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The Homemaker’s Heart: The Virtuous Woman’s 5 Secrets for Building Thriving Relationships

This is part two in the four-part Homemaking 101 series. Throughout this series, you will be encouraged in your homemaking journey as we explore the ancient wisdom of Proverbs 31 together. In this post, you will learn some practical skills for building thriving relationships in your family and community from the example given to us by the virtuous woman. Read Part One here. This post may contain affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.

A picture of a mother rocking her child reminds us of the importance of building thriving relationships.
Carlton Alfred Smith, A Ray of Sunshine, Public Domain

Even a casual reading through Proverbs 31 reveals that the virtuous woman is diligent and highly skilled. She’s creative and entrepreneurial, and she gets things done. Yet, we also see that she is kind, thoughtful, caring, and connected.

Those are essential skills for a true homemaker because a woman could keep a pristine home, prepare five-star meals, and run her home like clockwork, yet not be a homemaker or virtuous. As Christian homemakers, our highest goal is to glorify Christ in everything we do and say (1 Corinthians 10:31). Beyond that, we do what we do, all the caring and cleaning and cooking – all the stuff –  because of the people we love and have been called to nurture.

{Before we go farther, here’s a quote from part one of this series to help remind us of what we mean when we are talking about homemakers.}

“…when King Lemuel’s mother describes the virtuous woman, she describes a woman of rare strength, influence, and skill—a woman whose character and qualities exceed those of one of the most valuable jewels on earth. And where do we find a woman worthy of this comparison? She is not in the majestic halls of some palace or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. She is loving, serving, and creating in her own home. She is a homemaker.”

Excerpted from Homemaking 101: The Value of a Homemaker

But as busy women with long lists of things that must be done, how often do we slip into thinking of the people we are making a home for as bothersome distractions from the important work? Amid all our responsibilities in creating a home, tending to relationships can feel like another task, easily sliding to the bottom of the list and too often getting bumped into the “maybe tomorrow” category.

Yet, a wise homemaker learns to prioritize people over performance because she understands that homemaking is not about creating a perfectly curated home that looks stunning in little Instagram squares. Homemaking at its heart is about people, whether our family, friends or even strangers (1 Timothy 5:10; Hebrews 13:2). A biblical homemaker understands that building and nurturing relationships is the best and most valuable work of all.

A oil painting of a mother and child in front of a cottage.

Even if you are single and live alone, there is still deep purpose and meaning in using your home to care for people. We can nurture relationships by providing a welcoming place to invite others into our spaces and hearts. Hospitality is a sadly overlooked command given to all Christians (Romans 12:13), married or single. It is one beautiful way every Christian woman can use her homemaking skills to build relationships. The virtuous woman has so much wisdom for all of us, regardless of age, marital or parental status, income levels, or any other things we construct as barriers to homemaking and cultivating thriving relationships.

5 Secrets for Building Thriving Relationships that We Can All Learn from Proverbs 31

In the Proverbs 31 woman, we see a wife, mother, friend, and employer caring deeply about the people in her life. She does her work so well because she is doing it to create a better home for the people within her four walls and a better life for those outside her home but within her reach. Let’s look at five secrets we can learn from the virtuous woman for building positive relationships.

1. She is thoughtful of the needs of others.

“She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household and a portion to her maidens.” (Proverbs 31:15). Not only did the virtuous woman rise early to provide for the needs of her own family, but we see that she is also serving her maidens: the employees that had been hired to help her. She treated others with honor and kindness, never demanding that others serve her. Her thoughtfulness didn’t stop inside the walls of her home; we also read that she gave generously to the less fortunate in her community and beyond (Proverbs 31:20).

How do you treat those who you are in charge of? Do you demand that others “snap to it” to do your bidding? Do you nag your husband or kids or grumble because of all the work they cause you? Are you impatient with the sales clerk at the grocery store or the teller at the bank? Do you keep a tight hold on your purse strings even though you have the means to be generous when you hear of a need someone has?

These are convicting questions for me; are they for you as well? The good news is that although we may fall far short in this area, we can continually grow in thoughtfulness toward others. We can learn to joyfully serve and give, even to those who cannot give back. And as we serve out of a heart of love, we emulate not only the Proverbs 31 woman but, most importantly, Jesus Christ, who came not to be served but to serve (Mark 10:42).

2. She Rules Her Tongue with the Law of Kindness

“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” (Proverbs 31:26). During WW II, there was a well-known slogan that said, “Loose lips sink ships.” That pithy statement recognized that one little slip of the tongue could do as much damage as a torpedo or bomb to an enormous warship. The book of James similarly reminds us that our tongues, though tiny, can “set on fire the course of nature” with the very fire of hell. Perhaps we need a new slogan: “Untamed tongues start unstoppable fires.”

The power of the tongue for good or evil, building or destroying, cannot be overstated. In fact, Proverbs 18:21 tells us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”. The old playground chant, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” wasn’t true when we were children, nor is it true now as grown women. The virtuous woman recognized the mighty power of her tongue and kept it under the control of the law of kindness.

Homemaking is so much more than just keeping a house neat and tidy and having hot meals on the table. If our houses are spotless, but the spirits of the people in our homes are shattered thanks to our sharp tongues, then we have not made a home at all. Genuine homemakers nurture and build up others by choosing wise, kind, and life-giving words.

3. She is Trustworthy and Seeks the Good of Others

“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her…she will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” (Proverbs 31:11a; 12). While this verse speaks explicitly of the trust within the marriage relationship of the virtuous woman and her husband, the principle can be applied to any relationship because trust is essential to any healthy relationship. Part of the reason her husband trusted her was because he knew that she was committed to “doing him good and not evil.” She had his best interest in mind in everything she did, and the safety and confidence that knowledge gave to their relationship caused it to grow deep and strong.

Two friends having coffee as they work on strengthening relationships

Being trustworthy means there is zero room for deceit in our relationships. But that is just the bedrock layer of a strong relationship foundation. We continue to build dependability and faithfulness on the foundation of honesty, and in doing so, we give our loved ones the gift of security in our love because they know we desire their good.

Ask God to show you areas where you may be chipping away at the foundation of trust in your relationships. This might look like spreading information that was told to you in confidence, breaking promises to your husband or children, not showing up to help with a project you said you would, or many other ways, big or small. Be honest with yourself, and if you realize there are ways you have broken trust, seek forgiveness and resolve with God’s help to intentionally seek the good of the people He has entrusted into your care.

As we run our choices through the filter of truly seeking the good of others, we will find that we are growing in trustworthiness and that faithful dependability is, in turn, growing thriving relationships that will stand the test of time.

4. She Values and Nurtures Her Relationship with God

“Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:29-30). How did the virtuous woman become the rare treasure that she was? And how can Christian women today emulate her life of beautiful, godly strength? By understanding that true wisdom comes from the Source of all wisdom, God Himself: “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.” (Proverbs 15:33).

When we humbly acknowledge that our own goodness falls pitifully short (Romans 3:23; James 4:10), it is then that we are in a place where the Lord can begin to transform each of us into the women He created us to be.

A woman praying for wisdom as she plans lifegiving habits

Because the Proverbs 31 homemaker chose to have a foundational and vibrant relationship with the Lord, she lived with a reverence for Him that was like a plumb line that set the trajectory for every other choice she made. As she sought to do His will, God gave her the desire, knowledge, and ability to become a woman whose value was “far above rubies.”

And here’s the good news: No matter who you are, where you are, or how far along the homemaking journey you’ve come, you can nurture your relationship with the Lord today and every day—first of all, by settling the decision to trust Him for the salvation of your soul if you have never yet done that, and then obediently following Him day by day as He leads you through the process of sanctification.

As we do this, He will graciously enable us to do all He has called us to do: “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” (2 Peter 1:3).

For further reading, check out this post on Flourishing in Your Relationship with God

5. She Knows She Can Better Care for Others When She Takes Care of Herself

“She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” (Proverbs 31:17, 22, 25).

Choosing to be a homemaker does not mean you are choosing to be a martyr, even though it sometimes feels like that. Yes, homemaking does involve hard work and sacrifice; everything worthwhile does. But it doesn’t need to be never-ending drudgery. I get the sense from Proverbs 31 that the virtuous woman was truly enjoying her life. She was strong and healthy in mind, body, and soul. She also put an effort into her appearance, not to be showy or opulent, but because she cared about being lovely and presentable and treating herself and others with dignity.

Taking care of yourself is important for homemakers in every stage of life, but if you are a stay-at-home mom, as I am, you must hear this: taking care of yourself is vital to continue joyfully fulfilling your role as wife, mother, and home manager day after day, year after year. Depression and loneliness can be very real issues for stay-at-home moms, and while there are myriad reasons for this, one cause can be that in all the caring for others, moms sometimes forget to take care of themselves. When this happens, we can become wholly spent and exhausted, with nothing left to give. Before long, the weariness will begin negatively affecting how we interact with others, especially the people inside our homes – the very people we care about the most.

By prioritizing basic things like restorative sleep, eating healthy, non-hurried meals, getting fresh air, sunshine, and exercise, and taking breaks from your work to do things that delight you just for the fun of it, you are demonstrating to yourself and the world that being a homemaker matters and that your contribution to your family and the world has immeasurable value.

A woman wears a ruby ring. Rubies remind us of the worth of a homemaker.

Regardless of your season of life, a balanced approach to self-care is healthy and life-giving for all homemakers. I’ve heard it said that whatever the bulk of your daily work entails, you should do the opposite for times of rest. For instance, if your regular day involves a lot of physically demanding work (taking care of young children, cleaning, or an on-your-feet job), then you will probably find something where you can be physically still the most refreshing (kicking up your feet and reading a book, taking a warm bath, or just quietly sitting and watching the sunset). If you have a job where you tend to spend more time sitting at a desk, doing something active (taking brisk walks, gardening, or playing a sport) may be truly rejuvenating.

The point is, whatever helps you feel refreshed, filled up, and alive with purpose, do that. Put it on your calendar and keep that appointment just like you do with everything else on your schedule. Invest in your own well-being; when you do, you’ll be a happier homemaker, and your relationships will reap positive dividends!

A Homemaker’s Most Important Work is Building Thriving Relationships

Dear fellow homemaker, remember this: the most virtuous thing you can do today is love people well. Even if the crumbs stay on the floor tonight and the bookshelves hold their dust bunnies a little longer, yet you took the time to help carry the burdens of another, to listen closely as your child poured out their heart, or you took extra time to “do [your husband] good,” then you have done well. After all, we are homemakers because home is where we can best build positive, thriving relationships with people. Indeed, home is where the heart is, so let’s care for those hearts well.

Scriptures for Further Mediation:

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” Proverbs 14:1

“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.” Proverbs 15:17

“Teach the young women…to love their husbands, to love their children.” Titus 2:4

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  1. As a young mom with 5 little children, I often felt overwhelmed at keeping my home neat and tidy because often there was a little one that needed to be fed, rocked to sleep or just held. A friend passed along an insight from her mom. “Take time for your children, the work will still be there for later. One day your house will be clean and quiet and you will never regret the time you invested in your children.” I am so thankful for that insight from a wise woman. It helped me not to feel guilty for sitting in the rocking chair with a child as I saw the work lying around waiting to be done. She was so right. Thank you Cara for this great reminder of what a Godly woman looks like.

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