Is He the One? (Qualities of a Man Worth Marrying)
WORDS BY MEL HENNEGAN
There are so many important decisions in life: What school should I attend? What job should I pursue? . . . What about relationships? What kind of friends should I have? Should I date? Whom should I date? When or should I marry? The list is endless.
As children of the all-wise, all-loving, and sovereign Father, we can rest assured that God is there for us and will give us exactly what we need to make these tough decisions. Two means of grace that God gives us to discern his will are his word and his people. Yes, the Bible may not tell us exactly what we must choose in every situation (for example, “Should I buy the blue car or the red car?”), but it does inform us on how to choose wisely by giving us a treasury of knowledge and principles that will guide us to make such choices.
Alongside God’s revealed Word, he has also graced us with a multitude of counselors with more experiences and different perspectives that can guide our decisions. These counselors come as pastors, friends, parents, mentors, teachers, and fellow church and family members. One of the important safety nets of having counselors is that they are outside of the situation, looking in.
When we are in (or desire) a relationship that could lead to marriage, we may not be as objective as we would like. Having extra eyes and voices can bring insight to our blind spots. Nonetheless, it must be noted that all the voices that we hear are not equal. Apart from Scripture, it is essential to decipher which voices must bear the most weight. In this article I hope to add another biblically informed voice, among many important voices in your life.
When it comes to biblical womanhood, we have all heard the mantra of the Proverbs 31 woman: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Prov. 31:30). But, as a man, I’ve always wondered, what is the male equivalent? What would the “Proverbs 31” man look like? In the light of 1 Samuel 16:7 and Jeremiah 9:23–24, I would say: “Looks are deceptive; intellect, strength, and wealth are vain, but a man who fears God is praiseworthy.” Although there are thousands of opinions when looking for qualities in a spouse, Scripture gives insight on qualities to look for in a godly husband. Though not an exhaustive litmus test for finding a future spouse, these are three qualities that contribute to what biblical manhood looks like in a marriage.
Responsible. If a man desires to be in a relationship with a woman, he must have the capability to lead himself and live responsibly. If a man cannot lead himself and be responsible, then he can’t be a leader in marriage, let alone a family. Ephesians 5:23 tells us that a husband is to be the head of his wife just like Christ is the head of the church—this means that the husband must provide for and protect the home, both physically and spiritually. Ask yourself: “Is this the type of man I desire my children to be like? Is he responsible at home, at work, and at church? Does he have the capability to provide for me physically and spiritually?”
Selfless. Just as Christ loved his church and gave himself for her, a husband must selflessly love his wife (Eph. 5:25). Being the “head of the home” does not mean that he can lead his family with an iron fist. He is called to treat his wife and children with love and respect, and not in a way that would provoke them to anger (1 Pet. 3:7; Eph. 6:4). We must also remember that Jesus—the greatest leader on earth—submitted himself to his Father’s authority and only did what his Father wanted him to do. In the same way, a man must lead under the conviction that he is subordinate and accountable to God as his highest authority; he doesn’t merely do what he wants; his family follows him as he follows Christ.
Repentant. Spoiler alert! The man you are thinking about marrying is a sinner. He’s not Jesus, and he’s not perfect, so please don’t think he should be. But there are some men who don’t think that they are ever wrong; they make excuses, never take the blame, and always have to be Mr. Right. Please just do him a favor and don’t marry him! On the other hand, a man who knows his faults, repents, seeks forgiveness, and learns from his mistakes is a man worth keeping. He’s not perfect; and he doesn’t think that he is. He asks for forgiveness, and he extends it as well. He knows that marriage is a union between two sinners who need to repent on a continual basis. Although he is not like Jesus in every way, he strives to be.
Again, this is not to be a definitive list on how to find “the one.” In fact, sometimes having too specific of a “checklist” for a future spouse can blind you to the qualities God wants you to develop in your own life. Pastor Kevin DeYoung gives advice on such lists in the book Just Do Something: “If everyone was praying to be the right spouse, it wouldn’t matter nearly so much who is the ‘right’ spouse. Dump your list of the seventeen things you need in a wife and make yourself a list of seventeen things you need to be as a husband.” Pray that God will help you be a woman who is responsible, selfless, and repentant. And as you are praying, pray these biblical qualities over the men in your life, be it your husband, father, or brothers in Christ.
This post was originally published in Deeply Rooted Magazine Issue 6: Light. This post may contain affiliate links.