I remember reading about the Proverbs 31 woman when I was a teenager and wondering:
- How in the world does she do it all?
- What about if you’re not married?
I decided to answer at least the second question. So I started reading books about femininity and womanhood and singleness. Several years later, I’m still reading and learning and goofing up and trying again. If I’ve learned one thing about the Proverbs 31 Woman, it’s that she didn’t get to be a super woman after she got married. The woman described in those 11 verses was a woman of great value before she became a wife and mother. That’s good news for us single gals because that means this passage most definitely applies to us as well. The life season may be different but there is definitely application sans the hubbie and kiddos.
So, lister that I am, and after many, many attempts, I’ve finally finished this post on Proverbs 31 for the Single Woman. I’ve settled on 12 virtues that single women should aspire to from the Proverbs 31 model. This is merely a framework. There are so many other qualities that can be attributed to this woman but these 12, in my opinion, are foundational.
So single, dating, engaged, or divorced, it’s no matter–this list is for all the wonderful, unmarried hearts who may have wondered how Proverbs 31 applied to them.
1. Woman of Faith (v. 10-31)
The Proverbs 31 Woman has built her life on the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ. He is her Life-Giver, Champion, Defender, and Best Friend. Everything she says and does is for His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). She finds her life’s mission in His will and she spends her everyday seeking after His heart. It’s Jesus living in her heart that makes her the loving, hard-working, wise, compassionate woman she is. She doesn’t worry about the days ahead because He has given her “a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV).
2. Woman of Trust (v. 11-12, 26)
Verses 11 and 12 say that her husband’s heart safely trusts her and she does him good and not evil all her days. He knows he doesn’t have to worry about her conduct or judgement. And he knows this because she’s proven it over time. She keeps her word and takes care of her relationships. Her family and friends know that she can be counted on.
3. Woman of Compassion (v. 15, 20, 26)
The Proverbs 31 Woman is unselfish and giving. With love and compassion, she pays attention to the needs of both those inside and outside her home circle. She takes care of those she loves with her time and resources and actively shows compassion to those around her who are in need.
4. Woman of Integrity (v. 26, 29)
A woman who’s husband can trust her in marriage must be a woman of integrity well before the white gown and vows. TheProverbs 31 Woman has developed a character of integrity over the years. People don’t question her behavior because she conducts herself with uprightness, dignity, honesty, and selflessness. Verse 29 says that her husband tells her “”Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.”” (NKJV) This isn’t because of her beauty or accomplishments. She excels because she has allowed Jesus to shine in her life and make her a woman of integrity and that has poured into every aspect of her life.
5. Woman of Purpose (v. 10-31)
The Proverbs 31 Woman has a purpose in life–do all for God’s glory. Because she manages her household and businesses so well, we can conclude that these are talents that she nurtured over time. She lived with purpose and drive while she was single and the Lord entrusted her with the precious responsibilities of wifehood, mothering, and business. I’m sure there were screaming two-year olds, bad hair days, failed business deals, and a cranky husband, but her purpose never falters because her life isn’t ultimately about her, it’s about God and allowing Him to use her for His will.
6. Woman of Industry (v. 13-22, 27, 31)
Not only does this woman know her purpose, she knows how to get it done. She is a shrewd business woman, not afraid to get her hands dirty, uses her creative talents, and makes wise financial decisions. She is not haphazard, frivolous, or lazy. She keeps herself busy because she knows that idleness gives the devil ample room to cause mischief in her life. She manages her time well, knows when to make sacrifices and when to say no. She develops her talents and ensures that she’s doing all she can provide a good future for herself, her husband, and her children.
7. Woman of Wellness (v. 17, 22)
A person will perform only as well as they take care of themselves. The Proverbs 31 Woman knows that she will only be able to serve her family and succeed in life if she takes care of herself. So she exercises and eats well and takes time to take care of her physical needs. Verse 22 says she even dresses well. There’s nothing about her that’s sloppy or unbecoming–she takes time to make herself look presentable, and feel good. We can assume that she doesn’t spend too much time on herself otherwise she wouldn’t have time for her other responsibilities but she knows the value of a little ‘me’ time to keep from burning out.
8. Woman of Humility (v. 10-31)
Not only does it take faith to live with a servant’s heart, it also takes humility. The Proverbs 31 Woman is extremely humble. She goes about her work without asking for accolades, recognition, or a gold star. Her humility not only shines through her acts of compassion and generosity, but also through the drama she doesn’t create, and the noise she doesn’t make about the work she does.
9. Woman of Wisdom (v. 16, 18, 26)
The Proverbs 31 Woman draws from the wisdom she gains over the years. In her business dealings she “considers” (v. 16) and “perceives” (v. 18). She’s learned to do these things over time through experience or education. She doesn’t rush into things without carefully considering the potential outcomes. She listens to and learns from those who are wiser. She also knows the power that words can have and speaks with wisdom and kindness (v. 26). She doesn’t use words to gossip or tear other people down. She thinks before she opens her mouth and carefully chooses her words.
10. Woman of Joy (v. 28)
Christians should be the most joyful people on planet earth because we have Jesus in our hearts. But have you noticed the way we go about our days sometimes? I’m ashamed to say that I’m less than joyful way too often. The husband and children of the Proverbs 31 Woman call her blessed not because she runs a tight ship but because she’s a joy and inspiration in their lives. She has learned the value of being joyful while being purposeful, wise, and industrious. She lives with her heart full and takes pleasure in the simple things in life. She has a sense of humor and is easy to get along with. She doesn’t hold grudges and she is long-suffering in stressful situations. This joy that emanates from her comes from Jesus and her family thrives because of it.
11. Woman of Contentment (v. 23, 31)
The Proverbs 31 Woman is content with her life’s work. Her husband has his work and responsibilities and she has hers. Together they work for the glory of God and the well-being of their family. She doesn’t begrudge him his work or wish to be doing something different because she knows her purpose and calling. She’s learned to roll with the punches, take the bad along with the good and remain at peace. She, like, the apostle Paul has learned to be content whatever the circumstances (Philippians 4:11).
12. Woman of Femininity (v. 10-31)
The Proverbs 31 Woman lives the type of life that has long since been discarded as worthwhile and successful. Running a household and raising children is no longer the desirable life work it used to be. But a Proverbs 31 Woman lives according to what God’s will is for her no matter what may or may not be ‘normal’ or ‘politically correct’. Whether it’s pursuing a career, marriage, singleness, raising children, or a combination of many things, a woman of virtuous femininity will conduct herself with grace, dignity, direction, and love. Femininity starts in the heart and then quickly manifests it’s beauty on the outside and adds character to every unique personality.
There is so much more to say about virtuosity and the single life and over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting more about what I’m learning about this wonderful passage. My plan is to make it a regular feature on the blog every Tuesday, so watch out for it 🙂