What I Want my Son to Consider When Choosing a Wife
By Jon Pratt
Most of us who have sons do not have to encourage their interest in the opposite gender. As we watch our sons’ transition from abhorrence to curiosity to wonder and desire in regard to the fairer sex, parents need to be steering young men’s interests in the right direction. What types of qualities should they be looking for when it comes to pursuing a wife?
1. She must love God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength. My son should not look simply for a girl who says that she is saved or for a girl who comes from a nice Christian family. No, this woman needs to be a wholehearted pursuer of God. She needs to give evidence of a vital and growing personal relationship with God. People who know her ought to be able to say that (in the words of Keith Green) she is “bananas for Jesus.”
2. She must be committed to the local church. Does this woman demonstrate a sacrificial service to others in her local church as she uses her God-given abilities in ministry? Has she developed the habit of making the church’s ministry a priority in her life so that she organizes her personal schedule around the church’s calendar rather than vice versa?
3. She must dress modestly. Immodest dress may reflect a lack of discernment, simple ignorance, or illicit desire for attention. But none of these options are good when it comes to looking for life’s partner. I want my son to be attracted to a woman, not because of what she chooses to reveal, but because of how she guards the gifts God has given her. I want my son attracted to a woman because she dresses in such a way that all who see her enjoy who she is rather than lust for what she appears to be giving away.
4. She must avoid flirtation. Women can flirt in many ways – with their eyes, their words and tone of voice, their notes, their dress, and their touch. Proverbs warns young men to stay away from women like this (Prov 2:16; 5:3; 7:10–13). Young men, if a girl flirts with you, she will likely flirt with other men in the future.
5. She knows how to work hard. This quality does not require a woman to be able to bench press 300 pounds. But does she know what physical labor is? Does she know how to roll up her sleeves and get to work even if that might mean breaking a nail or smearing her makeup? Several of the activities attributed to the Proverbs 31 woman include the need to do physically demanding things (Prov 31:17–20), so you should find a woman who knows how to work up a sweat.
6. She respects and honors authority. Yes, a wife is called to respect and submit to the authority of her husband (Eph 5:22–24, 33). But how does a woman act toward other authorities in her life such as her parents, her teachers, her boss, the elders in her church, and the police? Does she criticize, complain about, and question their right to tell her what to do? How she respects them is how she will respect her husband.
7. She must have godly character. Besides the important elements of Christian character already touched on in the traits cited above, my son must find a woman who is honest, kind, generous, patient, persevering in hardship, discerning, service-oriented, and teachable. In short does she demonstrate a pattern of good works that God has begun in her life and that He will continue to develop until the day of Christ?
8. She must know the value of organization. Of the twenty-two verses that describe the ideal wife in Proverbs 31, nine refer to issues of home organization. Paul also encourages women to be managers at home (1 Tim 5:14; Titus 2:5), so an important ability of women is that they be organized. If a woman is in school, does she complete her assignments on time? Does she have her affairs in order enough so that she knows where her important papers and bills are located? Can she make plans for a gathering like a shower or birthday party?
If a man can see that the trajectory in a woman’s life is headed in the direction of these qualities, then he will be viewing the kind of woman God would want him to marry. In God’s grace he has granted me a wife who possesses each of these qualities in a high degree, and I hope that my son will marry a woman like his mom, not because he appreciates her good cooking and witty humor, but because he sees in her the qualities described here. An excellent wife is more precious than jewels!