Seeing those words before has made my skin crawl a bit. Why? Because if you are a believer and follower of Christ you know what those words start. They are the beginning of what many have used as defining the ultimate wife material, which is found in Proverbs 31. We see it pop back up in 1 Timothy and 1 Peter.
Some have used it for a checklist of sorts, a prescription of how a wife should be. And it’s a doozy. It’s full of things, as a woman, I pray to live out and live into. I could go into a whole series on my questions surrounding this passage, and bring in commentaries from various writers, women and men, as well as theologians on the juxtaposition of these 20 verses. But I will spare you all.
I dwell on the phrase virtuous woman and what the remainder of the text points to in that definition of her. It’s a woman, although the weaker vessel as we are defined by God in that manner (and yes I do butt heads with God on that role), who is firm in her wisdom and resolute in her fear of God, carrying with her grace. She is mindful of herself, and of how to manage others as well.
She doesn’t try to change herself for others, nor does she force others to change to meet her needs. Through her actions, with grace and dignity, she is unchanged by the way the wind blows or what circumstances come her way.
I think on these things and then say “I’d like to be her friend!”
As women, we often put too much pressure on ourselves based upon the definition of perfection in this role we have been blessed to live out. We seek too much of living into others’ expectations of our lives, as women-whether single or married.
Instead I want to have a strong heart. One that is in the hands of the Father who created me to live out what He has called me to be-a virtuous woman. It looks differently in us all collectively, but it means a strength in grace and awesome wonder at our Creator. It means a guarded heart and an open mind. It means I am committed to virtue in all things of my life.
Does that look messy as I live it out? Absolutely.
Without a doubt, I know that to be considered wife material, I must first be fully aware of who I am and what God has set out before me to be. As a woman, that is to be virtuous in all ways and in all things. It’s not a picture of submission but of untold strength and grace.