CTBHHM: Be Entrepreneurs . . . but only at Home!

Created To Be His Help Meet, pp. 220—227

In this passage we turn back to women and work, and Proverbs 31.

Men value hardworking women who are eager to learn how to do new things. No man wants to be saddled with a slow, incompetent wife. I have often heard my sons and their friends talking about what they wanted in a wife. They all agreed that they did not want to marry “a maintenance chick.” No young man wants to marry “a lazy, visiting, ‘gotta eat out’ gal.”

All men agree on this one point: A good woman is a helper, not a hindrance. A help meet works, learns, and helps with the daily tasks of life. When a man gets home from work, there should be an obvious, visible, tangible difference in his house, his children, his food, and even his income, which she has helped generate. He knows his lady makes things happen, gets things done, and is not just a sweep-the-floor and wash-the-dishes gal. She is a true entrepreneur, an initiator.

Perhaps you have heard a man say on occasion that some other man’s wife, “He’s got a good woman.” If you ask that man to define the woman he referred to as good, he would be described a Proverbs 31 woman. It is a general blueprint of how a woman seeking to honor God should fashion her life. It is the kind of woman a man most admires.

I’m not going to type in this whole section, because it’s more of the same. I’ll just give you the highlights, and then some analysis. First this:

All the key words in Proverbs 31 are action words. She is a creative merchant. She is a worker. Almost every verse describes daily chores or a new enterprising task she is involved in. No one, not even her enemy, would call this woman lazy or slothful. She is diligent in her work, both when it is convenient and when she does not feel like working. In the end, it is this woman’s work that speaks of her worth.

And then this:

A virtuous woman is busy doing constructive activities. She explores business opportunities. SHe is saving money, making money, and investing money. I came to greatly admire this woman as I studied through her day-to-day activities. I stopped and asked myself, ‘What could I start doing that would make me more of an active help meet for my husband?’

All of this may seem a bit contradictory when compared to the rest of Debi’s book. She has told women that they must always obey their husbands, whether they understand or agree or not. She has also told women that putting their children in daycare would be adopting their children out, and that leaving their children with babysitters is dangerous—that they must not leave their children for even ten minutes. And then this?

Ah, but wait. There’s a clarification.

As you read this, don’t decide to get on the web and order $100,000 worth of stock, all in the name of being a good woman. You would be portraying a fool instead of a wise, virtuous wife. Don’t think you have to get out and buy $40 worth of cloth to learn to sew or $170 worth of health-care products to sell part-time. Be wise, prudent, and first consider your husband’s desires, your options, and your gifts. Remember our letter from Vicky? She could have been cleaning up her yard, fixing the screen door, and tightening up her leaking popes. It would not have cost anything but her labor. I suggest we all start “being good” with things that are less glamorous and more practical.

So.

Debi is running up against a bit of a problem. Proverbs 31 very clearly describes a successful businesswoman, not simply a homemaker. Debi has to find a way to grapple with that. Her solution is to accept it, but then walk it back. Women are to be doers, entrepreneurs, innovators—but they should apply these things in practical, homemaker ways.

Debi next goes through Proverbs 31 verse by verse, titling the section “Traits of a Good Woman.” “She buys property, plants a cash crop, and multiplies her investments,” Debi writes of the Proverbs 31 woman. “She makes, sells, and delivers quality goods.”

A good woman reaps what she has sown, and it is good fruit. The enterprises and business ventures she has put her hand to are profitable. The crafts, goods, and clothes she has made are known to be of excellent quality. Her dwelling and her services are well-managed, efficient, and tidy. Her children are honorable and seek God. Her husband has the time and heart to invest in other people’s lives because of her being a good help meet. A good woman has lots of good fruit.

Like I said, Debi accepts the “enterprises and business ventures” bit, but quickly turns these things into proper channels—i.e., away from work outside of the home.

Keep on hand informal books on health, gardening, cooking, child training and other teaching aids. For every hour you spend watching a film or reading a novel, spend the same amount of time reading something that will help you grow as a person. You will be amazed by how soon you come to enjoy the “real” stuff over the “make-believe.”

You see what I’m saying? Women are to be enterprising businesspeople . . . in natural health, growing fruits and vegetables for the family, preparing food, and raising children.

Technically, Debi isn’t against women working. After all, she herself works, and her daughter Shoshanna runs an online herb store. Debi is against women working without their husbands’ approval and against women working outside of the home. A woman working in a home business alongside her husband is being a good homemaker. A woman working at domestic pursuits to bring in extra money—raising and selling herbs, selling whimsical crafts on Etsy, writing books on homeschooling or child rearing—is being a good helper to her husband.

In other words, women are to be entrepreneurs . . . provided that does not lead them out of the house, and provided they keep their primary attention on their children.

Debi finishes the chapter with this:

ABCs of being a Help Meet

A—Admit when you are wrong
B—Be positive
C—Cuddle
D—Do it his way
E—Encourage him
F—Fix his breakfast
G—Give back rubs
H—Hug often
I—”I love you” should be said many times daily
J—Joke around in a playful manner
K—Know his needs
L—Listen to him
M—Manage your home well
N—Never hold grudges
O—Open your eyes in the morning and smile
P—Pray for him
Q—Quit nagging him
R—Reminisce about good times
S—Show respect and honor
T—Trust, and earn his trust
U—Understand his need for reverence
V—Vulnerability is a feminine trait; cultivate it
W—Wink at him
X—X is for private times
Y—Yearn to please him
Z—Zealously guard him with your love

Next week we begin chapter 22: “Obedient to Their Own Husbands”

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.


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