Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Modern Proverbs 31 Woman

Christian women, this may not be your picture of the Proverbs 31 Woman and I understand that.  I feel I am a Proverbs 31 woman and I can tell you that I have evolved.  At age 52 I feel I can speak to younger women and older women.  All I ask is that you listen with an open heart and do not judge.  Comments are moderated so be it may be awhile before your comment appears here.

The year is 2012 and I live in Southern California at the beach with my husband and dog.  John's sons are adult men who live on their own in Texas and do not have wives yet.  They are in their late 30's and I hope they find their perfect wife!

I recently joined a Proverbs 31 woman study and as the days go on I am just astonished at how literal these young moms are taking this passage and how much guilt they are laying on themselves for not accomplishing all that they think that THEY have to do.

Some thoughts...  today's married woman works outside the home or inside the home..  today's married woman has turned into a single mom and they have to be the dad in the family as well as the mom.  Today's married woman may be married to another woman!  Yes, I said it and it's a part of life that you can't ignore.

Proverbs 31 definitely speaks about her husband and I feel in my heart and understanding of the Bible that this is a man and woman relationship, not a woman and woman relationship.  The Proverbs 31 woman has step children and she's a product of divorce herself.

She has hang ups and issues and seeks God's guidance and goes to her husband with her issues but she also seeks the guidance of her girlfriends.  She has a "girls night out" on the town and her husband can take care of himself at home and handle the children while she enjoys herself.

She owns a business and makes more money than her husband.  She works outside of the home and he is the stay-at-home dad.  She and he share the chores of the home  because like me she may not physically be able to do the chores in the home.

She doesn't wear too much make up and think that she has to look like a model.  She's comfortable in shorts, pants or a dress and maybe she wears shorts to church!

He may wake up before her in the morning and allow her to "sleep in" while he gets the coffee going and makes the breakfast.

He cooks with her and sometimes for her and for the children.  She leaves him to do the home finances because she may have a spending problem and it's better for him to manage the money and she works from a budget.  They meal plan together because he has some thoughts about what he would like to eat and has input.

She cooks healthy food for her family and she may coupon but she is not a food hoarder.  She only buys what the family needs and will use and not go bad.   She doesn't make her kids fat by feeding them junk food and lots of candy because the candy and soda were on sale and she had coupons for it.  She and he help with the homework and don't assume that the child can do it by themself.

They do not spank their children.  They do not bring any harm to each other verbally or physically.  She has part in the decision making in decorating the home but he and the children can make those decisions too and they together can make the home a home.

She may have a job as a consultant and make money for herself for the things she wants to do.  Her children may have jobs and they give the money that they make into the keeping of the home.

I think by now you're starting to get the point here.  It's 2012 and there's no way that she's treating him like a "master."

Now it's your turn to comment...  thanks!


John Mullin said...

Sounds pretty accurate to me, should start a good discussion.

Beth Rittler said...

I used to hate the Proverbs 31 woman! The way this was presented to me when I was younger made it sound like women had to do everything in order to be good wives. I knew there was no way I was going to please a man. As I got older and started to learn in a different way I understood what a gift is is to be a woman and how much power we have in our own homes. Today's woman seems so busy. We are expected to accomplish more thanks to womens lib!! But Womens Lib has also opened up more jobs, more experiences,more opportunities, than we had in the 40's and 50's. Maybe that wasn't so good. That's another blog. But the Proverbs 31 woman does teach us that we are important. We matter. What we do counts for something in the big picture of life. The chapter gives us examples of choices we can choose from. It's a great chapter to use as a Bible study for newly marrieds and women planning to be married. And those are my thoughts!

Shopping Tips and Tricks said...

Great post. Yes, I think we do tend to put guilt on ourselves, but we have to remember that because of society, many women have to work outside the home OR are home schooling the kids so the time to clean house, do the finances & so forth just isn't there. Hubby takes care of the bills online as they come in. Fast & easy for him to do & he knows it stresses me to do it and not him. He doesn't mind & I am thankful! :)

Debbie McConnell said...

My parents didn't raise us with any religious guidance or upbringing. I went to so many different churches as a child (because I chose to go with neighbors,family)So I can't related my own personal experience/behavior on a bible verse or chapter...

But... for the most part I think my mother did treat my father like he was her master, but she was also his queen. He worked and put food on the table and a roof over our head. She cooked, cleaned and took care of the kids. Dinner was done when he arrived home, the house was cleaned etc. She didn't sleep in when he was up and getting ready for work. She was up, making coffee, packing lunches, etc.

For myself today, I am much like her. I don't bow down to my husband, but I respect all that he does for our family. I have worked outside the home in the so called man's world. Even then I had a firm belief that it was my duty as a mom, wife etc. to the cooking, cleaning.

Now that I don't work outside our home, I am even harder on myself at the tasks of being the "wife" meaning his dinner is done when he arrives home from work, the coffee is ready when he gets up in the morning, his breakfast is cooked by a certain time on the weekends. I wash, clean and do the yard work. I don't see it as me treating him like he's my master. But I see it as respect, he works hard for our family, supports our needs, wants etc. The little (yes I say little but.. we all know keeping care of our children and home isn't little) things I do as a wife are things I enjoy doing for not only him, but for myself and children.

I have always been like this, I was a mom at a very young age and took on the married life style young too. I was like this even then, when all you'd think I'd be thinking about was when the next party was.

I really think it all has to be mindset, and how society pushes, or judges. I also think a lot has to do with the relationship, respect for one another etc. Treating your husband like he's your king/master is easy to do when he treats you with the same kind of respect.

Lisa Brown said...

Wow - so much of this describes me! I do the best I can, but was recently criticized by my own father for "putting my kids first". He thinks it's horrible that I didn't take my kids to a graduation party that would leave my toddler up 3 hours past his bedtime. I always try to do the right thing, but there's a special kind of hurt that comes from your own father thinking you're a horrible parent.

Beloved said...

What a beautiful message. So many women struggle with the Proverbs 31 woman. Reading critically, it's one image, but not the only one. I always told people, she's the modern equivalent of a CEO; she's a concept; she's something to which we aspire...not a blunt instrument. You've really captured something beautiful here.
Peace and good.

Diane said...

This is a beautiful post Carolyn! So many women in my life (thankfully at least not my own mother) seem to think I am not "woman enough" because I don't have, or want children. Technically I will be a step-mother to Tony's child in the future so it is not like there aren't any children in my life.

They think it is selfish of me to not being child into the world. To me, it would be terrible to bring a child into this world when I wasn't ready for one. I know nobody is every fully ready. But we are living paycheck to paycheck. I work outside the home full time, Tony is still out of work on Workers comp and cant lift anything over 10lbs. We tend to come and go as we please and plan last minute trips to my parents, and camping quite frequently. Of course we could take children with us if we had them, but we would have to worry about school and homework as well as extra curricular activities.

When I was younger I never thought I would ever date a man that already had a child. However when I met tony and saw that he took great care of his daughter and actually shared joint custody I never really had a problem with it at all. Sure there has been ups and downs and countless drama but we got through it.

When we first started getting serious I thought that I would want to have a child with him since he had a child with someone else - I soon realized that was my inner jealousy talking and I really had nothing to be jealous of. His ex will always be a part of his life through their daughter but I in no way feel threatned by her. They are not together for a reason, and we are still together - over 8 years later.

In short, I think women come in all varieties like you mentioned and can be whoever they want to be - as long as they are healthy and happy and leading fufilling lives than they are enough : )

Clancy Cash Harrison MS, RD, LDN said...

This is such a great post. I was raised in a southern baptist family (now methodist) and this was pretty much how it was/is back home. The men are waited on hand and foot. I can only speak of my family. It is hard to be a woman. We work hard. We do not say no. We need to learn to say NO more and YES more to us. We need to put ourselves first so we can be healthy and happy for our family.

Sage said...

Less judgement and more support. I can stand behind that :)

Michelle Maskaly said...

Ditto to Sage who commented above me!

Kelly said...

I saw of myself in the Proverbs 31 woman. Great post!

royalegacy said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing,


Marsha Cooper said...

My husband didn't know what a Proverbs 31 woman meant so I read it out loud to him. He claims that I do all those things. I really don't think that I do.
I would aspire to be in today's world though.

Elizabeth Sanders Towns said...

I aspire to be a Proverbial woman. I never thought it meant to treat a man like a master, and I have been raised in the church all my life. My Father was a Pastor, as are both of my sisters, as was our grandfather, and many of our cousins. My father treated my mother as if she was the best thing since fresh baked bread that rose, so it was with yeast and not unleavened. To me, a proverbial woman is many of the things you suggested, but it has much less to do with what she is to others as much as it has to do with who she is to God and to herself. I rise up early in the morning to see about the needs of my household; I get up before my children and ready the house for their awakening; I use my hands to ensure they have all that they need and that we have heat in the winter and cool in the summer, and that there is sustainable wealth in our household. When I was married, people called my husband blessed wherever we went, because of my own reputation.

My children rise up and call me blessed - my daughter just did that very thing at her 8th grade matriculation when she spoke of me at the podium for 15 minutes.

This is what it means to me to be a proverbial woman - it is in the character, persona, reality, honesty, preparedness and spiritedness in which a woman makes her name.

Great, great, great post.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post Carolyn! I have been reading and doing workbooks from the Proverbs 31 site for some time. I have struggled with guilt and everything that has been mentioned. I love your insightfulness and that of the other women here!

Deborah Bolton said...

I have always wanted to be a Proverbs 31 woman too, but one has to work within the framework of a marriage. I could not go out and buy a field"we have moved too much." But I have been able through our 41 years of marriage to do many other things. The thing that is bothering me now, is how long it has been taking me to straighten the home we live in now. I have chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome, fibromyalgia, and some other invisible illnesses. I had a hip replacement right after we moved last year (Dec. 2011). I have some other things wrong too, arthritis, etc.. I have been doing better, but I have my bad days, and my illnesses are invisble too. It is hard to live up to my former standards of living. But I am still stubbornly working on it.

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