What Is a Proverbs 31 Man and Why Have We Never Heard of Him?

Ryan Holland

Contributing Writer
Updated Feb 23, 2024
What Is a Proverbs 31 Man and Why Have We Never Heard of Him?

If Proverbs 31 is the ultimate guide to biblical womanhood, then we would be wise to pay attention to the type of man she marries, too.

I grew up with a clear idea of womanhood: The Proverbs 31 woman. She is said to be worth “far more than rubies” and “lacks nothing of value” (Proverbs 31:10, NIV). This woman is characterized by a strong work ethic, intelligence, generosity, strength, and wisdom. Her inward beauty radiates. And while we have learned about this “Proverbs 31 Woman,” do we ever talk about the “Proverbs 31 Man”? 

What Is a Proverbs 31 Man and Why Have We Never Heard of Him?

In the 21 verses about this noble wife, we make acquaintance with her husband in 5 of them. While the passage is clearly highlighting the woman, I wonder why I have never heard someone talk about her husband. If Proverbs 31 is the ultimate guide to biblical womanhood, then we would be wise to pay attention to the type of man she marries, too. The Proverbs 31 Man then becomes the ideal for every Proverbs 31 Woman. He is the reminder to the single woman to never settle. He is the reminder to the single man to work on himself and grow if he wants a wife who “brings him good, not harm” all the days of his life (v. 12). He is a reminder to every husband of the importance of valuing, cherishing, and honoring his wife, just as he reminds the married woman that they are worthy of being pursued. 

The Proverbs 31 passage opens up with an important question, “A wife of noble character who can find?” (v. 10). The Proverbs 31 man may not receive attention because he is hidden in so few verses, but the initial question is directed towards this man. The question is not “What makes a wife of noble character?” The question is, “Who can find this type of woman?” 

When we read Proverbs 31 in light of this question, it becomes so much more than a list of qualities of an “ideal” woman. Proverbs 31 answers this question by describing the type of man worthy of the incredible woman described. To understand the Proverbs 31 Man, we ask the same question, who is he?

A Provers 31 Man Trusts His Wife

We are first introduced to the Proverbs 31 Man in verses 11-12, “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” The wife of noble character lacks nothing of value, and her husband clearly sees her worth. The first characteristic described by this man is his confidence in his wife. Her value is evident to him. Because of who she is, he has full trust in her. He believes her. He values her. 

This strong bond of trust may explain why the Proverbs 31 Woman is so empowered. She is described as using her own earnings to buy fields and plant vineyards (v. 16). Her passion for her work is evident. She makes her own business decisions and uses her earnings to provide for her family. And while these qualities are inherent to her, her husband plays a role as he trusts and believes in her. 

I imagine their marriage as a partnership where her husband listens to her input and expertise. He not only sees her as valuable to him, but he sees her value in all areas of life. Because of this, he respects her and loves her. When he makes decisions, he thinks to ask for her input. A man who has full confidence in his wife would treat her as such. 

A Proverbs 31 Man Is Respected 

After learning about the Proverbs 31 Woman’s business dealings and generosity to the poor, we learn something else about her husband. “Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land” (v. 23). 

A Proverbs 31 Man is respected. By taking a seat among the elders, we can assume that he provides spiritual leadership. To earn a seat among the elders, he must have a good reputation. And this is a reputation not earned by charisma, but by good deeds. Having a seat among the elders also shows that he is involved in his community. 

The passage only explicitly states that he is an elder who is respected in his community. But if we read between the lines, this tells us so much more about the Proverbs 31 Man. A man with this kind of role in his community probably speaks with wisdom. He likely chooses strength over passivity. To gain respect, the Proverbs 31 Man would not be easily angered. Proverbs 31:23 paints a picture of a strong spiritual leader full of courageous wisdom and self-control. 

A Proverbs 31 Man Honors His Wife

The Proverbs 31 Woman continues to be described in detail as a woman “clothed with strength and dignity” (v. 25). She is said to be a wise and faithful adviser who “can laugh at the days to come” (v. 25). After this beautiful description, we hear a final word on her husband. “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all’" (v. 28-39). 

Typically, in reading this passage, I am so focused on the wife of noble character that I completely miss what this verse says about her husband. This verse tells us that the Proverbs 31 Woman is noble. But we only learn that because her husband says something about it. We have learned about her nobility because he wanted to tell us. He is excited to honor a woman so deserving of honor.  

The Proverbs 31 Man honors his wife. He sees her. This man does not take her contributions for granted. He makes sure that she knows how valuable she is. And while he calls her blessed, he is fully aware of what a blessing she is to him. A Proverbs 31 Man does not withhold praise or affection. His adoration for his wife overflows. 

Perhaps the most famous verse from this Proverbs 31 passage is verse 30, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” This verse is the final advice to the man looking for his wife of noble character. On one hand, it tells him not to worry so much about the blinding charm of a woman or the outward beauty that will fade. It tells him to focus on the inward beauty of a woman. But in this final piece of advice, we also receive a final command. When you find a woman who fears the LORD, remember that she is worthy of praise.

“A wife of noble character, who can find?” The first verse of this passage implies the rarity of the Proverbs 31 Woman. She is special because of her exemplary character. But equally, this question asks, “Who is capable of attracting a woman of such noble character?” 

This first questions teaches us two things. First, we must focus on our growth if we want partners of noble character. Women reading this passage, look at the Proverbs 31 Woman as an example of who you are capable of becoming with God. Men reading this passage, rather than creating a checklist for who your wife should be, remember the Proverbs 31 Man. With your confidence, love, and support, the woman in your life will thrive. And with the Proverbs 31 Man in mind, you have an example of strong, biblical manhood, too. 

Last, the question, “A wife of noble character, who can find?” tells us to value what we have when we find it. Proverbs 31 starts by asking us who is worthy of this woman, and it ends by commanding us, “Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her paise at the city gate” (v. 31). When you find the people in your life who reflect deep character, tell them. Honor them. Their rarity is yours to proclaim. 

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Ryan Holland is a seminary student at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Program Manager of LendHOPE worldwide, a micro-funding and entrepreneurial training program for business owners living in material poverty.