What Godly Men Look for in the Women They Date

The standards I’ve laid out in this blog give women a good idea of what kind of man to look for and what kind of man to turn down. So it seemed right to also ask the guys what kind of women they are looking for in their own Christian singlehood.

I stated in the “How to Choose” post that every principle outlined there for men (all based on Psalm 112) is equally applicable for women. Every value and character trait we look for in a man should be found equally in ourselves. It is neither wise nor realistic to expect a godly man to pursue us when we as women are not living up to those same expectations.

It is with this in mind that I want you to read this post.

There are multiple posts on my blog describing what kind of woman to be and what kind of man to look for in your single years. I also feature posts on contentment and realizing marriage is not our ultimate goal. When I asked readers what they wanted to see covered in this series, one of the answers was: “What is unattractive in a woman to a godly Christian man?” I could talk about this from my observations as a wife and woman, but I thought it would be better coming from the godly men themselves. I’ve summarized their points into a list, with their comments below.

1. Godly men are looking for confident women.

In our “Broken and Beautiful” series we talked a lot about what true confidence is: it is an inner assurance of who you are and what you are doing in this world. It is a sense of purpose that goes beyond outward appearance or personal achievement, and it only comes from a heart that rests in God. This confidence – self-assurance, without the need to rely on other people for affirmation – is attractive to godly men.

“I know that everyone struggles with [insecurity] but a lady should know who they are in Christ and find security in that. Not second guessing their relationships (with Jesus and with people), wishing they were someone different, wondering what others think. Again – I do this too but as  Christians we should feel and be secure in who we are.”
“For me personally, an unattractive trait of a women is quietness/timidity; overly submissive to leadership. A women I highly respect is… full of grace and serving, but knows what she wants and how she’ll get it done.”

“We have instant access to each other through so many communication-oriented venues, and I find that many (but not all!) women—when communicating to men through such means—often go “overboard,” and it comes across as being needy or insecure—another huge turn-off!”

On this last point, the guys brought up a very important topic. I wrote about submission in my marriage series. One of the misnomers concerning biblical submission is that the husband has complete, totalitarian control and the wife silently submits to his leadership. This is not what Paul was describing. In fact, this kind of “submission” isn’t submission at all, because marriage is described as a team effort with two people who have become ONE. A woman who never counsels, advises, or questions her husband is not being a helper to him; she is hindering him. You can read more about this in the book The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace and in my post “Biblical Submission is Dangerous“.

2. Godly men respect honesty.

Honesty was one of the top qualities in the responses from interviewees. Because we as women don’t want to “hurt” the men we date, we tend to color the truth during break ups, or try to let a guy down easy when he’d rather just know the truth. But honesty goes beyond break ups. See below.

“Don’t play “hard to get”  It’s okay to be on your guard, but don’t purposely pretend like you don’t like the guy if you are actually interested in him.  Be straight up and articulate that to him if he approaches you about it.”

“Don’t be a “yes girl.” The casual head-nod accompanied by an affirming “yes, yes, that’s so true” when we are talking theology or politics is really unattractive. To you, and even to some guys, the agreement is good because it shows you work well together. Truth is, flippant “agreement” shows that you’re NOT working as a team because you’re not sharpening each other. If you truly agree, great. If not, sharpen him or express your disagreement and ask him to sharpen you.”

“I’m Dating Jesus” – this basically means that you are too immature to handle a real life relationship that will lead towards marriage.  Either that, or you are too scared to tell the guy you just don’t like him.  Either way it shows you are not ready for an actual relationship.”

“If you think there is zero chance of this guy being someone I am interested in, because you know enough about him, do not give a courtesy date.  It just plays with the guy’s head.”

It’s a lot easier to smile and nod, to blame a break up on God, or even go on a date with a guy you can’t see yourself with because you “don’t want to hurt him”. But I promise – he’ll recover! They want you to be honest, and some of that honesty comes with the inner confidence we talked about previously.

3. Godly men look for a balanced approach to life and work.

Your social culture largely determines you view of marriage. In more conservative circles, there’s a temptation to view marriage as an idol and a husband as the rescuer from real life – never really realizing your potential as a woman in this world. Secular culture advertises the exact opposite: Disdain (and resulting delay) for marriage and near-obsession with career. Neither career nor marriage should be an idol in a woman’s heart. The guys talk about this below.

“Planning on only being a stay at home mom and utilizing your college life to find a husband [is unattractive]… [as for staying at home],  I am not opposed to that being the case at all!  I think stay at home moms are the way to go, however, trying to force yourself on someone so you don’t have to take care of real life things after college is a turnoff.”

“…southern charm with northern work ethic. Reverse that, and that’s what I find unattractive.”

“We only get one life. Don’t make excuses why you can’t or won’t take every opportunity to experience the adventure life is. Life should be lived as an adventure.”

“I get it – ambition is a good thing.   But (in my opinion) work is somewhere around priority #5 or 6 for me.   Too many ladies sacrifice serving the Lord, friends, family, and experiences in the name of a career.   Again – this is just me but work is not what defines me. Its what feeds me :).”

4. Godly men look for women who are self-controlled.

Self control is a fruit of God’s Spirit and His work in our hearts. Just as we expect our men to be self controlled in their desires, their eyes, and their spiritual lives, we must also seek self control in our own areas of weakness. For many women, self control becomes a struggle in social media, in the physical standards of dating relationships, and in their communication with potential-to-current boyfriends. These areas are also struggles for men, but whether for men or for women, a lack of self control is almost always sourced in idolatry and insecurity. Idolatry says, “I need this NOW”, and destroys self control. Insecurity says “Who God says I am isn’t enough” and destroys self control from another angle. These attitudes are worked out in our behavior, which the guys discuss below.

“Don’t be overly crazy on a guy when you are first starting to get to know him.  I.e., if you think he is noticing an attractive girl in the area, and you know he is a solid guy that is intentionally pursuing you, don’t get on his case every moment of, “Why did you look at that girl?”  “Do you think she is prettier than me?” Granted I know all women have doubts and insecurities in this area, [my wife] included, but she trusts that I am committed to her and not dwelling on other women in the area if I notice they are attractive.”

Used under a previous point, but equally applicable: “We have instant access to each other through so many communication-oriented venues, and I find that many (but not all!) women—when communicating to men through such means—often go “overboard,” and it comes across as being needy or insecure—another huge turn-off!”

“As an aside, disrespect of personal boundaries seems to be a growing problem in our Millennial generation.”

“Too many Facebook/Instagram selfies. Enough said.”

5. Godly men aren’t impressed with vanity, but they are attracted to a lifestyle of discipline.

Appearance. It’s the “elephant in the room”, as one of the interviewees so aptly put it. Do godly men consider appearance when they are looking for a spouse? To a degree, they do – in the same way we do. While men are visual, women in today’s culture have grown increasingly “visual” as well. Every person has certain traits that are more attractive to them than others, and while appearance should be one of the lowest requirements on our list (read “Why Attraction Isn’t Necessary), how a man or woman presents him or herself makes a statement about who they are. In short, godly men are more concerned with the state of a woman’s heart than the makeup of her face. But that said, a man who takes care of his “temple” and leads a healthy lifestyle is likely looking for a woman with the same level of appreciation for her body and the discipline it requires.

“… Personally, I’d say a sense of immaturity, vanity, and disrespect (especially of personal boundaries and things of importance) are primarily unattractive to me. To be specific, men typically desire respect as a display of love, and the lack of such can be an immediate turn-off when looking for that “suitable helpmate.”

“Okay – the elephant in the room…  physical appearance. For me, appearance matters , but there are only some aspects of appearance that both guys and girls have control over. These are the things that matter most to me.   Are there attributes that I am attracted to more than others? Yup. But most are not something a lady has control over.   What matters to me is how a person deals with the attributes they do have control over. I leave a very active life, and would want my wife to be able to join me in that. I have put some effort into eating well and maintaining what the Lord has given me. A lady who does the same is attractive to me.”

6. Godly men don’t want to be a woman’s “savior”.

Perhaps my favorite point the interviewees made is this: that a woman who loves Christ above all else is the most attractive woman in their eyes. A woman desperate for a relationship, needy for marriage and dependent on a man for validation is looking to a man to be her savior – a role no man could ever fill! Unfortunately, some in the church have twisted the healthy partnership that is marriage into a dependency that extends prior to marriage into the courtship or dating stage. The “damsel in distress” model of courtship is used by our culture as a burning effigy for ALL Christian relationships. But the Bible never describes women as weak and dependent needing a man in order to be effective for Jesus. The women of God in both the Old and New Testaments were strong women – Sarah, Leah, Rebekah, Hannah, Esther, Ruth, Mary, Tabitha, Priscilla and many more. Their confidence in God made them strong and influential wives even in a culture that marginalized women. Godly men don’t want to be your savior – they want you to know your Savior.

“I’m not looking for a phony’ follower of Christ. A lady who claims to be a Christian but who’s life does not reflect this. Having a religion without the relationship with Jesus.”

“Don’t be waiting for a man to ‘save the day’. I am not putting my life and walk with Jesus on hold until a lady shows interest and neither should the sisters in Christ around me just ‘sit around’ waiting for a guy. While I desire a relationship it’s not something that I ‘need’ before I can be used by Jesus.”

…through Christ, we are adopted as sons and daughters of the Most High and have intimate access to him as our Father. When we acknowledge our Savior in a fitting way, we won’t try to create functional saviors out of others, and we can freely bring our needs and insecurities to Christ who intercedes for us. Humanly speaking, I’d posit that the role of an earthly father in the lives of Millennials is often either vacant or misconstrued to the point that it affects the way women view men they admire. As we grow in maturity into him who is the Head, Christ, we in turn bless each other all the more as Christians, and, to me, women who admire Christ supremely are therefore much more attractive.”

As I stated the beginning of this post, every man is individual in his personal attractions and preferences. But some things – just as discussed in the “How to Choose” post – are universal. Many of the principles outlined here are echoed in the Psalm 112 passage we discussed earlier this week.

But what’s the point of it all? What is the point of knowing “what to look for” in a future spouse? My goal in these posts is to give young women clarity in what it means to be a godly woman, and from that fundamental understanding, what to look for in a godly man. When you truly own your faith, you won’t settle for a man who doesn’t. It’s that simple.

In conclusion, I interviewed my favorite godly man for his thoughts on this topic. Josh contributed his input below:

“If a girl makes herself the kind of woman God expects her to be, she will be the kind of woman a godly man desires. I found Phylicia attractive because she desired to be more like Christ, and she called me to a higher standard because I wanted to be worthy of a woman like her. If you make yourself beautiful in God’s eyes, you will automatically be beautiful (generally attractive) in the eyes of a godly man.”

So the point of this post isn’t “how to be attractive to godly men”. It’s to see that pursuing God automatically removes your responsibility to meet the standards of human expectation, because God’s standards overwhelm and consume all human preferences. It is simply a further call to place God first, knowing that His work in your heart will not only help you live well in your singleness, but give you wisdom for both who to be and who to look for.

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