When my wife and I were first married, we both worked. I worked at the church, but my wife worked two jobs. Her primary job was at a Century City bankruptcy law firm. Her other job was at home. At the end of the workday, I would come home, kick off my shoes, turn on the TV, and veg out on the couch. She would come home from work after a 90-minute commute and cook and clean. Sociological studies indicate that our marriage was pretty typical for two-income homes.
A woman’s work, it turns out, is never done.
In its portrait of the noble wife, Proverbs 31 paints a hard-working, successful woman. She manages the family farm.
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands (verse 13).
She engages in trade.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar (verse 14).
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
She works long, hard hours.
She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls (verse 15).
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks (verse 17).
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness (verse 27).
She has a keen eye for real estate and good investments.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She operates a personal textile factory.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers (verse 19).
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple (verses 21-22).
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes (verse 24).
She volunteers at the local homeless shelter.
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy (verse 20).
And she does it all with dignity, joy, and wisdom.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue (verses 25-26).
It may be the case that the Proverbs 31 woman is more ideal than real, at least that’s what the commentators write. Then again, the commentators are usually men. Personally, I think my wife is the real deal. I’ve never known anyone who did as much, both at work and at home, and did it with so much joy and such great effectiveness.
So, a word to you husbands – and future husbands: Appreciate your wife’s work. Whether she’s a professional woman or a homemaker or both, she does a lot. Chances are – if sociological studies are to be believed – she does more than you. So, say thank you! And then get off the couch and help! A noble wife deserves a helping husband.