11The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil.The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely - Her husband can trust her completely. There isn't a part of her husband that doubts her, no inner voice filling him with doubts. He leaves the running of his household in her capable hands. In this verse, the woman is in charge of the household. This is not to say that she is the head of house, but rather that she controls what happens within the house, in a manner that allows her husband peace of mind. He doesn't have to concern himself with her going on a shopping spree. She will not bankrupt their financial future to live in the present.
12She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.
By reading the rest of this text and seeing all of the virtuous woman's attributes, we can see how having a woman like this would be a good thing indeed. A wife that is the opposite of this woman would serve to wear her husband down with worry and would undermine his ability to complete his work.
He has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil - He does not need to engage in shady business dealings to make an extra buck to cover expenses. She runs the household in a way that enables them to live within their means. Living within one's means is hard. Ironically, life's expenses seem to go up whenever there is a raise. I'll be honest – I stink at budgeting. I do good at living within what DH makes as long as there are no expenses I have to plan ahead for. I am not good at setting money aside for a future expenses.
Looking at this text, the phrase “no lack of gain” implies that there is an increase in their wealth, not just maintaining a set level. I do a lot of things to be frugal, but that mostly entails just living within our means, not below our means. If we lived more below our means, we could set money aside for future expenses. The Bible admonishes us to be good stewards of what we are given (Matthew 25). Certainly setting money aside for future expenses falls into this category.
She does him good and not evil all the days of her life - She is never spiteful, she treats him generously all of her life. Not all of his life, all of her life. How does she do this? If he should happen to die before she does, she is respectful to his memory. She takes care of and preserves their legacy – their children. She continues to be a faithful steward of what they have accumulated (again with the budgeting). While he is living, she seeks out how to help him everyday, not just when she's in a good mood. She seeks his best even on days when she has PMS and he has ticked her off. She is not spiteful. She doesn't plot revenge or engage in passive-aggressive behavior.
Feminists probably get upset at the idea of constantly seeking the husband's good. I think this verse is just common sense, although it is hard to do. Let's face it - when we seek our husband's good, we are much more likely to have a happy hubby. Husbands who are in a good mood make for a more pleasant home and have better relationships with their wives and children. This in turn helps the wife to be in a better mood, making her more likely to find ways to help her family, and the cycle repeats. Men have their share of verses elsewhere in the Bible on how they are to treat their wives and children, lest you think that the men are off the hook here!
My summary of Proverbs 31:11 – A virtuous woman manages her house without causing worry.
My summary of Proverbs 31:12 – A virtuous woman does good until the very end.