"Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant." Proverbs 31:23-24
When I started reading these verses, I thought to myself "What does her husband have to do with anything?"
However, the more I read, the more I understood.
"Behind every great man is a great woman." We've all heard that said at least once in our lives! This woman is the epitome of that phrase! She has enabled her husband to rise to the top of his profession, to be the provider and strength in their family because she has managed her household in a graceful and godly manner.
I honestly do not believe that this lady is one who, when her husband walks through the front door, she starts griping and complaining about her day and ditches the kids so she can "do her thing." Instead, I believe she is the peace he retreats to after a hard day's work. Her home has become a sanctuary for him and he relishes coming home to his beautiful bride every evening. She has cooked, cleaned, and made sure the children are all on their best behavior when their father walks through the door. (Now, before you want to stone me, NO HOME IS PERFECT!! I do believe she had her moments of chaos where things just could not get done, but the effort was made.) What husband wants to come home to a cluttered, messy house where the wife is screaming at the kids at the top of her lungs and the pots are boiling over on the stove?! (Yeah, I'm guilty!!) "It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop than with a brawling woman in a wide house." Proverbs 21:9 No husband likes a loud, obnoxious, argumentative wife!
Verse 24 tells us that not only does she work inside the home, but she works outside!! Yes, she had a job! She may not have had a full-time position at a big law firm, but she worked with her hands sewing and creating. She took the time to make an excellent product and sold them to the merchants and vendors. She supplied them with the merchandise to give to their customers. She was one busy lady!!
After careful reading of these two verses, I realized that not only did she take care of her home and become a support for her husband, but she supplemented her income to help with the needs of the family! I have seen so many women who flat out refuse to work simply because they don't want to give up their lifestyle. Their husbands are trying to make ends meet while they run around spending the money. This is not how it should be!! I am not trying to be contradictory, but, sometimes, it is necessary that the wife work outside the home. If she can't, then they need to work together to budget their money. (I will put a disclaimer here: When husband and wife both work outside the home, it is the responsibility of both to help with the household chores. We work together to make things happen, not against each other.)
If I were honest, I would tell you that there are times (more often than not!) that supper is not on the table and the house has gotten a little messy. (However, I am a little OCD when it comes to cleaning!) Also, I am a terrible money manager!!! It is only in the past few years that I have started working part-time outside of the home and disciplined myself to save.
One of the main themes of this chapter of the Bible is helping others. Do you realize that it does not mention the things she did for herself, but how she helped feed and clothe her family and household? How she was responsible for bringing respect to her husband? I believe the key to this lady being spoken of years after she was gone is that she did so many things for others. She was selfless! If I've learned anything thus far, it is this: I have a long way to go to be like this great lady!