I was thinking about Vetting is for identifying red flags from past behavior; future behavior needs Biblical solutions, and I think there is a need for more discussion on traits that predict a woman will not only stay a Christian but have high character through the changes that life brings in the good and especially bad situations.
The many of these also apply to what to look for in a husband too.
- Submission and respect
These are clear Biblical roles and responsibilities for wives (Eph 5, Col 3, 1 Peter 3, Tit 2, etc.), but a lot of potential husbands will gloss over these to their own detriment.
While a woman or girlfriend does not have to submit to a man before marriage, you can generally get an understanding of how she will act accordingly when a man makes a decision for them on dates or other similar things and if she reacts with respect and deference. Is she happy that he is making decisions or is she challenging and contentious? The list goes on. Look at both her attitude and actions in reference to your decision making. Better yet, how does she react when you do something that she doesn’t like?
- Is she teachable? Is she open to correcting, rebuking, and training?
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
This one is pretty obvious when you look at Christianity as a whole, but I think a lot of people in the Church are a bit blindsided by the fact that people don’t actually obey the Bible when their feelings get in the way.
The big one to look for in this is if a woman is willing to obey the Scriptures even in difficult circumstances or when confronted with her disobedience to Scripture how will she act?
- Is she humble?
Dozens of Scriptures on humility and pride. One who is humble can admit their errors and repent of their own sin. They do not have a narcissistic or overly high esteem where they can only blame the other person. Humility goes a long way especially in conflict situations. If you have someone capable of understanding their own role to play in any particular situation, you have someone who won’t think of playing the blame game.
- Does she constantly strive to have good character? How does she exemplify the fruit of the Spirit?
How does she act when no one is around? Does she put on a front when out with people, and does that facade also come around when you are on? How does she act around those less fortunate or those who can do nothing for her? How does she act in difficult circumstances and when things don’t go her way?
“He who is faithful with little is faithful with much”
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”
You may have to ask her friends and family in regular conversation about how she acts normally, and you can usually figure out for yourself after about 3-4 months of dating when people get more comfortable with one another and start letting their guard down.
- Final thoughts for now
Virginity and looking at past behavior is great to identify yellow and red flags, but these types of qualities matter more in predicting future behavior. Overall, this is a solid list to start. There are more that can be added as well.
The common theme around most of these is two-fold:
- Is she walking the Christian walk, striving to be more sanctified in Christ over time?
- How does she handle adversity? The measure of a more mature Christian is one who runs toward God when adversity strikes instead of running away from God.
Most Christians out there when adversity strikes will stop going to Church and small group, stop talking with their friends and family, and generally have a bad time when they need to seek God the most. This is the exact opposite thing that they should be doing.
David, who is called a man after God’s own heart, was always pressing into God even in the hard and bad times as exemplified in the Psalms. Even when he sinned and did extremely terrible things, he was often quick when confronted with his wrongdoing by others to be humble and admit his fault before God and change his behavior.
A woman who has all of these qualities and a husband who focuses on his own Biblical marital roles and responsibilities to be her head and love her for the purpose of sanctification will be able to make it through life’s changes without being blindsided by her randomly changing according to the culture. If there was one trait that is probably the most important, it’s humility as most of these other things flow from that. You can’t have someone that is teachable without humility or willing to admit their own wrongs without humility. Same with walking with the fruit of the Spirit and high character.