The Proverbs 31 Woman – Week 11

My heart is overflowing with joy  from an amazing weekend at the Proverbs 31 Ministries Conference titled She Speaks.  I spoke in 3 sessions and took LOTS of pictures.  I will share them tomorrow! 

But now – We are up to week 11 in the Proverbs 31.

This week we are looking at Proverbs 31:28-29

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”

 A reader emailed me and asked the question:

How can I be a Proverbs 31 woman with a husband who has an alcohol problem and can’t hold a steady job?”

Here are my thoughts on this:

(if you are reading this in an email or feed – click here to view the video)

The Proverbs 31 woman knew her husband’s needs, met them and as a result he praised her.  If we neglect what our husbands ask for, ignore their advice, withold love in the bedroom *wink*, refuse to respect them – it’s inevitable – we will not get a whole lot of praise from our husbands.

We can be the best room mother, best career woman, best servant at church, or best friend another woman can have but when we come home – if our husband’s needs are not met – we have failed to be like the Proverbs 31 woman.
{excerpt from the ebook}

Now let’s reverse the above scenario – let’s imagine that you do respect your husband and do all of the above…and he does not praise you…this is a very real scenario for many many wives.  I stood in the hallway at the Proverbs 31 conference while a woman told me the story of how she loved her husband and always sought to please him…and he was cheating on her.  This was not her issue – this was his!  It was not her fault that he walked away – it was his. 

Proverbs is a book of principles NOT promises.  The principle stands that a woman who strives to be noble – will have a husband who at the end of her days praises her.  But this is not a promise…and for some – their husband’s will never be the Proverbs 31 husband – and it is HIM who is falling short of what God has called him to be in Proverbs 31 and in Ephesians 5. 

We cannot change our husbands or be their Holy Spirit.  We must simply pray for them and walk in obedience to God’s word.

This week’s challenge: Go to your husband and children and ask them…what is it that I do or say that makes you feel loved?  Find out what is most important to them…is it a backrub, a homemade meal, tossing a football in the back yard, gifts, words of affirmation, or something else?  Write it down somewhere so you never forget what makes each individual in your family most feel loved and be sure to do whatever that thing is as often as you can this week. 

Walk with the King,


  1. Courtney,

    I love this post. I think it is so important that we as wives remember to be faithful in serving our husbands and often it will take us to uncomfortable places we never imagined. It is also possible, but not guaranteed that they will see in the future what has been done by their wives. That was the case in my own marriage. My husband was disabled, had been taken advantage of and we were left in terrible debt. I had two babies while he was sick, lost a baby, and I had to work 95 hours a week during those days. Life required a lot of sacrifice and often times for me both the pain and exhaustion seemed unbearable. My husband also complained that I was not meeting his needs, the children were suffering (one was a 2 year old and one was an infant under age 1), but I was doing what I had to do in order to keep us from being homeless and having food to eat. It took me awhile to heal enough to see that during that time I was acting like a Proverbs 31 Woman, but it was not in a traditional sense at all. My husband complained and did not praise me at all. Then he had brain surgery and God healed him through that surgery. Now he owns a business and is the breadwinner he always wanted to be. We did not know how badly his cognitive function had deteriorated until he got well. Now as his cognitive abilities grow he sees things differently. NOW four and a half years later my husband praises me for doing what had to be done during those horrible, rotten days we lived through. As he praises me I find that I am healing more and more as well as our marriage is getting stronger and stronger. I want to encourage wives that some may receive praise from their husbands in the future. Others still I know will never receive praise from their husbands. I want to encourage them to remember that God sees their service and their hearts. He knows and will reward their faithfulness if not now then in heaven. It is not going unnoticed.


    1. Thank you Courtney for such a beautiful testimony of your life. I wish that I could put my feelings on paper as eloquently as you but I’ve never been able to. I believe that God has put this in my path before I give up on our very long 22 year old and unhappy marriage. I simply came across this site by asking “SIri” on my phone about a completely different bible quote! But I seriously need to get some help for the situation you described above. Love in Jesus, Patty

  2. Althought these are principles an not promises, once you walk in obedience. And follow God’s lead he WILL reward you. And His rewards are far better than the ones you may think about.
    Just sharing a little of my own experience here. Blessings!

    1. That’s my reply, EXACTLY. I felt that this post/series is becoming a little cheesy with the whole ‘proverbs are principles, not promises’ thing. When in fact, that is NOT true. The only reason that there’s a possibility that someone may not see total manifestation of many things within marriage is only because you are dealing with another person’s free will. There’s soo much more to the P31 woman than that. If a woman is truly and consistently striving to please God and serve her husband and children, obedience to His Word will ALWAYS birth blessings. I’m a living testimony of a woman who knows what it’s like to serve a man that has thoughts and motives elsewhere. Bless God, today, he’s truly devoted to our family and marriage. You ask him what was the turning point/what made him change? He says, “the fact that my wife kept doing what God required of her, for me, day in and day out, when I was a jerk and neglected my home. She was persistent to please God. It eventually became my wakeup call….”

      1. Mom2-5

        Thank you for sharing your story of hope! That’s wonderful!

        In regards to my “cheesy”ness… I’ve been called a lot of things over four years of blogging – it’s always a good pride check – so thanks for humbling me.

        Let me explain the “principles/promise” thing.

        First in the video – (not sure if you watched it) I further explained an example of this – like Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

        We all know of parents who trained their children in the way they should go and 2 of their children did not depart from it and one did. Some of these parents stood at grave sides mourning their children’s departure.

        BUT I also know of Godly couples whose children departed from the truth and then later in the adulthood – came back to Christ. And in those cases we see the truth of Proverbs 22:6 resonating.

        You see – it’s a principle – if we train our children – our children will walk with God – but not a promise – sometimes children go to their grave not walking with God.

        Another example that you may more closely see the dichotomy in, is in Proverbs 26 verses 4 and 5 – these back to back verses are fascinating – they say:

        4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.
        5 Answer a fool according to his folly or he will be wise in his own eyes.

        So after reading these 2 verses we may ask – do you answer the fool or not? In some cases – you’ll be like the fool and in others you will not.

        I hope that better explains how Proverbs plays out in the lives of believers.
        Lots of Love,

      2. I love this statement and can say that yes, this is exactly it! God’s word does not return void. I always accomplishes what it is sent forth to do. I agree that P31 is not a to do list, it was never intended for that but there are character traits there that if we do the one thing God praised (her fear of the Lord) then these character traits become a result of our relationship with Him. Those character traits, the very traits of God, then result in blessings that we could have never imagined. I know. I’ve experienced this first hand. It is a beautiful and powerful thing. Our God is amazing. I’m so honored to be a part of His body.

  3. Thank u thank u. I am so greatful to u for all the work
    u put into getting Gods message out. I am changing in ways I never thought
    of , simply by learning and listening to wise women like yourself. Gods plan is mighty
    and I am changing my generational opression for my children and their future.Thank you so
    much for being a servant of the lord.You are making a huge wave in the enemies
    attack on traditional families .I can never thank u enough. God bless u and your family.

  4. I love your daily messages and precious encouragement. I’m so sorry that I don’t write a thank you comment each day. However, I must ask about your stance on this one. I am reading your statement to say that if you’ve tried and done everything you can do and he is still a jerk, it’s his fault and you can leave…I truly hope I’m misinterpreting since the Bible is quite clear that this is not the case. You/We are to love our husbands in spite of his behavior and love him in a way that draws him to the Lord. If he never comes to the Lord, but you stuck around and loved him, in spite of, your bling in Heaven will be much cuter than mine!!! ; )

    1. Oh my no – that’s not the message at all. The message is if you have lived as the Proverbs 31 woman and your husband is not the Proverbs 31 husband – keep living like the Proverbs 31 woman to the glory of God. How our husband’s live is not in our control. Leaving was no where mentioned above?

      I hope that my final sentence before the challenge summed up my point “We cannot change our husbands or be their Holy Spirit. We must simply pray for them and walk in obedience to God’s word.”

  5. I appreciate what you had to say to the woman that wrote in to you. Having been in a similar situation, it’s comforting to know that I upheld my end of the bargain, so to speak. Sure there were areas in which I could have improved, but then again, there always are and knowing that I was striving to do my best is encouraging.

    One thing I would add is to encourage this woman to seek outside help from her pastor and his wife or a counselor if her pastor so recommends. Alcohol abuse can bring so many other issues into play and many times this should not be handled by the woman alone. Many times she is too close to the situation to see clearly whether or not she (and/or her children) are in a safe environment.

    It also seems that many Christian women who find themselves with an alcoholic husband or a husband who doesn’t live up to the “christian” standard feel shame at either choosing this man or just at the situation and therefore they are quiet. They let the shame overwhelm them. I know that this was one of my issues. I wanted to keep up pretenses that everything was fine and in doing so allowed myself to take on shame and guilt that was never supposed to belong to me.

    Thanks again for your wise words, Courtney!


    1. I understand so much of what you are saying here, Kristina. My former spouse was not a Godly man and he was physically and mentally abusive when he was drinking. Unfortunately, that was quite often. He had several affairs throughout our marriage and finally left me for an 18 year old.

      I will say that I could have done things a lot better. I could have not been ashamed of him and constantly been trying to change him. I did everything I could to let him know I didn’t accept him as he was. I hid his beer when friends came over, I put him on the spot to pray for us, I hounded him with stories of other people’s Godly husbands and many other things.

      But God loves us… oh does He love us.

      Even after our divorce God wasn’t done with us. Not because we have three children together but because God loves that man just as much as He loves me. God sent another man into my life, the man who is now my husband, and he helped me to love my former spouse. You read that right. My husband taught me how to love my former spouse.

      It was my husband who lead my former spouse to the Lord and prayed for him fervently. That lead to God’s living word bringing forth what it set out to do. Love was alive in all of our lives. Forgiveness was sought, bitterness was let go, anger was turned into love. God allowed my husband, myself, and my children to be a part of that.

      On October 18, 2010 my former spouse passed away unexpectedly. We know he waits for us in heaven because we were permitted to be a part of his journey to Christ. The true definition of love is all action. Decisions made in moments of excitement and despair. When we finally chose to walk in true love, to walk in the true living word of God, salvation came and a new family was born.

  6. First I want to say that I have very much enjoyed this study! I would like to offer my take on the letter that you addressed in the video today. I believe that this woman has so much to look forward to! My Daddy was an alcoholic for many years. My Mom has shared with me some ( I’m sure not all) of the ways that it was hard for her to faithfully strive to be the Proberbs 31 woman living in that situation. She was couseled by many well-meaning people to nag him into coming to church with her, or to guilt him into being a better man. My Mom wisely didn’t follow that advice. She remained sweet and honoring with him and he was eventually “won by the conversation of his wife” (1 Peter 3). He praises her often, and all of us kids call her blessed, even the youngest who is 15 (there are 8 of us). It took some years, but she is now living her dream! Her husband praises her, her children rise up and call her blessed! I hope that those in similar situations will be encouraged, there is hope! The Father wants you to have a beautiful marriage!! God Bless You!!!

  7. Thank you so much for taking the time to develop this study on Proverbs 31! I so enjoy each Monday morning, when I pull up the videos! What an ispiration!!! Thanks again !!!!

  8. this is great! so encouraging….also I think the video on Time Warp WIfe blog that you were a part of would be helpful to watch. GOd has a purpose for all marriages…even ones with difficult situations.

  9. Courtney, when I listened to your messge (which was great!) I thought of Abigail in the Bible and her incredible example to wives in difficult marriages.

    1 Samuel 25:3 Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.

    Churlish – what a word God chose to describe that man!! It means: Rude; surly; austere; sullen; rough in temper; unfeeling; uncivil; selfish; narrow-minded; avaricious; unpliant; unyielding; cross-grained; harsh; unmanageable; as churlish metal. And it is the only time it is EVER used in the Bible.

    It’s incredible that even though Abigail had a bad husband, she chose to do right regardless of her circumstances. She didn’t try to cover up her husband’s foolishness. But she wisely made ammends for her husband’s wrongdoing to David.

    1 Samuel 25:32-33
    And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me: And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.

    So Abigail used “good understanding” in dealing with her man’s foolishness and ended up being freed from the drunken husband and married to the KING (wow).

    Her righteous actions DID bring her praise by her FUTURE husband who called her BLESSED!

    So I just wanted to encourage those in tough marriages to read Abigail’s testimony, be encouraged and trust God. The Lord is watching to see how hard times are handled. Serve as though it were to the King himself and watch to see what God will do with your circumstances.

    God bless!

  10. Thank you for that description of Nabal and for the commentary on that passage. It was very enlightening and I hope encouraging to those who live in difficult marriages.

  11. Courtney, this is such a good word, and so hard to do, especially if we haven’t been cultivating this attitude throughout our marriages. But I left She Speaks with a renewed commitment to make my husband my top priority after God. I have been married 21 years and I have to say that with 3 widely spaced kids and 3 moves/job changes it was too easy to drift apart. We may want to fill our lives with other things to cover the pain of drifting apart, but the real answer is to return to the love and dedication we once practiced. Thanks for including me in your dialogue today and also for your great session at the conference about blogging. I know I’ll be back often.

  12. Thank you for encouraging us wifes and mommies….I am loving your site…getting close to 50 and still a mommy w/young ones…so encouraged and CHALLANGED by your words…..what a blessing to have “found” you 🙂

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