I opened her email and poured french-pressed coffee into my yawning cup. 5:30 AM may be too early for this sort of thing, but I was curious.
“I recently read this article, 10 Women Christian Men Should Not Marry, and it made me question a lot of things he said. I don’t know if it’s just my aversion to what God expects in a relationship or is it just not what God really had in mind.”
As I scrolled through the list, I thought to myself: After reading this, a Christian man wouldn’t know WHAT to look for in a woman.
Many women are outraged by that pastor’s assertions, and due to his delivery of the information, I can see why. But the greatest flaw with his article is not so much the content but the consequence: it leaves the reader wondering where to turn. What SHOULD a Christian man be looking for, since all these options have been removed?
Before I launch into my counter-article, I encourage my readers to note: the man who wrote the other piece is still a brother in Christ. No matter how flawed we believe his points, no matter how much we disagree with his ideology – we still owe him the kindness of one Christian to another. Rather then being ‘against’ what one man says about women, consider: are we for what God says about women?
With this in mind, below is a list not of the women Christian men shouldn’t marry, but the ones they should.
1. The Believing Woman
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Prov. 31:30)
The first requirement on a Christian man’s ‘wife list’ should be her allegiance to Jesus Christ. A woman whose heart is surrendered to God is the only kind of woman to whom a Christian man can be fully united, because there is no fellowship between light and darkness (2 Cor. 6:14). For a Christian man to marry an unbelieving woman (or vice versa) is to put God in second-place to the priority of a human relationship. While we are to have compassion on unbelievers (Col. 4:5-6) we are not to form intimate relationships with them at the risk of being unequally yoked (2 Cor. 6). The unequal yoking may not seem like an issue at first, but with time, the consequences of this decision can be drastic. Not only has God advised against it through all of Scripture – from His counsel to the Jews not to intermarry to Paul’s counsel to the Corinthian church – but it will affect all decisions made within that marriage. Unity before God requires that both the man and the woman be in submission to Him – and actively seeking Him with their lives. A woman who fears the Lord (reverences God) is the kind of woman with whom a godly man can build a legacy.
To read more about ‘salvation dating’ see this post.
2. The Faithful Woman
“Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Heb. 13:4)
The author of the aforementioned article brought up a very controversial point by stating that Christian men should never marry a divorcee unless her husband was unfaithful to her. This is actually an accurate point. Jesus expressly states this in Matthew 19:3-12 and Mark 10:2-12:
“And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
This is not well received in our culture, and sometimes in the church.
There are other instances – such as in the case of domestic abuse and molestation – where divorce is necessary for the preservation of a woman and her family. But the attitude Jesus was confronting – the same attitude we face today – is one of flippancy and ‘hardness of heart’ toward the sacred commitment of marriage. God does not take marriage lightly, which Jesus illustrated by saying:
“‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:7-9)
As a Christian man looks for a wife, he can be looking for a woman who places a high value on marriage and the faithfulness it requires. Faithfulness is the guardian of a good marriage.
3. The Wise Woman
“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” (Prov. 14:1)
One of the more bizarre requirements in the ’10 Women’ article was for Christian men to avoid ‘older women’. But age has little to nothing to do with a woman’s heart for the Lord. Sometimes, age is to a woman’s BENEFIT, in the sense that she has had extra years to grow, mature, and deepen her walk with God. Forbidding Christian men to marry older women for fear they will ‘rule over’ their husbands is an ill founded assertion, and hardly biblical.
Instead of concerning himself with age, a Christian man should be looking for a woman marked by wisdom. This means his future wife could be younger, older, or his same age. Maturity is not determined by years on this earth but by closeness to our Heavenly Father. A wise woman will ‘build her house’ by founding it upon the rock that is God and His Word (Matt. 7:24-27).
In his treatment of this issue, the pastor discussed the roles of men and women in marriage. This post discusses that in further detail.
4. The Woman’s Advocate
“Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:9)
Should a Christian man marry a feminist?
The better question here is if a Christian woman should be a feminist.
Before you get outraged, I want my readers to note something: I could be the poster girl for feminism. I am independent, Type-A, driven, and do-it-myself. I believe women should be valued and respected in society. I believe it is an honor to be a woman and I embrace my identity wholeheartedly.
But the modern feminist movement has failed to exalt women to the level they deserve, and the tenets of mainstream feminism directly counter a biblical worldview.
Today’s feminism is NOT the feminism of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Today’s feminism is a ‘new wave’: one based on subjective moral values that cannot coincide with a biblical worldview. Modern feminism fully embraces ‘my body my choice’ at the cost of innocent lives. It supports freedom of sexuality, which includes promiscuity, ‘safe sex’ and homosexuality, none of which are endorsed by Jesus Christ. If you don’t believe me, I would encourage you to read the works of current feminist leaders.
Does this mean Christian women should abandon the cause of their sex? Definitely not. It means aligning ourselves not with secular ‘movement’ and all that it embraces, but becoming an advocate for women in the same way Jesus advocated for them – embracing the prostitute (Luke 7), witnessing to the outcast (John 4), comforting the sick (Luke 8) and reaching out to the widows, the barren, and the orphan (James 1:27).
A Christian man should be looking for a woman who is actively reaching out to the needy, advocating for those who have no voice – not angrily lashing out alongside women who hate that for which Christianity stands. She should speak up boldly, but JUDGE FAIRLY – with discretion and wisdom sorting through cultural ideologies in light of her biblical worldview
I am active in my community through the secular, national organization the Junior League, a volunteer organization for women helping women. Through this organization and my church I have been able to go into local underprivileged areas and advocate for greater awareness about sexual and domestic abuse in our city. I encourage other women to seek out opportunities like these to put feet to their faith (or their feminism).
5. The Humble Woman
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (1 Pet. 3:3-4)
The other article advised men to avoid ‘the sexy dresser’. Here’s the truth: a humble woman will have a humble demeanor that will affect every part of who she is, including her dress. The issue isn’t so much whether or not she is ‘sexy’, but whether she is drawing undue attention to herself by how she dresses.
As Christian women, we do have a responsibility to reflect our worship of God in how we dress. The only way to do this is to live out a humble heart: the grateful, restful spirit that has nothing to prove, no need for applause, and no insecurities in need of physical affirmation. A woman like this will honor God and her husband in every way – not just what she wears. Humility should be a top priority to a Christian man.
To read more about the motive to modesty, read the following posts:
5 Reasons Men Should Be Modest, Too
Why Your Homeschooling, Modesty, and Virginity Will Never Save You
6. The Discreet Woman
“Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion.” (Prov. 11:22)
As an extrovert, the pastor’s counsel to avoid a ‘loud mouth’ could have offended me. I think I know what he was attempting to say, but it is worthwhile to make a distinction: there is a difference between a slanderous, crass, rude woman and a woman who is simply bubbly and outgoing.
A discreet woman knows when to speak and when to be silent. She allows God to guide her words and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue (Prov. 31:26). Her tongue is in submission to God (James 3) and is used for His purposes – which are always uplifting and good.
A woman WITHOUT discretion is characterized by foolish talk:
“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” (Prov. 10:19)
“Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.” (Prov. 17:8)
This woman takes pleasure in expressing her opinion (Proverbs 18:2) with no consideration for the feelings and opinions of others. But a woman of discretion says with the Psalmist:
“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!”(Psalm 141:3)
A godly man will be blessed to choose a discreet woman as his wife, whether or not she is an extrovert. Extroverted women may even have a greater ability to set people at ease and welcome them with love into the church community.
7. The Woman Who Values Life
“People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10:13)
The previous author cited the ‘Child Hater’ as a woman to avoid, stating that marriage is designed specifically to create children. Marriage, however, is much more than that; it is a reflection of God’s union and faithfulness to the church and is an incredible powerhouse to forward the gospel. Children can and are a part of forwarding the gospel and are a blessing to marriage, but are not necessarily the ultimate goal.
However, the attitude of the ‘child hater’ is directly contrary to the heart of God. God loves children. Jesus loved children. To dislike, or even ‘hate’ children flies in the face of God’s loving creation and is forgetful of the time when we ourselves were young and small.
A Christian man should be looking for a woman who values life and appreciates children. She does not have to want them immediately or even a certain number, but she (and he) should cultivate an attitude that values and appreciates children the way God does. They should never be viewed as interruptions or an impediment to a desired lifestyle, which would place materialism ahead of God’s creation and timing.
8. The Willing Woman
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:3-4)
Is the ‘wander luster’ someone to avoid? A woman who loves adventure, traveling, and seeing new things?
The author of the ’10 women’ post cited Proverbs 7:11 as reason for women to stay at home. But the woman in Proverbs 7 had far greater problems than an ‘adventurous spirit’. She had a rebellious spirit. This is far different from a woman who enjoys seeing new sights, pursuing new interests, and engaging new people.
An adventurous – not rebellious – woman will be a light to the life of her husband. She will bring something bright and new to the table and probably enjoy seeing new things at his side, and when children come into the picture, she can bring them along as well. The issue is not the action, but the motive of the heart. When the motive changes – the actions fall in line with the will of God.
The willing woman is not just interested in her own adventures, but is ready to try her husband’s as well. She regards him as more important than herself and looks out for his interests – just as he looks out for hers. This kind of woman will be full of the ‘wandering’ – with none of the lust.
5 Things I Learned About Myself in the First Year of Marriage
9. The Hard-Working Woman
“For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.” (2 Thess. 3:10-12)
Of the ’10 women’ Christian men shouldn’t marry, career woman could be one of the most controversial. But if this is the case – should my husband have married me? I have been in the workforce for 10 years. Due to my contribution, we are now 90% toward our debt payoff goal (check back Friday to see how we did this!).
Once again, the issue is not that the woman is working – but if her career comes before her God and her marriage, her priorities are out of line.
A Christian man should look for a hard working woman. This kind of woman will be a pillar to his marriage and his family – not just fiscally, because if she chooses not to work outside the home she will still be active within it, maintaining the house, the budget, and the children in a manner that gives glory to God. She will be able to train his children to have a God-honoring work ethic. She will be an honor to her marriage, an honor to herself, and an honor to God.
10. The Woman After God’s Heart
“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” (1 Pet. 3:15)
In the end, a Christian man need only look for one thing: a woman sold out to Jesus Christ.
She will believe. She will be faithful. She will be wise, humble, discreet, and an advocate for the needy. She will value life, love adventure, and work hard.
Because she knows the grace of Jesus Christ.
Christian man, in looking for a wife, you can focus on what you don’t want, or you can focus on what you need. You need a woman who loves God more than she will ever love you, and everything else will fall in place.