Proverbs 31 speaks as much as, if not more, of the man in a marriage, than the woman.
I believe men set the stage (as in the tone, mood) for the marriage early on in the marriage, or even before. If they are Godly men with wisdom, they'll do this wisely which will create a Godly marriage that will be an excellent representation of Christ and His bride, the church.(Ephesians 5:23)
With the husband as the spiritual leader and the family priest, the marriage is strong, as is the church. Ephesians 5:25-29. He is required to love her, to sanctify, wash her (by the Word), and even to be willing to give his life for her. He is to be able to present to himself a glorious church (his family) without spot or wrinkle.
A woman cannot be a Proverbs 31 wife with a husband that is not a Proverbs 31 and Job 29 man. A man of this caliber is extremely rare.
Pretty obvious here.. sadly this has happened all across our nation....
Pro 31:3 Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
These 2 verses are also aimed at men. They are to plead the cause of the poor and needy. (Note1) This would be in the gates or courts (Note 2).
The woman's role for the poor and needy comes after this.
Pro 31:8 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
Pro 31:9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
Virtuous women are hard to find and very valuable. For men, see vs 3,8,9. He's a valuable man and she is, or becomes, a valuable woman/helpmeet.
Pro 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
She's trustworthy, therefore he has no need of spoil (battle booty), but has what he needs. He trusts her in every way.
Pro 31:11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good, taking care of his needs, not bitter, angry, resentful, but respectful, loving and kind. She is his helpmeet. She does not try to take his place of headship in the family.(Note3)
Pro 31:12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She's does her work willingly, without resentment or bitterness toward the work or toward him.
Pro 31:13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
He has provided well, therefore she can go to the marketplace and acquire good quality and maybe even extravagant foods and other needs for her family.
Pro 31:14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
She gets up early and goes to bed late, she works hard to take care of her family in the home.
Pro 31:15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
She is industrious, wise, and without fear. Her husband does not stand in the way of her success. She looks at a field, considers it's value, buys it, then puts in improvements (profitable crops).
Pro 31:16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
She is strong spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
Pro 31:17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
She makes her goods at home (in addition to the marketplace), working hard, day and night.
Pro 31:18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
Pro 31:19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
Here she gives of herself, her time, and her goods to the poor and needy.
Notice that she's not pleading the cause, that's the husband's responsibility.
Pro 31:20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
Here, her family is well provided for and well supplied with the best available. She's ready for whatever comes, without fear.
Pro 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
Pro 31:22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
What a man! He is known in the gates (Note1). He defends his family against any and all invaders, ready at any time. He is not bound in his home (Note4) He's honorable and honored, sober, alert, and aware.
Pro 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
Again, she's working with her hands, providing enough to sell in the marketplace after providing for her family and giving to the poor and needy.
Pro 31:24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
Now she's the honorable one (after her husband) and will rejoice in the times to come even if they're hard times.
Pro 31:25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
Here, she speaks wisely and is kind when speaking her wisdom.
Pro 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
Here, she is taking good care of her family as she's being taken care of by her husband who is honorable (Note3). She is not lazy or stressed out by her man or her children.
Pro 31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children are a blessing to her and she is a blessing to them. She's also a blessing to her husband, and he loves, honors, and respects her. He is proud of and speaks well of his wife.
Pro 31:28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
She's virtuous and excellent. To be prized.
Pro 31:29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Whether she's beautiful or not, a good woman fears the LORD and will be praised.
Pro 31:30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
Her actions speak for themselves. She's exercising the fruits of the Spirit and it shows everywhere in her life. Neither her husband's pride nor his laziness stand in the way of his wife and her work in the community.
Pro 31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
The husband has provided her with the best things in life: in clothing, having servants, nice home. He's worked hard and had provided a very comfortable life for his wife and his children.
He is noteworthy and defends the less fortunate, taking up their cause as needed. He's respected in the community. See Note1 below.
He provides enough for her to help her provide for the family also. She makes clothing and more because she has the materials to do so. He does not keep her in poverty.
He trusts her to be intelligent, handle money, run the home, buy property, and do charity work in the community. He doesn't stand in the way of her success. He is proud of his wife and speaks of her accomplishments in the gates.
Additional scripture references & notes:
(Note1) Job 29:7-25
7: When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street!
8: The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up.
9: The princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth.
10: The nobles held their peace, and thier tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth.
11: When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me:
12: Because I delived the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.
13: The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me, and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.
14: I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgement was as a robe and a diadem.
15: I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.
16: I was father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searchd out.
17: And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.
18: Then I said, I shall die on my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand.
19: My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch.
20: My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand.
21: Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept slience at my counsel.
22: After my words they spake not again; and my speech dropped upon them.
23: And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain.
24: If I laughted on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down.
25: I chose out their way, and sat chief, and dwelt as a king in the army, as one that comforteth the mourners.
(Note2) Deuteronomy 16:18 Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgements.
(Note3) Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is head of the church and he is the saviour of the body.
(Note4) Matthew 12:29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.