Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (Proverbs 31:23, 25-26)
What she does affect her husband’s reputation? Our society wants us to think of each part of a couple as a separate entity. Own life. Own decisions. Own bank accounts even. But in reality we often judge one spouse by the other. We assume that one spouse causes the actions of another. Or at least approves of them.
Elders at the gate isn’t a picture of old-timers sitting on the porch. Elders used to sit at the gates and people would come to them to judge their disputes. Here, this lady’s husband is respected and sits with the elders. We don’t know anything about her husband’s character—except that his choice of a wife was good. And he has the confidence to give her the freedom to use her talents. The way the verse is written gives the impression that that’s enough to make him respected in his community.
Then we see strength and dignity are her clothing. Strength can be translated as might, power, or fortress/stronghold. And the word dignity can be might or majesty. We’re back to the army imagery.
I don’t think this is the strength of a weightlifter. It has more to do with character. When I think of the ideal image of a soldier, I think more of things like courage, confidence and standing for right. These are the things that she wears. She stands firm and prepared for the time to come.
And she teaches. Kindness can also be translated as goodness or faithfulness. She teaches what she lives.
What kind of a difference would it make in those around us if we opened our mouths with wisdom and kindness came out?