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A while back I was with a group of friends studying what the Bible says about being female. It was a lively discussion and at one point, we turned to Proverbs 31. I've always loved that passage, even when it made me feel completely inadequate, because it helped me to aim at a lofty goal. Until that day, however, I viewed the passage as a description of a woman who's at least 60; someone well seasoned by life's experiences with the maturity to show for it.
These verses still inspire me to strive for excellence, but now I see them differently. Though they're about a married woman in the context of her family, they were written primarily for young men to remind them that women who make good wives are hidden. Like precious gems they're hard to find. It takes looking. It takes work. It takes diligence.
For women, these verses are vital instruction for what should make them desirable for marriage. Did you know Proverbs 31 was written as an acrostic. Each verse starting with verse 10 (the "Wife of Noble Character" section) begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It's a veritable checklist for marrying well; the "what to look for when you're looking for a wife."
In an effort to make it practical, I've written my own version. An English A-Z checklist.
If you're a man, ask yourself, is this woman I'm dating:
A -- Aware; of the big picture, of the world around her
B -- a Believer
C -- open to having Children
D -- Dignified
E -- Excellent in her pursuits
F -- Full of Faith
G -- Gracious
H -- Honorable
I -- Inventive
J -- Just
K -- Kind
L -- Loving
M -- Modest
N -- Noble
O -- Obedient to the authority in her life
P -- Pure
Q -- capable of being Quiet
R -- Resourceful
S -- Skilled, Stable
T -- Trustworthy
U -- Under Authority
V -- Victorious
W -- a Worshipper
X -- an eXample to others
Y -- Yearning for God
Z -- full of Zoe "life of God"
If you're wondering, like I did, if there's a companion chapter to Proverbs 31 (for men), check out Job 29. I can thank my favorite professor from Graduate School, Dr. Hubert Morken, for framing it that way.
And now the companion list for guys — an A-Z for being a godly man. If you're a woman dating someone or considering it, ask yourself, Is he:
A -- Accountable
C -- Courageous
D -- Discerning
E -- an Example for other, younger men
F -- Faithful
G -- Gentle, Generous
H -- Husbandlike
I -- an Initiator
L -- a Leader
M -- Masculine
O -- Obedient to God
P -- able to Provide
Q -- Quick-witted
S -- a Sage
V -- Vigorous
W -- a good Worker
X -- eXcellent in his efforts
Z -- Zealous for righteousness
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Comment by AndreaElena:
I remember these lists from y'all's previous blog, Mrs. Watters -- some of my favorite posts. Thanks for adding them here! =)
Comment by Princess:
Thanks Candice, I´ve never thought of Job 29 a male version of Proverbs 31! both lists are right on target!
Comment by SarahRS:
I've seen Psalm 1 considered the male's counterpart to Proverbs 31: a man who walks in righteousness & refuses to participate in the doings of the wicked, succinctly put. That struck me because it was a psalm I memorized when I was a child.
Comment by Phoebe:
I like C for ladies --open to Children. You rock, Candice! What's the parallel for men, though? Job 29 says he is surrounded by his children. And a young man who appreciates and can relate to children is a gem.
And H for men -- husbandlike? Isn't that in a way the point of the list? How about Humble?
Comment by Meganblaire:
Thank you for the reminder, Candice! I long ago printed this list and have it hanging in a prominent place in my home. I look to it many times as I pray for the Lord to change me into a marriable woman.
I once had Proverbs 31 and Job 29 printed out side by side; such beautiful companionship. Thank you for reminding me what I should really be focusing on as I encounter single men.
Comment by Sirturtle:
Not sure what this means or how it helps.
Comment by Alexander:
Plz answer me this:
How does one become "Quick-witted"????(guys Q)
Comment by Matt:
Great post Candice. Thanks!
Comment by Larissa:
Wow, what a cool idea for a blog post :D
Comment by Kesha:
Currently crushing on a guy who meets that list. However am still working on fully meeting the female counterpart to it.
Agreed. H should be for Humble. or Humour? Great sense of humour...
Comment by Charles:
"O" - Obedient to the Authority in her Life.
At some point Boundless and its various writers should get clear and clean about this kind of thing and what it means. I can readily find a handful of churches within an hour of me who can and sometimes do take things like this to bad extremes.
The significance is that I would never entertain a relational possibility with a woman who *chose* to put herself in a control-freak church where things like a worst-case scenario of "biblical dating" was practiced and enforced. The adoption of these notions would have all kinds of implications for the health the marriage; indeed for her life with God as well, and probably for her own social development.
Under "U" -- Under authority -- we see the the same meme repeated a different away.
Comment by BDB:
Quick-witted means they had to do something with the letter Q.
And Quirky doesn't do it for some people.
Comment by A:
interesting to see this blog just now. I was thinking about the Proverbs 31 woman just earlier today and sadly realizing how much I fall short. But it is true that the Prov 31 woman doesn't have to be 60 yrs old... I spent this last summer working with a young missionary family and was completely inspired by what an amazing, Godly woman the wife is - and she's a fairly young woman.
Thinking about the kind of guy I am "looking for", I realize that probably if I met such a guy, he wouldn't be interested in me because I'm not what I need to be in terms of being a Godly, mature, Prov 31 woman. So much to work on.
Comment by Peter:
Q = Quality.
Might cost a more, but it's long-lasting, consistent, works like it's supposed to
Comment by Mandie:
C for women is a little hard for me, as somebody who probably never can have children. My fiancé was willing to accept this. Will we adopt? We don't know yet. That requires quite a bit of financial material that's not available to us as of now or probably in the next ten years.
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