January 26, 2012

Marry The Woman...

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. -Proverbs 18:22
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. -Proverbs 31:10
This post is a companion to this recent one. It only seemed fair that I write this one having written that one. So men, take note! You should desire a good legacy not a good time! That means you gotta get over the whole "how hot is she?" mentality, and find yourself a godly gal! Ladies, both you and I should take this to heart. It's ok to have a list of what we're looking for in a man, but that doesn't excuse us from having high standards and becoming the kind of wife God has called us to be. But, just as I said it in regards to the guys in the previous post, I'll say it in regards to the women: There's grace. You nor I will ever do all these things perfectly on this side of eternity, but we should always desire to grow and cultivate these characteristics and attributes in ourselves.

Marry The Woman...

Who's a Follower and Lover of Christ. First and foremost marry the woman who lives and believes that Christ is the lover and husband of her soul (Isaiah 54:5). If you marry a woman who builds her entire life and existence around Jesus and His word, then you've been blessed by God. Marry the woman who is continuously growing in her faith and being refined by Christ. This is the woman who studies and reads scripture, prays (a lot), meditates, serves, has convictions, and pursues Christ in other ways that are unique to her. Also, does this woman love the church? This actually goes for both men and women. There's a difference between the person who loves God and hates the church, and the person who loves both. Don't marry a person who doesn't love God and the church, because essentially what you're saying is "I love Jesus, but I hate His bride, whom he bled and died for." That's messed up. Make sure she loves both. Marry a woman who fears the Lord (Proverbs 31:30). In other words, does she hate what God has deemed as evil, and love that which God says is good, right, honorable, pure, and true? Does she submit to Christ's authority? As your wife, part of her calling is to submit to your loving, Christ-like leadership. The point of marriage is to mirror the gospel to one another, your children, your family, your friends, and everyone else around you. What is the gospel? Christ gives up His life for His bride, and in response to this divine love, the bride surrenders her life to Christ and follows Him. So, marry the woman who will mirror the gospel with you. If she loves and worships Christ, as Lord and Savior, then she will love and serve you as God has called her (Ephesians 5:22-24), and the rest of what I say really is just subtitles.

Who will Follow Your Leadership & Will Make a Good Helper. As the husband, you'll be called to sacrificially, joyfully, and lovingly lead your wife and kids. This is why you should marry someone who is able to follow you. In Genesis 3 we're told that God creates Eve to be a helper for Adam. This same word for helper shows up again in the New Testament when Jesus is talking to his disciples about the Holy Spirit coming to help them. (Remember that whole thing about marriage imaging the gospel?) Marry the woman who trusts you when it comes to decision making. However, you should always include her in that process and ask for her help in making wise choices. If you want to avoid playing tug of war in your marriage then find a woman whom you can lead and who is suitable to the support and help you need.

Who Gets Her Identity in Christ. Identity is a big thing for us as women. We live in a world where we're constantly bombarded with culture and media to act, look, and be a certain way. But, a godly woman does not look to the world to give her her identity. Marry the woman who knows her value comes from being God's beloved daughter. This is the woman who gets her self-worth from Him alone and finds freedom in that truth. This is the woman who has theological convictions surrounding the areas of *biblical femininity and beauty as well. She no longer strives to live in accordance to the world's standard of beauty because she's consumed with the beauty and value Christ has purchased for her through the cross. Marry the woman who dresses modestly and focuses more on her inner beauty. That doesn't mean she can't be fashionable though (we see that the Proverbs 31 woman knew a thing or two about fashion)! Marry the woman who takes care of herself and whom you find attractive. (Side note: when I say you should be attracted to her, yes, her looks, but mores so you must be attracted to her as a whole person.) Ladies, let's be honest here: Men are visual. I know that can be a hard pill to swallow for some of us, but it's true. I'm not advocating that we should work at becoming super models. What I am advocating is that we put a little effort into our appearance and maintaining a healthy body/lifestyle. A woman who gets her identity in Christ carries herself in a way that's honoring to Him. She's a modern-day lady. She represents Christ in her body language, how she interacts with others, and in the words she speaks.

Who Values Others. This comes back to her knowing the gospel. Does she see those around her as God's children whom He loves? Watch her actions and words when she's around people (including her family!). Do they reflect the love of Jesus? Is she kind-hearted, forgiving, generous, gracious, understanding, and compassionate? Does she genuinely care for the well-being of those around her? 

Who's a Good Steward. Statistically speaking women in their 20's are the most susceptible to having huge amounts of debt. Part of being a good steward means knowing how to budget and invest wisely. You'll be providing for her and your kids, but she needs to be able to make that dollar stretch as far as possible. I'm not saying she has to be a whiz at math (I most certainly am not), but she should know some basics like balancing a checkbook, staying within a budget, and knowing how to get good bargains. We see this reflected in the Proverbs 31 woman in verses 14-16, 18, and 24 where she makes smart purchases and business decisions for her family. As the man, God has called you to take primary responsibility when it comes to finances, so marry a woman whom you can provide for, including her expectations. All I'm saying is that I'm not sure if it's so wise for a Sem student to be marrying a girl who wants to live in a mansion and carry Gucci bags. Being a good steward also includes using her time, resources, and social life for the well-being of your family and in a God honoring way. She may not be a Martha Stewart or full-time homemaker, but she should learn some of the basics in running and organizing a home.

Who Has Similar Passions and Visions. Marry the woman whose life goals and passions align with yours. If that means you want to have kids, then marry a woman who wants kids. If that means you have a job that requires you to be away from home a lot, make sure you marry a woman who's OK with that. Or if you're going into ministry, marry a woman who will support your calling. Men, you need to marry the woman who's on board with you when it comes to your vision for the life the two of you will share.
Falling in love in a Christian way is to say, "I am excited about your future and I want to be part of getting you there. I'm signing up for the journey with you. Would you sign up for the journey to my true self with me? It's going to be hard but I want to get there." -Tim Keller
Who's a One Man Woman. Marry a woman of purity and who will be loyal to you. The two of you should both have boundaries in regards to how you act around other people of the opposite sex when you're married.

Who'd Make a Good Mother. If having kids is a priority for you, then it should be a priority for the woman you marry. Marry the woman who you'd be proud to have a daughter just like her. When you have kids, will she diligently work for your children's good? Will she reflect the love of Jesus to them? Will she sacrificially care for their needs and nurture them?

Whom You Love and Enjoy! The woman marry should be your best friend and lover! Remember this quote?
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
*Normally I would put a list of resources here, but since I've got a whole series on this coming up in a couple of months, you'll just have to stick around till then! ;)


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