I’ve read authors who say that the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 is not actually referring to a wife, but to wisdom’s personification as a woman as seen earlier in Proverbs. I’ve read authors who refute that, and assert that it most certainly is speaking of the qualities that a woman should seek to develop. Now this:
Everything in Proverbs points to this final emphasis, on the man sitting in the gates who has chosen his wife (and his life) well. A man who follows the way of wisdom – God’s way – and lives a life honoring and well pleasing to the Lord.
Pastor Don Johnson, How ‘My Son’ Turned Out After All, at Proclaim & Defend. He’s done all the hard work for us. All I have to do is link to it, all you have to do is go read it — an interesting and thought-provoking article.