4 Desirable Qualities in a Spouse
4 Desirable Qualities in a Spouse
I remember sitting at a long table in a Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWOC) meeting in Ansbach, Germany. It was in the early 90’s. I loved this group and these godly women. My faith grew leaps and bounds during our years overseas and this group is a sweet part of my faith story. On this particular day I was handed a small tub of Play-Doh as the Bible Study was beginning. We were given a prompt to make something that represented our husband. We must have been studying Ephesians or doing a marriage study, I don’t remember, specifically how this request tied in to the lesson, but I’m sure it did.
I quickly began molding the blue clay I had been given into a humpback whale. The whale had an impressive shape with a broad wide mouth and long flipping back fin. I had captured Jody, my husband’s essence and was quite proud of my Play-Doh whale friend.
WHY A HUMPBACK WHALE?
I had watched enough National Geographic specials with my three young kiddos to realize these whales were nearly extinct and realized my husband was too. As I surveyed our community, there were few men as hardworking, kind, honest with a heart for Jesus as he. Those features among his peers were on the verge of extinction.
I told Jody this story for the first-time last week as we were packing up his father’s estate. His Dad passed away rather suddenly 6 months ago. His Mom had passed away a few years before that. And we were doing the dreaded job of sorting through their life.
Jody and I were in his Dad’s study packing things from his Dad’s desk when Jody spied something he had made for his dad when he was just a kid. A red Humpback Whale! His Dad had kept the creation all those years. I found it ironic that my husband also chose a whale to represent him, even as a child. I guess he realized that he was rare or unique. Jody laughed as I told him about my creation at PWOC. I’m not sure he appreciated the whale reference, as we both have packed on a few pounds of late, but he dug my praise!
THE SEARCH FOR A HUSBAND
As I listen to single sisters describe their search for their future husband, I am always quick to encourage them to look for dinosaurs or humpback whales of their own.
Today a man is valued for things that have no eternal value. Do not dismiss or accept potential suitors based on their income, body frame, eye color, or dancing ability. All of that is temporal, and truthfully, I have met very, very few men who dance as well as their female partner 😊. So, give up that dream, Dancing Queen!
LOOK FOR 4 GODLY CHARACTERISTICS
The best husband will become a trusted friend. He will need to understand who he is in Christ and these men are not often found in the bar scene. So, single sister, change where you are looking. Godly men will be found at church or at work.
Characteristic #1 – Hardworking. Being a dependable, hardworking man is more important than the potential suitor’s present job and salary. Do not limit your search to white collar professionals. Everyone wants a doctor or a lawyer, but a dependable plumber may be God’s answer to your prayers. You want a man who does all things for the glory of God - work included. This attitude and servant’s heart will make his ability to lead you and your home a natural transition.
A self-centered man, on the other hand, is more likely to be a smooth talker with all sort of plans, but might not be “working at the moment.” He may tickle your ear with dreams and fancies, but take the time to investigate the fruit in his life. If he is a self-centered man, it will not be hard to find evidence that he neither understands hard work nor desires to sacrifice for another person (Proverbs 14:23). Run from him, sisters, no matter how cute his dimples are! His looks will fade over time. Choose a man who lives out the work ethic found in this verse in Colossians:
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord,
not for human master since you know that you will receive an inheritance
from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving (Colossians 3:23- 24).”
Characteristic #2 – Kind. I love this saying, “You can choose to be anything you want in life - Choose to be Kind.” Choose a kind man as well. Many things fade, sag, grey, and no longer work over time. But a kind man with kind words can be life-sustaining! I am so thankful that Jody is patient and kind with me through all our crazy journeys and life. I am also thankful that he realizes my heart is soft and that his words need to be as well.
“A person’s words can be life giving water;
words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook (Proverbs 18:4).”
Characteristic #3 – Honest. The truth truly is the best policy. It is hard to live with someone who is truth averse. The ground is always shifting and it is hard to keep a stable footing. Over the years, Jody’s truthful nature has been a stabilizing force. He was a Boy Scout when scouting was uncool.
In Scouting he learned the value of being “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.” Why would anyone not want their son to be in scouting when these were the rules of the land.
This is exactly the kind of men and future leaders our country wants, but I digress.
Jody then went on to United States Military Academy where they “do not lie or tolerate those that do.” So truthfulness is deep in Jody’s DNA along with his faith that God is truth. This is one of best parts of our marriage - if Jody says he will do something or be somewhere, he will. He will move heaven and earth to keep his word. Now, on the flipside, he is not the one to ask for his honest advice if honesty is truly not your goal because he does not tickle the ears with flattery. But his word is something I depend on. It makes him the humpback whale, I know. So, I guess, go find a Boy Scout 😊!
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18).”
Characteristic #4 – Heart After Jesus. Choose wisely, sweet friend. Mission based dating has proven disastrous time and time again. It is difficult enough to have both spouses marry as unbelievers and then have only one later accept Christ; to choose this tough scenario from the onset is unwise. Find a brother in Christ in whom you can build a friendship and see where it goes. I have known very happy couples who met and started as friends. As their fondness for the other grew they began to see mate potential in their buddy. This is a beautiful way to begin a gospel centered marriage.
Whenever I ponder unlikely pairs, the Father and Mother of the Protestant Reformation comes to mind. Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora. They met when they were in the service to God as a priest and a nun. Martin enticed her and a number of her friends to leave the convent and get married and have children. He showed them scriptures that declared the blessings of marriage and family. Katharina longed for this, but given the fact that she was unattractive and awkward, her potential to catch a suitor’s eye was slim. So she asked the great Martin Luther himself to marry her. Martin Luther agreed, but only because he wanted to” spite the devil” – not what any girl wants to hear 😊! But on June 13, 1525 the two wed and their marriage still remains one of the most influential unions in Christendom today; despite its unusual beginning.
Their marriage began in the place of personal distaste but commitment to the reformation movement and a sincere love of God. And over the years, they became closer friends and partners in ministering and a loving couple with six children. So, you could hypothesize that the only real characteristics required for a healthy, loving marriage is a love for God and a passion for partnering in the gospel.
You will only find your reformer or your humpback whale in places where Christians mingle. So narrow the search, get on your knees and pray for wisdom and discernment. Then take a leap of faith and stop waiting for the right guy to ask you out. Pull a Katharina von Bora and ask out a brother in Christ. Stop waiting and put some feet to your faith. The worse thing that could happen is that you deepen a friendship with a fellow believer and eliminate one more from the list of potential husbands.
Stay washed in the Word my sweet readers!
“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands (Psalm 138:8).”