Before I begin let me simply say- I write this not on my own merit. These 10 Characteristics of a Godly Wife are direct from Scripture. This is not a list of attributes that I possess, but rather a list of what I am aspiring to and fall short in very often.
I’ve been thinking a lot about marriage in general lately. If I’m being honest, I didn’t get married with my heart set on serving my husband and loving him even when it was hard. I got married with this idea that I was somehow already a good wife and he was lucky to have me.
Oh, how wrong I was!
I think we spent our entire first year arguing. And by we, I mean me. My husband just isn’t one to argue. In fact, I don’t know that I have ever seen him truly angry.
Somewhere within our second year of being married I started to realize that while he may not have been perfect- I certainly wasn’t!
I started to notice that the things husbands were very much alive in me. It wasn’t about waiting on him to be the perfect man so that I could finally be a good wife; it was about being the best I could be for him regardless of where I felt he ranked on that scale. (For the record he ranks really high, but it is hard to see all the good when your eyes are only focused on the bad.)
A Godly Marriage
A godly marriage is a really beautiful thing. It is a picture of Christ and His church, His bride. I think sometimes as wives it is so easy to focus on the “when he does, I will”. When he becomes someone worthy of respect, I will respect him. When he starts to treat me with love, I will treat him with love. My friends, that is not how it works. I have been in that same mindset before too, but we aren’t called to be godly wives when are husbands are worthy. We are called to be godly wives regardless of whether our husbands are being godly husbands or not.
We are not called to reflect our husbands; we are called to be a refection of the bride of Christ. Pure, undefiled, and submitted. Let’s be honest, it’s a lot easier to love our perfect Jesus than our husbands who can never seem to find the ketchup directly in front of them, but we are still called to do it. When we said “I Do” we vowed to love them- no matter what. No strings attached. Regardless of how many times they wear their muddy boots in the house or leave their plates lying on the table- we, as wives, are called to love and respect them.
So what does it mean to be reflection of the Bride of Christ for our husbands? Well here are 10 Characteristics of a Godly Wife to paint a little clearer picture. (These 10 characteristics are all based on Proverbs 31:10-31)
10 Characteristics of a Godly Wife
1. She is Trustworthy
Worthy of trust. Trust is not something that is easily earned, nor is it something that can be rebuilt easily once it is broken. When it comes to marriage, we trust each other with more than just being faithful, though that is of course a huge part of it! We trust one another with our finances, our goals, our strengths and weaknesses, our broken pieces, imperfections, and every single secret.
A marriage is the most intimate relationship we have on earth. There is so much vulnerability and so many shared experiences within marriage. This is the person who knows you better than anyone. The one who holds you when you cry, who grieves with you, who laughs with you, and who walks alongside you through every twist and turn of life. That’s why not being able to trust one another is so heart wrenching and having that trust broken is earth shattering.
As godly wives, we are called to be someone our husband’s hearts can safely trust. We are the safe place for every burden, every trauma, every struggle, and every hard work day. Being that safe place means not carrying those private talks to our friends in gossip or airing every grievance in Monday night book club. A godly wife is trustworthy.
2. She is Industrious
My husband is the provider in our home. He works long hours without complaint, and as far as income goes, I bring a whole bunch of nothing to our weekly budget meetings. A godly wife is industrious. She may not work outside the home, but she works diligently within its walls. She takes what her husband brings home and stretches it to meet the needs of her family both today and in the future. An industrious wife works to keep her home functional and tidy. When ends don’t meet, she crafts a way to make up the extra. A godly wife is hard working and diligent in all she does- inside and outside of her home.
There’s a part in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods that I always love. Ma and Pa are standing in the little house talking when Ma acknowledges that no one in their house will ever starve because she knows Pa will always make a way to provide. Pa returns that same acknowledgement in knowing that whatever he brings home his wife will utilize every bit of it- wasting nothing– to care for their family.
A godly wife is industrious and her husband, her home, and her family are well cared for because of it.
3. Her Speech is Life-giving
Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Have you ever received a hateful word from someone you didn’t know? It may have stung for a minute or two but ultimately, it meant nothing. When we receive a hateful word from someone who actually knows us- well that cuts on an entirely different level. No one’s words pierce our hearts more than our spouses. These are the people that know us best, the ones who hold our hearts. No one can build you up quite like your spouse and no one can tear you down further.
The words we speak are engraved on our husbands’ hearts. When we speak life and love, we pour into them and fill them. Oftentimes they will even reflect the things we call them. So which would you rather speak into your husband? That he is loving, hardworking, and thoughtful or that he is selfish, lazy, and careless? A godly wife’s speech is life-giving.
4. She has a Servant’s Heart
If you are a mom already, you most likely know a lot about serving others before yourselves. But what about our husbands? We live in a culture that sees this as oppression when wives serve their husbands. “He’s a grown man! He can take care of himself.”
After my Nana died, I stayed with my Papa some during the day. He would wander into the kitchen of a morning expecting breakfast, coffee, and orange juice to be already waiting on him. Immediately after eating he would get up and leave the table with everything still sitting. When he came back at lunch, he just knew his breakfast would be cleaned up and new food would be in its place.
He died a few months after my Nana. He had simply lost the will to live after losing the love of his life. But I spent those last few months watching him. How he moved through life without thinking about where he dropped his clothes or who washed his sheets or dusted his nightstand. It took all of us to fill my Nana’s role for him, and of course we couldn’t do it perfectly. My Nana had served him in such a selfless way. He was grateful for it even if he didn’t fully understand everything she did. I want to leave that same legacy for my children and grandchildren.
I want to serve my husband like Jesus serves His beloved. In such a way that it isn’t about how he repays me or whether or not he says thank you, but instead as an act of selfless love. Godly wives have a servant’s heart.
5. She is Submissive
That’s really become the new “S” word. I can almost hear people hiss when I mention submitting to our husbands. I can almost hear myself hiss. Rafael is easy to submit to, just as long as what I’m submitting to is exactly what I wanted him to choose, and if it isn’t… Well, let’s just be real- this one can be really hard. Generally this talk of submission is bombarded with caveats, but I’m going to skip all of those today. We all know the reasons you wouldn’t have to submit- abuse and whatnot– but the truth is we often try to spin those caveats into giving us a way out. A way to be in charge without feeling bad about taking that authority away from our husbands.
The truth is the Bible doesn’t teach mutual submission. It teaches husbands to submit to Christ and love their wives, and then it teaches wives to submit to their husbands as their heads. It is difficult sometimes. But godly wives submit to their husbands! I pray we can all grow in this together!
6. She is Kind
You may notice that beauty isn’t on this list, but a godly wife is beautiful. Not because she is well dressed or keeps up with her hair appointments every six weeks. A godly wife is beautiful because she is kind. Because no one goes hungry if she has anything to say about it. Because she looks at the least of these and views them as the greatest in the Kingdom of God. Kindness is a fruit we all should bear, but sometimes it is easier to be kind to a stranger than to our own husbands.
We shouldn’t groan when our husbands come home exhausted. I know I feel let down by that sometimes too when I am waiting for a break and it doesn’t come. Greeting him with kindness some days can be hard. Sometimes our smile at the door is half faked, but if we want to be treated with kindness we must exude that ourselves. Showing kindness to our husbands not only touches their heart, but also our children’s. They should see us tending to our husbands. They should see our husbands returning that kindness to us. Someday when they seek a spouse, they will know how someone who loves them should treat them because we have lived that example out in front of them. Godly wives are kind.
7. She is a Prayer Warrior
I think I’ve always prayed a lot. Even before I was actually a Christian. I like to talk and I love that God listens. But goodness does your prayer life increase when you have a baby! Even with less time alone I find myself constantly whispering “Thank you” when I look at their sweet faces or “God protect them,” as they head out to play. And heaven forbid someone have a sickness. Mamas pray! We do like that one guy (you know the one who makes fun of the Church Karen) and walk around spraying our babies with Pam to anoint them. I’m kind of joking, but only because we don’t do seed oils in our house.
How often do you pray for husband though? I was convicted about this recently because I really fall short here. Do we pray for their safety when they leave for work in the morning? Do we pray for a peaceful work environment and a good day for them? When they begin ministries or prepare to teach at church that Sunday- do we pray for them and over them? Your husband is the spiritual head of your home. He is the one walking alongside you and helping to aim those precious arrows. Why would we not pray over them more? (I’m asking myself that, too!)
A godly wife is a prayer warrior, and she prays diligently for her husband.
8. She is Meek
Meekness is another one of those words that has received a botched definition recently. Meekness does not mean you are a door mat. It is not biting your tongue when you know you should say something. Meekness and weakness may sound similar, but they are not the same. When we are meek, we are teachable. We are long suffering. Meek women humble themselves before God and others. We know that we are not the end all, be all, but rather we have a softness of heart to the word of God and to the heart of those around us.
A godly wife has a heart after her husband’s heart. She is soft towards his desires and dreams, and willing to go to war to protect their marriage. A godly wife is meek.
9. She is Committed
When we stand at the altar and say “I Do”, we are all in. We are completely committed to this one man for the rest of our lives. And then our husbands fail us. They mess up, lie, or struggle with something we don’t fully understand. Suddenly that commitment wanes and we look around us at what else we could have or what life we could build with someone else.
I always want to remain sensitive to the fact that some of you have been through some awful situations. Some of you are fighting to remain committed through infidelity. Some of you have fought for marriages that ended in divorce through no fault of your own. There are those who committed and were abandoned. Those who gave all they had and it all fell apart. For some of you even right now you may be questioning how to make it work. I won’t pretend like divorce doesn’t exist. I can’t promise that staying committed will save your marriage, but I think we are called to stay committed either way.
It is somehow just in us that when we are hurt, we want to make the other person feel what we are feeling. Staying committed means staying plugged in when the other person checks out. It means hitting the block button when someone entices you online. And sometimes it means leaning into Jesus while your husband destroys all that you have built. It isn’t easy, but a godly wife stays committed.
10. She is Steadfast
Steadfast. Unwavering. The thing about being steadfast is it is easy when the tide is low and the waves are calm. But as the saying goes, “Smooth waters never made skilled sailors.” Being steadfast implies that sometimes there is a storm at the door, and we have to hold firm no matter what. A godly wife plants her feet in what is good and right, and she holds that ground- despite the waves, the undertow, or everything crashing in around her. Her husband and her children can cling to her because she is immovable and they are safe with her. A godly wife is steadfast.
Becoming More Like Christ
Every single one of these 10 characteristics of a godly wife are also characteristics of Jesus. If I had to guess I would say that every single one of us exhibits these characteristics from time to time, and every single one of us fails to exhibit them sometimes too. When we read about this virtuous woman in Proverbs, we all want to be like her. We all want our husbands and children to rise up and call us blessed. I think it is important to remember that this is a look at this woman’s life, not just a single day.
We will all have seasons where we fail to hold fast to every single one of these attributes. Unkind words will slip from our mouths and sometimes we will prefer our own path over the one our husband chooses. But we will learn to apologize and to realign. The end goal in becoming a better wife is not to show off for the neighbors but rather to become more and more like Jesus. The Proverbs 31 woman is not virtuous on her own. Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised. (Proverbs 31:30) The virtuous wife is the wife who follows after Jesus with her whole heart for her whole life.
Check out our previous blog, Tending to the Heart of Your Husband, and let us know in the comments below what characteristics seem to come naturally to you or the ones you’re still growing in!