Who can find a Virtuous Man?
Basically, this post is about guys increasing their efforts to make themselves fitting spouses. Part A of the post gives a contextual background which explains the concern and Part B (next post) follows with my version of the Proverbs 31 ‘Virtuous
A good place to start is through Chimamanda Adichie’s TEDx on feminism where she questions, “Why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same?” Her insight in the video gave me a great deal to think about regarding the diverging perspectives girls and guys have when it comes to marriage. I believe that we have a culture which places an imbalanced emphasis to the different sexes when it comes to preparing themselves to be suitable spouses.
My generation has had a recent craze on 'GOALS' – #LifeGoals #CareerGoals #DatingGoals, the list goes on. I believe that ‘goals’ when it comes to marriage, #MarriageGoals, are firmly tied to any given culture’s ideal 'Man' or 'Woman'. For girls in many places, this concept of an ideal woman has been interwoven with the institution of marriage, and, although to a lesser extent, the same goes for boys.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your perspective), the ideal woman is the kind of woman that makes a good wife. Now I say this is unfortunate because as Adichie puts it, women are consequently expected to, "Make life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important." For girls, marriage is not just a goal, it is the goal of goals, and they, therefore, face weighty expectations to be ‘worth marrying’ – possessing the qualities of an ideal wife. All the while, not mentioning how the undertones of this approach also have a cheeky way of defining what a woman should be, based on, wait for it – man. (Rather than delving into the discussion about these challenges being faced, our primary focus today is to emphasize on an equal burden.)
But, I also leave room for 'fortunateness' because there is also a ton of good in training girls to be pleasant counterparts for their future spouses. One might question, though, “Why is there less emphasis on teaching boys the same?” In an ideal world, defining the ideal woman partly through marriage might not be a significant concern because, in that world, an ideal man is as much an ideal husband as the ideal woman should be an ideal wife. Back on planet Earth, this is far from the case and more often than not, an ideal man need not be a worthy husband. This translates into setting the unfortunate goals young men have today. In one way or the other, promiscuity, lustfulness, tactlessness and vanity all characteristically define today's ideal man. I need not have more than 2 conversations with my generation's 'cool guys' to see this pattern, neither do I need to watch more than 2 blockbuster movies to note the same.
I notice how many girls genuinely aspire to be #WifeMaterial and I'm concerned that this noble desire is met with an underwhelming reciprocation from my sex. I fear that while girls spend years preparing themselves to be worthy counterparts in marriage, boys spend no time priming for their years in holy matrimony.
It could just be me, but do guys today really care as much as they should about becoming the kind of man that every girl wants to marry? We often don’t experience the burden and expectations that girls do when it comes to marriage. Perhaps this is because of the empowerment we have when it comes to instigating relationships; maybe we’re abusing this privilege?
What I feel is that in many homes, girls are trained to adopt certain traits/skills (based on the need-to-know's of a wife) with the constant caution that, "Nani ata kuoa wewe?" Meanwhile, on the male front although we are trained to learn some of the things men should know, at the end of the day it still seems to be founded on an attitude of, "You do you bro... you do you." I believe that this is what sets the stage for the compromise explained by the poet Janette...ikz which plays out with girls deciding to "make him" THE ONE -- knowing all too well that they deserve much better.
As a Christian, all this brings to mind a famous Biblical passage in the book of Proverbs (authored by the man I'm named after):
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. ~ Proverbs 31:10
The verses that follow go on to elaborate on some of the traits of a Virtuous Woman and Mrs. Virtuous here is "Ultimate Goals" to any Christian man that has heard of her.
This passage has served as an excellent rubric to guide girls preparing for both life and marriage. Men do have their own scriptural guides on manhood and husband-hood, but this brilliant author (note the bias) makes an excellent and convenient guide for ideal womanhood. Many times, one has to search the scriptures further to find this much wisdom and guidance assembled – commonplace in Proverbs.
I aspire to marry a Virtuous Woman, but I also endeavor to be worthy of her affection. I pray to be the kind of man that she wants to, and deserves to, spend the rest of her life with and I hope to acquire some of the traits that would help me love her as Christ loves the church.
In keeping with my namesake’s work, I thought it prudent to write the following piece in order to paint a picture of what reciprocation to the virtuous woman would look like. The piece is intended to be a “Call to Action” for all bachelors out there (Christian or not) to take up the challenge and aim to be deserving of their spouses by aiming to be "Ideal Husbands.' Look out for my next post (Part B) for the piece.
At this point, you probably need a break. Check out Adichie’s video on feminism here and another of her TED-Talks here (both are personal favorites).
Thanks for taking the time to read! 😄