Six Characteristics for a Potential Mate

A Love that Lasts

I am often asked, “What should a single person look for in a potential spouse?” Singles want to know…and parents want to know so they can pass the information on to the children. So I finally came up with the following list:

A young lady should seek a young man who?

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  1. Fears God. Some of the ways you can tell if a young man fears God is by his language and how he treats other people. Does he treat them with respect? If not, why not? We as human beings are made in the image of God, and respecting people ultimately shows a heart that reverences the One whom we reflect.
  2. Is not afraid to love. That may sound like a no-brainer, but a lot of young men today are afraid of commitment, and the young lady ends up chasing the young man. What we need today are more young men who are not afraid of being real, authentic, and committed to a young lady in a relationship. We need men who are not afraid to love.
  3. Can admit his faults, his mistakes, and when he’s hurt you. Ruth Bell Graham made the statement, “A good marriage is the union of two forgivers.” The reason is because you’re going to hurt one another over and over again during your lifetime together. If you don’t know how to ask for forgiveness and give forgiveness, you’re never going to have a great marriage. The growth of your marriage will be stunted early on.
  4. Can control his passions. We live in an age that has been invaded by pornography. The world sends a message that you can have it all and can satisfy yourself. I would want my daughters to date a young man who is fully in charge of his passion and can control his desire for the opposite sex.
  5. Honors his parents. In the Ten Commandments, God tells us to honor our parents that our lives may be long and it may be well with us. Wouldn’t you want to select a man whose life has a sense of well being in God’s favor? I have heard it said that if you want to see how a young man will treat you, see how he treats his mother. I’d take that a step further — how does he honor both his mother and his father? Does he speak well of them or is he angry with them? Does he refuse to speak about them at all? What’s going on between a young man and his parents is very important.
  6. Is in the process of becoming a leader who knows how to serve. Being the head of a home and having so much authority and responsibility demands a servant spirit and self-denial. If a young man doesn’t know how to deny himself on behalf of another person, giving up his personal rights, goals, and dreams, I would question whether he would know how to create a family over a lifetime.

A young man should seek a young lady who?

  1. Fears God and whose hope is in the Lord God. Her life is going to be a reflection of where her hope is. If a young lady’s hope is in any place other than the Lord, the young who marries her is going to spend the rest of his life trying to help his wife catch a butterfly. It isn’t going to happen.
  2. Honors her parents. There is so much baggage today being brought into marriages based upon dysfunctional relationships with Mom and Dad. And even though this impacts both the husband and the wife, it’s been my experience that women tend to be impacted more negatively by this than young men. Women tend to be more nurturing and they are impacted deeply by hurting relationships. If she has a hard time honoring her parents, she will have a hard time honoring you. Find someone who has or is working to have a healthy relationship with her parents.
  3. Knows how to ask for forgiveness, admit she’s wrong, grant forgiveness, and give grace when you fail her. This isn’t just a one-way street. Both of you are going to need to do that.
  4. Wants to be a wife and a mother. There are some young ladies who want to be married, but don’t really want to be a wife and a mother. They want to be married, but they want their career to be their number-one pursuit. I believe the scriptures teach that a wife’s number-one pursuit should be ministering to her husband and family. That means if you choose to have children, your priorities and values have already been determined.
  5. Displays character in her modest dress. A young man’s character is displayed in his choices around life — around the use of money and relationships. But a woman’s character is displayed in how she handles the power of her femininity and sexuality. In other words — how modest is she? That’s becoming a weird word in our culture, but I would challenge young men to keep their eyes out for young women whose character is displayed in not only on the inside, but the outside as well.
  6. Knows how to follow a man. That doesn’t mean perfection, but it does mean that she understands that she’s the vice president, not the president. Women are joint heirs of the grace of God, but someone has to make the final decision when you both disagree. When one person votes one way, and the other person votes another, I believe it’s the responsibility of the husband to listen carefully and wisely consider the counsel of his wife. It’s upon him and to the Lordship of Jesus Christ as being led in the power of the Holy Spirit to make that decision, and then it’s upon the wife to be able to follow under the same influence. That’s not an easy thing in this culture.

Taken from familylife.com by Dennis Rainey. Copyright © 2001 FamilyLife. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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