These are questions I was asked regarding relationships, specifically. I wanted to share my answer with you guys in hopes that it blesses someone.
What should our (Christian community) role be in aiding you to be whole before marriage?
Encourage me, especially in my singleness. Through your words and actions, let me understand that singleness is not a disease or a punishment, and marriage is not some prize that one acquires due to good behavior. Celebrate my accomplishments rather than demean them with the incessant, repetitive questions of, “Well, when will you be getting married? We are expecting children soon”. It could make me feel as if no matter how much I achieve, there’ll always be a void, in form of marriage missing. That can hinder me from feeling complete. It might cause me to think that no matter how much I achieve, no matter how godly I am, no matter what I do, I will always somehow be incomplete without it.
Also, if my 9-13-year-old self was answering this, knowing what she knows now, she would say:
Raise me to be a godly person, not simply a godly wife; That’s a subsection under the person. I am a person first before I am a daughter, wife, mother, daughter, friend etc. If you’re mainly focused on raising me to be a godly wife, how will I learn to be a godly friend, a godly coworker, a godly sister etc. So, as stated earlier, raise me according to biblical truth in all aspects of my life rather than focusing on a singular aspect. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard people tell their daughters “you can’t cook, you don’t clean, how do you expect someone to marry you” or “is this how you’ll be when you go to your husbands house” -meanwhile, their daughters are only 9 and are already being groomed to believe that all their life’s work is for one purpose; marriage. Instead, teach me that it’s important to cook because that skill will help with self-sufficiency later in life, aid me in feeding the homeless or orphans, or maybe if I choose to pursue a career out of it, might help me in becoming a world-class chef. Tie it to a purpose and groom me as if I were born for a reason other than marriage. Because I am.
What can we do to equip you in picking a quality spouse?
You can equip me to pick a quality spouse by teaching me how to spend time with God the father, God the son, Jesus, and God the Holy Spirit. Teach me at an early age how to have a relationship with him and how to listen for his voice as he is the only one that truly matters. He is the only one who can truly direct my path because he is my creator (Psalm 139). He is the only one that can give me clarity when I’m trying to make seemingly difficult decisions. God is my father, he knows me better than I could ever know myself.
You can also equip me to pick a quality spouse by telling me what a quality spouse should look like and act like. For men- and it could be the most wayward of them all- they know exactly what they’re looking for in a wife because it’s been drilled into them the type of qualities that a wife should have. Thanks to King Lemuel, it is all laid out for them.
[d] An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. 14 She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. 15 She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. 16 She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 17 She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. 19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. 20 She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31:10-31
Can’t forget, “Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives”1 Peter 3:1
This is such a popular passage to preach, and it is so true and important regarding a godly wife and what her character should encompass, but why stop there after addressing the characteristics of a godly wife? The bible didn’t.
Keep that same energy and let all of us know that “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives and treat them with respect as the weaker (physically) partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” 1 Peter 3:7
Men are told to honor their wives “as the weaker vessel.” This is not implying that women are somehow lesser than men but is stating that women are physically weaker than men. Because of this, it states that men should be considerate to their wives and treat them with respect. This means to not misuse their stronger stature and abuse their wives but should instead protect their wives.
Oh, hey look, a quality to look out for- don’t pick an abusive man to be your spouse. A man that uses the fact that he is physically stronger than you to subdue you is not who you should marry. A man that misuses his strength is a man you should flee from. His strength is to protect you not harm you.
What about “husbands should love their wives and not be harsh with them”? Colossians 3:19
Love is self-sacrificial. A spouse that embodies this type of love is one that is patient and kind. One that does not envy, boast and is not proud. A spouse that does not dishonor you or others. One that is not self-seeking (“me first, my needs first”) or easily angered. One that keeps no record of wrongs – to hold it against you in the future. A spouse that you should pick does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. These are qualities of a spouse to look out for. They always protect, always trusts, always hope, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-10
*Ladies, these qualities apply to us as well. As you’re looking for a man that embodies all these, cultivate these characteristics within yourselves as well*
“Harsh”, in Colossians 3:19, can be translated as “not having the habit of being bitter or being angrily resentful”. That’s another quality to look out for when picking a spouse. A man that creates a “positive emotional climate and one that doesn’t try to lead you by manipulating you but leads you in love”.
Other qualities to look for in a man: a prayerful man, a man that has a genuine relationship with God. A man that has a kingdom mindset and will lead you towards the kingdom of God, not away from it. A man that embodies the fruit of the spirit- so one that’s loving, gentle, kind, generous, a peacemaker, patient, respectful… A man that will build you up, not tear you down. A man that you can call a friend. A man that has self-control/discipline. A man that’s faithful. A man that’s able to lead your household. A man that you can submit to cheerfully because he submits to the will of God and will not lead you astray. Those are the qualities to tell women to look out for.
PS: These characteristics are not just relegated to husbands and wives alone. These are characteristics that we should all have as children of God and in relation to the community around us.
Also, while you’re teaching women to look out for these qualities in a spouse, raise your sons to be that kind of a man. There seems to be a discrepancy in how women are raised versus how men are raised.
It’s sad to see women being raised to see men or marriage as a prize worth getting whilst men are being raised to view themselves as a prize worth keeping, regardless of their flaws.
Just like you’re raising your daughter to be a wife, raise your son to be a husband. Raise the standards for women on what a quality husband should be like. Raise your son to meet those standards.
Feel free to leave a comment, call me out in truth, or just let me know your thoughts on qualities that you look out for. ❤