The Excellent Wife….in all her imperfect glory

The purpose of this blog is to document my learning, growing, and failing  experiences in my role as a wife [and one day mom] and it is my hope that you will benefit from reading this material as well. My hubby, Ryan and I have been married for a year now  and it has been amazing but I still have so much to learn.  I have seen what the horrors of divorce in families and the dis-functionality that ensues when the marriage relationship is not properly honored and I am committing to focusing on becoming The Excellent Wife. For the purposes of this blog, I will be defining “The Excellent Wife” by King Solomon’s (the wisest king in Biblical history) poem in Proverbs 31:10-31. And in each post I will strive to better myself in one of the characteristics listed below.

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10 An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
11  The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
12  She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
13  She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
14  She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
15  She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
16  She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17  She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
18  She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
19  She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
20  She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21  She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22  She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23  Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
24  She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25  Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
26  She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27  She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28  Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
29  “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
30  Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31  Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

Now, your first reaction might be that this passage is dated and since it was written over 2000 years ago that it can’t possibly be relevant. But I beg to differ, read it again. Try to find things in your life that parallel to these verses. If you still aren’t convinced, stay with me, over the future posts of this blog, I plan to dive in and tear each of these verses apart to make it easier for you to make the connection.

In this passage, God has written out the exact specifications for the ideal wife and mother. I hope you’ll join me as I try to embody these characteristics in my own life. And please don’t walk away from this thinking that I am claiming to be the perfect wife. I am so imperfect but I am anxious to learn how to serve my husband and my [future] children the way that the above passage describes and I want you to learn along with me.

An excerpt from the ESV Study Bible footnotes regarding Proverbs 31:10-31:

An Alphabet of Womanly Excellence. [In it’s original language,] this wisdom poem is an acrostic, in which each verse begins with the successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The  poem begins and ends with mention of the woman’s “excellence.” The probable intention of putting this together with the acrostic pattern is to show that the woman’s character runs the whole range of excellence. The woman is married (as expected in that culture), and she is devoted to the well-being of her household, to which she contributes by her participation in outside economic concerns. At the same time she makes her home the center of ministry by giving generously to the poor and by instructing her children and household workers in true kindness (neighbors may be included in this audience). So her husband and children enjoy their lot and honor her for her industry. This lofty portrait of excellence sets such a high standard that it can be depressing to godly women today until its purpose is understood. First, the woman embodies in all areas of life the full character of wisdom commended through out [the book of Proverbs]. This shows that even though the concrete situations up to now have generally envisioned a cast of males, the teaching of the entire book is intended for all of God’s people. Second, as with other character types, this profile is an ideal: a particular example of full-scale virtue and wisdom toward which the faithful are willing to be molded. It is not expected that any one woman will look exactly like this in every respect.