So it’s been about a year and some months since I wrote these posts about my search and mindset, and I figured I’d give an update as my desires have changed a bit as I’ve grown spiritually. These are the posts: What I look for in evaluating a potential wife (Jan 2014), The Change (Jan 2014), Evolving Desires (May 2014), What I believe regarding marriage (Jun 2014).
This was the prior list I had in the first post:
- Evidence of a relationship with God — daily Scripture, prayer, meditation, and service in the Church or community. A heart that is seeking after God and is fruitful in it with her actions.
- Evidence of cultivated godly femininity — long hair, dresses modest, wears dresses and skirts, smiles often, enthusiastic, kind, gentle, humble, preferably knows how to keep a home and cook, etc.
- Evidence of chastity in attitude and deed — Christian men and women are called to this prior to marriage, and I’m uninterested in having to deal with the drama that surrounds a woman that has had previous intimacy with other men. I’d readily consider a low N-count woman who has shown though her actions and attitude that she has repented (and not just feels bad about what she did) over a virgin Christian woman who has done everything but sex.
- Evidence of attraction/chemistry — I work in the medical and fitness industries, and it is important for me to have a wife who is a good ambassador for Christ in how she looks. I’ve dated women before who don’t care about good nutrition and exercise, and it never ends well because this is an integral part of my life. A woman who strives to be attractive even though it takes work is going to be a better ambassador for Christ than one who gives in to sloth and gluttony. This goes both ways as my potential wife should be attracted to me too.
- Evidence of a willingness for family prioritization — God willing I hope to have many children (3-5+) and am looking to home school them. I don’t care if my wife has a career, but she should be willing to lay it aside for her family. Age is not a primarily consideration for me, but since I want to have many children younger is better.
- Evidence of submissiveness, especially to God — This pretty much sums up a Biblical marriage in that it encompasses the 3 major roles that a wife is called to: a helpmeet, with submission, and with respect. I tell women that my God given mission will put me in uncomfortable discussions and challenges, and if she’s coming along with me then it will be more of the same. If you’re not growing in your heart, mind, soul, and strength for Christ then what are you doing?
Michaeldresden also comments from the first post:
(1) Convincing testimony of both initial conversion and continued Christian growth. This probably isn’t very romantic, but perhaps we should be looking primarily to works such as Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards as the first step in assessing a potential wife. What could be more important in making a woman less likely to seek a divorce (and in making a woman a better wife and mother in general) than that she is truly born again?
(2) Degree of joyful submissiveness to God. This point is, of course closely related to (1), but it is not exactly the same. For example, a truly converted Christian woman could be somewhat rebellious in her relationship to God (I believe that some feminist Christian women and female pastors are truly converted, yet I have found that many of them are uncomfortable with the language of being completely submissive to God). The more submitted to God a woman is, the less likely she will be to disobey Him by, for example, seeking a divorce because “the passion in the relationship is gone.” Also, a woman who is joyfully submitted to God will understand that there is no inherent contradiction between being submissive and being a happy and fulfilled person.
(3) Degree of joyful submissiveness to her father. Other than submissiveness to God, this is probably the best way of assessing whether a woman will be submissive to her husband. A woman who is close to and submissive to her father is also going to be easier to evaluate in terms of her theology. This is because you can ask her father about his theology and what he taught her in order to know where she stands (it seems that good Christian women often internalize the theology of their fathers even if they can’t articulate it in a clear analytic manner).
(4) Her father’s theology. Assessing a woman’s theological views can be difficult (especially when it comes to more complicated abstract issues). This problem can be solved by speaking to the man under whose instruction she has been for the last 18+ years. Also, if her father has good theology, then he can back you up if she ever has problems with your theology further down the line (e.g. if she is saying something to your children that you think is theologically dangerous, but that she thinks is fine).
I think your (2), (3), (4), and (5) should go after the four things I’ve mentioned. However, this is all tentative and speculative at this point so I could be completely off in my assessment. Any thoughts on my suggestions?
Generally speaking, I think these fall under my 1 and 6. In general, a relationship with God, respect, and submissiveness all fall under the similar category of knowing how to relate correctly to authority. Likewise, what Michael is talking about when he discusses the points about a woman’s father is important in this aspect as well.
All in all, would fold these into two categories of primary importance. Hence, my remade list looks like this with some corrections and more Scriptural input:
- Evidence of a relationship with God — daily Scripture, prayer, meditation, and service in the Church and community. This is a heart that is seeking after God and is fruitful with good works.
- Evidence of godly earthly relationships in reference to God — a potential wife prospect must understand how God views earthly relationships and act accordingly. A woman should respect and submit to the Jesus (John 14:15), the Church (1 Pet 5:5), earthly authorities (Rom 13, Heb 13, 1 Pet 2, Tit 3), and parental/fatherly authority (Exo 20:12, Eph 6:1). When a woman understands godly earthly relationships, she also understands the 3 main roles and responsibilities of Biblical marriage: a helpmeet (Gen 2:18), with submission (Eph 5, Col 3, Tit 2, 1 Pet 3), and with respect (Eph 5, 1 Pet 3). There should be evidence of the fruits of the Spirit — joy and peace — in these actions.
- Evidence of cultivated godly femininity — long hair, veiled when necessary (1 Cor 11), purity and reverence in conduct (1 Pet 3:2), inner beauty through a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Pet 3:4), not a slanderer or slave to drink and teach what is good (Tit 2:3), self controlled, chaste, good managers of the household, kind, and submissive (Tit 2:4). Trustworthy (Prov 31:11), does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life (Prov 31:12), works with her hands on various measures (Prov 31:13,16-19), brings and provides food and delegates tasks to servants (children?) (Prov 31:14-15), provides for the poor (Prov 31:20), wisdom and kindness comes from her tongue (Prov 31:26), is not idle in her household (Prov 31:27).
- Evidence of chastity in attitude and deed — Preferably a chaste virgin (Deut 22, 1 Cor 6). I’m uninterested in having to deal with the drama that surrounds a woman that has had previous intimacy with other men. I’d readily consider a low N-count woman who has shown though her actions and attitude that she has repented over a “virgin” Christian woman who has done everything but sex.
- Evidence of attraction/chemistry — A woman who strives to be attractive even though it takes work is going to be a better ambassador for Christ than one who is given over to sloth and gluttony. This goes both ways as my potential wife should be attracted to me too. Inward beauty and outward beauty are not mutually exclusive — you want both.
- Evidence of a willingness for family prioritization — Many children: Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it (Gen 1:28b). I don’t care if my wife has a career, but she should be willing to lay it aside for her family as necessary (Tit 2:3-5). Age is not a primarily consideration for me, but since I want to have many children younger is better.
I think generally that it is pretty easy to find Christian women who represent the first point. However, the fact that they represent the first is not always indicative of them growing as a Christian. It is the second, third, and fouth points in particular where the rubber meets the road. These are the ones the require her to actually follow what the Scriptures state. Many churchians go to church and read their Bible out of habit or because of the community. They serve but their heart is not in it. The rest of their week looks much different than their Sundays.
The last two are very difficult to find. The obesity crisis and 70% of each sex being overweight or obese. This narrows the pool significantly, and in my case since I tend to look for women who are into fitness the pool narrows even more. Family prioritization is difficult even in the Church: couples want to have only a couple kids because it cramps their lifestyle or it’s too much work. This is another ungodly attitude which is crazy to me because children are a blessing.
The percentage of finding a woman like this is very rare unfortunately.
Note: this is not a full list. There are other preferences I look for as well which I am not listing. These are like the main ones that I have and I would assume that most Christian men will have something similar as well.