother or the idea that ‘serving your husband well’ was a form of oppressive slavery that had to be fought against!
Rather I see society as slowly shifting towards a model where even career women take off extended periods of time to ‘invest’ in the growth of their children by being the stay at home mother. There are even now ‘stay at home’ fathers !
I have been a teacher and a lawyer and a stay at home mum. I know which, by far, is the most important job that gives the best return and it’s nothing to do with money. The best return is when you make home made tortilla wraps and your six year old says ‘ the ones you make are so much better than the ones from the packet’. Joy of joys ! :>)