There are many things we pray about as your parents. The most important and the most urgent is that you would rest in the finished work of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins. We pray this daily and won’t stop until God answers.
But we also pray for your future as a man, and potentially a husband. We pray that you would be a man who loves God’s Word, God’s church, and God’s people. Right now, you tell us that you want to be a farmer, a teacher, a preacher, and a daddy. It strikes me that these have many things in common! Farmers and teachers and preachers and daddies are alike in this: they all sow seeds and need to wait until God gives the growth. And when He does, we don’t get to take any credit. God gets all the glory.
Even though you are young now, it will not be long before you are grown up. Before that day comes, I want to shepherd your heart and offer some humble advice about the kind of woman to look for in a wife. This is one of most important decisions you might have to make, one that will affect the rest of your life. Thankfully, God already has your days ordained (Ps. 139), including the woman you’ll marry (if that is His will). But we don’t know His will of decree until it comes to pass, so consider the following three attributes to look for in a wife.
One of the many things that attracted me to Mommy when we first met was her beautiful humility. A humble person knows that she doesn’t know everything, but she wants to keep on growing. It does not mean that she has no convictions, or treats truth as relative. When gospel humility adorns a person, it makes that person approachable yet confident. Humble in themselves; bold in God. A teachable spirit is invaluable in a wife. And when a husband and wife are both being molded and reformed by the transforming Word of God, look out! Great things happen!
But how can you detect humility in a girl when it’s an attitude of the heart? There is a saying, “What goes up must come down.” We could equally say, “What is in must come out.” What’s on the inside will show itself on the outside. Jesus said, “Out of the mouth the heart speaks.” Let me suggest two important areas where humility manifests itself.
The first is the matter of modesty. An author once write, “Modesty is humility in dress.” What a girl wears says a lot about her heart. I pray that you would look for beauty as defined by God, not the world. Look for a girl who dresses to draw attention to Jesus, not herself. Now don’t misunderstand me. It’s okay (in fact preferred!) to marry a girl you find attractive. Yet I pray that you’ll see the difference between a pretty girl who is humble and a pretty girl who is not. God’s Word is clear: “Do not let your adorning be external . . . the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3–4).
The second area where humility is tested in a young lady is her attitude toward her parents. Simply put, if she characteristically dishonors her parents, what makes you think she will honor you?
Look for a girl who shows honor to her mom and dad. Just like a girl can learn a lot about a guy when she watches how he treats his mom, so can you learn a lot about a girl in the way she respects her parents, particularly her dad. This doesn’t mean she must agree with everything her parents decide, but it reveals a lot about her heart in the way she responds to disagreements and differences. Wait for a girl who takes the fifth commandment seriously.
The second attribute I want you to consider when looking for a wife is the attribute of helpfulness. Remember that this was God’s original design for Eve. As we read in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
I hope by now you understand what this does not mean. Marriage is not about you and your little kingdom of one, as if your wife is put on this earth to make sure your selfish needs are met. Jesus’ definition of leadership is self-sacrifice. My calling as a Christian husband is to love Mommy as Christ loves the church. My only hope is humbling myself and begging God for more grace!
Yet it still stands that the kind of lady you want to look for is one who loves to help others. If she is going to be your helper, it is best if she already helps people in her life right now. Is she a servant or selfish? Does she look for ways to help her parents, her church, and her neighbors? Or is she the kind of girl who only wants to help herself? It’s usually not very hard to tell the difference.
Another thing I love about Mommy is how hard she works. When we met, she was working two jobs to pay her bills. And she remains committed to helping others: you and your siblings, me, and so many others. This is an invaluable quality to look for in a wife.
If a young lady is reading this, desires to marry someday, and wishes her dreams would come true today, she should find ways to serve her family and local church. The kind of guy she should be praying and waiting for will take notice.
The last quality I want to highlight when thinking about what to look for in a future wife is a girl who is hungry. No, not that kind of hungry (although while I’m on the subject: look for a girl who knows how to eat and doesn’t pick at her food; who eats a hamburger and fries and not just salads; and who loves to eat ice cream).
By hungry, I mean the type of girl who has a hunger for God’s Word. If you’re looking for the perfect girl, you’ll be single the rest of your life. But the perfect girl for you is a daughter of the King who hates her sin and loves Jesus’ grace and desires to be conformed to His image.
This matters more than anything else. Don’t settle for a girl you connect with but isn’t godly and growing. Wait for a girl who loves the gospel. Look for a woman who loves the church. Pray for a wife who understands that life is not about her but making much of God.
Is she excited about what God is doing in her life and in yours? Is she responsive to the preaching of the Word? Does she love her Bible? Does she want to learn more? Is she dissatisfied with her progress? Does she pray? Does she hunger for heaven?
Don’t buy the lie that says all that matters is looks, or connection, or having the same interests. Trust God’s pattern. A woman worth growing old with will be a woman who shares a common faith in Christ, a common commitment to living for His glory, and a common desire for growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.
You are such a wonderful son, and getting so big! I can hardly believe that you’ll be five years old this summer. Mommy and I already have a lifetime of memories from your contagious joy and sweet nature. It is an honor to be your dad.
Perhaps by the time you read this, you won’t remember that as a four-year-old you used to say that you wanted to marry Mommy. I’ve tried my best to explain why this isn’t possible. And I trust by now that you’ve understood too. But the more I get to know Mommy, the more I believe that she is the kind of person you should be looking for. Not because she’s flawless, but because she’s humble, a helper, and hungry for spiritual things.
Son, you give my heart much joy. I won’t stop praying for you. May our grace-giving God shower His mercies upon your life, to the praise of His glorious grace.
Love always, Dad
Rev. Michael J. Schout is the pastor of Grace URC in Alto, MI. He welcomes your feedback at: firstname.lastname@example.org