For all that has been said about the Proverbs 31 Woman over the years, not nearly as much has been said about her husband. We celebrate her commitment to being a great wife and ensuring that the needs of her husband were met, but who was the blessed beneficiary on the receiving end of her generosity?
Who was the Proverbs 31 Man? Although he’s only mentioned in a few of the verses, a closer look at the passage gives us some clues about who he was and the integral role he played in the overall success of their lives.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. – Proverbs 31:11-12
The Proverbs 31 Man trusted his wife implicitly. In order to trust another person at that level, one must be completely comfortable with vulnerability. The ability to remain unguarded in a marriage proves to be a struggle for many men and women. Fear of rejection, heartbreak, betrayal, and being made to look weak can hinder someone from fully opening up his/her heart to the person that God has blessed them with. However, for the level of intimacy and oneness that God has called husbands and wives to walk in, full exposure of each individual is required. Only from that fully exposed place can an honest and accurate assessment of each person’s strengths and weaknesses be conducted–not for the purposes of judgment, but rather to help each other grow. Remaining guarded and leery of the other person only aids in creating an environment where distrust is the norm and growth is stunted.
That said, it’s important to point out that The Proverbs 31 Man didn’t just put his trust in any woman. He apparently had enough discernment to seek out and find a woman with “noble character” and integrity. Together, they were able to cultivate an atmosphere of trust, and as a result of that he lacked nothing and was the happy recipient of her love and dedication to him.
Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. – Proverbs 31:23
Not only did the Proverbs 31 Man help to cultivate an atmosphere of trust in his home, clearly he managed to do the same thing in his community, evidenced by the stellar reputation that he had amongst his peers. As Christians, God calls us to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of respect, both publicly and privately. He has not called us to be public successes and private failures. We’ve all heard the stories of leaders with a reputation for having a high moral code of ethics, only to later discover that their personal lives reflect otherwise. Clearly this was not the case for the Proverbs 31 Man. With the full support of his wife, he was walking in his God-given call as a leader in their community, worthy of the respect and admiration of his colleagues.
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” – Proverbs 31:28-29
The Proverbs 31 Man further showed himself to be an honorable man in the way that he honored his wife. He regarded her with so much love and respect that he even modeled it for his children who followed suit in their admiration for their mother. Verse 29 says that he essentially told her that she was the greatest woman ever, comparable to none. What woman doesn’t like to be on the receiving end of that sort of compliment? He was intentional about encouraging his wife and making her feel appreciated and valued. He knew it was more mutually beneficial to use his words to build his wife up verses tear her down. If the Proverbs 31 Woman was anything like most other women, that sort of encouragement made her all the more willing and enthusiastic about her commitment to her husband and family.
In just a few verses, there’s much for men and women alike to learn from the Proverbs 31 Man. The respectable man that he was, along with the trust he had in his wife and the love he showed her certainly played an indispensable part in the Proverbs 31 Woman being the applauded example that she is to this day. As great of an example as he is, he ultimately serves simply as a guidepost pointing back to the ultimate example for Christian men and women and that is Jesus Christ.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”- Ephesians 5:25-27
As husbands and wives grow to imitate the beautiful example modeled by Christ and the church, like the Proverbs 31 Man and Woman, their marriages will be a reflection of trust, honor, and God’s great love for us.
Kimberly Vandiver is a follower of Jesus Christ, wife to her wonderful husband, step-mom to their beautiful daughter, soon-to-be mommy to their new baby boy, daughter to wonderful parents, sister to four really cool siblings, and friend to some amazing people. She is passionate about living “a life worthy of the calling” (Eph. 4:1) and encouraging others to do the same in Christ. She blogs at ThertyOne where the goal is to inspire women to love fearlessly, build wisely, give freely, and excel virtuously!