I have always considered my marriage to Brenda to be one of the greatest joys of my life. I felt so unworthy to be her husband! I had so little to offer, where she had so much.
Brenda came from a wonderful Christian family. Her family loved the Lord and lived Christ honoring lives. As you might imagine, when my background started to come out, it for sure raised some eyebrows! They wanted a godly husband for their daughter and rightly so!
I had not had a serious relationship since I had come to faith in Christ. At the time I considered a romantic relationship to be a distraction that I could not afford as I was trying to get off to a good start in my walk with the Lord. Besides, I knew that I did not know how to relate to a woman in a God honoring way and that I needed to grow spiritually before I was ready to be the man and husband a godly woman would want to marry.
I knew that I wanted to be married and I felt that was my heart’s desire and God’s will for my life in ministry. So, I began to develop a list of characteristics that I was looking for in a wife.
The list had 3 columns:
1. Non-negotiable qualities.
2. Very important qualities; and
3. Nice qualities to have but not absolutely necessary.
I had prayed over this list for many months, and, by observation and Bible study, I had developed quite a list!
Among the first category's list, I had things like "must love God; must want to serve God as her life's call; must come from a Christian family and know how to make family work; must be a woman of wisdom and discretion; must understand God's plan for marriage from the Scripture and so forth.
In the second category, I had listed things like beauty, intelligence, kindness, warmth, theological soundness, agreement in childrearing philosophy, etc.
In the third category were things like great dresser, fiscally conservative, good housekeeper, etc.
I will admit that my list might not be very romantic in some people’s minds, but I was convinced that it would help me do a good job of picking a life partner who would honor God and be a blessing to me and our family.
As time passed in my relationship with Brenda, I realized that although she met the outward criteria, more importantly, she embodied the godly qualities I was seeking in a wife.
After pastoring for years and maturing in my faith, I narrowed down the qualities that I believe Christians need to be looking for in a marriage partner. These are biblically based, and you can listen to my sermon, Marks of a Great Mate, Up Close and Personal Pt. 1 for the scripture references.
1. Look for a person that is spiritually connected. The person who has a vibrant, active, growing, living, real authentic relationship with Jesus Christ and takes it seriously. And don't settle for anything else. You will regret it.
2. Look for a person who is a giver. To make marriage work, to make intimacy work, both people have to be giving 100%. Takers have a very difficult time making marriage work.
3. Look for someone who is a hard worker. Marriage is all about diligence and responsibility and industriousness. It's about duty and commitment and holding up your end of the relationship. You're looking for somebody who doesn't run for cover when the hard work starts.
4. Look for a person who is sensitive to the feelings and needs of others. Now, why is this so important? It's so important because marriage is a relationship. If you do it right, that peels the layers away and exposes you like no other relationship in the world. Not only do you become physically naked with one another, but where you become emotionally and spiritually naked with one another.
5. Look for someone who is loyal. A loyal person, who even though behind closed doors, they may chop you off at the knee's friends, but when you walk out of that house, it's one for all and all for one, that's the kind of person you want to marry.
6. Look for a person that knows how to forgive. If you're going to make a long-term marriage work, you're going to have to be a person who knows how to forgive and marry a person who knows how to forgive.
7. Look for a person who has integrity. You can't trust a person who doesn't have integrity and integrity is key to making a marriage work.
If you find a person that has these seven qualities in their life, and I'm telling you, it doesn't matter what their eyes look like. It doesn't matter what their hair looks like. It doesn't matter what their teeth look like. And it doesn't matter what their superstructure looks like…you can build a long lasting, successful relationship with a person who has these kinds of character traits.
This is what you're looking for. Trust me, the rest of it will come and go. I can say after almost 50 years of marriage and many years of counseling couples, these qualities, based on God’s plan for marriage, is what will last.
“Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” Matthew 7:24-27
Thanks for the wise directions Lon ,wish I would have had your list thirty five years ago ,pay attention young people ,the fun and infatuation can wear off quick if your picker is broken. and not on the same wave length with your partner .
Pastor Lon, Soooooooo what! I can’t even get past number one for most men I meet. What gives?
Lon, this is excellent. Thank you. I will use it with our young adult ministry at Chantilly Bible. I went 7 for 7 without even knowing the list. If you had not been on you 1st trip to Israel in Sept 1983, we may have gotten this advice during our premarital counciling. Providentially, we did not or my Godly wife may have reconsidered. Thankfully, Brenda's sister, Char, and her husband, Dane, did step in and so we also got wise and Godly counsel for many years and even several nuggets of wisdom from both their parents as well. Congrats on almost 50. We are are approaching 40. Best Wishes, Bill and Laura
Yup you got a good one, and God was looking out for His boy. Lol. Love y’all. Hug your wife for me.