Volume 10, Issue 1: Husbandry
Choosing a Wife
How should a young man seek a wife? What should his criteria be? First, a few important pointers on what not
to do. Do not hand out xerox copies of this article at the college and career class at church, announcing in a loud
voice that you are ready for the marital state, and are earnestly praying about it. That makes godly young women
jumpy; they want to get married too, but not to a blunderbuss.
Certain things should be assumed in the discussion. A man should not even consider marrying a woman
who is not a Christian. "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness
with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?" (2 Cor. 6:14) A man should not even
consider marrying a woman who was divorced without biblical grounds (Matt. 19:9). Further, if
he is divorced unbiblically (Matt. 19:9) then he should forget it. Simply put, before a man considers this woman or that one, he should have
it resolved in his mind that he will marry only within the boundaries set by the law of God.
Beyond this, we come to the realm of wisdom; the task involves making important judgment calls. The
various criteria set forth here are not ranked in an hierarchichal order; they are simply considerations which should be very much a part of a
young man's thinking.
Although a young man leaves his father and mother in order to take a wife (Gen. 2:24), the advice and approval of his parents
should be very important to him (Gen. 28:6-9). If he is headstrong, and refuses to listen to counsel, he will likely regret it in his marriage. Our
culture likes to pretend that wisdom belongs to youth, especially in questions of love. The Bible teaches us to look for wisdom elsewhere. The
way of a man with a maiden does not necessarily make a lot of sense (Prov. 30:18-19).
A man should seek a pleasant
woman. The Bible has a great deal to say about a quarrelsome wife, and the constant nuisance
associated with living with such a one. The contentions of a shrewish woman are like a continuing dripping (Prov. 19:13). Some men, who do
not want the responsibilities associated with leadership, may be content to marry a woman who brings "direction" to the relationship, but
a hard-driving woman is likely to be an unpleasant companion after a very short period of time. A man should seek a pleasant woman,
with a pleasant face.
He should want to marry a woman who shares a biblical work ethic with him; she should understand her work orientation as
being homeward (Tit. 2:3-5). A woman who rejects domesticity, a woman who wants to live like some Barbie married to some Ken should be
avoided along with all other sexual pests. A biblical man should want a woman who wants children, and who wants to be home-oriented.
At the same time, when a man is considering a woman, she should be sexually attractive to him. He should banish from his
thinking all false gnosticism, which says that the "spiritual plane" is so much more important. Of course it is more important, but this does
not make sexual attraction irrelevant. When a man singles a woman out for attention, he should have one thing clear in his mind.
(Actually, a young Christian woman should understand the same thing as well.) To some extent, one of two things is happening. The first
option is that the man is attempting to get the woman into bed dishonorably. The other possibility is that he is trying to do it honorably.
But of course, returning to the previous point, a man has to realize that the world is full of sexually attractive women who would
turn his life into a wretched affair. Although the sexual chemistry is necessary for a good marrige, it is by no means sufficient. "Favor is
deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised" (Prov. 31:30).
If a man and woman come from different cultures, the differences should be taken fully into account. The
tendency is to look at all such differences through a romantic haze, and if anyone brings them up, to dismiss them with a
wave of the hand. "Oh, we thought of that." But thinking "of that" and thinking it
through are two different things. We cannot say that cross-cultural marriages (which would include interracial marriages) are unbiblical. We can say that
they should not be approached thoughtlessly. The differences between men and women are great enough already; if
a couple has to deal with the other cultural barriers to communication as well, it could cause considerable
problems. The same thing goes for what might be called certain subcultural differencesvocational, regional,
Last, a young man must know that the woman he is considering respects him enough to follow his
spiritual leadership. Doctrinal differences which may not seem huge in a "conversation" may become quite large in a
family when practical decisions have to be made. For example, how would a husband and wife handle a disagreement
over infant baptism?
Because the husband is spiritually responsible in the marriage, the young man should think all such
things through to the end before he puts on his court shoes.