In 2009 Crossway published a book by Voddie Baucham called What He Must Be…If he wants to marry my daughter. The idea behind this book is to let Christian men know what they must be before they can date, engage, and marry someone’s daughter – written from the father’s perspective. Baucham sets high but realistic standards for Christian men. In this blog I want to flip the focus. That is, I want to set forth a paradigm of what a Christian woman MUST be before a Christian man should date, engage, or marry her.
The first paradigm for what a Christian woman should be can be found in Proverbs 31:10-31. While women often and rightly look to this text for what they should be, we must remember that this section of Scripture is written directly to men (Proverbs 31:2). That is, men are to read this section of Scripture and use these verses as lenses by which they view those women they are interested in, or as they decide if they should even have interest in them. The characteristics include honesty (v. 11), good-willed (v. 12), hardworking (v. 13-15, 19), discerning with her money (v. 16), strong (v. 17, 25), prepared for the future (v. 18, 21-22), caring for the poor (v. 20), able to work (v. 22, 24), dignified (v. 25), optimistic (v. 25), wise biblically (v. 26), kind with her words (v. 26), enjoys her tasks (v. 27), busy (v. 27), and praised by others (v. 28-29). All Christian men should want these characteristics in a woman. These characteristics, however, are fairly general. How do we know precisely what this looks like today?
These characteristics can be seen in several ways. The following list is something I personally consider before dating or even considering being interested in a woman. The fact that she is a Christian is assumed, as Paul makes clear that Christians must date and marry only other Christians of the opposite sex.
1. She MUST be completely honest – that is, she avoids telling even so-called “white lies.”
2. She MUST be good with her money rather than blowing it all. She must also save some of her money rather than spending it all on whatever.
3. She MUST be a hard worker (makes good grades in college, graduate school, etc.). She must also have a job or is actively seeking employment, if she has lost her job because of the bad economy.
4. She MUST be strong emotionally. Even when hard times come she is ready. She must not be controlled by emotions either, such that God’s will is determined by her ever-changing emotions.
5. She MUST be a prepared person rather than putting everything off to the last minute.
6. She MUST demonstrate her care for the poor in some tangible fashion – by serving, helping, giving, etc.
7. She MUST be dignified. She should be someone that is above reproach.
8. She MUST take care of her body; this doesn’t mean she looks like a supermodel. Nevertheless, she exercises and eats healthily as a steward of her body.
9. She MUST be optimistic – no “Debbie-downers.”
10. She MUST read her Bible (not some devotional book in place of the Bible) often, if not daily. This also includes reading her Bible intelligently (=reading verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book rather than simply opening up the book at some random spot each day). She must have also read most of the Bible if not the whole thing. Essentially, she must love the Word of God because she loves the God of the Word.
11. She MUST be kind with her words rather than cutting people down.
12. She MUST enjoy her work rather than complaining about it all the time.
13. She MUST be praiseworthy.
14. She MUST attend, be a member, and be involved in a ministry of a local church.
15. She MUST be good at resolving conflicts. Most people tend to gravitate to two extremes when conflict arises – fight or flight. She, however, must be wise, such that she avoids choosing one of these two options.
16. She MUST also be open to admitting her sin rather than thinking and acting like she is perfect.
17. She MUST have a heart for the lost, such that she evangelizes them regularly.
18. She MUST agree with the Bible that sex is to be reserved for married couples only. Surprisingly, I have met several “Christian” women who claim that it is legitimate for Christians to have sex before marriage – I wouldn’t make this up.
Clearly, more could be written on this list; perhaps those reading this blog could add more characteristics in the comments on this blog. But, this list seems like a reasonable set of requirements for Christian men to look for in single Christian women. For the Christian men reading this blog, you should want a woman like this. For better or for worse, you will be stuck with the woman you marry for the rest of your lives. Make certain she is a good woman rather than just merely a good-looking woman. I personally have dated all across the spectrum of looks – from smoking-hot to plain-looking. One thing I have realized is that regardless of her looks, if a woman fails to meet the aforementioned requirements of what a woman MUST be, then she is not worth it. Physical beauty will fade. Find someone – and don’t settle for anything less – who fits the Proverbs 31:10-31 paradigm and you will likely be a happy man for the rest of your life!