When you look for a spouse, what should you look for? If you have someone in mind is she or he the person you should marry? What should you look for in a mate?
To answer those questions, you will find below a small portion of a three-part radio broadcast series produced by the ministry of Family Life Today which aired August 8-10, 2007. Pastor Alistair Begg was speaking to singles on the subject, “How Do You Find a Mate.”
6 Keys to Look for in a Mate
In his talk, Alistair gave 6 key things he believes a woman should look for in a husband and 6 key things a man should look for in a wife. Afterward, the host Dennis Rainey added his 6 key things each should look for in a spouse (we provide a web site link at the end of this article so you can read them as well).
We will provide for you a portion of what Alistair said. You’d need to either read the transcripts or listen to the broadcast to find out the rest — which we HIGHLY recommend. It’s humorous and helpful! You might even want to purchase a CD to pass along to others who could benefit from this information. (We’ll provide a web site link after this preview.) For now, the question is:
WHAT SHOULD A WOMAN LOOK FOR IN A HUSBAND?
1. The man should be committed to growing in his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Do not take on a fellow as a discipleship project. …Look for a husband who is serious about growing in grace and in his knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Imagine that he is going to be, in part, your shepherd and your guide; that he is going to be the spiritual leader of your home; that he is going to be the nurturer of your children together.
2. A husband should be an individual of obvious integrity.
If you find him in an employee/employer situation fudging the issue in his sales calls, telling somebody that he can get the product to them in two weeks when he comes afterwards and tells you that actually he knew that he couldn’t get it there for four weeks, but he said that because he didn’t want to lose the sale — on the day he tells you that, you need to have a long, serious conversation with him. And if he seeks to under-gird his deceptiveness with argumentation, you should probably kiss him goodbye. You need a husband who is honest to the core, to a fault.
3. Look for a husband who is able to lead boldly.
Look for the kind of man who can think for himself, who can weigh options, and who can make good decisions. A girl should never settle for leadership that is selfish, bombastic, and domineering. The leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ, as espoused by the Apostles, is a leadership that is marked by an attitude of servanthood, an attitude that submits to the leadership of others.
The flip side of it, is that a young woman should be more than a little concerned if the fellow that she’s dating has to check with his mother all the time — “I need to phone my mom about that,” and all he’s trying to decide is where he should buy the large or the medium t-shirt — you’ve got a problem there.
4. Look for a husband who displays the ability to love sacrificially.
For example, watch, at the end of an evening with friends, to see if this character is quick to organize and spearhead the cleanup, or whether he waits for everybody else to clean up. Observe the way he relates to children and to strangers. See if he possesses a willingness to hold doors for passersby with full arms. Watch his attitude to waitresses and to other people who are involved in serving the public.
5. A husband should be able to laugh heartily.
Humor is a vital element in preventing marital failure. The ability to laugh doesn’t mean that he’s the class clown or even a joke-teller. In fact, he may be hopeless at telling jokes. That may be the funniest part about him. But it is important that he likes to laugh, and a key trait to look for is his willingness to laugh at himself. If he takes himself too seriously, look out.
6. A husband should model genuine humility.
Simply put, a good husband shouldn’t be stuck on himself. Genuine humility keeps its focus on others. And if you find yourself in the company of somebody who cannot be an understudy, who can’t sit in the second chair, who has always got to be the theme of the story, the joke of the party, the success of the event, I want to suggest to you, girls, that you might want to take a long, hard look at whether you’re in the company of the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.
What Should Men Look For in a Wife?
1. A good wife must have a personal faith and trust in the Lord Jesus.
Don’t enter into an intimate relationship where one person is a Christian and the other is not. The Bible is clear —don’t get unequally yoked.
2. Look for a wife who possesses beauty that is deeper than the skin.
It is less important to find a woman whose beauty comes from time spent in front of a beauty parlor than from time spent in the presence of the Lord Jesus.
3. Look for a wife who is an initiative-taker with an attitude of submission.
This simply parallels what we said previously about a man being a sacrificial leader. Any wise fellow is looking for a woman with ideas, abilities, hopes, plans, gifts, dreams, the whole panorama of abilities that she brings to marriage, because in entering into marriage in more areas than we are prepared to admit, we, as the husbands, will be dependent upon their knowledge, upon their insight, upon their courage, upon their faith, upon their expertise.
There will seldom be a day, as a man, when we do not have occasion to depend on multiple levels upon the wisdom, insight, initiative, grace, courage, faithfulness, integrity, skill, giftedness, of our wives.
4. A wife should build her husband’s confidence.
Trustworthiness stems from character. A woman’s intrinsic qualities are revealed by her actions.
5. Look for a wife who displays kindness that touches others.
Women don’t have the exclusive ownership of the characteristic of kindness. But often they do a much better job in expressing compassion than most men. If you think about it, women that have marked our lives have often marked our thinking on account of their tenderness.
6. A wife, like a husband, should have a sense of humor that braves adversity.
The ability to laugh will get couples through more than a few rough spots.
That’s Not All
To read the transcripts or listen to the entire broadcast (all 3 of them, if you’d like)
or order the CD for the series
please click on the FamilyLife.com link below:
• FINDING YOUR FUTURE SPOUSE
(series includes: “How Do You Find a Mate?”
“Instructions to Women” “Instructions to Men”)
— ALSO —
Dennis Rainey’s List:
• SIX CHARACTERISTICS FOR A POTENTIAL SPOUSE
And then, here’s an article written by Dr Wyatt Fisher, and Michelle Graham. In it they go through “20 things to look for in a Christian soul mate. …Some items will be deal breakers for you, and others may not worry you at all.” We believe you will find many of them to be things that you may not have considered before. And yet they are important, none-the-less —ones you should prayerfully consider. Please read:
• CHRISTIAN SOULMATE: 20 Steps to Finding Yours
And lastly, here is another excellent article written by Perry Noble. After that we have another great one written by Gary Thomas, and another by Pastor Duke Taber that we highly recommend you read. The points they make about a future mate are essential:
• YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN’T DATE HIM IF…
• 10 TYPES OF WOMEN THAT CHRISTIAN MEN SHOULDN’T DATE
Your time is valuable. Don’t waste it on people that are not tied to your values. You may find someone who is fun to go out with, but they are not necessarily a good mate for you.
It shouldn’t be wasted on people that are not tied to your values —someone who may be a good date, but not necessarily a good mate, at least not for you.
If you have additional tips you can share to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
More from Marriage Missions
Filed under: Single Yet Preparing
12 responses to “What Should You Look for in a Mate?”
(SOUTH AFRICA) Hi, I just want to find out if there is something called Rules of marriage. The do and don’ts in marriage. What one should do when one tries to communicate with his wife and a wife becomes defensive in all angles.
(US) Dear Donald, Pray before you speak to your wife. Commit your words and your thoughts to Jesus and he will put in words for you even when she says no. Remember it is the rebellious satan who says no. So gently talk to her, speak to her and believe that Jesus will help and it will be. Regards, NP
(USA) There aren’t any speciffic rules I am aware of to marriage, that would make it legalistic and then it would no longer be individualized. There is a movie out that has dealt specificly with this situation, called Fireproof. Within it there is a 40 day journey (called The Love Dare) that they go through, but this book has also been published. I would suggest that you take a look at this.
Know, most importantly, that this trial may take take more or less than the 40 day plan given, but if you honestly want a change within your marriage (other than divorce) then God will help you persevere. I suggest that you watch the movie either before or while you are going through the book, The Love Dare to become aware of what this may entail for you. Most of all I want you to know that God does not like divorce, therefore if you are earnestly trying to rebuild your marriage, God will be with you. For He gives His children the desires of their hearts. See: Psalm:37:4-5.
(USA) Thank you for the articles. I am in a relationship with a non-believer. I have been for about 10 years. When we first started dating we were not living life according to God’s will. I grew to accept Jesus Christ and live his ways but he didn’t. We have been struggling with this and I believe it’s time to sacrifice the relationship. This is very hard but these articles have helped in my decision making and trusting that God has a plan for my and marriage with a strong Christian man. This article also helped me to see my faults. I am one in need of Genuine humility. Thank you!
(US) Dear Amy, It’s good you have made a choice. It’s hard and it takes a lot of courage and GOD focused plus strength to make it. But GOD will give you a many times better husband than anyone you can ever think of. So trust in his timing as in his time, he makes all things beautiful. Regards, NP
(USA) “Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife.” 1 Cor. 7:27 I appreciate this in light of if the relationship happens, but what is your response to this scripture that says to be contented first?
(NIGERIA) Last year (2012), I was engaged a Christian lady who does not fully display the character of a true born again (she doesn’t pray except I call and urge her to, never takes a fast (or joins in the ministry of weekly fasting days) to seek the presence of God, and needs motivation most times before going to fellowships.
Apart from this she’s always quick to tell me that she had always wanted to marry a tall guy (I am 5’4″). When I share my personal problems with her she will use it to call me names, never likes it whenever I give gifts to people except her and her family. I have tried to build her up but to no avail. I am confused. Should I call off the engagement?
Hi Joe, You ask if you should call off the engagement. What you need to consider is, that this is a small view of what you will be living with for the rest of your life. Do you really want to marry someone who is disrespectful towards you, isn’t happy with your looks and puts you down because of it (which is very, very shallow and dishonoring to you on so many levels)?
Also, if she “does not fully display the character of a true born again” Christian, is this wise to put yourself into an unequally yoked situation? She may have SOME type of relationship spiritually, but from what you describe, it does not seem that you are spiritually yoked to an equal degree. I would be very wary. I know that if things are not doing well with my husband and me, that I can pray and he will listen to the Holy Spirit because he is spiritually in-tuned.
The things you describe about her would be a GREAT concern to me. Personally, I believe marriage is so difficult, that I would not marry someone who I held the same concerns, as you describe. What I’ve found is that usually the “bad” only gets worse and intensifies. If you are seeing and experiencing the character qualities (or lack there-of) that you are right now in this woman, I would be concerned that they would get much, much worse.
I am not all-knowing or all-seeing, of course, so you need to pray about this. But I am very, very concerned about what you describe about this woman. Just because someone calls themselves a Christian and goes to church, that doesn’t mean that she is one. You can be a religious person, but that doesn’t mean that you are fully a Christ-follower. Please prayerfully consider all of this. I’m praying wisdom for you.
(NIGERIA) Thanks for this insightful comment. Am praying too, the good Lord shall guide me. Thanks.
(GHANA) Please, I am with my boyfriend still schlin and my parents also want me to marry. Looking at my guy, he is not ready yet and I am not growing younger. I want to tell him but I am finding it difficult. Please help me.
(SOUTH AFRICA) Hi there. Thank you so very much for these informative articles. I have a personal request. I’m struggling with being self-confident. I’m not a very assertive girl. I do sense others can easily tell though. Will you please pray with me? Really, I don`t want to miss out on marrying a great potential for a Godly spouse. Thank you.
My mom lately has been talking a lot about me finding a good God fearing man to marry but the thing is I don’t want to marry a religious man. I mean he does have to believe in the Creator of the universe but everything else turns me away.