December 16, 2011 by Dayo Benson
‘Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies’ (Proverbs 31:10).
Well I used to really dislike the fact that at every women’s conference I went to we were told about the virtuous woman, and told that we have to be like her. Why? Why should I be like some woman who probably didn’t exist, except as a figment of some man’s imagination? Really, I thought the whole thing was written by king Lemuel and it was just his fantasy woman and now he’s got Christian women everywhere stressing themselves out to be like her. Point of correction to self, it was king Lemuel’s mum first of all that told him this, and bible scholars believe it was a well known poem that all Jews knew back then.
Anyway, after the description of everything that this virtuous woman is doing, you know rising at midnight, single-handedly caring for children and servants, preparing meals, and holding down a personal business, what is her man doing? Is he like some corporate tycoon or some shepherd with 50,000 cattle (that meant you were super rich back then)? Well, I come to the end of the passage and all he’s doing is sitting at the gate of the city. Doesn’t exactly sound stressful. The least he could do was come home and give his hardworking (although ‘slave driven’ is more appropriate) wife a massage from time to time. You know, she’s doing all this hard work. No mention of anything like that.
Then there’s the fact that since she’s doing so much, you’d think the passage might mention something about how she’s tired all the time and takes three-day spa breaks every now and then. But no, she is doing all this and still has time to look good and wear nice purple silk gowns. Really now?
And what capped it off for me was the fact that there is no mention of sex. You mean her husband is praising her just because she’s working her fingers to the bone? Nothing else? What happens when he comes home from an afternoon of hobnobbing with city elders in the sun? Does she show him all her receipts from the land she’s been buying and show him her spreadsheets for her business, and then get back to her spindle?
Okay, ranting over. Good Christian woman hat on: Virtuous women are scarce. Pretty women are a dime a dozen, but virtuous ones are not. Guys, you can’t find a virtuous woman by yourself. Only God knows who is truly virtuous so only God can lead you to a virtuous woman.
Virtuous means righteous, honourable, moral, good, etc. And it’s not just hard to find these traits among women, it’s hard find them among the human race in general. Virtue also means power. The stereotype about women is that they are weak and fragile. God can lead you to a strong one. A woman with strength of character. A woman who’s not going to go crying to her family, her friends, and the church leadership, every time you do something wrong. A woman who has the backbone to stand through marriage and weather every storm with you and stick with you in spite of the fact that you don’t deserve it sometimes. A woman who won’t give in to the universal weakness of women to gossip. You might think this isn’t a big deal, but a gossiping woman gossips about her husband too. Even if it’s just to boast. But you don’t need that drama.
Rubies are nice. None of us would turn down rubies. But men turn down virtuous women (who, the Bible says, are worth way more than rubies) all the time. Maybe she’s not pretty enough, maybe her friend is better looking than her, maybe her hair isn’t the colour that floats your boat. Maybe the other women wear rubies i.e. Gucci and Sergio Rossi, it doesn’t matter. She’s better than them, even if she’s not wearing those things.
If you have a woman like this don’t take her for granted. You would cherish a ruby, you wouldn’t just toss it aside. Let her know how much she’s worth, tell her how lucky you are to have her, and appreciate her.
So am I a virtuous woman? Anyway…Love motivates the kind of things that the virtuous woman does. If she doesn’t love her husband there’s no way she can serve him like this. If she doesn’t care about her household, she will not do all that she does. She is selfless. There is only one thing mentioned that she does for herself and that is make herself clothes, which I suspect is half for herself (she can’t go out naked) and half for her fella (she needs to look good and he needs to notice it). Never mind my rant, I so want to be like her!