A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.
– Proverbs 12:4
The word for virtuous means strength, ability, resource, and efficiency. Today we would think of virtuous as meaning of high moral fiber, but the word in this proverb is fuller and richer in meaning. She is not a prudish woman but she is a woman of substance, intelligence, and accomplishment. A virtuous woman is described more fully in Proverbs 31:10-25. Such a woman is a crown to her husband. She is not only an adornment, but she is ennobling to him. She is an inspiration and complement that raises him to new height. The contrasted thought is of a woman that makes ashamed. This word indicates being put to shame, embarrassed, and disappointed. Such a woman is foolish, lazy, and contentious (Proverbs 14:1; 19:13-14; 21:9, 19; 27:15-16). Such a woman is not a crown but rather like a decaying disease, rottenness in his bones. Rather than bringing her husband to greater heights as a man of substance, she reduces him and eats away at his strength and ambition. She breaks him down like termites eating away at the house structure until the roof sags and eventually caves in.