Ever Heard of the Virtuous Husband?

5 03 2009

I discovered an interesting blog the other day…that of Rev. Renita Weems. She's a bible scholar and minister in the AME church. A couple of her writings have stood out to me and have given me a lot to chew on in the past couple of days. One of them had to do with the notion of the Virtuous Woman found in Proverbs 31. Here is an exerpt of what she has to say:

On the surface of it Proverbs 31: 10-30 is seems to be directed at to
women, but at close glance you quickly figure out that the poem is
actually something of a manual for young men on how to choose a good
wife. It is a poem to the virtual wife, not virtuous wife; the fantasy
wife, not a real flesh-and-blood wife. The woman in the poem is
supposed to be the exact opposite of the shrew, the temptress, and the
sluggard who are talked a lot about in Proverbs. What man wouldn’t want
a wife who is prepared to sacrifice her sanity, health, and life to
care for her husband and children? I would love to have a wife like
that myself. It’s the kind of poem many Christian women have been made
guilty for not living up to. It’s the kind of poem men, Christian and
otherwise, walk around with in their heads whether they know it or not
as a template for womanhood…..But what are the qualifications for a husband? Where does one find a virtuous man? Now there’s a thought….

There were a lot of interesting points raised in the article, but it really made me wonder what does a virtuous man look like? Women are so often held up to this standard for living up to this virtuous woman. Sometimes it does feel like a bit of oppression because I feel like some Christian men hold this stick up to determine if a woman is "worthy", and when a woman does not fit that mold, they are often left feeling "worth-less" or undesireable. I've been to a lot of churches that focus on teaching young girls to be virtuous but oftentimes the same emphasis is not put on the boys. Go to any Christian bookstore and you'll find lots of books about How to Be a Good Woman, How to Wait for Your Boaz, How to Be Single etc. etc. Believe me, 'cuz a lot of these books are on my shelf. There are some books for men out there but I think the ratio of books and advice for men pales in comparison to those for women.

But read Renita Weems entire article for yourself so you can see the above comment in context. I'd love to hear your thoughts…

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One response

10 03 2009
James

I ran across this post by accident. A good friend of mine keeps a blog with an almost identical url.
The virtuous woman is an ideal and not an actual woman. In the Hebrew, this passage is a full acrostic poem. Since it follows the Hebrew alphabet from beginning to end, the most likely thought is the writer is talking about the ideal woman.
There is not enough out there for men on how to be a Christ-centered man living with Biblical standards, and there certainly isn’t enough for the things a woman should look for in an ideal husband. Maybe some of this boils down to proper teaching from our pastors, teachers, etc? Anyway, I read the post and wanted to tell you that I think you are absolutely on point.

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