Did you ever read Proverbs 31:11-12 from the Amplified Bible - which takes several translations of the original language and combines them to get a closer possible understanding of the passage?
The 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.
She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.
My husband is a good man, very devoted to God and to his family, very loving and concerned for our Christian Family. He has an enormous weight on his mind and shoulders, from the responsibility given him by the Lord, whether he lives up to it perfectly or not. He loves me, regardless of whether I'm perfect or not. And I need to respect him and love him as well. Because God loves us first - so who are we to be so judgmental of others? And why do I want to give anyone, especially the person that I live with, more troubles, when I am supposed to be encouraging? I do not want to break my husband's trust in me, so I don't share problems, or secrets. And he knows that I would rather build him up in public, rather than makes jokes about him which would put him down. At least he should know that. :)
But... what if he were way less than perfect? I remember wondering when I was single, if I wound up with a louse or simply someone who didn't seem to care, could I be like Abigail, or Deborah, or Timothy's mother, and do the Right thing anyway. Of course, not being in that position, and being full of youthful zeal, I assumed that - even if he was abusive, I would be in prayer and study. Even if he kept me from a church family, I would be strong. But I know that even with the great guy I live with, and the church Families that have encouraged us so, I have had many times of personal weakness, when I return mean word for mean word, I expect more of him than myself, I don't do what I know that I should for some personal pet peeve... not considering him, but only interested in defending Myself. But, I still have a purpose and responsibility myself, to do good, regardless of how I perceive myself to be treated.
Here is another quote:
"Now, by saying that, I don’t necessarily mean absolutely. There are times when to do good to a husband may mean to appeal to the appropriate authorities at the church or the civil authorities. If a husband is breaking the law, to do him good is to get him into a position where he can be helped by the law, or restrained by the law, or by the church authorities." - Nancy Leigh DeMoss
I think that this makes sense. God never commanded us, through Proverbs or through Jesus Christ or the Apostles of the New Testament, as women, to merely "sit down and shut up", to be servile huntin' dogs who grovel at a cruel dictator's feet and still lick his hand after he's kicked us in the head. Jesus did not command that of men or of women. Look it up - that's not what "doing good" is all about, and it isn't what "submission" is all about.
Neither do I "do good" just because he "does good" to me first. That's the wrong motivation, if I'm just trying to "50-50" our relationship. I heard once that a marriage (or any Christian relationship really) should be "100-100": I give everything, you give everything. I can't expect the other person to give everything if I'm holding back. And if he's holding back? Where does the Bible say anything about "submitting to one another in the fear of Christ, but only when it's entirely equal submission between believers"?
"Doing good" so that I can be trusted is something for all women, daughters, men, husbands and even elders in the church. This isn't one of those "married with children ladies' class topics". This is for everybody. See Galatians 2:20 and Colossians 3.
Verse 23-24 reads: "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance It is the Lord Christ whom you serve." And the whole chapter shows how we can as Christians in general show love and trust for one another, with a lesson for wives by example mentioned in the listing.
May I do much better with watching my tongue, that it does good and not evil, to my husband and children, my father and brothers in Christ, and to those to whom I am supposed to be shining the Light from above, so that they can see Him in me.
Photo above from ScotsIndependent.org - click here and scroll down to read a lovely poem in and old fashioned style about a young woman who married a beggar who turns out to be a knight.