to me, this is a very introspective study. as i mentioned before, i keep "wanting" to be a proverbs 31 woman. but i don't know enough about it to even pretend to try to be one. so, i learn. i learn what an ideal, godly woman is, how she acts, what she embodies... then i work at becoming as close to that as i am physically, emotionally, and spiritually able to. i promise that if i do this study again in 10 years, it'll have a totally different point. i'd be at a different point in my life, so my proverbs 31 woman may be interpreted differently.
here's what my ESV study bible says about proverbs 31:10-31 (references removed, emphasis added)
an alphabet of womanly excellence. as the ESV footnote to v. 10 explains, this wisdom poem is an acrostic, in which each verse begins with the successive letter of the hebrew alphabet. the poem begins and ends with mention of the woman's "excellence". the probable intention of putting this together with the acrostic pattern is to show that this woman's character runs the whole range of excellence. this woman is married, and she is devoted to the well-being of her household, to which she contributes by her participation in outside economic concerns. at the same time she makes her home the center of ministry by giving generously to the poor and by instructing her children and household workers in true kindness. so her husband and children enjoy their lot and honor her for her industry
this lofty portrait of excellence sets such a high standard that it can be depressing to godly women today until its purpose is understood. first, the woman embodies in all areas of life the full character of wisdom commended throughout this book. this shows that even though the concrete situations up to now have generally envisinoed a cast of males, the teaching of the entire book is intended for all of God's people. second, as with other character types, this profile is an ideal: a particular example of full-scale virtue and wisdom toward which the faithful are willing to be molded. it is not expected that any one woman will look exactly like this in every respect.
see? even the bible commentary says it. i'll be working at this for my entire life. but that i'm studying this at all shows that i desire to be a godly woman, wife, and eventually, mother.