Modern society has rapidly replaced meaningful virtue embodied in people’s lives with vapid symbolism rooted in identity politics. Rather than encouraging individuals to aspire to self-improvement, higher purpose, and moral refining, the wisdom of the social media masses calls for universal validation keyed to their own perceptions of self-importance. The problem Patrick Moynihan described in the 1960s as “defining deviancy down” has degraded social mores to the point where it appears the vast majority of citizens see virtue-signaling as virtue itself. However, the inspired closing words of Proverbs do not provide the option of recreating virtue to fit modern-day preferences for self-congratulatory reinterpretation. Instead, when the write asks, “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies” (Prov. 31:10), he paints a picture with such precision that it would probably offend people if written today due to its moral clarity.
- A woman’s virtue provides the foundation for trust in her marriage (Prov. 31:11-12). Rather than selfish, she consistently considers how her own actions might affect him and their marriage. Whether matters of finance, use of time, or questions of conduct, her faithfulness makes him value her even more, specifically because she demonstrates such attention to his interests as if they were her own (Phil. 2:4).
- A woman’s virtue is displayed in her work ethic (Prov. 31:13-15). She works diligently to improve life for all in her family, making sure that they are properly clothed and fed. This woman neither feels victimized nor burdened by her responsibilities but embraces the opportunities presented with the full force of her intelligence and character. Instead, she takes her responsibilities in the home seriously and applies herself to doing everything she can to the best of her ability. Therefore, whether working at home or outside the home, she does so with the home in mind, and this adds virtue upon virtue.
- A woman’s virtue ensures wisdom in handling money (Prov. 31:16-18). She does not seek profit merely to attain an artificial standard of living but for improvement of the family’s situation. She has the insight and the foresight to make transactions that make a difference, including those that require her to work harder. Therefore, she does not seek money to avoid hard work but to make the most of it.
- A woman’s virtue shows in her interest in and care for others (Prov. 31:19-25). The hard work described of spinning wool had a purpose far beyond self. Her love for her neighbor and those in need motivated her to work enough to provide something for them as well. She worked all year long to provide clothes for growing children so that they would not suffer when winter came. More than that, she did everything possible to provide them the best of her work that she could. Her enterprising nature causes her to take an inventory of her own skills and do everything possible to help others become successful. There is an inner strength to this commitment that goes unappreciated by too many.
- A woman’s virtue is often reflected in her husband’s success (Prov. 31:23). A good wife supports her husband’s work while doing her own. Her virtue, work, and character—demonstrated in her daily efforts for the family, guidance of the children, and personal care for her husband—relieves a tremendous burden that makes possible his own success.
- A woman’s virtue comes through in her words and activities (Prov. 31:26-27). A godly woman contemplates godly matters and therefore can speak with godly wisdom. She has seen much and perceives more, but despite the challenges she has endured, she always has kind words for others. She applies this wisdom to her own family first, remaining so busy with her desire to help others that she sometimes has to be told to rest.
- A woman’s virtue will be trumpeted by those who know her best (Prov. 31:28-29). Her children thank her in every way they can. Her husband expresses his appreciation as often as possible. They know best what she has to offer others because they have experienced it firsthand.
The seat of virtue is reverence for God. And this is true beauty. It does not fade with age but rather only grows more abundant. It holds an authenticity all its own. In this, a woman’s virtue becomes unmistakable, extremely attractive, and a blessing to behold (Prov. 31:30-31). I am thankful that I have seen such virtue in my mother, in my wife, and in other Christian women whose efforts in marriage, in the home, and in the church proclaim virtue with every step. And while society today may not value such women, all people should. (And they should not wait until Mother’s Day each year.) Rather than accepting the politicization of womanhood, we should celebrate it as God designed it and especially celebrate those who make it come alive before our eyes and make it live in our hearts. The value of virtue in a wife cannot be quantified, and that is reason enough for all who enjoy its benefits to express love, appreciation, and devotion on a daily basis.