Is He The One?
Mom gives advice on what to look for when searching for “Mr. Right.”
Since you were a tiny baby, I’ve prayed for you: that you grow in your love for Jesus, that you find your niche in the body of Christ, that you stay healthy, and that you find a good husband.
Now that you’re off to college, it’s that last prayer I want to talk to you about. It’s not that I don’t trust your judgment. It’s just that the stakes are so high. This decision — choosing a husband — could usher in lifetime happiness or bitterness. Or — just as bad — lukewarm resignation and wistful whatiffing.
Now, I’m not all wise and wonderful on the subject, and my advice is completely unsolicited, but that’s never stopped me before! So here it goes.
Take Your Time
Get to know the guy through and through. Be friends first and be friends long — before you add other dimensions to your relationship. Recognize that he’s putting his best face forward now. It sounds harsh, but only time will show you the everyday face behind the best face. Time will unveil his peculiar habits, the ones that start out cute but end up driving you crazy. Time will reveal how he behaves when he loses, when he’s hurt, angry, bored. Time will show you the real guy so you don’t wake up some morning after the wedding and think, “Who is this person?”
When you’ve given it time and think that he may be “the one,” ask yourself some questions. Be honest, because cheating now will only hurt you later.
Do You Love Each Other?
Not as simple as it sounds. Love isn’t just a feeling. When you plan a romantic evening and he forgets to tell you that he’s working late, going straight to his game, and won’t be home till 11, you won’t be feeling much of that love thing for him. Twenty years from now when he’s bald, paunchy, and wedged in the cushions of the couch, that love feeling just might underwhelm you.
See, love is more than a feeling. It’s a commitment of the mind, heart, and will. Your love has little to do with each other’s allure. In fact, just as our beauty fades and our charm is fleeting, so your husband’s muscles may melt and his sweet-nothings become just nothings. After graduation, no one will care that you were Student Council president and he was captain of the football team. Those externals don’t matter much, and if your admiration goes no deeper than them, you don’t love each other.
This is how we know about love: “This is love: not that we loved God but that he loved us!” Think of God’s love for us. It has no strings attached. He loves us even though he knows every stinking thing about us — and there’s a lot that stinks. He loves us enough to become our servant and to serve us in the most extravagant way — giving his life for us.
Is this man willing to love you as Christ loves his church — to serve you, to put your interests before his own, to give his life for you?
Are you willing to love him as the church loves Christ–to serve him, to put his interests before your own, and to submit to him?
Which takes me to …
Will He Be Your Spiritual Leader?
In one sense, a strong spiritual leader needs to be a weak, desperate man. Even if he’s big man on campus, he needs to realize he’s a despicable sinner who will die without God’s grace. Does “I’ve sinned” come out of his mouth outside of church? Is Jesus’ name part of his daily vocabulary? Can he say, “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you” and “Let’s pray” without shuffling his feet?
If God gives you children, will he pull them into his lap and tell them about water becoming wine and death becoming life? Will he sing in the pew even if he sounds like a sick frog? Will he refuse the promotion and the church committee assignment if it prohibits him from being an attentive father? Will your kids say, “I want to love Jesus like Daddy does”?
And will he encourage you in your faith? How?
Here I am, making all these demands of a future husband, like some impossible entrance exam. We both know you need to consider yourself too. A mature, godly man will be seeking a mature, godly woman. You need to become that. No superficial fixes or holy poses will get you there. It’s a Spiritual job, accomplished from the inside out, through God’s powerful Word.
I think of Ruth, gliding across the dark threshing floor to find Boaz, quietly lifting the corner of his covering, and sleeping at his feet. She didn’t “run after the younger men, whether rich or poor.” She chose her kinsmanredeemer, the man who greeted his workers with “The Lord be with you!”
And Rebekah! She hadn’t even met Isaac, but the name of the Lord and the signs he gave were enough to convince her that Isaac would be her mate for life.
These marriages worked, and yours will too–when God is the third strand that makes the cord unbreakable. When you regularly meet God in his house and speak his Word in yours, when he, clearly rules in your hearts and in your home, he will bless your union.
A Husband Is a Gift
Don’t look for a sign from God — a vision or a dry fleece or something — to see if the man you’re considering is “the one.” But know that when you marry him, he has now become God’s special gift to you. Value him as this present from heaven, yet another channel for the many blessings the Father has for you.
God bless you as you look for this man. I pray that you find him — and that he finds you!
P.S. Here are a few other gems:
Look for a man . . .
- who will put Christ, not himself, at the center of your home.
- who wants to be your team captain–not your coach, not your water boy.
- who wants to raise a family, not a million.
- who enjoys your ideas, not just your agreement with his.
- who laughs at himself more than at others.
- who sees your weaknesses clearly and forgives them wholeheartedly.
- who wants you to develop your gifts, not just help him develop his.
- who enjoys your company more than anyone else’s.
- who treats you as God’s woman, not his own.
The confirmation class of Trinity, Watertown, Wisconsin describes the ideal spouse….
- is God-fearing
- will be a good father
- will be there in good and bad
- is kind, smart, honest
- has the same interest as I do
- can take a joke
- doesn’t drive me crazy
- doesn’t make fun of my food
- loves me for who I am, not what he wants me to be