What is the role of Wife?


Proverbs 31 is often brought up as an example of the role of the good wife. Emphasis is always placed on her value being greater than pearls, on her hard-work and charitable heart.
The chapter is used to illustrate the value of the wife and her role as the keeper of the home.

But this chapter, verses13,16,and 24 all indicate that she is a business woman. She sells garments to sew, she purchases land on her own to plant the vineyard.
Her husband extols her virture, her children praise her work, she is admired by the community for all she does; she is to be rewarded for her labors.

From these verses I gather that the worthy wife is NOT just a stay-at-home mom who keeps the home-fires burning and tends the children.
It seems the worthy wife would also be working, either in or out of the home, to bring in income to support the family, support the community, and give to charity.

As a stay-at-home mom for the last 20 years, I am beginning to question my role here. Should I play an active role in the acquiring income? Where in scripture are we told that the worthy wife/mom does not work for income, but only in maintaining the family home? On what is that model based?


That role model is not in Scripture.

In the time when Scripture was written, everyone worked - the women in the household would care for the very young children, grow food and grain, tend small animals, carry water, grind the grains, weave cloth, dye cloth, make garments, trade in the market, if they had servants they had to be overseen, on top of cooking and cleaning -

Our idea of mom staying home, doing housework and cooking, shopping, either homeschooling or being the school volunteer, carting the kids to soccer and ballet and boy scouts is an invention of the post WW2 “American Dream”. Not that it is a bad thing to live that way - it is just not a 11th Commandment :smiley:


I don’t know if one scripture verse can define what’s “right and wrong” for every family in ever situation…

Morality isn’t in question here… it’s not immoral to stay at home… nor is it immoral to work.
It just depends on the family…

That reading is one of my favorites, though… it was read at our wedding! :slight_smile:
I do happen to be a full time working mom, though… so maybe God had us use that reading in our wedding as a reminder that my hard work is also good…


The Proverbial wife did not live in the American economic system. Also, no where in Proverbs does it say the wife did these things at the expense of her home-making duties. I think it assumes all the other ducks were in a row and these businesses were done on top of all that.

I highly doubt that the Bible was lauding a woman for selfishly pursuing a career for her personal gain. Instead she did these things for her family.

The role of wife is to do those things that need to be done, and which if she won’t do them no one else will. Same can be said for a husband.

Men can’t breastfeed babies. Thus baby needs to be fed, husband can’t do it, no one else will… role of wife. Mortgage must be paid, food brought home, wife is tied up with breastfeeding baby, no one else will do it… role of husband.


this is an awesome statement!!! i echo this… :slight_smile:


Note that I’ve constructed the “traditional” gender roles without demeaning the dignity of either sex. It’s not like one job is left for the women because they are inferior for all the other jobs. It’s more like the one job is left for women because they are the superior one for that job.

As for all the mundane tasks like folding laundry and doing dishes - we’ve found the perfect solution. Is it woman’s work? Nope. Is it man’s work? Nope It’s children’s work!!:smiley:

But first you have to build up that workforce.


I always thought it meant that an industrious wife is a good wife, unlike a lazy wife. That means that she helps do what needs to be done for her family. And of course that would be different from family to family. We have no need to sew garments or buy vineyards. But we might have to buy and care for the family’s clothes and go house-hunting :wink:


I think we need to be careful about defining women’s work based off of the biological functions of a woman’s breast. The role of wife and mother and husband and father far transcend the specifics of the biological functions. Else women who couldn’t breast feed for some reason or parents who adopted their children couldn’t be parents to their children. In my generation, even though most mothers still were stay at home Mother’s few children were breast fed. Even today, even if a mother does breast feed, there are times when the baby is fed from a bottle, either breast milk or formula. IMHO, there is nothing wrong with sharing the responsibilities for feeding the child. Two of my best friends have a child (of whom I will be the godfather when it is baptised in a few weeks). Other than feeding (since they currently pretty much exclusively breast feed), he often does most of the care of the child while he is at home to give his wife a break.

While every family is different, there are alot of reasons why a family may decide to remain a two income family even after they have children. As someone who hopes to be married someday, I would not want my wife to give up her career in case something happened to me. It can be tough to get back in the workforce (particularly a rather technical field) if you spent 10-15 years out of the workforce. Also, saving up for college is something that the second income can help with as well.

In short, the role of wife and mother, and husband and father is something I think needs to be determine by the needs and inclinations of every family. In some cases, the post WWII “traditional” gender roles will be right, but in other cases, two incomes might be neccesary.



WELCOME to the forums! I think the only relevant inquiry is to focus on what your are doing (and whether you are using your talents to the best of your ability to fulfill the role and responsibilities you have taken on) and **not **worry about what you’re not doing. Are the kids you’re mothering honest, respectful, responsible, moral, kind? Does your husband have confidence in and respect your management of the home and kids? Is your home a place of peace, love, hospitality, fun, faith? A paycheck is not the only or even best measure of a successful outcome. If you have accomplished some of the things above you sound like a huge success to me in your chosen role.


my rule is simply this:

If i see something that needs done, I don’t walk past it.

Lazyness is an abomination, to me anyway.

when my dad got off work every day, he would join in the housework with my mom.

I have personally not met a woman beside my mother [and women of her era, she is now 55 ], and one young woman i know, who is 23, who doesn’t not live like the worst bachelor you ever saw. it is a crying shame how the domestic skills are being lost in my generation.

me personally, I :
cook [well]
fix autos
fix computers
do minor electrical
do minor plumbing
do minor carpentry
mow grass when i own it ]
change diapers
feed babies of all ages
help with homework
run errands
play with children
discipline children
Actively persue a life with Christ [piety, study, action ]

and i do these things with joy, especially since they affect those that i love, and that is how the bible commands us to work, without grumbling. people always worry about the splinter in thier mate’s eye, instead of worrying about the plank in thier own.

I also do them without expection of reward, because these are things that need to be done anyway. nothing extra.

so i expect the next woman i marry will do the same with joy in thier heart right along side me, or else i will not marry, and i am ok with that. I am so tired of living in a pig sty. roomates [female] , exwife, and no i am not permiscuous].

The cleanest person i ever lived with was an ex marine, my friend al, who did not like living like a pig either.


of course SAHMs work, in the sense that they occupy their time in tasks that add economic value to the family and community. If you don’t believe it, get sick and laid up in bed for a year and hire someone to do everything you do when you are well.


:thumbsup: amen amen


My mom is a SAHM, and I have always thought of her as a model of this. My dad adores her (and makes no secret of it), and my brother and I both love and honor her.

When we were kids most of her daily activities revolved around us (eg. she would volunteer as a room mom at school, or as an aide for CCD, etc.) and making our home function well, which was no small feat, especially in the beginning when money was tight. She hasn’t got a lazy bone in her body (or at least, if she does, she hides it well) As we got older and more independent she would start seeking out volunteer opportunities outside the home. Now that we are out of the house, she dedicates a great deal of her time to such things, and she still makes home a nice place for my Dad to return to after a hard day at work, and a really nasty commute. I can tell you he certainly appreciates that. :slight_smile:

Honestly, most of the people I see who keep the nonprofits going are volunteer SAHMs and retirees. Such institutions, like the pro-life pregnancy centers my mom likes to volunteer at, would never be able to function if the only thing people were concerned about was money.

Plus, as a teacher, I can tell you that SAHM’s make a big difference in the lives of their children as well. Your efforts show in them, and believe me, people notice.

Don’t question your vocation. Just ask yourself how you can use it to serve God best. As long as you are being industrious that way, nobody can say anything against you.


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