There’s something about watching the 1975 version of “The Stepford Wives” that really stirs the imagination. My husband and I watched the movie last week, and we had a great time laughing at the various statements made throughout the film, although I did find it ultimately scarier than the 2004 version. Nevertheless, we saw the efforts of these men as they created the “perfect wives” for themselves. Through the clever engineering of robots, these men produced wives that were strikingly beautiful at all times, with great physiques, mild temperaments, obsessed with pleasing their husbands, compulsive over their domestic duties, always sexually ready, completely submissive, intellectually dull, and never questioning or inquiring into their husband’s affairs. You could really say that these wives were essentially perfect, or even excellent, in the eyes of their husbands, and in the eyes of every man in town. And it is with these thoughts that I have placed my mind on what makes an excellent, Christian wife.
Now, I believe that a lot of Christian women look to the “Proverbs 31” description as the ultimate standard of being a wife, and I personally think that it is a great standard. Keeping in mind that Titus 2:3-5 and 1 Peter 3:1-6 also provide wonderful descriptions of an excellent Christian wife, the Word of God should always be our standard, our gauge, for how well we are fulfilling the responsibilities of being a wife. So I plan to take the time over the next few weeks to go through these three passages of Scripture, not for your benefit, but for my own. I know I have been accused of being to professional and analytical, sucking the joy out of doing things. But when you are reflecting on yourself, examining yourself in light of the Scripture, you should take great pains to be thorough, accurate, and completely truthful. Now, if you are unmarried and reading my blog, you may find this to be helpful in making sure that you are actually ready to be the wife that you aspire to be. I personally recommend praying and meditating on the Scripture that you’re reading, asking God to thoroughly search out your heart and disclose to you what needs to be known, and humbly submitting to Him everything that needs to be worked out.
Part 1: The Difficulty of Finding the Excellent Wife
To finish up this post, I want to deal with one verse, Proverbs 31:10:
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
I only want to examine this verse today because it puts such a great question in your mind: Who can find an excellent wife?
There are so many things that you can infer from this question, but most women just assume that they fit this description and that their future husbands should just look harder for them. It’s a cute idea, but it is obviously the wrong mindset to have when you ponder this verse. Nevertheless, I have identified three good points that you could infer from this verse alone.
#1: There is a difference between a woman, a wife, and an excellent wife
Wow. Now I’m sure you will probably feel like that’s a bit harsh, but it is true. There is a very big difference. You can see women anywhere. It only takes the right biology to fall into the definition of a woman. Yet, most people will quickly distinguish women who are definite “wife-material” from those who aren’t. Most people who see some women as being the “wife” types are quick to point out their kind and loving nature, great personality, and general selflessness, and I am not disagreeing with any of this. However, I am pointing out that the Bible distinguishes and, with great detail, describes a woman that is an “excellent wife”. Now, it may be difficult to conceptualize this, but I think we should. Just as much as there are regular women and women who are definitely wives, there are also wives and excellent wives. That means that every wife is not an excellent wife, in the eyes of God, and every woman that aspires to be a wife will not necessarily be an excellent wife, in the eyes of God.
#2: Excellent wives are rare and exceptional
The second point that this verse makes is that excellent wives are uncommon and hard to find. Because this is true, it means that most women who are currently wives or ready to be a wife are not actually excellent wives. Now this doesn’t mean that you aren’t good in your wifely duties or that you don’t have an excellent qualities at all, but it does mean that you haven’t reached the full standard that God has set. What you do have to keep in mind though is that being an excellent wife isn’t like salvation in the eyes of God. Whereas salvation is an ongoing work that is completed on the day of the Lord, the qualities of an excellent wife could and should be met while you are still living on this earth.
Another thing to point out here is the context of this posed question. From the start of the chapter, we see that these are all things that King Lemuel was taught by his mother. Think about this: a king during this time had virtually unlimited power to scour his own kingdom and surrounding lands for the most beautiful, captivating, and exquisite woman to be his wife. In fact, why shouldn’t the wife of the king, the queen-to-be, be the most excellent wife? Would it not fit her husband’s station in life? Yet, the king’s mother told him that even with an exhaustive search, finding an excellent wife would be a very difficult challenge that few have ever achieved.
Now consider this thought: If a king had difficulty finding an excellent wife with virtually unlimited resources, then an excellent wife must truly be an exceptional rarity to find. More than that, an excellent wife is not just a rarity available to those with the most money or with an abundance of wealth. On the contrary, she is a rarity available to any man that can find her. He just has to find her. Amidst hundreds and thousands of women, any man can have an excellent wife if he is diligent in finding her. As a woman, this means that you’re not hiding yourself or trying to be “difficult to find”, but it does mean that if you are working on meeting the qualities of an excellent wife, then you may or may not ever be found. I know that sounds sad, but it is true. Every diamond that has ever been created is not always discovered. You can be a wonderful woman, well suited to be an excellent wife, and never be “found”. Although I pray that is never your position, I know that God is well able to take care of you and give you an abundance of grace, peace, and joy to be faithful to Him always.
#3: Excellent wives are valuable
The last point that stands out here is that excellent wives are valuable. Most importantly, God deems the value of the excellent wife to be much more precious and valuable than jewels. What I find to be really interesting is that the excellent wife’s value had to be mentioned in the first place. I’m not going to follow the argument that men need to be reminded of how valuable their wives are. But I am going to say that the excellent wife is largely undervalued, and at times ignored, in a world where other qualities are placed in higher esteem, and I think that is really worth considering. What qualities do you think are most important to being an excellent wife? Do those qualities line up with the Scripture? Or are you (as a woman) devaluing what God has said is most valuable to be publicly and culturally more acceptable and attractive in the eyes of men today? It doesn’t matter what society thinks is most important, and it doesn’t matter what magazines say that women should or should not do to attract and keep their mate. What matters is that God says that an excellent wife, a wife carrying the virtues and qualities in the following verses, is extremely valuable in His sight and thus pleasing to Him.
So wrapping this up, the title of being an “excellent wife” comes with a higher standard in the eyes of God. There is nothing that you can change about that. God has set a standard, and we should all be aspiring, as Christian women, to reach this standard. Hopefully, my blogs over the next few weeks can continue to shed light on the qualities of the “excellent wife”, and I hope you enjoy taking this journey with me.