What’s all the hype about becoming a Proverbs 31 woman? How do you become a virtuous woman? This guide walks you through the journey of being a Proverbs woman.

June Cleaver was no more the Proverbs 31 woman than Pocahontas was.

That’s because it doesn’t matter if you’re a stay at home wife and mom with a well kept home or woman with big dreams who is willing to chase them across an ocean…or if you’re a woman in a village in the jungle.

A Proverbs woman is so much (and thankfully so much less!) than we think.

Becoming a Proverbs 31 woman has very little to do with the life you choose and everything to do with the heart attitude with which you make that choice.

The secret lies in the end of the chapter, but let’s go through Proverbs 31 verse by verse to understand better.

What Is A Proverbs 31 Woman?

What is a Proverbs 31 woman, anyhow?

In recent years, she’s been touted as the woman who does it all: runs a thriving business from home, parents her kids, keeps up with their schooling, and has a very satisfied husband to boot.

A decade or so ago, she was often described as the woman who baked bread (very possibly with her freshly milled flour!), had a clean home, raised kids familiar with chore charts, and her husband was blessed by a hot meal each night.

Go back another generation or two and you’ll find women who describe her as growing and canning food for lean times, patching up clothes so as not to be wasteful, and hanging clothes on the line while she sang.

But here’s the thing: Scripture doesn’t change just because the times do. And while this iconic passage of Scripture does dive into the activities of the virtuous woman, its focus isn’t so much on what the Proverbs woman did, but who she was.

Lisa Yvonne, Graceful Abandon

Those virtues are timeless and will manifest differently, not just based on the current culture of the day, but on the individual through whom they come to life. And that’s okay.

Let’s agree, going in, that we’re not going to get hung on the behavior, but focus on the heart. After all, Christ came to give you an easy burden and rest, not leave you striving until you pass out exhausted.

What Is Becoming A Proverbs 31 Woman Today All About?

It’s important to realize that becoming a Proverbs 31 woman isn’t the lie that has been sold for so long that you need to strive to be excellent at all things homemaking.

The truth is that it’s about embracing God’s grace, bearing God’s image, and fulfilling God’s call on your life. The Proverbs 31 woman shines Jesus brightly.

Becoming a Proverbs 31 woman is not a matter of checking off a list of accomplishments to attain the perfection of the virtuous woman in the Bible. Rather, it is studying the virtues described and living a life where they are evident. The real Proverbs woman is one of virtue and character.

It’s not at all about doing and it’s everything about becoming. And this becoming is through God’s grace, not exhausting yourself through striving. That’s why it’s important to do a Bible study on Proverbs 31 and sink into God’s Word on the subject.

Proverbs 31:10 (ESV) says: “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.”

The immense value placed on a virtuous woman is unmistakable; those who read the Bible and take away that woman aren’t appreciated have clearly missed this verse. The Proverbs woman was treasured.

Related: Proverbs 31 Woman Bible Study

The Proverbs 31 Passage

10 An excellent wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
    and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
    she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
    and provides food for her household
    and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself[e] with strength
    and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
    Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
    and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
    and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
    for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[f]
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
    her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
    when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
    she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the gates.

Proverbs 31:10-31, ESV

The Virtuous Woman Explained (With A Healthy Dose Of Grace!): Becoming A Proverbs 31 Woman

As you can see, King Lemuel’s mother was very detailed in describing the ideal wife for her son…and in teaching him how to appreciate what a blessing she is!

As we examine the virtues Lemuel’s mother prizes and encourages her son to seek in his helpmeet, let’s remember one thing: this isn’t a to-do list.

These virtues are the fruit of a virtuous heart that loves her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, not actions that determine worth.

None of these virtues is something to chase after in and of themselves, dear one; the Proverbs woman pursues God and these virtues naturally blossom in her life as a result of that.

This woman is not one who strives to please her husband (or her virtue-listing-mother-in-law come to that!), but please God. And that is what makes her such a blessing to her marriage and her family!

It is her passionate pursuit of Jesus and the intimate relationship she enjoys with Him that makes turns an average lady into a modern-day virtuous woman whose worth is far above rubies.

1. The Proverbs 31 Woman is Trustworthy

The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain. ~Proverbs 31:11

What does it mean for your husband’s heart to find you trustworthy?

It means he can put faith in your judgment. He can trust you to make wise choices and to behave with wisdom. And the result is that “he will have no lack of gain.”

Peace at home gives a man the security to be his best at work, as well. It also strengthens his heart to know he isn’t fighting battles alone, but that his wife is praying for him and encouraging him. You are his biggest cheerleader, and your opinion means more than anyone else’s!

The fact that he trusts you with his heart means you are prudent and worthy of his trust as a partner, as his helpmeet, as a mother, and as manager of your home.

His confidence in you extends to his emotions, too, since his heart and not just his mind trusts you. He knows you support him and will build him up.

Do you do that? Do you strive to bless him and encourage him and hold his heart gently and safely?

Let’s take it one step further. Let me encourage you to be aware of your interactions with other men and to guard your marriage by keeping those communications and relationships at arm’s length.

This will also help your husband to be secure in your marriage and it will knit your heart closer to his by removing temptation. This is the beauty of cleaving to your spouse and the two becoming one.

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2. The Proverbs 31 Woman is a Blessing to her Husband

She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life.
Her husband is known in the gates
    when he sits among the elders of the land. 
~Proverbs 31:12, 23

The godly woman described to the wise king by his mother is an asset to her husband. She enhances his life and does good things for him.

Can he trust you not to complain about him or expose his weaknesses to others, but rather build him up?

Are you, like the Proverbs woman, doing good things for him?

It’s also worth noting that she does them all the days of her life.

That means that she does this day in and day out; she doesn’t just do something nice for him on his birthday or for a special occasion. Rather, her life is spent as his helpmeet.

Not only that, the things that she does bless him and contribute to his reputation.

Other men admire a man who has a wife that supports him and manages his household well; don’t you want to add to your husband’s esteem in the eyes of others? I know I do!

Today’s Proverbs woman is one who speaks well of her man, who increases his influence and helps him. She doesn’t compete with him or tear him down over coffee with her girlfriends.

3. The Proverbs 31 Woman is an Eager Worker

…[she] works with willing hands. ~Proverbs 31:13

The entire passage describes the hard-working ethic of the ideal woman, but it is particularly detailed in verses 13, 19, and 27.

Above and beyond her hard-work, however, is her eagerness to work; theProverbs 31 woman isn’t lazy.

Are you eager to work? Do you wake up ready, with a happy heart, to do the things your husband and children need from you? If you have a job or are self-employed, do you do that work with the joy that you ought?

Willing hands bring to mind a woman preparing dinner with a smile while talking to her children or cleaning her home while she sings along with the radio.

She is doing what needs to be done with a heart for her family instead of complaining.

This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a day at home in your yoga pants with a giant cup of coffee and a good book, but it does mean you get what needs done accomplished first.

4. The Proverbs 31 Woman is Resourceful

She is like the ships of the merchant;
    she brings her food from afar. ~Proverbs 31:14

This is not a woman who grew all of her food in her yard or made it all from scratch, contrary to what some people believe. Rather, the Proverbs woman is resourceful and knows how to get what she needs and bring it into her home.

Are you resourceful? Sometimes that simply means going to different grocery stores. Other times it means knowing where to look for what your family needs.

That can be the thrift store, a certain food market, trading with a neighbor, making it from scratch, or using Amazon Prime to have it mailed to you in two days.

Knowing how to be a Proverbs 31 woman today doesn’t mean you have to homestead or be a minimalist or any other trend; it means you love Jesus and you walk out the life He has called you to.

Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s.

5. The Proverbs 31 Woman is Motivated

She rises while it is yet night
    and provides food for her household
and portions
for her maidens. ~Proverbs 31:15

When describing the ideal woman to her son, Wise Mama wanted him to know that a self-motivated woman was a blessing.

You see clearly that she has servants (her maidens), and yet she is still motivated to wake in the wee hours and get up before them.

That means waking up before them, ready to bless them so that you aren’t instead waking up to the chaos of a busy household and getting frustrated.

And when you wake up, it’s not just for quiet time but also for your family.

It’s time to wake up, ready  for your children instead of to their chaos. What a beautiful distinction, isn’t it?

Some women are night owls and their families sleep in; I believe this speaks less of a time on the clock and more to a principle, so don’t lose sight of the grace God is giving you to be virtuous if you’re a night owl.

Just ask Him to show you how that looks in your life and home.

As an aside, if you don’t know how to fit in Quiet Time when you have a not-so-quiet life, read about How To Have Quiet Time When You Have Kids for some beautiful and simple suggestions to make it happen.

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6. The Proverbs 31 Woman is a Good Steward

She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. ~Proverbs 31:16

A lot of folks harp on the fact that this woman considers a field and buys it. Some deduce that she even buys it with her own coins that she’s earned from other ventures.

However, there’s another gem in here for you: she uses the fruit of her hands to plant a vineyard.

This woman doesn’t just acquire things; she utilizes them.

Becoming a Proverbs 31 woman today means becoming a good steward of what you have. It means doing the hard work to reap a harvest (Galatians 6:9 talks about this, too, and it applies to parenting as well as practical issues).

It also means investing your time into work that bears fruit.

This is practical work as well as the intangible work of motherhood and building a strong marriage. She lived a fruitful life!

7. The Proverbs 31 Woman is Industrious

She dresses herself with strength
    and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
    Her lamp does not go out at night.
She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
~Proverbs 31:17-18, 27

Aren’t you beginning to admire the way this woman operates? If we are careful not to get lost in the comparison game, it’s easy to appreciate her virtues.

Even more so, to realize that they are all ones we can both aspire to and attain with prayer, grace, and a little bit of intentional purpose.

This Proverbs 31 woman so admired by Wise Mama is strong and healthy from hard work.

She knows the value that she brings to her household. She works until the job is done. Even at night, her home is a safe haven.

No matter what you do, you can do it well with the diligence of this ideal woman. You can work hard, take care of yourself, and add to your family’s well being through your efforts.

You can keep the home fires burning, as it were, by creating a home your family enjoys being in.

Let’s take note that while she wasn’t lazy, we can also deduce that she would have been expected to rest.

The king’s Wise Mama would only be describing a devout woman of faith, and Jewish law demanded that she honor the Sabbath each week.

God’s plan is never for His children to strive themselves into exhaustion or to work for their salvation.

Related: Sabbath Rest Truths

8. The Proverbs 31 Woman is Generous

She opens her hand to the poor
    and reaches out her hands to the needy. ~Proverbs 31:20

Do you take the time to reach out to those around you in need?

That is another desirable trait in a virtuous woman and one that can most definitely be a part of your life with some purposeful action.

The Proverbs 31 woman is aware of those around her and what they need, and she doesn’t distance herself from them. Instead, she reaches out to them.

Perhaps that means having someone over for dinner with your family or dropping off groceries for someone you know that is having a rough month. Maybe it’s driving someone without a car to work or the doctor’s office. Perhaps it means volunteering somewhere.

No matter what you do, you’re doing it for God’s glory and He will bless those efforts.

9. The Proverbs 31 Woman is Well Prepared

She is not afraid of snow for her household,
    for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
~Proverbs 31:21, 25

Becoming a Proverbs 31 woman means thinking ahead and having plans. This is one of the many reasons her husband can trust her (see #1).

This means that you know what you’re feeding your family, clothing them with, and have a course of action for times of stress. When it’s cold, you’ve got coats on hand as the proverb says.

Consider that you know what to do when a child gets sick and has to miss school or what to make for dinner if you have unexpected company.

Being prepared allows you not to fear the future, and your inner peace contributes to the overall peace of your husband and children. How blessed they are when their mother has made them feel secure and they have no need to worry.

You are prepared, my sweet friend, and your family is blessed because of it!

10. The Proverbs 31 Woman is Business Savvy

She makes linen garments and sells them;
    she delivers sashes to the merchant. ~Proverbs 31:24

The Proverbs 31 businesswoman is certainly diligent as a homemaker, but she also has industries beyond the four walls of her home.

She adds to the family’s wealth by using her talents.

If you have a marketable skill, don’t be afraid to use it! God Himself gifted you with your talents and abilities and using them for His glory and to bless your husband and children is not a sin.

Yes, we are to be keepers of our homes, but there is also a season where we expand beyond that. It is obvious that this woman of virtue prioritized her marriage, her children, and her household. However, she was also a businesswoman.

Becoming a Proverbs 31 woman means both honoring your priorities and utilizing your abilities.

11. The Proverbs 31 Woman is Strong & Dignified

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
~Proverbs 31:25

A strong woman is one that doesn’t buckle under stress and isn’t ruled by her emotions. She isn’t always fearless, but she has courage.

She isn’t afraid of the future because (a) she knows she has done all she can to prepare for it and (b) she is godly and knows who her God is and that He is trustworthy.

She is dignified, which means she carries herself well and receives respect from those around her because she has earned it.

I imagine this to mean that she isn’t prone to gossip or unwise venting of her emotions, as that is undignified. She understands the value of self-control and could also be described as meek.

The best definition I ever heard of meekness is “restrained power;” it is when a strong person chooses restraint because it is the wiser course of action, not the easiest course of action. Strength and dignity.

Also…Wise Mama isn’t harping on her future daughter-in-law’s clothing, just her virtues. She knows what matters!

Related: 6 Things Wise Women Know About Modesty

12. The Proverbs 31 Woman Watches Her Words

She opens her mouth with wisdom
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
~Proverbs 31:26

Becoming a Proverbs 31 woman means learning when to speak and when to remain silent. The choice is made with wisdom, not emotions.

Proverbs 17:27 says that restraining your words is a mark of wisdom.

In Psalm 141:3, the psalmist prays for God to put a guard over his mouth.

James 3 talks about the danger of the tongue that runs unbridled. And there are so many more verses.

When you use your words, you are either building someone up or tearing them down. Are the things leaving your mouth encouraging your husband? Building up the hearts of your children? Spurring your friends toward Jesus?

If so, then you are speaking with wisdom, my sweet friend!

Likewise, recognizing when the emotions in you are threatening to erupt out through your words and holding it back is just as wise. You can do this, my friend!

Are you teaching those around you with kindness? This is part of becoming a Proverbs 31 woman.

In my experience, this gets easier the closer you get to God. After all, the more you love God the more you’ll love people because His heart is for people.

And it starts at home.

When you speak to your husband about something that bothers you, are your words ruled by wisdom and restrained by kindness? When you correct your children, are you encouraging them toward godliness or guilting them toward shame?

Words can mold hearts or destroy them; the Proverbs woman uses this power carefully. A wise woman also knows when to be silent.

Why Be A Proverbs 31 Woman?

Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the gates.
~Proverbs 31:28-31

The virtuous woman is an ideal that the king’s Wise Mama told him about; in fact she wrote him a Proverbs 31 woman poem so he wouldn’t forget her teachings.

But guess what? It wasn’t ever meant to be one woman all at once.

While it’s not a wholly impossible checklist of virtues for you to aspire to, it also wasn’t intended to become one (so don’t turn it into a report card, okay?).

It is a summary of virtues that a woman who loves God will bear as fruit in her life as she matures in Him. 

Becoming a Proverbs 31 woman is a journey that you walk every day.

The Proverbs 31 Wife

The king’s mother knew how important the role of a wife is in a man’s life.

She wanted him to marry a woman whose children would be happy that she is their mama. Her desire was for her son to be able to show off his wife and be proud of her.

Wise Mama was also reminding her son not to be distracted by charm or fleeting beauty, but rather to seek a woman who fears God.

She longed for him to marry a woman he could admire, trust, and praise.

When you exhibit these Proverbs 31 virtues in your life, it is very likely that your husband and children will have hearts that are thankful for you and adore you.

Becoming A Proverbs 31 Woman is a Journey

Don’t feel overwhelmed when you read all about how to be a Proverbs 31 woman. After all, becoming a Proverbs 31 woman is a journey.

As you grow in the Lord you will become more and more of an image bearer for Him.

Don’t let this passage make you feel inadequate, but rather recognize the principles set forth in it and know that there is grace from God to help you live them.

Becoming a Proverbs 31 woman is about knowing God more and living in His grace. Isn’t it a relief to know that being a virtuous woman isn’t about trying to be someone you’re not and instead about loving Jesus with your whole heart and life?

How To Apply Proverbs 31 To Your Life

  1. Pray and ask God to help you
  2. Focus on His grace equipping you and not trying earn God’s favor
  3. Dig deeper into these virtues and study them
  4. (Optional) Jump into the Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman 4-week Scripture Writing Study devotional
  5. For further study, check out these 9 Myths Surrounding The Proverbs 31 Woman