What Men Should be Looking For in a Woman
By: Jonathan Harris
This is not meant to be a “how” on dating/courting (See 4 Principles For a Prosperous Partnership). Rather it’s meant to be a “what.” What should a man be looking for in a woman according to Scripture? Of course, like everything, this is not just meant for males, this is meant for females as they are challenged with Biblical standard for their own lives. In a recent conversation I had with a good friend of mine I briefly explained to him my seemingly “high” set of prerequisites for a potential spouse before I’ll even consider her a candidate for a relationship. The more we talked, the more we both realized how barren the eligible spousal wasteland truly is, at least in my community. An attractive face and a pleasant personality are obviously the first things we look for, but they shouldn’t be the “only” things. The sad truth is that a truly biblical standard has the effect of ruling out about 95% of potential females in a comparative age range. Though the field get smaller, the ones left are the ones qualified and it is always better to do things God’s way than wind up in a detrimental relationship. Let’s take a brief look at what Scripture has to say about the qualities God requires for females as potential marriage partners.
1. She Must Be Saved
It should go without saying a potential spouse must be a Christian. The most often quoted passage in regards to this is of course 2 Cor. 6:14 which states, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” Of course, in the context of the passage this injunction is not meant to solely apply to romantic relationships. Many commentators have pointed out that Paul probably had business partnerships in mind as well. Really any partnership which causes you to compromise your walk with God is off limits. The greek word for “bound,” heterozugeo, literally means “unequally yoked.” It conveys the idea of a team of oxen or horses being held together by a yoke for a common purpose. This brings me to a second quality we can draw from this passage.
2. She Must be a Growing Christian
Would it profit a farmer if he yoked a sick ox with a healthy one? How about a lame horse with a fast one? Of course not! So when you yoke yourself to a “believer” who’s not growing in Christ, you are still violating the command of the passage. A relationship in which one spouse seeks to glorify God, and the other remains apathetic is one of the most frustrating things in the world. Thankfully, I’ve never experienced it, but I know of many who have.
3. She Must Be a “Helpmate”
What does it mean to be a “helpmate?” Before making Eve God said in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” The question is then, “In what capacity was Eve a suitable helper?” Adam’s responsibility, according to the previous chapter, was to have dominion over the earth.
And God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” – Genesis 1:28
The question men should be asking themselves is, “Will she help me in my dominion responsibilities?” In other words, “Will she support me in my job?” “Will she be willing to have children?” “Will she view the tasks of life from a worldly (i.e. grudgingly, materialistic) point of view, or a heavenly one (i.e. dignity in labor)?”
4. She Must be a Hard Worker
Proverbs 31 is the classic passage used to exemplify the “model” woman, just as Psalm 119 exemplifies the model man. One of the qualities trumpeted within the passage is that of hard work. Verse 15 states, “She rises also while it is still night, And gives food to her household, And portions to her maidens” Verses 17-18 state, “She girds herself with strength, And makes her arms strong. She senses that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out at night.” The idea is that the model spouse is someone who is not lazy. She doesn’t sleep or waste time. She’s always occupied with some kind of work. Verse 27 presents this concept clearly. “She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.” If you read the entire passage- which I would encourage- you’ll find that she’s also is involved in many business ventures.
5. She Must be Optimistic
Another recommendation of Proverbs 31 is for a female spouse to be optimistic. Verse 25 reads, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future.” Smiling at the future is something only a person who rests in the sovereignty of God is capable of doing.
6. She Must Be Wise
“She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue,” says verse 26. Again, if we examine the ideal woman’s business ventures we’ll see that she leads a life of frugality.
7. She Must Fear the Lord
The last verse in Proverbs 31 states, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” This of course- like many of the other qualities- is not gender specific. Psalm 112:1 says, “How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who greatly delights in His commandments.” The fear of the Lord according to Proverbs 8:1 “. . . is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way.” The “lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life” have no business being embedded in the attitude of a woman who fears God. This is a far cry from our typical modern humanistic brand of Christianity which seeks to make peace with the world. Materialism, laziness, and the supremacy of entertainment just about characterize most of our modern young evangelicals, whether male or female.
As you can see, according to the seven qualities I’ve outlined, a high standard does exist when compared to what we Christian men typically settle for. I am confident that God does want those who wish to get married to get married. After all, it’s a picture of Christ and the church. However, it must be done according to His standards. Wait on the Lord and pray for his direction. He will be faithful to meet your needs as you seek first His kingdom. Never settle for something God has not settled for.
For more on dating check out Isaac and Rebecka: 4 Principles for a Prosperous Partnership, Alex Chediak on 5 approaches to dating, and Paul Washer: A Dating Sermon.