January 24, 2012

I Want to Marry a Man...

After I wrote this post, my readership jumped thanks to you all. It was one of the most popular posts of last year, and it even sent a few e-mails my way asking for me to write more on this. So I am. Nearly six months later. (Better late then never, right?) And while I wrote that post in more of a joking (or sarcastic) tone, this one is more serious. (I think I've rewritten this thing at least five times now.) These are the real "qualifiers" (I hate that word BTW) for me, and I would challenge they should be for you as well. Note: I don't expect whomever I'm dating or marry to be doing these all perfectly. That would be impossible since we're all sinners. And whomever I marry is not to take the place of God. To put that expectation on a spouse is not loving or fair, and they will surely fall. Just wanted to throw that in there, because as women it can be all to easy to turn men into idols. Having said that though, I do think these character traits should be the desired, pursued and encouraged in our men today. (Note #2: If you're in allegiance with the grammar police and want to get on my case about changing from third to first person... I'm already fully aware of that. No, I'm not going to change it.)

I Want to Marry a Man...

Who's a Lover and Follower of Christ. I put this one first, because if a man is already pursuing and loves the Lord, then really the rest of this list is should be fruit of this truth. This is a man who doesn't just go to church and call himself a Christian. Nope. This is the man who's all about making Christ the center and Lord of his life. He walks the talk. If a man is a follower of Christ he will not be a coward about it either. As Christians our identity is to be in Christ, which means sharing His message and story with others regardless of how stupid you may look or feel. Men of God identify themselves with Jesus unapologetically and unashamedly. A man who loves Christ will see everything and everybody through the lenses of the message of the gospel which is grace. A man who loves Christ extends this to all whom he meets. He should be pursuing the Lord through the reading of scripture, praying, community, and whatever else it is that draws him to the Lord that's authentic to him personally. This also means that the man should have a settled theology and doctrinal beliefs. I'm not saying he has to have it all figured out, but those things which would be of "first importance" (as well as many of those of "secondary importance") should be solid. He desires to grow in his faith and to be fruitful in this (Galatians 5:22-23). If a man truly loves Jesus and is obedient to His word, then he will love you well and as God has called all husbands to love their wives: sacrificially and lovingly as Christ died for His bride, the church (Ephesians 5:25-33). Marriage is about displaying the gospel. 

Who's a Leader, Pursuer, Fighter, Protector & Whom I Respect. In our culture men tend to either be overpowering, chauvinistic, control freaks or pathetic, weak, cowards. They should be neither. God calls men to a different standard of *masculinity. This is the man who when times get tough and circumstances change, he gets tougher and adjusts in order to take care and provide for those whom he's responsible for and God has entrusted to him. This is the man who seeks out wisdom from God when decisions have to be made. When he sees something that needs to be taken care of, he gets it done. And when it comes to women, he leads out in the relationship. So many girls I've talked to this is THE biggest frustrations when it comes to guys. Often we're left feeling there's a lack of direction in the relationship. A strong man will lead out in a relationship. He's not going to pursue a woman unless he has purpose in doing do. He initiates and pursues. He's solid in his understanding of what biblical masculinity looks like. And I want to marry a man I can follow, because it's my understanding that this will be my role in marriage (Ephesians 5:22-24). If I can't respect him now, it'll be a lot harder after the wedding.

Who's Tender and Trustworthy. I'm stating the obvious here when I say men and women are different on pretty much every. single. level. And a real man gets this. He understands that the workings of the female heart are entirely different than a man's. He knows that he has to be gentle and tender with a woman's heart because once the vows are said it's total heart entrustment. The best illustration I ever heard on this came from a pastor who explained that a man's heart is like a thermos and a woman's heart is like a crystal goblet (for those of you who have no idea what a goblet is it's like a wine glass only far more expensive and nicer). You drop the thermos it gets a beating, but for the most part it's going to be OK. It's dented, but it still works. On the other hand, if you go around tossing a crystal goblet, at some point you'll drop it, it'll shatter into hundreds of shards, and it's going to be one big, bloody mess that someone has to clean up. A man understands this, thus he realizes the responsibility he has in protecting, cherishing, and gingerly caring for a woman's heart. A man always keeps in mind that the woman he loves is first and foremost God's beloved daughter, therefore he will answer to Him for his treatment of her (Ephesians 5:26-29). It's through this tenderness and cherishing that trust is built. A godly man will act as a shelter of sorts for the woman he loves. This means he's a safe and secure person for her to be around. She doesn't have to shy away from sharing her thoughts, desires, ideas, feelings... etc, from him. Trust leads to intimacy. It has been said that for women, intimacy means see-in-to-me. The secret to winning a women's heart is to know her. Women ultimately desire to be loved, and to be loved is to be known. 
To husband means, as I have noted, 'to take care of,' 'to cherish.' As Christ cherishes His own Body, His Bride-that is, us- so a man cherishes a woman: holds her dear, values her highly, treats her tenderly. -Elizabeth Elliot
Before marriage it's about the winning of a heart. After the vows, it's learning to cherish the heart through all of life's seasons. -Eric Ludy (paraphrased)
Who's a Good Steward. He's capable of handling money (however much it may be) well during his single years, in order to prove that he will be able to provide for me and our family in the future. I've never been convinced that if I were to be the main provider, that I could still biblically be the kind of wife that God would call me to be (and that I want to be). God constantly tells men in scripture over and over and over again that they need to be the providers (1Tim. 5:8). As women, deep down we have this innate desire to be taken care of. We like knowing that we're secure (in every possible way). I'm not willing to marry a man who's passive about work and money (i.e. doesn't think he needs a job), nor am I going to marry a man who's consumed by it either (gets his definition by his purchases, constantly need more, discontentment, etc.). We should marry men who thinks about stewardship in a biblical way.

Who has Vision and Passion. Marry the man who has a course of action or plan. Obviously life has a way of messing with our plans, and things happen that we don't expect, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't have some in place (the book of Proverbs teaches this). As women, when we marry, we're often the ones to switch tracks, but the man needs to have a track in place to jump onto! Sitting at home playing video games or working a dead-end job does not qualify as a track! Prior to getting married I want to know what his vision is for our life. And I would certainly hope he'd be excited about it too!

Who's a One Woman Man. Real men do not, I repeat, do not string three or four women along all at the same time. Don't buy into the lie that there's a season in your dating early on that he can go out with other girls and pursue them as well as you. All this does is prove he doesn't truly value the process of getting to know you nor your time. Also, marry a man of purity and loyalty as it is biblical.

Who'd Make a Good Father. I want kids someday, therefore I need to marry a man who'd be a great dad. I think that's pretty self-explanatory.

And Finally, He's my Friend...
Happy marriages are based on a deep friendship. By this I mean a mutual respect for and enjoyment of each other’s company. These couples tend to know each other intimately—they are well versed in each other’s likes, dislikes, personality quirks, hopes, and dreams. They have an abiding regard for each other... Friendship fuels the flames of romance because it offers the best protection against feeling adversarial toward your spouse. -Unknown
*I'm of the belief that women (single/married) should have a vision for biblical masculinity so that we can identify and encourage (not beat up) it in the men in our life as God has called him. These are great free resources: Matt Chandler on Masculinity, Pastor Dad, Marriage and Men, Men and Masculinity, You're Willing to Be a Man, Man vs. Wife and Man Up!

10 comments :

  1. LOVED this post! It really made me realize how blessed I am to have my husband, who is a GOOD man.
    And I know you'll find your perfect man before you know it!

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  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is easily one of my favorite blog posts EVER!

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  3. This is a great list. Don't settle! God has the perfect one for you!

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  4. It seems the standards are set pretty high and as a Christian guy I want to thank you for that. You really nailed the idea of men loving their wives as Christ loved the church. And by not giving wishy-washy answers it shows that you really have a sense of your worth to God. Excellent post!

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  5. Wonderful words and references, Natalie! I can tell you put a lot of time into this post. Thanks for sharing; I needed to hear it!

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  6. You will never, ever regret having a list like this and keeping your expectations high. He is out there! I loved reading this post!

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  7. I agree with everything here. It's actually in my list from 2009 (?). But I added some other non-negotiable rules, lol. Like a musician, half-hispanic/half-white. haha. I'm not kidding.

    L surpasses them all and more. But just like you said, not necessarily perfect, but in the end, perfect enough for me.

    Don't lower your standards ever. God is faithful if you are faithful in waiting.

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  8. how did i miss this post?! this is excellent.

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  9. This is such a wonderful post. I feel like you took my list and added the reasons why. I never really did, I just knew they were important to met. Just add musical - so that we can play together - to it and it is done! :D

    Thanks for this, it is encouraging to know there are girls out there like me who are waiting for her man.

    Ngaio May xx

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  10. this rocks! and i second all of your points ;)

    love your heart natalie!

    allie

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