Volume 9, Issue 1: Femina
Choosing a Man
As young women approach marriageable age, it is good and prudent to give thought to those qualities desirable in a future husband. Being a Christian and 98.6 degrees should not be enough. Ideally, daughters should have a good model in Dad, but sometimes, for various reasons, this is not the case. Nevertheless, Scripture provides light on the subject. The following list of questions may provide a start. These are not the only questions, but they do cover some of the more important bases.
1. Do you respect him? Scripture assigns wives two primary responsibilities: respect and submission (Ephesians 5:22-24, 33; Colossians 3:18). These duties are obviously linked, for a woman who respects her husband will find submission her delight and her protection. Where there is lack of respect, submission becomes a pleasureless duty fraught with turmoil, but required all the same. First, find out what respect is and what it looks like. Do you admire and look up to him? Do you trust him to make godly decisions that you can submit to? Is he in submission to the Word of God? Does he model godly submission to those in authority over him? Does he have the kind of character that will not compromise or cave in under pressure? In short, what kind of Christian is he? Do you esteem him more than anyone else you know? Will you be able to honor and defer to him for life? Or are there areas you are concerned about and hope that perhaps you can fix later? Don't marry a man as a project; don't assume you can change him once you're married. Can he lead you, or are you leading him in taking the leadership? If you are in the least doubt about these things, stop right here and wait for someone else.
2. Do you enjoy his company? Some mistakenly think that this is an "unspiritual" question and therefore not important. Certainly not! God has created marriage to be a good gift, not a duty done while gritting the teeth. A mutual delight in one another's company is assumed in the Song of Solomon. "Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved among the sons" (2:3). This young woman views her husband as one of a kind. She delights in him, and he in her. In God's command to widows, Paul says, "she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord" (1 Cor. 7:39). We see that God allows our wishes to play a part in whom we choose to marry. Marriage should not be by coercion, but done freely. As a young Christian I had a well-meaning pastor and his wife lean on me to be interested in a godly young man that I had absolutely no interest in. I wondered if God could possibly want me to marry a man for whom I had no desire. This was a frightening thought. An older Christian sister counseled me with, "God wants milk and honey for you!" This was a tremendous relief! I wasn't sure exactly what kind of man I wanted, but I knew I did not want that one. Perhaps it was my lack of respect for him that made him so unappealing to me. Since you are to be a "helper suitable," you must be eager to be his life-long number one fan, supporter, confidante, counselor, friend, and co-laborer. This means you must think marriage to this man will be a delightful duty.
3. How does he treat his parents? This is very revealing because it shows you how seriously he takes his scriptural duties. His view of the family is fundamental as you establish a home. Generally, a young man will treat his wife much as he treats his mother. If he is kind and affectionate to his mom, he'll be much the same to his wife. If he is inconsiderate, flippant, or disregards his mother, beware. If he is not a faithful son, he probably won't be a faithful husband.
4. What is his view of children? Is he into kids? Does he view children as a gift from God? Or does he see them as a royal pain? Does he know they exist? What is his view of birth control? It should be compatible to yours or you are in for some difficulties. Are your views on educating children similar? These may not seem like urgent questions right now, but, Lord willing, they will be soon. Do not neglect to find out his views on such things, and if he has no views and doesn't care, then forget him.
5. Is he a hard worker or does he procrastinate? Is he racking up debt while he is single, or is he industrious and thrify? Is he generous or miserly? Is he a faithful tither? In other words, how does he handle money?
6. On secondary issues are your views compatible? If not, are you willing to adopt his positions? Do not assume that these things don't matter.
Usually a woman who respects a man does so because she has reason. He is submissive to the Word and demonstrates it in the areas mentioned above. But, it is very easy to be in love with a man you do not respect. Be very careful not to get into an emotional fog, for then you are not in a position to evaluate objectively. You will find yourself making excuses for his laziness or disrepect to his parents. "No, he isn't into kids, but. . . ."
Be faithful and obedient to God yourself and trust God to bring you a man you will love to respect and honor. Pray that your parents will have wisdom, discretion, and discernment as they help you think through these things.