Proverbs 31: A Wife of Noble (Questionable) Character

Clothed In Beauty
Clothed With Strength

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of writing a guest post for Michelle Terry’s blog- Lipstick and Laundry. Then I got the bright idea of asking Michelle to reciprocate- ah ha! Her turn! So her beautiful post below is what she wrote for me and you.

First, let me tell you, it is a bit tongue in cheek. But I beg you, read it twice. It is truly gallant (say that with an accent on the second syllable please) and I admire Michelle’s zest and vivacious way of looking at life (and the proverbs!). Thank you Michelle!

Proverbs 31: A Wife of Noble (Questionable) Character

Give me a task, a challenge, a goal.

Show me a map, make me a list, set a reminder.

I can do it, defeat it, smash it.

31 Days to a More Organized Home: Check

From Couch to 5K: Done

Train and run for a marathon: Twice

Become a wife of noble character: Um, how about a different assignment?

If you haven’t read Proverbs 31: 10-31, here are the high points. Verses 10-31 comprise a Hebrew acrostic poem; each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. You’ll find references to the proverb on Twitter and in Pinterest because it’s an excellent self-improvement list–one for each day of the month. It seems that the Bible bloggers were obsessive list makers like me.

I imagine the Proverbs 31 wife as a woman with raven hair, a calm spirit, and laugh lines and curves in all of the right places. I named her Susie.

For three months in a row, each day, I’ve pulled out one of the 31 lines, and worked to become a faultless, noble wife. A Susie.

Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?

Per my M.O., when I’m doing something hard, I embrace the assignment and start out gangbusters.

Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. Maybe I can quit telling white lies about how long I’ve had that new dress. Easy, peasy.

She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. I took him to the ER after a chainsaw incident and then removed his stitches. He also lets me shave his neck, so basically, his life is in my hands.

She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. Do you think the hubby cares if I sew? Isn’t this starting to become more about me than him?

She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar. Ugh! Once again, we have no groceries in the house. The act of putting food on the table for my family is my love language, but I fall short of that almost every day. When was the last time I cooked him dinner? One meal together people! How difficult could it be?

She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls. Ha! So, that’s how Susie did it. She got up early and hired some help.

She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings, she plants a vineyard. Vineyard = wine. Fun for everyone.

She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. Now Susie is speaking my language. But, this applies to my husband how?

She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Most days, my lamp burns past the witching hour, but I know hubby just wishes I’d hold a candle for him. How many times have I said, “I’m too tired”?

Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. Children, husband, parents, friends. What a gorgeous tapestry is sitting in my hands. What if I screw it up? What happens if I thread a wrong stitch and rip the edges with my irritability, moodiness, and disengagement?

Then the verses break into more spinning, sewing, making bedspreads and dressing in fine linen and purple gowns—Susie must have been quite the crafter. Perhaps it’s the squirrel chaser in me, but each time I get to line 19, my mind starts to wander, and discipline falls to the wayside. I go back to being a self-centered wife who takes the man that I love for granted. I set the table with moodiness and serve food spiced with brooding and impatience.

Then, I jump ahead and find the line that sets me back on the path to being a wife of noble character.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. My mantra, my prayer, a reminder pinned to my Twitter page. Susie didn’t have Twitter.

My husband fills my life with laughter and cloaks me with his strength. He shows me who I want to be by his example, and his patience and wisdom set my caboose back on the tracks.

We have been married for twenty-five years, together for twenty-eight. Big numbers adding up to larger memories and bellies bursting with gratefulness. The Proverbs 31 practice shouldn’t be about making a list and checking off the tasks. It certainly shouldn’t be about perfection. Instead, it’s a metaphor and parable for trying to do the best we can, and not beating ourselves up when we don’t. Maybe that’s why we start every thirty to thirty-one days with a new calendar page—an opportunity to reset ourselves with new perspective and determination.

I’m thankful that he doesn’t expect me to be a flawless, flax-spinning, lamp-carrying beauty. I’m just grateful that he knows I’m trying and hopeful that he gives me another twenty-five until I get it right.

Michelle Terry

Michelle Terry is a purposeful wife, mama, writer, and healthcare professional – accidental photographer and tree chopper. Suffers from shiny object syndrome. Michelle has been published in The Snapdragon Journal, The Schuykill Valley Journal, The Front Porch Journal, and NASCAR Illustrated. She blogs at Lipstick and Laundry, and is working on her first book, due late 2016.

From Joanne- Happy Anniversary Michelle! May you and your husband have many more wonderful years together. Thank you so much for writing this post for us! xoxo


Join me on my graceful journey.

50 Replies to “Proverbs 31: A Wife of Noble (Questionable) Character”

  1. Thanks Michelle, for entertaining us today! I see many times where I fall short of that also. My husband of (almost) 33 years forgives me, too!
    Thank you Joanne for introducing us!

    1. Hi Cathy!
      Congrats to you and your husband on 33 years–that is no small feat these days. As for falling short…well, I’m convinced that our husband’s appreciate and love our flaws just as much as anything else. Imagine if we were married to a perfect spouse?
      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Have a wonderful day!

  2. I can just see Proverbs ‘Susie’ and Michelle having a lovely laugh together. I love the noble wife of Proverbs 31. I don’t equate her with perfection but with a loving, generous, comforting spirit; a person one can rely upon.

    1. You are so right, Gallivanta…on all counts! I would totally have tea and cookies with Susie. I even think she would even comfort me if I burned them all 🙂
      And, it’s the loving, generous and kind spirit that keeps me coming back to this proverb–the simplicity is elegant, and some days, even life saving.
      Thank you so much for reading 🙂

  3. Dearest Joanne,
    Thank you so much for sharing my rambling thoughts with your sweet readers. As I shared earlier, this piece wrote itself and I’m grateful to you for seeing my words at their heart. I feel so blessed to call you a friend. xo

  4. I just love this! Congratulations on 25 years of marriage. That’s a whole lot of living and loving. I think I could definitely have a more organized and clean house if I had servants to actually get these cobwebs. Cheers!

    1. I know, right? But, I’d probably feel so guilty having servants, that I’d end up cooking and cleaning for them, too 🙂
      Thank you for being here, Susan. I have a post of yours just waiting to be read in my inbox, too. Thank you for always taking the time to read and comment. It means the world to me. xo

  5. Thank you JO for hosting (cornering) Michelle! 🙂

    And thank you Michelle for sharing your wisdom! 🙂 Congratulations to you and your hubby on 25 wonderful years. Here’s wishing you many, many more years of bliss! Stay blessed 🙂

    1. *Giggles! You have it mostly right, Diya. I thought I could outlast Joanne’s request (writer’s block!), but you know her…such a kind and gentle encourager. She’s a gem.
      Thank you for reading and for the congratulations 🙂

    1. Ha! I wonder, too Marissa. Perhaps that’s why this verse speaks to me. Susie seems like a woman with her heart in all the right places and busy hands, too. PLUS – she makes her own money and runs a vineyard. I wonder if she ever sleeps 😉

      (ps: have a fantastic time on your upcoming trip!)

  6. Love this, Michelle. The conclusion was just what I needed–the idea that the calendar is a reset key to start over and do better the next month, instead of just getting after ourselves for where we’ve fallen short. Congrats on 25 years. That’s wonderful!

    1. Hi Charissa!
      Isn’t it crazy how mundane things slip into our head while writing? I had just ripped off the calendar page, took a deep breath, and thought…”Hey! It’s June 1st. Let’s try this again.” So I am.
      Thank you for the kind words, and congratulations. It truly feels like yesterday 🙂

        1. And, I benefit from yours. Thanks to you, I have taken more time with my book edits. I printed it this morning — it’s ready for the last (ish) ruthless edit before I send it to the agent editor I have been working with 🙂

  7. Oh my goodness!! Your comment just made my day. Glowing? Well…that could have been the summer heat and humidity shining off my face 😉
    Thank you for taking the time to read and comment – I am grinning from ear to ear 🙂

  8. Sweet friend, why on EARTH do you think he would want a Susie? He has – and cherishes – his Michelle…! I am quite certain he is looking forward to the next 25 years every bit as much as you are. In the words of Armande (in Chocolat, which, if you haven’t seen it, you simply MUST!) “Don’t worry so much about ‘supposed to’.”

    1. My dear, dear sparkly Lizzi!
      Thank you for your kind words and vote of confidence. He, too confided that he wouldn’t want a Susie…though…he doesn’t hate the thought of more regular meals 😉

      1. Ohhhhh I think you’d LOVE IT! Juliette Binoche is WONDERFUL, as is Lena Olin…goodness me, it’s a beautiful, indulgent, very sweet film.

  9. Ha, the old “oh I’ve had this dress awhile now” trick. Job’s wife probably sewed a new dress every fortnight but pretended it was only every other. Oh Michelle, you’re perfect as you are and your husband is lucky and no doubt knows it and appreciates you as much as you obviously appreciate him. Happy 25 years. And yeah, those other 3 years count too so happy 28 years! Really sweet post, enjoyed reading and seeing your lovely face and words here. Thanks for hosting her, Joanne!

    1. BAHAHA! Job’s wife…love it! I’d be naked if I had to rely on my sewing skills–no patience in that arena. I make about 1 dress/year.
      You know…you were the first writer to give me courage to show my spiritual side. Do you remember the post from about 12-18 months ago where you first shared that side of you? I’ve been doing the soul searching ever since–you inspire me in more ways than you’ll ever know.
      Thank you, Kristen. Xoxox

      1. I kind of remember that post, though feel like I’ve only gotten off track. And sometimes an angel comes along to gently nudge you back on course or remind you that you never really left 😉

  10. Happy Anniversary Michelle, you are awesome! I have read this 2 times and each time found something new to think about and something else to make me laugh! I love your thoughts! My husband and I will be married 47 yrs in a few short months, and I still fall short. However, love is what it is all about! Thanks Joanne for sharing. I so enjoyed reading this today!

  11. Excellent! Laughed and cheered at the same time! What a witty lady! Nice seeing you again, Michelle!! Thanks Joanne for a lovely lady and great post!

    1. Hello, dear Karen!! I have been thinking about you 🙂
      So wonderful to see you again, too. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I hope your summer is starting off great! Xo

  12. Hi Cindy!
    47 years!! That is amazing. Isn’t it crazy how we think we all “fall short” at times? It seems to me that almost half a decade is way less than falling short. Sounds like you have some Susie tendencies 🙂
    Congrats on your love and marriage and thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment.

  13. Oh my gosh, you make laugh! I love Rachel Held Evans explanation of Proverbs 31 so much that I’ve considered getting a tattoo saying “Eshet Chayil”. Michelle, you are the very definition of a Woman of Valor! The love and life you have created with your hubby and children is inspiring. Happy Anniversary! xxoo

  14. Joanne and Michelle, you are two peas in the same pod with your delightful writing.
    Michelle, I also removed the stitches from my husband’s foot, but it was 12 days after the axe slipped when he was chopping wood (but was luck enough to at least be waring his heavy hiking boots. And once (very early on) I made my dress and his tie of matching fabric so if we got lost at the family reunion we could find each other. 😉
    This was a delightful memory-nudging post.

    1. Oh Marylin!
      Your comment has me grinning from ear to ear. I agree that Joanne and I could totally be peas in a pod, and I’m so honored you’d equate our writing styles.
      And, perhaps your husband and mine went to the same lumberjack school. Seriously…how would they survive without us?? My husband sliced himself in the leg when he was messing with a chainsaw and a stubborn tree. He gave me an auto-shut-off saw so I wouldn’t hurt myself–I told him we should trade next time.
      I am giggling at the notion of your matching dress and tie – I bet you gave Susie lessons.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. You just totally made my day!!

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