My wife and I recently shared our story of how God brought us together with the high school youth in our chapel here in Georgia. We shared what we were looking for in our future spouses, what good qualities we saw in each other, and most importantly what we had to change in ourselves first before seeking a godly partner.
To be clear, we were both insistent that seeking a relationship while in high school or even college isn’t the wisest thing to do. It is definitely God’s leading in bringing the right spouse for you, but that definitely does not look like dating for several years before making a decision to get married or not.
The reason we feel strongly about that is due to how damaging a relationship can be if so much time and effort is invested into it and it doesn’t work out. Also, a huge part of seeking a godly partner involves considering your own spiritual maturity and that of the other person.
God never means for us to jump into a relationship just to break it off down the road and keep on going through that cycle of hurt and pain until you find the right one. Looking through the Scriptures, we never see that example when two people are joined together. In fact the only types of relationships mentioned in the Bible, between a man and woman, are marriages and the sin of adultery. There is no mention of flirting, dating, or even courtship. So given that context, what IS the right way to approach a relationship?
I would say as a believer, the first place to start is transforming yourself to be the right person for your future spouse. This is exactly what my wife and I shared with our youth group. Just a heads up this will be more focused on guys since I shared that aspect of it while my wife touched on the godly characteristics of woman of God. Nonetheless, take notes ladies, for what to look for in your future husbands. So having said that, let’s take a look at a passage of Scripture that offers some good insight on what characteristics we, as men, should possess before seeking a relationship.
Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. | 1 Timothy 3:8-10
So if you know the premise of this chapter you’ll know that this chapter is focused on the qualifications of elders, deacons, and overseers of the church. You may be wondering how it is related to relationships and being the right man for your future spouse. Just like the men who step into those roles of leadership in the church have to be qualified for that responsibility, we as men who step into the role of being husbands need to have similar qualifications in order to fulfill our responsibility.
So looking at the passage, we see the first qualification for a godly man is to be dignified. What does dignified even mean? Don’t worry, I didn’t know the exact definition off the top of my head either. I had to look up synonyms in MS Word to get a clearer understanding. The top three words synonymous with dignified that caught my attention were respectable, noble, and honorable. So in that context, being a godly man requires us to be worthy of respect and people of integrity. We have to stand up for what is true and right before the eyes of God and man. I read this on the wall of one of my friends houses: “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.” Your future wife, hoping she is a godly woman, wouldn’t want a man who has trouble making the right choice when it challenges his integrity.
The second qualification mentioned for godly men is to be sincere. I learned this recently while at a prayer meeting, but the word sincere comes from a dishonest practice in the world of goldsmiths. If a piece of work emerged from the mold with imperfections, they were smoothed over with wax steeped in gold dust so that the imperfections were not noticeable. So the word broken apart was “sine” which means “without” and “cera” which means “wax” or “without wax/adulteration.” As godly men, we truly have to live up to that for our future wife and our future family. We have to be sincere in our thoughts, actions, and words when dealing with each other in order to have successful, godly relationships.
The third qualification mentioned in the passage is for godly men to be disciplined. I know that the passage mentions not to be heavy drinkers, but we can generalize that into one key statement: having self-control. Whether that is dealing with alcohol, drugs, food, or even anger and lust, we as men must practice self-control to abstain from the things we should abstain from and limit the things we should limit. If we cannot control ourselves, how are we going to keep a family together or be godly influences and examples to our future wife?
The fourth qualification mentioned for godly men is to NOT be greedy. Once again, the passage more specifically mentions greed of wealth, but I would generalize that to pursuit of wealth, material possessions, or even education and career positions. Just in the six short years that I have been in my career, I can easily see that the folks who climb the company ladder are not those with the best family life or spiritual life. The folks who usually excel in a company and become managers, VPs, and CEOs are usually those who commit 50-60 hours of their week to their job or who have gone through multiple failed marriages along with a broken family life. At the same time they may be quite wealthy, but we have to ask ourselves: At what cost? Your future wife, if she is a godly woman, will know the importance of work-life balance and the responsibility of a man to spend time with his wife and his family in order to be the true leader of the home.
The fifth qualification shown in this passage is to be men who are firm in our faith. Now this does not mean strong in doctrine and theology, NO! This means being able to understand God’s word AND willing to abide and follow true to it. There are so many men out there who know the Bible well in their heads, but how many of them are sincere about it in their practice? You need to be one of those men! Don’t just read and know the Bible, but practice it and apply it in your daily living. When a godly woman sees that in a man, it will definitely catch her attention!
The last qualification for godly men in this passage is being blameless. The verse itself reads that they must “be closely examined” and that they must “pass the test” before they are allowed to serve. That is the same way we have to view being the right man for our future wife. We have to have a strong testimony and a good reputation. That doesn’t mean that we can’t have a past or a certain sin that we struggled with at one time. That just means we have to make a conscious decision to change the way we live our lives and build up a different reputation that follows closely to God’s will. We all have sin in our lives and we always slip up now and then but a good reputation doesn’t come from being perfect but rather, from following God’s word as closely as possible and asking for repentance when we make mistakes and slip up. God is forgiving and our future wife will be too if they are true women of God.
Guys, I encourage you to take these verses and apply it back into your own lives. Strive to be godly men in the coming days who are dignified, sincere, disciplined, not greedy, firm in faith, and blameless. It may take a while before you have a good understanding of each of these things, but when you do, God will present the right spouse for you in HIS time. Don’t jump the gun and take it upon yourself to find a mate – you’ll find one, but it usually won’t be the right one! God has always been faithful in the lives of His children and that is one thing that will never change. So give that responsibility back to the One who can fulfill it and in the mean time, live for Him!