“Would you want to marry yourself? Would you want to live with your (current) self for the next 60 years?”
Those were the questions asked on a podcast I was listening to on my way home the other day, and wow did they hit me. Would I want to marry someone who acted, spoke, and thought like me? The answer was a resounding “No,” which is when I realized I needed to make a change. Good thing I’m currently single! I’ve struggled with my singleness since high school, and at 21 I’ve still never dated anyone (but that’s another topic for another time). After a series of extremely inspiring sermons from Ben Stuart, then a pastor at Breakaway Ministries, I realized I was in a season of singleness for a reason–I wasn’t yet ready for a relationship, let alone a marriage.
Since then, I’ve been asking myself every day, “How can I turn this season of singleness into a season of growth?” This podcast, that asked me if I would marry myself, pointed out the single most important areas I needed to grow in, almost as if the answers had been handed to me in a nicely wrapped package. First the podcaster asked, “What are you looking for in a guy? You should be looking for those exact things in yourself.”
The single most important thing that I’m looking for in a man (the thing that frankly every Christian woman should be looking for) is how spiritually fit he is. Is he fully devoted to Christ in every area of his life? Does he wake up in the morning already praising God for another day? When life gets hard, does he turn to God? Now, turn that back around on yourself. Do you do these things? Are you pursuing God as earnestly as he is pursuing you? Is He your number one priority? If not, He needs to be.
I’ve always known that I will need a strong man as my husband. Not just physically strong (though that wouldn’t hurt, I’m 5’0 and need someone to do the heavy lifting), but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I need a man who will not run from the storm, but grab my hand and walk with me through it, to the other side. I’ve had a tough life by most standards. Abused for years as a child and into my teens, I learned very early on what it meant to be strong. To be a survivor. I learned to keep going when all hope felt lost. I learned how to choose to keep living when I didn’t want to, when others would’ve chosen not to. As a strong woman, I’m looking for an equally strong man. Strength–spiritual, mental, and emotional — doesn’t come second nature to me though, and it’s something I continually need to work on. The minute I choose stop being strong is the same moment I can no longer demand that my future husband be strong. Yes there are moments of weakness, I’m only human. But at the end of the day, can I answer “yes” to the question, “Did you fight your hardest?”
The Bible tells us humility and kindness are true symbols of strength (Phillipians 2:3-4). The man I want to marry needs to see humility not as weakness, but as part of his strength. A truly humble man will be quick to forgive, slow to anger, and strive for peace within his household. Am I a humble woman? By any biblical definition, no, I’m not quite honestly (though I’m working on it). I’ve always been quick to anger, highly volatile in stressful situations. When it comes to forgiveness, I struggle immensely. At the moment I can’t say I’m slow to anger, quick to forgive, or striving for peace. As a result, I can’t expect a man who possesses these qualities to choose me. It simply wouldn’t be fair to him.
If you answer no to any of these (as I admittedly did), do not expect to find a man who possesses these traits to pursue you as a potential wife. It would not be fair to him or you. Yes, opposites attract, but only to a certain degree. 2 Corinthians 6:14 calls us to be “equally yoked.” This does not merely apply to your faith. Your husband will be your partner, he will stand with you through all of life’s trials and tribulations. If you are not as equally equipped for each situation as he is, it will lead to a strained marriage.
Luckily for me, I’m in a season of singleness. I can work every day on building these qualities, and many more, in myself, as can you. One trick that’s really helped me is that whenever I pray something for my future husband, I pray that same thing over myself as well. If I’m praying my husband will have strength in the face of adversity, as soon as I’m finished I turn around and pray that I will have that same strength. Two birds, one stone! Your Boaz will (most likely) come when you’re least expecting it, so be like Ruth and prepare for that moment so that you can meet him on equal ground.