A previous post generated some questions on singleness and womanhood.
Can only a married woman fulfill her “helper by design” role?
How did the Proverbs 31 woman become an excellent wife? We know that she couldn’t have been born married, and that her married status must have come after being single…so what was she doing in her singleness?
The Proverbs 31 wife is frequently held up as the picture woman, shining brightly from her home, in her married state (certainly a true depiction of this marital role). But Proverbs 31 is written to young men telling them what to look for in a future wife – and what is a future wife now? A single woman. Clearly, the qualities that we admire in the Proverbs 31 woman would first be observed in the life of a single woman.
Married or Single – A Proverbs 31 Woman Displays God-given Qualities
Notice the character qualities of the Proverbs 31 wife. She is a trustworthy and influential companion to her husband. She employs her skills to create with her hands. She manages her household. She runs a home business. She has physical strength. She is industrious – works long hours, is wise, teaches kindness and wisdom, takes care of the needy, etc. She focuses her tremendous talent and skill in strengthening her family and home – thereby impacting the community as well.
OK, so now, how would this look in the life of a single woman? Well, her disposition is still as bent toward employing her skills to strengthen others. Consider the following characteristics which shine through in a Proverbs 31 woman (single or married): hospitable, looks for ways to meet the needs of others, disciples and mentors other women, seeks to enhance her job performance. She works hard and is submissive to authority in her life. She recognizes her ability to use her skills to the betterment of others (her boss, friends, community, etc.), and not herself. She is not a gossip and is able to be trusted; she gives godly counsel, speaks with kindness, does not clamor for appreciation and honor from others, is joyful and content where God has placed her – she is not self-focused or self-righteous.
In all seasons of life, single or married, women can (and should) be developing the qualities of a Proverbs 31 woman. While all believers are called to help each other and grow in leadership, a woman’s unique design allows her to shine brightly when focusing her energy on the betterment of others – helping. On the other hand, a man’s design is unique to godly charecteristics specific to manhood. A godly man will shine though in his abilities to lead, provide, and protect in various circumstances.
For further study and reflection, read This Momentary Marriage by John Piper. It is a great resource not only about marriage, but also on manhood, womanhood, and singleness.
[Contributions by Janet Aucoin]