How should you identify yourself if you are a woman? If you are going to approach the subject Biblically, you are either someone's daughter or someone's wife. Thus, as a formal address, you are either a Miss or a Missus. A female begins life with her father's name and assumes the name of her husband when she marries. Western society recognized this fact until sometime in the fabulous '60s when a hybrid creature evolved — the Ms.
If you peruse Proverbs 31 you will note that the married woman described is first given a reference point in terms of her husband (vs. 11, 12 and 23) and then her children (vs. 28). There is no reference to her as an autonomous individual striving for gender equity. Nor does it identify her primarily as "her kid's mom." Her status and role as a Mrs. is clearly put forth and embraced rather than ridiculed.
Those who hang on to the Ms. moniker end up disassociating themselves from the very context in which God placed them. The old joke about women only going on to higher education in order to obtain a Mrs. degree implicitly and explicitly disdains the role which God established to correct the first "not good" mentioned in the Scripture (Gen. 2:18).
I Am What I Am!
The fact that women have resorted to describing themselves as homemakers or "domestic engineers" points to the changes in the fabric of our society. It is as though the wife-and-mother designation needed clarification or enlargement in order to be understood. Quite possibly the campaign to shove women out of the house, painting the "keeper at home" wife/mother as a dimwit who cannot carry on a decent conversation, is merely a ploy to get women to do what the feminist agenda couldn't achieve without negative propaganda, mind control, and behavior modification.
Recently I read this quote attributed to Simone de Beauvoir:
No woman should be authorized to stay at home to raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such choice, too many women will make that one.
Let's examine some of the potential catastrophic results of Simone de Beauvoir's greatest fear. Men (heads of households) would have helpers who are specifically concentrating on helping them succeed in their callings. Individual mothers would take extra time with their own children, nurturing them to excel in all that they undertake. Individual children would feel the particular love of their own mother whose life was centered on preparing them for usefulness in God's Kingdom (vs. 21 and 27). A wife and mother's creativity and entrepreneurial instincts would further establish the family as a unit that thrives and grows past the time that the children are young. Scary stuff indeed!
Proverbs 31 is no different from any other area of Scripture that outlines God's standard — only through His grace can success be achieved. I submit that the job description God created for a wife and mother guides her in her daily activities, not merely to produce commendation from her husband and children (vs. 28-31), but also from her Creator and Savior, so she will hear "Well done good and faithful servant."
What, then, should be the primary career and activity of a wife and mother? St. Paul tells us in Titus 2:3:
The aged [mature] women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
What Our Lord Calls Us
We must never forget that the Scriptures refer to us as daughters and brides — both in our context as women and as human beings. We must never shun the terms the Lord gives us in honor. Nor should we ever assume that it takes no education, skill, experience, and talent to be a good wife and mother. On the contrary, the Proverbs 31 woman obviously had to be savvy enough to bargain and negotiate, fit enough to meet the demands of such a rigorous schedule, and perceptive enough to recognize when mercy was in order. She had to manage her time well enough to be able to volunteer and help the poor when called upon, and to be ready to help her husband in those functions whereby he would be judged and assessed by his peers.
Ladies, our jobs don't get less demanding when we stay at home to help our husbands and raise and guide our children! The question really is: Are you woman enough to handle it? For Heaven's sake, don't be Ms-led!
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].