There’s been a rash of posts and comments after Donal’s Masculine Monday on choosing a wife or not and A Fixer Upper post. These have been Moose Norseman and Choking as well as Cane’s and Chad’s comments. I have some thoughts to add to the conversation.
First, on whether to marry or not.
The biggest thing to note in the present gynocentric culture is the background radiation that affects your thinking. Since we have been immersed in it since we were children, it is difficult for men to recognize what the Scriptures state about things.
- The first thing to recognize is the Biblical roles and responsibilities of the husband and the wife.
Of course, you should not take a ‘fixer upper’ in the expectation that you’re going to change the person in marriage! A wife is called to be a husbands helpmeet. Is she going to be a good helpmeet when you have to fix her up into a helpmeet? No. She should already display good helpmeet qualities prior to the marriage and desire to use them in her relationship with you.
Wintery Knight has some solid take on how he approaches this situation.
This should be approached from multiple angles. If you desire to marry you should learn how to properly fulfill the roles and responsibilities of marriage. However, you should also strong consider how any potential woman you choose fulfills the roles and responsibilities. After all, you can’t FORCE her to do anything. She has to desire to fulfill them for herself and be committed to doing them.
- Another important thing to recognize is burning and desire to marry.
1 Corinthians 7:2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. […] 8 Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 7 that it’s better to marry than to burn. The vast majority of men do “burn” to some extent or another, so it is important to recognize whether this type of temptation can be put aside or whether it is better to marry for that person. We muset also recognize that this sexual desire, though it can be a temptation prior to marriage, is very good because it has been created by God.
Each man needs to come to his own decision if he wants to serve God completely or split his attention between God and marriage. Although Paul makes his preference clear, each are good choices in their own way.
- Finally, to address the gynocentric culture
People are going to shame you whether you choose to marry or not. Some will think you are a sucker to marry in this day and age. Non-Christians, churchians, and even some Christians will go after you like you are a spawn of the devil if you choose not to marry because ‘think of the women.’ Honestly, it’s pretty crazy.
It’s a bad idea to live your life because your parents want you to go a certain route (edit: since there is confusion about this I meant in terms of say getting a job/career according to your parents whims). It’s an even worse idea to live your life according to the ideas of shamers who want you to get married because of [enter non-Biblical reasons here].
Our obligations are simply not to others opinions but rather what God has for us. Aside from marriage, God has given to each believer spiritual gifts that we are to utilize to disciple and harvest. If marriage is in the cards it can be a part of the ministry. However, if it is not in the cards, it is easy to see why you ignore the annoying shaming opinions in the service of God.
Ultimately, each of us answers to God for how we lived our lives. Thus, we should only live in fear of the roles and responsibilities that He has given us.
Second, on choosing a good wife.
Moose already covered the notion of a good follower. Is she a good follower? Or does she constantly buck authority when a decision is made. How she interacts with authority is a good indicator, especially with her father.
Generally speaking, the “actions” of someone are a fair indicator of the state of their heart although I would state that attitude is a better indicator. Heart intentions always lead to actions. If there is good fruit from the actions, then it’s most likely their heart is in a good place.
However, actions can indeed be deceptive in the case of churchians. This is why when you vet for a wife I suggest mainly vetting for character along with actions. How do you vet for character?
Character is really only revealed in difficult and/or morally compromising situations. Thus, the “real” person you’re looking at is:
- What they do when they’re angry?
- What do they do when they’ve been proven wrong?
- When they are at fault do they apologize and make amends or double down?
- How do they react under pressure filled situations?
- Are they gracious and humble?
- What do they do when someone is harassing them?
- How do they treat the people that do bad or evil to them?
- How does a girlfriend react when she’s angry with you AND you ask her to do something?
- Does she actually “follow” or retain control by “letting you lead?”
These are the types of things that are difficult but reveal a mature character in Christ:
Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
As we live in first world countries, there are not many instances where actual life threatening difficulties befall us. Hence, we need to be vigilant in understanding that the few places where you can view someone’s character is what they are really like underneath the surface. Do not brush character concerns under the rug as these are the types of things that come back to haunt you.
What type of attitude do they take in all of these situations?
In marriage there is much good, but there’s always going to be difficulty. How are they going to respond to that when things get rough? Are they going to quit or reveal their bad character like they did in certain circumstances prior to marriage? Or are they going to reveal their good character, tough it out, and submit to God and to you?
Attitude reveals the heart’s desire. Are they God AND for you, or are they against you? Sadly, women can be for God and against you because they can be deceived. You need to make sure that this is not the case, and that she will not persist in such a deception.
Finally, is she teachable and does she learn from her mistakes?
In marriage, both the husband and wife will grow and change over time. The most important thing is if she is teachable and willing to learn from her mistakes and not make them again.
If she is unteachable then it’s a waste of your time. Likewise, if she repeats the same mistakes over and over… you know what the Proverbs has to say about a fool and his folly.
These types of things are partly revelations of character. Teachability and learning from mistakes is a critical factor in a Christian’s walk because these are some of the concepts that underlie repentance. She may be a a good Christian otherwise, but can she also display these traits when she is with you. That is the question.
Men should evaluate whether to marry or not based on multiple factors:
- Recognize if a wife is ready to fulfill Biblical roles and responsibilities. Don’t take a fixer upper. Take someone who is ready and willing to follow your lead and be a good helpmeet.
- Recognize your own Biblical roles and responsibilities and prepare for them.
- Recognize if marriage is in your cards, especially if you have the desire for marriage and burning. Think about this in terms of your spiritual gifts and overall vision.
- Recognize that shamers rarely if ever have your best interests in mind. They want you to do what they want you to do. You are responsible for your life, and your responsibility is not to them but to God.
Men should also primarily take a few things into consideration when vetting a woman for marriage:
- Is she a good follower?
- Look at her actions as they reveal some of the state of her heart.
- Vet for her character how she reacts in difficult situations reveals the overall state of her heart.
- Look at her attitudes in difficult situations as it reveals her heart’s desire.
- Is she teachable?
- Does she learn from her mistakes?
The state of her heart should be for God and for you as she will be under your authority. A woman that is for God and NOT for you would be an unwise choice. This may not even necessarily be a sin; she may just be a bad fit for you. Move on if that’s the case. If you have any doubts, consider them very carefully preferably with wise mentors, Scripture, prayer, and fasting.