I wrote this because it is something I have thought about a lot. I wonder all the time why Punk (that is Mindy, my wife) picked me. I also think about the possibility of my daughters choosing a husband one day.
So I came up with a possible criteria upon which my daughters can decide which man they will allow to marry them. As far as my boys are concerned, they’re on their own.
Here are eleven things. I know you’re suppose to have ten, but I hate top ten lists. So here it goes.
1. Born again
Is he born again? Is he genuinely saved? Can you tell, just by looking, without trying, that he is a believer (James 2:18)? If you cannot you should walk away. And I know; your best friend’s cousin married a lost man and as a result, he got saved. I have heard those stories as well. I also read about a skydiver who’s shoot didn’t open and he lived; but I do not recommend you try it. Being a believer is the primary and the easiest of the criteria in this list. We can all agree, this is commanded and nonnegotiable (2 Cor 6:14-15). No matter how “in love” you think you are; oil and water will never mix. You will see from this list, that not only should he be a believer, but you should expect so much more.
Does he lead a life that is set apart to his Father and Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 12:1-2)? Does he lead a life that is set apart from sin (1 These 4:7)? Does he have integrity? Does he make wise spirit-filled choices? Does he have a daily, prayerful, relationship with the Bible (Colossians 3:16)?
Everyone is flawed, but we’re not talking about everyone. We are talking about the husband you will spend the rest of your life with.
I would advise you to be a hypocrite in this department. Even if you are not a holy person; you should pick a husband who is. Find a man who will lead you closer to Christ.
Does he have a shady history? Everyone deserves a second chance. That is true. So let someone else marry him. You don’t have to be saddled with this guys past. You have to ask yourself if his past is part of his victory story in Christ, or is it a past that he is currently trying to overcome. There is a past that is past, and there is a past that is present. If it is the latter then you need to wait at the very least, or just walk away.
A man’s past is very important to consider. It is commonly said, “everyone has a past”. Okay, but what kind of past are we talking about. Are we talking about prison, crime, sexual perversion, multiple marriages, violence, substance abuse? If this is the case, you need to think very carefully before you marry into that past of his. The safest bet is to just walk away. But if you must, then make sure you proceed with much fasting and prayer and A LOT of pastoral counsel.
Does he share your beliefs (Amos 3:3)? You need to be detailed here because it will matter later. Does he have convictions regarding his own personal doctrinal statement? You need a husband that is going to lead you in the Word instead of away from it (1 Tim 1:19; 1 Cor 14:35a; Phil 4:9). You may not yet have doctrinal convictions of your own; pick a husband who does (Psalm 119:9-11).
Does he have any money? Does he have any immediate and tangible plans for money? For example, is he planning to move into your place when you marry – walk away. Is he hoping that his DJ dreams are going to take off – walk away. If he’s not in school he should be in a job (1 Thess. 4:11-12; 2 Thess. 3:11-14; Romans 12:11).
Don not choose a “fixer-upper” in this department. Should you marry a man for his money? Yes, you should. Not necessarily to be rich, but a man who is able to support you without you working. You should work if you want to, but can he support you if you choose not to? This has nothing to do with money. This is about character and maturity. Not all working men are godly, but all godly men work (1 Tim 5:8). Do not settle in this area. Do not!! You will be sorry later (Prov 20:4).
Are you attracted to him physically (Song of Solomon 2:3; 5:9-16)? Looks are not everything, but you are going to have to have sex with this guy for the rest of your life – the rest of your life!!! I’m just saying (1 Cor 7:2-5).
This one is connected to number 6. Temperament is inseparable from appearance when it comes to attraction. Are you attracted to his temperament? Is he loud? Is he quiet? Is he funny? Is he serious? Is he hot-tempered? Is he cool? Is he easy going? Is he high-strung? Is he laid back? People change in many ways, but temperaments do not change. Let me repeat, in this area, he will not change later. Don’t marry an introvert and expect him to be a people person later. Do not marry someone who is easy-going and expect him to be a go-getter. It won’t happen. He’ll try, he’ll fail, and you’ll both be disappointed.
Being spirit-filled means a lot of things so let me narrow in on just a few things that are germane. Is he happy and is he kind? The top three of the fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, and peace (Gal 5:22). On the outside this looks like happy and kind. To clarify, I don’t mean is he happy or kind at any given moment: everyone has their moments. I am talking about his general disposition. Is he generally a happy and kind person to you and to others? If he is an angry person – walk away immediately (Prov. 22:24). If he is mean to people – walk away. Even if his anger is “on behalf of Christ” – walk away. This does not come from the Holy Spirit (James 3:13-18) and no one should have to live with that.
A man who is spirit-filled is a man who is disciplined (Gal 5:23 temperance = self-discipline). It is possible for a man to become spirit-filled later. This is an area where change is possible. But it is difficult and it is rare. Is this guy lazy? Does he self-medicate with anything chronically? I’m not saying he has to be a Navy Seal, but does he generally appear to have his crap together? Is he someone you can depend on? Is he someone you admire? Is he someone you would follow? Right now where you are, do you want to go where he is going (Ruth 1:16)? If you are uncertain – walk away or at least wait.
10. The Mission
Does he have a heart for the mission to which we are called (Ep 4:1)? Does he understand his mission to share Christ and make disciples (2 Timothy 2:2)? Does he understand home and foreign missions (Matt 28:18-20)? The husband is suppose to lead, but being a good leader is not enough. You need to be clear WHERE he is leading you. He should lead the family to serve Christ in the mission according to the bible (1 Cor 11:1; Joshua 24:15).
If you put all these things together you have a husband who is Christ-like, and that is what you are looking for (Rom 8:29; Ep 4:24; 1 Cor 16:13). Stop settling. Stop picking losers. Stop making excuses for men. Break the cycle of bad guys in your life. All the guys out there who “have potential” or “might change” or are “misunderstood” can be wonderful Christian brothers; but a husband is something altogether different. You don’t want a man who can be Christ-like. You want a man who already is.
You might be thinking these standards are too high. I mean where do you find a guy like that? The truth is they do exist. There are godly men out there. But this list is not perfect. You are free to set your own standards and you should. Send them back to me so I can improve my list.
Here is what I’m really getting at. When it comes to picking a husband you can be understanding if you want: you can see the diamond in the ruff. That is fine. Just remember that now is when you have the option to walk away. Now is when you have the choice. And what about later, after the “I do’s”? That is when you remember that you are the one who chose to marry him. You knew who he was and you married him anyway.
After you are married, that is the time for grace and understanding and patience and prayer. That is when you stick it out with your man and genuinely see in him the man that he can be in Christ. After marriage is the time you strive to see the good in him. That is when you bite your tongue and seek to win him over through a meek and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:1-4).
Before you get married is a different story. Before you get married is not the time for grace. It is the time for law. You should not have to strive to see the good in him. Now is not the time for understanding. Now is not the time to bite your tongue. Now is the time to pick a man in whom you can already see Christ. And others should be able to see it too.
When picking a husband, if you start with law the grace part is much easier later. Find a man whom you admire for his godliness. Have high standards; and remember these words, “Til death do us part”.