One of our readers wrote Nicole to ask:
“I’d love to hear how your parents counseled you all through your various relationships and into engagement. Specifically, how did they guide you in guarding your hearts? What did they tell you to look for in a husband? And how—with three different men and three varying courtships did they counsel each of you differently about the actual process of those courtships?”
Over the next several days, each of the girls will recount her personal journey of falling in love with the man who is now her husband. In the process they hope to answer some of these questions. But first we thought it would be helpful to talk briefly about courtship; specifically, I want to answer the question of what we taught our daughters to look for in a husband and then elaborate on that a little bit.
To consider this topic, I want to draw from the chapter entitled “When It Comes To Courtship” from our book, Girl Talk. Now, by no means will this post contain a thorough study of God’s Word on the subject. I will merely attempt to offer a few points of biblical guidance that I hope will be helpful.
C.J. and I sought to provide our daughters with a “list” from Scripture of essential qualities that should characterize any man desirous of pursuing them. These qualities included:
“1. Genuine passion for God. The greatest commandment is to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’ (Matt. 22:37). A mere profession of faith is insufficient. A godly man will consistently display love, obedience, and increasing passion for the Savior.
2. Authentic humility. ‘This is the one to whom I will look,’ says the Lord, ‘he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word’ (Isa. 66:2). Your daughter will marry a sinner—that is certain. But if he is a humble and teachable sinner who is quick to repent, then he will be sure to grow in godliness. This humility will also be evident in his love for and submission to God’s Word.
3. Love for the local church. At the center of God’s plan on earth is His church. A young man must be pursuing fellowship and serving faithfully in a local church if he is to make a good candidate for a husband.
4. Biblical convictions about manhood and womanhood. A successful marriage is due in large part to a couple’s grasp of their respective roles and responsibilities. A potential husband must be committed to complementary roles found in Scripture. He must be ready to embrace his responsibility to love and lead his wife. (Eph. 5:22-25).
In addition to comparing the young man to this list of essentials, we also helped our daughters evaluate God’s commands to wives. From Scripture we asked our daughters the following questions regarding the young man each was considering:
-Do you fully respect this man the way a wife is called to respect her husband?
-Can you eagerly submit to him as the church submits to Christ?
-Do you have faith to follow this man no matter where he may lead?
-Can you love this man with a tender, affectionate love?
(1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22, 33; Col. 3:8; Titus 2:4-5)
Again, this list of qualities and questions is not exhaustive. However, it provided clear, objective, and biblical criteria to assist our daughters in determining God’s will—whether or not they were meant to join their lives with a certain young man.
The conclusion to this chapter appropriately sets up the courtship stories to follow: “Each courtship, whether or not it ends in marriage, is its own unique journey. But God has provided all the wisdom that we need in His Word.”