Does a Proverbs 31 Wife exist Before Marriage?

Marriage | Personal Growth | Single life

Is it possible to become a proverbs 31 wife before marriage?

I recently came across a lively discussion on my friend’s Facebook wall.

The discussion was sparked by this post.

“At times we have to be realistic. The Proverbs 31 woman is seldom found in the girl you marry. She comes as a ‘potential’. Then as you nurture and nourish her, she gravitates towards the woman in Proverbs. “

My friend’s words touched a nerve and set off a ton of comments.

Proverbs 31 wife. Is it possible to become one while still single? A more balanced approach plus two things single women need to remember

After reading the comments (and sharing my own .2 cents),  I realized that a lot of times, single men and women feel pressured to become perfect spouses before they become spouses.

From the outside, singles are being taught to prepare for marriage.

Which is fine preaching by the way as long as somebody remembers to tell them that the preparation is for a heavenly groom, not an earthly one. (The earthly groom is just a happy beneficiary)

Now as singles begin to think about godly relationships and marriage, they inevitably start to think about the areas they may fall short.

“I am not a good cook. I don’t like to share my personal space. I hate picking up after others. I don’t trust easily. I want to still hang out with my friends without limitations e.t.c”

Yet, on the outside they continue to hear about the virtues of a Proverbs 31 wife.

But on the inside they see how much they fall short. And the clash of “reality” vs “hope” begins.

As I thought about this tension and based on my own single experiences, two things came to mind.

1. On being a Proverbs 31 wife – potential challenges shouldn’t stop us from pursuing a dream

People who stop pursuing a dream because they heard the road was difficult don’t get much done in life.

Just because you heard “marriage is hard” is not reason to stop pursuing a godly relationship.

I think all marrieds will agree that there wouldn’t be a single marriage on earth if everyone gave in to fears and apprehensions at the beginning.

Of course apprehensions can help us make better decisions. But we must appreciate that success in life involves learning to overcome challenges.

The good thing about marriage is that you don’t (or shouldn’t) get married in a day.

The process of time – friendship , courtship, engagement – can help us confront and deal with some of the fears and apprehensions.

But you will never get the opportunity to face and overcome your fears if you don’t step on the road that leads to marriage.

2. There’s grace to do marriage (the same way there’s grace to be single)

As a single person, marriage was one of those things I desired but was always apprehensive about.

Like most people, I was living off the “singlehood grace” and it was completely lost to me that there could be another level, another grace tap into, on the other side of the altar.

In his awesome devotional Selah, Joseph Iregbu says

 “It is not enough to desire to do great things for God; you must pursue the spiritual enablement that motivates and sustains it: Grace. …. do not make that pursuit (of the great things) a sheer act of will, without seeking the grace that will ensure it serves as God intends.” (brackets mine)

Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

Marriage is a great gift and blessing, one that many desire and pursue. But  we must understand that the one-flesh journey, as God-intended, is a grace thing.

Proverbs 31 wife. Is it possible to become one while still single? A more balanced approach plus two things single women need to remember

Grace does not eliminate issues and difficulties of course.

But it will help you overcome and attain the gift of a happy marriage and home. It will help you shed off your “single” mind and living and help you become one-flesh with your beloved.

Certainly you must prepare for marriage. And by prepare I mean be in the business of being whole and healthy and living intentionally.

But find peace in the fact that there’s grace reserved for the next level, grace that you might not entirely perceive now.

Further reading

7 things married women should not say to single women

Of Waiting for Boaz and the Perfect Boyfriend

30 signs you are not ready for marriage

Learn to create the marriage of your dreams! Are you wrestling with feelings of overwhelm in new marriage? Is shutting down, fussing, anger, passive-aggressiveness common place in your relationship? Do you want to bring back the feelings of closeness and warmth you once enjoyed? Or maybe you just want to love better, create the marriage of your dreams. Your marriage can change! Get on the road to a great marriage when you pick up my book Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After In The Early Years. Buy it > Amazon Paperback I Kindle I Barnes & Noble I PDF 


Photo by Ezekixl Akinnewu from Pexels


  1. The women in Proverbs 31 was giving the best of her potential in what she did, and loved what she did. The question is, does it have to be a house chore, that he woman excel in to be proverbs 31 women. How about those women who have really done exceedingly well in their careers. Is proverbs woman about reinforcing gender roles in marriage?

  2. I think the Proverbs 31 woman is similar to husbands loving their wives as Christ loves the church. It’s merely an explanation of the type and the extent of what being a good spouse looks like. Should we demand to have that and nothing less? Well, I don’t think anyone is there 100%. Should we let that excuse ourselves to be sub-optimal? No, I think we need to be the best spouse we can be regardless.

  3. “But we must understand that the one-flesh journey, as God-intended, is a grace thing.” So good.

    What a great reminder that I need grace in my life regardless of my status. As I seek to live an intentional life, I know that I must be intentional not in one or two dimensions but in all dimensions of my life – physical, social, emotional, and spiritual. As I consider my mother a Proverbs 31 woman, she was transformed into the woman she is today through trials and suffering. God has led her through a time of crucible to shape her the woman she is today. She has cultivated and refined the fruits of the Holy Spirit. She has actively sought to leverage her God-given talents and spirituals gifts. Of course, no one is perfect, but I respect her willingness to emulate a life of a Proverbs 31 woman.

    1. What a great testimony your mother is Paul! She’s such a great example.

      It’s true, we need grace in every area of life. That’s we move forward and live out our purpose. Thanks so much for adding to the conversation

  4. When I do marriage counseling I tell the couple that marriage is God’s perfect tool to shape us spiritual, to stretch our faith and teach us to love unselfishly. The reality is that there are not perfect spouses but marriage will either help us grow in Christ or pull us away from Him.

    I believe the women in Proverbs 31 can’t really exist before marriage. Afterall it is obvious that this women has already been married for some time and has experience with family. However, I also believe that Prov 31 was primarily written to young men to help them choose a wife. The idea is that young men ought to look for young women who have the potential and desire to grow into the kind of women described in Prov 31.

    1. Thank you Caleb. These are great points. I like what you say about potential (what young men are to look out for) and how marriage ought to teach and grows us. Great perspective to keep in mind.

  5. I think it’s possible but each spouse is refined and made better once they get married. Great thoughts Ngina!

    1. I agree about being refined and getting better after marriage. I do think the pressure comes when singles (women esp) feel pressure to be “proverbs 31” WIVES before they become wives (hence the title of my post “does a proverb 31 WIFE exist before marriage?”). It’s hard to get better at what you are not :). So i agree, after marriage we can get better, before then, we can only prepare, be in the business of being whole and healthy as unto God.
      Thanks so much for reading and sharing.

  6. Darby Dugger says:

    Found your post through the Wifey Wednesday link up. Loved this! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Christa Sterken says:

    Interesting topic, hadn’t considered before. For us, it all came after marriage but the desire was there before. The skillset came after because my spirit learned to cooperate, to be selfless in ways that were unknown to me prior

    1. True Christa, the potential is there but it takes practical everyday living to refine and grow, and grace to be ultimately how God made us to be

  8. Oh yes … pursue the dream, but it’s a journey that unfolds, surprises, disappoints, charms, challenges, rewards the two committed ones.

  9. Hmm, I suppose you can be a Proverbs 31 woman that doesn’t mean you won’t have some sort of faults. 🙂 The woman was definitely on-the-ball, but I’m guessing she wasn’t perfect.

    I think the best thing you can do to prepare for a great marriage is to develop such a great relationship with God that you won’t care if you get married. That way you can come into the marriage without that fatal “you have to meet my needs” attitude that messes up so many marriages. (I speak from experience – fortunately, God was gracious and helped me grow. 🙂 )

    1. Amen Barb. Wholeness and health in God is key. Reminds me of something I share with my single buddies – that a great single will ultimately make a great married 🙂 Being happy and healthy in God before marriage is key.

      1. I say similar things to my college kids. 🙂 And they actually are content. That’s good!

  10. The greatest advice I can give a person before they are married is to truly enjoy singledom. Do all the things it may be more difficult to do once you’re married (e.g. going out on the mission field). Pour yourself out and be of service in as many areas as you can. Focus on becoming whole and not needing a spouse. The moment you know that you don’t “need” to be married and you are happy in the very state you are in is usually the time your knight (or queen) will appear.

    1. Great advice Fawn and I “amen!” every bit of it. There’s no better way to live.

  11. Anyone in Christ is a very huge potential Proverbs 31 woman and like you said with nurture both from her husband and her willingness to walk/work with The Holy Spirit, she can blossom. Great post!
    Visiting from Matrimonial Monday, have a super blessed day!

    1. I agree with you Ugochi, we all come as potentials! Thanks so much for dropping by

  12. Good stuff, Ngina. Are you familiar with the book, Sacred Marriage, by Gary Thomas? It’s really good. His premise is that the purpose of marriage is to make us holy, not happy. Meaning, challenges and obstacles in marriage are God’s ways to “grow us up” and make us holy. Your post reminded me of that. Well said.

    1. I am familiar with the book Dave. I agree with his perspective, it’s also true that God wants us happy as well. Just the the pursuit of happiness should not be our goal, but holiness and being like Christ. Holiness brings happiness. Thanks so much for sharing

  13. These are great insights David. I love all of them. I like what you’ve said about premarital. There’s a tendency to see it as optional but it really isn’tt. Not if you you are interested in starting strong.

  14. kimanzi constable says:

    Very well said Ngina and I agree. It would be interesting to read that thread 🙂

    1. Thanks Kimanzi. The thread was great, very interesting! Wish there was a way to share it (like the way we share blog post links!).

  15. I think it’s difficult to be that “Proverbs 31 person” all throughout life–single or married. But I love your challenges here, Ngina. They ring true with my experience as well. Lord knows just how much I’ve relied on His grace to make it in my life and marriage! 🙂 Thanks for always being relevant and helpful, sweet friend!

    1. Thank you Beth, so glad you relate! 🙂 I agree, it takes grace to be who we should be all points in life. It’s not by might, or by power…! Thanks so much for adding that, great to read your thoughts, as always!

  16. Each year that I grow in Christ I learn more about how to be a wife. It’s a learning process. Yes my spouse helps me become a better wife, but it’s God who really does the changing. He doesn’t change situations, He changes me. As I mature in Him, I mature in my marriage, same goes for my spouse.

    Your post reminds me of parenting as well. Before having a child I wasn’t sure I could do it. There were millions of fears and reasons to NOT have one…the timing was never perfect, but I was living on the grace I needed then. When God blessed us with a son, He provided the grace I needed to be a parent. Like marriage, as I grow in my walk with Christ, I learn to be a better mom.

    1. Amen TC, it’s the work of God within us. I love this “As I mature in Him, I mature in my marriage, same goes for my spouse.”

      I love your thoughts on parenting as well. it explains beautifully the concept of grace. Thanks so much.

  17. A Proverbs 31 woman takes commitment, consistency, confidence, courage and concentration. This is a process. I believe she has the traits in her when God created her, but they only come to fruition as she dies to self and allows God to drive. It takes time and work to become a true Proverbs 31 woman and a Godly man.

    1. I like what you say about traits – what God intended us to be, He put the capacity within us. Takes all the things you’ve listed to become that. But it’s possible. Thanks so much for this perspective

  18. Mai Bateson says:

    Being a Capable Wife exist once you already had your vow in front of God, your husband and witnessed by family and friends. I am happily married for 2 years to a Godly husband and very blessed that God gave him to me. My advice to someone desiring to start the on-flesh journey is to always have God to be the center of the marriage all the days of their and respect will follow. Always follow God’s teaching about Proverbs 31 and add a little more of 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 🙂 It will NOT be easy but definitely WORTH it.

    Visiting you from the Happy Wives Club Link Up.

    1. Amen Mai, I love that you got the gist of the title – that a woman can only become (or work towards becoming) a proverbs 31 wife once they become a wife :). Sure it’s possible to prepare as mentioned in the post. But it’s hard to hold a single woman to a “proverbs 31 wife” standard as far as relationship and marriage goes.
      Thanks for sharing Corinthians 13, it’s a great love chapter.

  19. I believe all things are possible. This is a process and a practice, no one is born ideal. All things in life are lessons and if you are willing to learn you will grow.

    1. “if you are willing to learn, you will grow”. That sums it up Rhiannon 🙂

  20. That verse is speaking to the ideal life of a woman of years, well established and time having past so that her life can be measured. It speaks to the ideals of a Godly woman I think, which is to be sought out in potential by both men and women. Acts are always manifestations of what we are within, so I think it is an encouragement to women live that life of honor as well as men to be the man who “is known at the city gate.” Meaning they both are men and women of honor before God.

    1. Floyd, your opening statement is something that’s lost to many of us when we read those verses. You’ve said it well “That verse is speaking to the ideal life of a woman of years, well established and time having past so that her life can be measured” Thanks a great perspective to keep. And it’s such an encouragement cos it means all of us can aspire towards that.

  21. I agree with the comment about potential. We change a person after we’re married but all Christians should be changing by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus we’re becoming not are. I’m not a perfect wife after all these years but better than when I started!

    1. That’s so true Melissa, we change by the power of the Holy Ghost. We are constantly growing.

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