By Cally Logan, Crosswalk.com
There are two choices in life that supersede all the millions of choices we make in our lives. The first is the choice to follow and wholly commit your life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and the second is whom you will marry. The direction and guidance of God will bless the second choice, and it will be blessed by using good discernment and wisdom in looking for exceptional qualities in a mate.
1. Relationship with God
Your relationship with God is the most vital and important of any relationship you will ever have, and that is true not only for you but for the person you will marry as well. It is one thing for a person to be an active attendee at church and even fellowship groups, but there is a lack without a genuine relationship with God. Relationship with God is daily coming together to follow, do life with, listen to, and worship the one that made your very soul. It is so important to find someone who authentically has a relationship with the Lord as well, for, in such a way, the two of you can then come together in the richness of what it means to be one with God and each other. Even from the first marriage in Eden of Adam and Eve, it was clear that the Lord desired for us to be in relationship with Him and each other at the same time in clear and abundant unity. Through this union with God, your spouse can come to you and offer not only human love but godly love and intimacy.
CS Lewis said it as such, “To love you as I should, I must worship God as Creator. When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. In so far as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.” It is the proper order of things to love God first, and then your spouse second, and it is when that is recognized and practiced the fullness of earthly love can be experienced and sincerely lived out well.
2. Considerate and Empathetic
When looking at someone as a potential mate, it is essential to dig deeper than the surface of how that person interacts and treats other people. Empathy is when someone places themselves in the shoes of another person, taking into account how an event or circumstance may make that person feel or what that person may be going through. In a similar vein, consideration is taking into thought the needs or feelings. These are two qualities to be aware of in how someone treats and interacts with others. Although qualities such as these can often be assumed as deep feelers, they offer a place of profound kindness, understanding, and how they may treat you as a mate. They also reflect the heart of the Lord in how He treated those around Him and how He treats us today when we come before Him. Compassion and empathy are not signs of weakness; instead, they are signs of gentleness, humanity, and of someone you want to be in your life as a secure and soft place.
True humility is to be desired when looking for a future spouse. Humility is thinking of another before yourself. Jesus offered the ultimate humility in dying for the sins of all humanity, placing us before Himself. In the same way, we can follow the example of Christ by living a humble life as guided by Him. When we allow God to guide and direct our lives, actions, and decisions in situations, we place Him before our own wisdom, acting in humility. In the same way, humility in marriage plays a role in putting your spouse before yourself. As Ephesians 5:22-26 offers, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Acting in such a way as Ephesians encourages then places your spouse before you in the way of true and intimate love as God would call for. This is not a competition of who can lower themselves more. Rather, it is loving one another in true godly love to the utmost of your daily ability.
Confidence is another vital trait to consider in looking for a spouse. There is a severe difference between confidence and arrogance. Arrogance is prideful, it places oneself above all others, but confidence is finding correct rooting within God and who God made you to be. This confidence will prove as strength when storms of life come about and as circumstances change and shift like the wind. The source of confidence is no longer in one’s own skills, earthly wisdom, and flesh; instead, it is in Christ alone and in the innate facets that He placed within the person to tackle and show up to events. Confidence also puts hope in the truth that what is before you at the moment is not what will be forever. There is greater hope for the days to come and for the spectrum of eternity in Heaven ultimately. True confidence is a gift from God in standing firm even in the face of adversity.
5. Wisdom with Money
Handling money is inevitable for all on this planet, but managing money well is important. This does not mean hoarding money to the point where your family suffers or finds themselves in a place of severe need, but it is the balance of knowing how and what to spend and invest in at the right time. In the Parable of the Talents, Jesus gave where three men were given funds to invest and grow. Two of the men invested their money correctly and saw a harvest of return for their investments, but the third squandered his. In the same way, notice how money is invested and used by the person you are interested in. Is it used in a way to invest in the future, invest in others, or invest in ways that bless the Kingdom, or is it squandered? Money will always be part of life, but money can open doors instead of closing them when used rightly.
6. Good with Children
Raising children is not always a part of life that every couple desires, but watching how a potential mate interacts and treats children is still a telling aspect of who they are as a whole. In the same way of offering compassion and empathy towards others, it should be observed how the person you are considering treats children. Ask yourself if the person before you would be a good parent and how they would choose or not choose to pour into, foster, and cultivate a godly and good relationship with a child. Children do best when they have two supportive and loving parents. In the decision you make now of pursuing a relationship with a person, you impact your life and the potential lives of the children you would have together. Look toward parents around you and what qualities they have that you find necessary and good in a parent. Perhaps being a good listener, someone who holds correct boundaries, or someone who is willing to give time and offer patience when needed. The Lord gives children to be a blessing, so make sure the person you are with is someone you would want to raise a child with.
A godly spouse is something to be not only desired but sought after with permission and direction from the Lord. Recognizing what qualities someone has and where they could use prayer and encouragement are important in who they will be as a spouse, who they are as a person, and how they can be used in the Kingdom of God. Pray and ask God to highlight what qualities He wants you to be tuned for when looking at someone as a potential lifemate.