By Scott Morefield, Contributing Writer
We spend our lives making choices. We choose what foods to eat, what products to purchase, what jobs to do. Most of the choices we make don’t really matter in the long-run. They are neutral – the difference between spaghetti and lasagna for dinner one evening, or what to wear to church tomorrow. Others, however, need to be approached with much more care.
Who to marry is just such a choice. Choose correctly, and you are in for a lifetime of love with the person of your dreams. (Please don’t misunderstand – we’re talking about two fallible people here, so I’m not trying to say there won’t be rocky times because, as in ANY marriage, there will be!). Choose wrong, and, although God can make any marriage whole, the challenges you will face will be exceedingly difficult.
Let’s face it – the Bible says foolishness is bound in the heart of a child. I’m not sure that foolishness ends until the ‘child’ is at least 25, if not older. My children, thankfully, aren’t old enough to make those choices yet, but the choices I see teenagers make with regards to the opposite sex make me long for the days of arranged marriages.
Now, I’m not going to single out boys or girls for their comparative levels of foolishness in this area (there’s plenty of that to go around!), but this article will be addressed to boys. Why, you ask? Because I was one of them, and I understand what it’s like to make foolish choices, and, ultimately, to make the right choice in the end. I can testify with absolute certainty that marrying the right person is one of the best choices you will make in your entire life. It’s worth every caution, every hour in prayer, every winding road that eventually will, with God’s help, lead you to the person He has for you.
Guys, here are six things to look for in the woman you marry. Find someone with all six, and you will be well on your way to a long and happy marriage. Although there obviously needs to be some physical attraction, please note that none of these have anything to do with how she looks. Beauty is, after all, fleeting (Prov. 31:30), but character lasts forever. (If this article isn’t for you, consider passing it along to some hapless single guy who could use some sage advice. :))
And please, don’t take this too far! We are all fallible humans, and we all make mistakes. All of us will be lacking in one or more of these areas, but the key is if you see a pattern that runs opposite these attributes in the woman you are dating, it’s a red flag to watch out for. If you see too many or enough to make you uncomfortable, RUN!
“It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.” Proverbs 25:24
1.) She loves God
This is, ultimately, the most important thing to look for. First of all, the Bible clearly says not to marry an unbeliever (2 Corinthians 6:14), so by definition a non-Christian shouldn’t even make it to the ‘date’ list, much less the marriage one. Second, look for someone who has a personal relationship with Jesus, who prays and reads God’s word regularly, or at least desires to. If she is looking to Jesus for her advice and comfort, He won’t lead her astray. Even in the rocky times, you can’t go wrong marrying someone like that.
“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
2.) She loves and honors her father
Just as women should look at how you treat your mother, you should pay close attention to the attitude she has toward her father. Understanding, of course, that there are reasons some fathers deserve contempt (in those situations, look for her relationships with prominent males in her life), a woman who ‘hates’ or is rebellious toward her father for no good reason is likely well on the road to ‘man-hating’ in general. Since, after all, YOU could be the father of her children someday, that is probably a situation you want to consider avoiding.
(Additionally, often young women who choose the wrong guy do so because of severe ‘daddy issues.’ If such a person is choosing you, it may be a good idea to look inward and ascertain why.)
“Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)” Ephesians 6:2
3.) She is flexible and easy to please
Let’s face it, we guys are pretty much like dogs – we’re content to sit on the front porch, pant, and wag our tails. As long as she pets us once in awhile, we’re all good. We’re also insensitive, crass, impolite, rough-around-the-edges, and generally a nuisance to everything and everyone around us. We need a lady in our life who understands us and accepts us for who we are. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to do better, that we shouldn’t treat our ladies with chivalry and respect, but it does mean we can be a lot to put up with.
If she is rigid, if everything in her life has to be a certain way or she isn’t happy, don’t walk, RUN the other way. Life is going to come with all kinds of ups and downs, valleys and mountains. If the person you share it with isn’t at least to some degree flexible and easy to please, especially at the dating stage where she is on her best behavior, you AREN’T going to please her, EVER, and you are in for some very, very tough times.
4.) She is giving
Like it or not, men, by their natures, just aren’t very giving. We want to be, and with God’s help we can work on it, but we aren’t typically born that way. Women, on the other hand, tend to be much better givers. Of course, a marriage shouldn’t be about the wife giving and the husband taking. Far from it! Marriage is a journey, together, and all along the path we are working to be better at our faults. But, a giving wife will help teach her husband how to give, will gently nudge him in the direction of Biblical giving to his church, his wife, and his children.
If you are dating someone who is ridiculously selfish (of course, we all are selfish to some extent, even the ladies!), given the fact that you are probably more selfish than she, consider the two of you together, long-term.
Hard to imagine?
5.) She is not contentious
This goes hand in hand with being flexible and easy to please. If you are dating someone who is looking to argue about petty things, who always has a chip on her shoulder, consider that a BRIGHT red flag. There are enough real issues that will come up in your marriage, issues about which you WILL, on occasion, fight about, to marry someone with a predisposition toward contentiousness. It’s just not worth it! Consider the words of a man who doubtless knew his subject all too well…
“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” Proverbs 21:19
6.) She is kind
Women are generally the gentler sex. While we are gruff, rough, and generally UNkind, our ladies should be the influences that ‘soften’ our rough exteriors. The person you marry should be kind to animals, kind to children, kind to others, kind to her family… and kind to you.
It’s certainly not magic, and nobody is perfect, but looking for at least the foundations of these six attributes in the woman you spend the rest of your life with will fill the rest of your life with more joy than you could possibly imagine. Marriage, after all, should never be a ball and chain – so don’t go and create your own prison by choosing the wrong wife!