Season: 10 Episode: 150
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What does it take to be a good wife? This is a question I got from l listener a few weeks ago. Is the Proverbs 31 woman a standard for all women? If so, you might sometimes feel defeated after PInterest fails and Instagram posts of other women who look more put together. But is that what it means to be a good wife? Shanda shares the answer to this question by looking at Proverbs 31 and why some women look at biblical womanhood through the wrong lens.
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Hey guys! Welcome back to another episode of Her Faith Inspires podcast where we take cultural issues and tackle them with biblical truth. Today, I have a listener requested episode for you and this listener contacted me twice with a few questions about what it means to be a godly wife, comparing ourselves to the Proverbs 31 woman, and how men are being encouraged to not act like men in our current culture. Now, I could probably do an episode on each of these, and I have tackled these issues sporadically over the last few years. But I wanted to specifically take some of the teachings I put into my Reflections of Eve bible study. For those of you who are like, what? You wrote a study? Yes, I did. Now here’s a disclaimer about this study – I wrote it a few years ago, and if I had to do it all over again, there are some things I would definitely change.
I would rather go back and clean up some of my theology in that book, but I haven’t yet.
So if you get it have gotten it, or are curious about it – I plan to do that soon. It’s actually on my list to redo it and even embed more apologetics concepts into it, but I haven’t done that yet.
Before we get into the episode today, I want to remind you of the Patreon account I have now for members who get exclusive content. You will find that link in the description. We are getting ready to start our book club on December 1st for all members, so check that out. I’d love to see you on the inside.
Ok, so what does it mean to be a godly wife? Do we have to live up to a Proverbs 31 woman? Let’s take a look at how God has made the woman in general. And then we’ll go from there.
We’ll first discuss why to understand your role as a wife, you must understand your role as a woman.
Next, we’ll talk about what it looks like to be a godly wife.
And finally, we’ll talk about why feminism is in conflict with Biblical womanhood. And I’m adding this because I think it’s important to understand why we’re even having a conversation about what it means to be a godly wife. It’s because feminism has played a huge role in why women don’t like the examples in the Bible about what it means to be a godly wife.
We’ll get into that more as we go on.
So, what does God expect from women and how did He make us different from men? I want to read you my introduction from Reflections of Eve (read).
There are a few things I wrote in here that ring truer today than they did only a few years ago:
First, women are still fighting for what they already have. We are created in the image of God, just as much as men. Who are we trying to convince of our worth? Because God doesn’t need to be convinced because that’s just how He created you and me – He made us equal in value because we are created in His image.
Now, if you want to say women don’t have the right to abort their babies, well then we have to get into the abortion debate, right? We also have to define what a right is. And that’s now what this episode is about, so I can’t get into that.
If you want to discuss the wage gap between men and women, we’d have to go into data and stats on that, and I don’t have time for that either. But the reality is, no matter what you believe about wage gaps and abortion (although no Christian woman should condone abortion), the facts is that all woman are image bearers and are worth just as much as men. But that also means that men are worth just as much as women.
They are equal in value and worth. Ok? Let’s pray that that is established.
I also mentioned that Eve was the only perfect woman to ever walk the earth. Ladies, you will never be perfect. I know I will never be perfect. I’ve tried and I hate when I fail, but I don’t necessarily spin my wheels fitting that battle anymore. Pinterest, social media, magazines, Hollywood, keeping up with the Jones’ – has made us compare ourselves to other women who make being a wife and motherhood look like the the most beautifully decorated home, or the best dinners, but we have to put those things in their rightful place. They’re just pictures, and posts, and not daily realities. We know this, right?
I think Eve had it much more difficult than we did. She was perfect and lost it. We are striving for perfect but we cannot and will not attain it. So let’s establish these two truths now – you are valuable, just as valuable as the men in your life because you too are made in the image of God. And you are not perfect and never will be. Ok?
In Reflections of Eve, I discussed two kinds of purpose: inherent purpose and assigned purpose.
Now, I don’t know if I’d necessarily call the assigned purpose “assigned” or not. I don’t think every occupation or thing we choose to do is assigned by God. It could just be something we choose. But I digress. Let’s take a look at the two of these.
Inherent purpose are those things that make us women and distinguish women from men.
Only women can reproduce and have children. Not all women are able and not all women choose to. But only women can. That’s part of our inherent purpose – to give birth, to mother, and to nurture. Some women are more nurturing than others. I’m not getting into degree of nurturing or inherent purpose here, I’m generalizing it. But the fact is that only women can give birth contrary to the cultural narrative.
And I’m not going to degrade women by calling them anything other than women or moms, or wives.
I will not lower women to birthing persons, or menstruating persons, or women with vaginas. When I say WOMAN – it embodies all that I’ve said so far because God set the boundaries within creation. There are just some things human beings will never be able to do if it’s outside of those set boundaries and men having babies is one of them.
Second, the woman is the helpmeet of her husband. She was created last. Not because she is an afterthought. God specifically took Adam through a process of naming the animals and realizing his need for someone like him. And God saw that is was not good that man was alone. Now, Adam had God. Technically, he wasn’t alone. So what does this mean? It means that Adam was above the animals because God gave him dominion over them. It means God was above Adam because He created him and was God. And that meant the Adam had no one comparable to him. So God gave him a helper comparable to him – his wife.
When I would teach women this concept – that she is her husbands helper – some would get offended.
It was mostly the single ladies, or the ladies who didn’t respect their husbands. But here’s my thought – if you chose to marry this man, to stand before God and say your vows, why wouldn’t you be proud to be the one to stand beside him as his helper? It’s one man, not all men that God has called you to be this for. If you cannot do that, don’t marry him.
Physically, women are built different than men. That obvious, right? We are more delicate, we’re weaker (the Bible speaks of this). Being weaker than my husband doesn’t bother me. And in reality, there are not a lot of women who will readily admit they want a weaker man or don’t care if their man is weaker than them. Women generally don’t like the thought of that. And we see this in the workforce too, right? More women take on the nurturing careers – nursing, teaching, caregiving. There are men in these positions too, but tell the last time you drove past a construction site and saw a woman with a hard hat on, up in a lift, and putting on a roof, or working the machinery?
I’m not saying there aren’t any, I’m just saying there aren’t many at all.
I never see a female plumber. I never see a female concrete finisher – and my husband owns a concert company. And listen ladies, I don’t blame you. I don’t want to be out there doing the hard, laborious work these men do. It’s hard work, but that is why God designed their bodies to handle that kind of labor, and our bodies are designed to bear children.
Now, that last sentence I just said there – that’s controversial to some women. How dare I say our bodies are designed to bear children. Get over it. Because only women can have children.
I saw a post on Facebook the other day that said women who say they don’t want to put their children in childcare because they don’t want someone else raising their children is so offensive. This woman argued that just because they go to daycare doesn’t mean their children are being raised by that person. My question to her is, “What do you mean by raised? How many hours are they in daycare and under the influence of someone outside your home compared to how long they’re with you?”
I don’t know why feminists diss motherhood.
Or diss those who enjoy being a mom and want to be with their kids. And by the way, I said exactly what she hates – I chose to teach part time and took non-contracted positions because I didn’t want anyone “raising my kids” or maybe a better way to say it was, “I wanted to be the one who heard them say their first words. I want to watch them take their first steps. I wanted to be the one who put them down for naps, fed them, changed their diapers, took them to school, did their homework with them, helped them brush their teeth, learn their ABC’s, and do all the things moms do. Why? Because one day they will be grown but the job will still be there. And guess what? They’re 19, 17 and 12 now and I am so glad I did. I have no regrets.
Our inherent purpose as women is to be fruitful and multiply – bear children – and to rule and have dominion over the earth.
We have influence and we have purpose based on those two inherent purposes given to us by God.
Assigned purpose of Chosen purpose is what we choose to do in our careers, volunteer time, ministry work, etc. For example, I’m a teacher. That’s what I do. I teach on this podcast, I teach kids, and I teach adults apologetics. That’s my assigned purpose.
You might choose to homeschool, or maybe you’re a nurse, work in an office, or do hair. Whatever your role is in this world is your assigned purpose. You might even switch that purpose from time to time.
And this is where we can skew our identity – in our assigned purpose.
I’ve done this before. I sometimes forget my inherent purpose and I make my assigned purpose my identify because I become known by it. In reality, our inherent purpose is the thing that never changes while our assigned purpose can and does lots of times throughout our lives. Especially as our family grows, or as we figure out what we want to do in life.
It’s important not to allow what we do to become our identity instead of who God has made us. And inherent purpose is also your special gifts and talents that God has given you. You might be gifted at being organized, or compassionate, or hospitable – those things are what makes you who you are and are part of your identity because God made you unique like that.
The point I hope you’ll remember in the assigned purpose and inherent purpose discussion is that your identify is in your inherent purpose, not your assigned purpose.
So what dose it look like to be a godly wife?
Do we have to live up to this Proverbs 31 woman? The Proverbs 31 woman did it all, right? She’s like the Pinterest mom who posts all the custom costumes she sewed for the school play and you feel terrible because you’re the mom who forgot to dry your kids soccer jersey and you hang it out the window on the way to the game and pray it dries before you get there (true story … it’s happened twice). How do you live up to that? She gets up early and gets everything ready before everyone else wakes up and you feel bad because you hit snooze 3 times and throw your kids Pop Tarts on your way out the door.
So is that what motherhood and being a wife looks like or are we failing if we can’t live up to that? Here’s the deal – Being a good wife and mom isn’t about how well you do something. It’s about making sure you take care of your family first.
Here’s what I mean: there’s been a debate about a woman’s role in the world and women have neglected their role in the home.
The Bible emphasizes the husband’s role of taking care of the family, and it emphasizes the women taking care of her home. I say this often, but it’s worth saying again – if I teach everyone else the things of God, pour all of my time and energy into my ministry, writing, podcasting, and neglect my family – I’m a fraud. I am called by God to first serve my husband and my children before anyone else.
That means if we as women seek careers outside of our home, we are only not being a good steward of our role as a wife and mother if we put all of our energy into our careers and cannot give our best to our husband and children.
The Proverbs 31 woman is not someone to be copied.
We don’t do what she did. But we are to strive to have the same goal as she did – to take care of our families with intentionality, determination, drive, and not passivity.
There are many studies and things written about the Proverbs 31 woman, but I am going to read you verses 10-31 and we are going to look at her character, her motivation, and her reputation in these verses and draw out how she is an example to all women.
“A wife of noble character, who can find? She is far more precious than rubies.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he lacks nothing of value. She brings him good and not harm all the days of her life. The woman selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15She rises while it is still night
to provide food for her household
and portions for her maidservants.
16She appraises a field and buys it;
from her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17She girds herself with strength
and shows that her arms are strong.
18She sees that her gain is good,
and her lamp is not extinguished at night.
19She stretches out her hands to the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20She opens her arms to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21When it snows, she has no fear for her household,
for they are all clothed in scarlet.
22She makes coverings for her bed;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23Her husband is known at the city gate,
where he sits among the elders of the land.
24She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchants.
25Strength and honor are her clothing,
and she can laugh at the days to come.
26She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband praises her as well:
29“Many daughters have done noble things,
but you surpass them all!”
30Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31Give her the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her at the gates.
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