In dealing with wives, we must face the reality that wives occupy very different roles in different homes. In particular, there is a real and definite difference between the "stay at home wife" and the "working wife," that is, between the wife whose job is the home and the wife who has another job in our economy. 

Now, we have not talked about this much because, to be honest, it really does not matter with regard to being an excellent wife. As Proverbs 31 makes clear, the excellent wife can certainly work outside the home (she buys a field, she plants a vineyard). There is no sin and should be no spiritual question about a wife having a job or career outside the home. The modern notion of a home as (1) a woman who says home with the children all day and (2) a man who makes all their money is not a biblical notion. There is no wrong whatsoever in a wife working and making money. Women have always worked, except for those who were wealthy. They did not always "have jobs" because "jobs" as we think of them are fairly modern ideas.

So, how does a job affect being an excellent wife? Only in the details, that is, in the way that things work out in the home. Obviously, a wife who works at a job does not have the time or freedom of a wife who stays home in regard to taking care of the home or children. Different decisions will have to be made with regard to housework, with regard to child care, with regard to the various aspects of what are normally considered to be a wife's duties. Those situations have to be worked out between the wife and the husband. If both parties work, then they must find a way to fulfill all the duties of being a couple and, ultimately, with being parents. But the requirements of an excellent wife are the same. 

Being an excellent wife is not about how much time you spend doing this or doing that. It is not about lists or schedules or tennis lessons. It is about being what scripture tells you to be -- a trustworthy, diligent, wise woman who does good. A woman who spends time at work must use her wisdom and diligence differently, but still must open her mouth in wisdom, still must be worthy of trust, and still must be diligent. 

She also must avoid trying to "do it all" in a material sense. A woman who spends her day at a job simply cannot maintain the home the way a woman ought to do if she is at home all day. She cannot work 40 hours a week at a job and do all the same things that a "stay at home" wife does at home. 

But this is an application question, not a spiritual question. An excellent wife who stays at home or an excellent wife who works at a job are equally excellent wives; their husbands are equally blessed in them. As we discussed last week, women have always been economic assets to their families, if they are excellent wives. 

Being an excellent wife means being an excellent person who is a wife. It means being trustworthy. It means being diligent. It means doing good for her husband. It means being wise in her life and her speech. 

It means serving her God by all that she does, whether at work or at home.

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