What Makes a Woman Marriage Material

In Dating, For the Guys, For the Ladies by Debra Fileta41 Comments

Have you ever wondered what guys are looking for in a wife?

Or maybe you’re a man, and you’ve dated a few women, but never felt like someone was “marriage material”.

In looking at my own relationship with my wife, and the relationships of those around me that have been successful, I’ve noticed that here are a few traits that make a woman “marriage material”. Of course this list is not the end-all-be-all, but for me, these were important factors in choosing the woman I wanted to get to know, and ultimately marry. 

Compassion: Nothing melts a man’s heart more than a woman who exudes love and compassion for others. The first weekend I met my wife Deb, the one thing that stuck out to me was how big her heart was. (I also thought she was unbelievably gorgeous, which is always a plus…). But what truly meant the most to me was hearing about her mission work to orphanages in the Middle East, and her ongoing work in the States with at-risk inner city youth. She wasn’t just talking the talk, she was living it out. 

The reason compassion is so attractive to a man, is because true compassion stems directly from the heart of Christ. When God’s love fills a person, that love begins to overflow into all areas of their life and impact those around them. That’s something that stood out to me in my wife-to-be, because it wasn’t a love that was being given in order to receive, it was a supernatural love that was being given freely because of what Jesus had done in her life. That, in and of itself, spoke volumes to the kind of wife she would one day be.

Direction: We’re all traveling through the journey of life, and it’s our hope that one day someone will be journeying by our side. But the thing is, the person who ends up next to you has a huge impact on the direction your life will take. A key quality to being marriage material is a woman who has direction. 

Direction doesn’t necessarily mean that she is going to be a neurosurgeon or big-shot attorney, and isn’t synonymous with how much money she is going to make or how successful she will be. Direction is when a person realizes their God-given talent and purpose in life and begins to run in that direction with all their heart. When I met Deb, she was in graduate school for counseling. To be honest, I knew almost nothing about the field. But as she talked about it, I could see the excitement and passion in her eyes. Now, 10 years later, I have so much respect and appreciation for what she does because I see the huge impact she makes one life at a time.

The important thing to note about direction is that it goes above and beyond your career. It’s about understanding what God has gifted you to do, and then doing it well: whether that be your career, your ministry, or your relationships. Even today, I see Deb living out God’s direction in her life in her job as a therapist, in her ministry at TrueLoveDates.com, and even with our children as she seeks to be the mom God has called her to be. 

Find someone who is consistently following God, and you can be sure that your marriage will always be moving in the right direction.

Confidence: There is nothing more attractive than a woman who is secure in who she is and knows her value. I think one of the biggest problems today facing women is an identity crisis perpetuated by our media, our movies, and the entire entertainment industry. But the most beautiful thing a woman can be is wrapped up in the understanding of her intrinsic value, a God-given value that can’t be taken away. There is something undeniably attractive about that, because let’s be honest, it’s rare. All these photo-shopped images of women that we see all around us are actually so far removed from the very things that a godly man finds attractive. It’s my hope that more and more women would realize that they are beautiful simply because they are made in God’s image: mind, body, and spirit- and then begin to live out that beauty. 

Side note to the men: Don’t fall into the lies of pornography, or thinking that a woman is beautiful simply because she falls under the standards of society. That beauty is truly only skin deep, and won’t survive a life-time of ups and downs in marriage and raising children.

The first time I actually met Deb, I thought she was one of the most beautiful women I had ever met and was undeniably attracted to her. But though her external beauty caught my eye, it’s not what kept me. What kept me was her internal beauty and identity in Christ – that’s what won my heart. “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised….”

To all of you men looking for a woman who is marriage material, or for the women who are trying to become it – remember this: becoming marriage material is so much more than simply trying to get married. Ultimately, it’s about becoming all that God has called you to be. Achieving these traits don’t guarantee you a spouse, but they do guarantee that you’re becoming mature, healthy, and more like Christ along the way. And that, my friends, is an incredible place to be. 

Be sure to check out the next post: What Makes a Man Marriage Material

John has been married to Debra for a decade, and experiencing “true love” has been the greatest blessing of his life. His day job is in the medical world, but he loves working behind the scenes at TrueLoveDates.com, helping his wife spread the message that healthy people make healthy relationships. You can read more about their story in Debra’s book, True Love Dates: Your Indispensible Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life. Connect with them on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!

To read more about our story, and everything you need to know about both becoming and finding someone who is marriage material, check out Deb’s book: True Love Dates!


  1. Wow, this is truly the best writeup I have read in a long time about what men really want as wives. Am glad it has nothing to do with worldly outlook as portrayed today, because at 33yrs n single I was starting to wonder if maybe because am too principled. Thank you for sharing, builds up my hope more to hear a gentleman’s view.

    Good work Debra on all the posting n guest posts, am such a huge fun n these days I use my TLD to comfort the younger generation that’s panicking as they reach 30yrs, I advise them to read your book, sign up on your site and I share how your book got me out of huge self hate for being single at 32yrs then. Today am happy, confident n am not defined by whether am married all not. I took the whole self-dating chapter serious and emotional wise am a whole lot better than I was July 2014

    1. Thanks Shirley! I think your life is a great encouragement to others that you are not defined by your singleness and continue to grow as God refines you!

    2. Author

      Thanks, Shirley!! I’m so happy to hear this encouraged you…it’s amazing to hear how God is working in your life. And that he used my book to help, is such an amazing thing to hear!! I can’t wait to hear what He has in store for your life as you continue to move forward.

  2. I love hearing this straight from a man’s heart! It is so encouraging to those of us who are still looking for that person to spend their lives with. I hope there are more men out there with similar beliefs to you, John!

    1. There are many great guys out there Brittany, don’t settle for anything less!

  3. I can respect your position and opinions. However all of the lists out regarding what makes a woman or man marriage material here are subjective.
    there are women and men who get married all the time and possess none of these qualities listed, or any of the other wonderful fairy tale qualities that other “experts” list. There are also people who possess all of those qualities and much much more, and are in their late 30’s and/or 40’s and still not married.
    Let’s be realistic shall we, Everyone has a degree of shallowness to them. Particularly for men, there has to be a physical attraction. I’ve personally known men who married a woman mainly because she looked good and the sex with her was good. Or he married her because she had degree’s and made good money, and/or she came from a family that was fairly wealthy. Men at my current job have told me they married the women their with because of how good they looked, and the money they had, and made.
    There are men who could care less about any of these qualities and it’s obvious from the women they choose to marry.
    I believe relationship blogs, advice, and expertise should focus more on helping people learn to choose and desire the right type of people. Because honestly, the advice doesn’t really help anyone when the people they like , don’t like them because they’re seeking people who are nothing like them. Or when the majority of men where they are are not seeking women like them. Unfortunately, the men who are seeking women that do possess all of these qualities are far and few between.
    I would just like to see the Root of the issues with regards to love and relationships addressed more often please.

    Peace & Blessings

    1. Author

      I understand what you’re saying, Jayla….although I think conversations like this are exactly what begin to change the norm.

      Also, of course there are cases outside of the above traits, in which people get married to women/men who possess none of these things. But as Christians, I think it gives us hope to strive for better….and believe God for it.

      We all have the freedom to choose who we’re going to marry, hopefully this helps someone….even one person….to choose better.

      1. Thank you Debra for responding. I definitely agree. I believe we need to encourage all of these wonderful qualities to be cultivated more in people. There are lots of people in the world, the caveat is that all of them are not the best people with the best qualities and the best intentions. You and your husband give us singles hope that we can find the wonderfully amazing and awesome love that you both have.

        May God continue to bless you and keep you.

      2. I think thats missing the point really, Confidence is a universally attractive trait, I would go as far to say that if someone finds a lack of confidence attractive, then there may be something very unhealthy going on with that relationship

    2. Yes Jayla I agree with some of the points you mention. I think the three points in the article are subjective and that not all women have these qualities. The danger it presents could possible make people feel inferior or feel they are not marriage material. For instance some women may not feel called to do missional work in the Middle East but can be compassionate in the everyday small moments in life. Perhaps they don’t have direction for their life. As I was reading this I remembered some godly, married women who don’t have these qualities listed above but are still godly wives and amazing examples to others.

      I think Christians can still have hope to strive for better, as Debra says but it does not have to be in having these three qualities.

      I believe it’s great to read different opinions though and to have these qualities is a great thing but it’s important to be open minded and have a wider perspective as this isn’t solely ‘what makes women marriage material’!!

      Thanks for sharing John

      1. Author

        Another thought, to both Rebekah and Jayla, outside of “marriage” these are all things God calls us to according to Scripture…the bigger picture is that all women strive toward these qualities in their life…

        Trust me, my husband is gracious and I’m thankful he sees these things in me, but they are all things I continue to seek out in my life and walk with God each and every single day. We should always challenge women, including ourselves, to continue moving toward God’s best for our lives…what do you think?

        1. Yes, absolutely Debra! I think it is a great thing to strive, pray and seek God for these qualities in our lives, each and every day as you had written. Afterall, through striving to follow Jesus it’s my hope that the Holy Spirit would cultivate such qualities in my own life, even if I’m not there yet 🙂

          Initially when I read the post I felt inadequate (not marriage material) because I wouldn’t choose these three things when describing my qualities. But then I remembered women who have impacted my life, have struggled with confidence etc and are married. It’s these lives which have given me hope.

          I do pray that God cultivates these things in my life as I continue to journey with him because Id love to be the best version of myself, married or not 🙂

          1. Author

            I agree, Rebekah….we all struggle with “confidence” at different points, but as you said, the Holy Spirit is working to move us in that direction, as we start really accepting and believing who we are in Christ. Such a great thing to move towards…

  4. What a wonderful read from a guys perspective. A much needed reminder for those of us who are staying faithful and true to Gods calling, and are in the process of serving and waiting for Gods best! Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to hearing What makes a man marriage material.

  5. After reading this article I realize all the more that my current girlfriend Beautifully and Uniquely embodies all these character Traits as one of the first things that brought me close to her and wanting to know more about her was because of her God Fearing nature. It’s beautiful to read something like this and witness it in real life with someone whom I believe God had chosen for me. her name is Hope and mine is Themba which also means (Hope in Zulu). God is Great all the time and All the time God is Great.

    1. Author

      That’s a beautiful story, Thembalethu….God bless you both as you move into God’s plan for your life and relationship!

      1. Thank you for your feedback and message I truly am inspired to continue in Faith to Love Hope with all my Heart. I do believe that until you make the Decision to Wed your boyfriend or girlfriend and as you have once said more than just feelings it is also a choice, sometimes it’s scary sometimes overwhelming, well in my case considering how short I am Relationships have proven to be one of my biggest struggles a few years ago but the more you draw closer to God it’s the more free you become and the more you become one with yourself. I truly believe in the words … Seek ye First the Kingdom of God this all encompassing, Love, Relationships, Humanity, and and and… And all these things shall be added unto you. Seeking God first is what allows for one’s Heart, Mind and Soul to be open enough and comfortable enough to seek such qualities rest in Gods assurance and Trust the decisions he / she has made in the partners that they’ve chosen. So again Thank you Debra Fileta and John Fileta. I am Humbled 😉

  6. While this is a beautiful story of how John became attracted to Debra. I question it’s helpfulness in general. There are so many woman, especially young single woman, who struggle with direction and self worth. The idea that confidence and direction is somehow required to find love, could be very discouraging. Confidence and direction aren’t easy to just “get”. And confidence and direction are not really listed as qualities to strive for in scripture. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulnes, gentleness, and self control. I am glad my husband was attracted to me even though I was not confident or quite sure where I was going.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts Lynn. These qualities are not required for finding love, but I believe they are a very helpful guide and challenge to others to become the best version of themselves before marriage. Why should we settle for anything less then God’s best in our lives?

      My hope is that the young single women who struggle with direction and self worth will respond by seeing how valuable they are in God’s eyes and that their self-worth/value is independent of what others think/see, leading to a life of freedom in the knowledge of their eternal worth! It’s not about being perfect, but more about seeking God’s best in your life and that’s something that each of us is called to do in our own lives.

      I agree that “Confidence and direction aren’t easy to just get”, but many things (often the most rewarding) in life take work and effort. Rather then give up or not try to become better because of the challenges we may face, my prayer is that we will rely on God’s spirit and the community in our lives to overcome these challenges and grow.

      Blessings! John

  7. I couldn’t agree more.

    At 49, I’ve come to realize the points stated here through experience, often painful.

    More to the point, I know that attractiveness in no way obviates the qualities above, and how quickly I’ve fallen for women with the qualities listed.

  8. I think the qualities that John mentions are characteristics that develop as we become more and more what God wants us to be. I happen to be in my early 40’s and the Lord has helped me see how He has made me for a purpose on this Earth regardless of my marital status – to help others learn how the Lord has made them and for me to walk beside them as they learn and grow into that person – with the principals in Scripture (who the Lord says we are) as our firm foundation. I believe that if I get married I will continue living out that purpose and I believe that the Lord will give me someone who is like-minded so we can live out that purpose together.
    Compassion comes when the rough parts of our character are sanded down by the Lord’s continuous work in us – as we learn to get up after we fall or as we have to work through difficulties and unhealthy patterns in our lives. The fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are all a part of compassion, self-confidence (or God-confidence) and hearing His direction in everyday life and choosing to listen to Him. There have definitely been times in my life where I have not been confident at all, but that’s why the Lord promises the “He who has begun a work in you will complete it until the day of Christ” (Phil 1:6) so we can know that He wants to mold us and make us into someone who lets Him shine through us beyond what we can imagine. We are all works in progress and we are all on a journey in life. We can help each other grow in that journey and see what plans He has in store for us. I think that’s the type of perspective that John was trying to present – not a checklist of you must be exactly “this” way to be “marriage material”. Anyway, just my 2 cents worth. 🙂

  9. John – Thank you for this very insightful article! It was very encouraging.

    Also, I wanted to share that I have been told by several Christian men that I am intimidating because my vision and passion is very clear and pretty huge…. Consequently, I primarily attract Jewish men instead of Christian men. However, I will only date men that share my faith in Christ. As a result, I am a little perplexed…. What do you recommend for a woman that is compassionate, has clear direction and is confident but the Christian men are uninterested in pursuing a relationship???

    I welcome your thoughts and advice!

    Carrie E. Simms

  10. Debra great post by your Hubby…I just thought a few days ago it would be so interesting to hear you both together and bam it happened! The part about compassion and having a big heart is spot on in fact empathy and compassion are the top three characteristics I use to determine if a woman is worth the time to invest in a relationship. Yes it is that important…beauty is skin deep and will never sustain a relationship over time. Thanks to the both of you for the spot on post!

  11. Am always inspired when ever I read the articles you post,its so true and it speaks to my heart always .Am a christian and it relates to me all the time , May God continue to bless you all even as you continue to inspire and encourage others. Thank you

  12. Thank you for such godly wisdom John. As a single man, it’s an encouragement to read something from a married brother’s heart. In the past, I, as I’m sure many Christian men, have been attracted to the beautiful women. But, on more than one occasion, I’ve also discovered that external appearance does not necessarily equal inward godliness.
    So, the three qualities you mention, John, are things for me to look for in the women I meet in my Christian walk.
    Thx again for the great advice! God bless you!

    Scott M.

  13. This article entry is very inspiring and encouraging to me. I have only in been in one relationship, and that relationship seemed to be leading towards marriage. We were very serious, and from the beginning knew that we were not dating just to date. In fact, we talked about marriage and truly believed that’s where God was leading us. Without any warning, he ended our relationship rather suddenly with no explanation. It has been almost two years and although I am still heart broken over what happened, I have seen God work in my life in so many ways, and have begun to feel the healing I thought would never come. All that to say, I have a question about one of the traits that you said men are looking for in a wife-Confidence. Confidence has always been a trait that I have struggled with. I have prayed about it, I’ve had friends and spiritual mentors try to help me, but it has become a constant struggle. I have grown in this area in many ways, and I can look back and see how far God has brought me. For as long as I can remember I have said this to myself at least a dozen times a day: “Your identity and confidence is found in Jesus Christ alone.” I often find that my confidence is intertwined with being an introvert. I am a terrible analyzer, and I have often thought “what if he ended the relationship because he couldn’t stand my lack of confidence?” After reading your article, and seeing confidence listed as a trait….well, do you have any suggestions for me? I know that we are not perfect. Relationships consist of two messy sinners coming before Christ, but I do believe that God thinks of us as a beautiful mess, and that we should be continuously seeking to grow in our struggles. I believe that He sanctifies us through relationships. If a girl lacks confidence but has other great traits, is it more likely that a Godly guy would not be interested in her? Forgive me for my long rant, I am just eager to learn.
    Thank you.

  14. Years ago women were more marriage material than today since the women back then were so much Nicer and much Easier to meet which they really would’ve made a much Better wife too since many of us Good men just Can’t find a Good woman today to settle down with.

  15. So are you saying I just have to pursue God and my husband will be attracted to me, or vise versa,because God’s love will be in me? I think I need to understand this more. I have been searching the scriptures and praying for marriage for more than 5years. Now m asking myself, m I marriage material or m a disaster waiting to happen.This marriage issue is so complicated for me.

  16. Well for many of us Good Single Men out there that really wanted to get married to have a family which today many women that now have their Careers are so very high maintenance, independent, selfish, spoiled, greedy, picky, narcissists, and so very power money hungry when years ago Most women were Never Ever like that at all which made it very Easy finding Love back then the way our family members had it since they were Very Blessed meeting one another back then. Today it is a whole different story since the women now are very much to Blame why many of us men are still Not married yet when we really Should Have been all Settled Down by now with our own Good Wife And Family that many of us still Don’t Have today since it does Take Two To Tangle.

  17. I loved the article, it felt as if I was reading a story about me LOL! I have lots of compassion, direction and confidence.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It encourages me to read articles like this from a man’s perspective.

    God bless you and Debra!

  18. I know that this is an old post but it was in my email… this is a fantastic article. I think this message is superbly accurate! Women can go ahead and marry without having these qualities and still have a successful marriage BUT it will be a very difficult road to travel. I’m saying this from experience. All those tears and that pain and heartache could have been avoided had I worked on my self prior to marriage. Getting married only magnifies your issues and while marriage is supposed to help spouses in becoming a better version of themselves, there will be plenty of other issues that will arise that cause a struggle. It’s very wise to overcome those insecurities and all before so that you have one less thing on the plate to worry about. Thank the good Lord for salvaging our marriage but if there’s one piece of advice I will plead to singles to take it would be to work on yourself and your struggles before marriage doesn’t mean you’ll be perfect but trust me it’ll save lots of heart ache

  19. So I like this article in theory. But despite the three traits, what is also repeatedly mentioned is physical beauty and attraction. Attraction is mentioned, and then it immediately goes into an aside about how beautiful your wife is.

    And I’m glad you find your wife beautiful–that’s not the point. But I think it’s pretty clear that physical beauty is a huge component too, and it is for almost all men. We can pretend that it isn’t, that personality or a heart for God matters more, but there’s a reason why the traditionally beautiful are getting asked out first. Men care about that first.

  20. I found this to be an interesting discussion! i was reminded of a book, that changed my life as a single woman. It would fit into the catagory perhaps, of being a woman of/with direction. “Life is for Living, and not for waiting around.” I refrained, up until that reading, to make decisions to do things that would affect or change my life too majorly. for example, spending money to go on major travels- I wanted to do it sometime, but not till I was married so I could do it with my husband, whom I had no idea who was at the time. But to find my ‘Husband’ in God, Who defines our identity regardless of our marriage status, was indeed a discovery of ‘wings’.. to seek HIS direction in life changing decisions, gives us that inner confidence we need to pursue wholeheartedly whatever it may be He directs us to. I have a question on the confidence thing as far as it being an attribute to good marriage material. There are 2 girls who come to me to talk about relationships and life. They both have the desire for a man in their life and both exude confidence. A type of confidence that my husband of one year, finds very turn offish. Its the type of confidence that comes across as bold, and perhaps even controlling other men in public. I am sure this is not the confidence John was referring to. How can I help my friends see that brassy boldness is not necessarily confidence?
    Also, I feel if there’s girls who ‘put themselves out there’ by advertising their physical shape and appearance, and they end up in a relationship with a guy who only likes them for who they are physically… how long until the physical attraction alone doesn’t bring to the relationship what it takes? I think that’s where compassion, humility and gracious forgiveness come down to being even more important. I know that physical beauty is important to most men, but a woman who respects, honors and admires him without selfish intent, can actually be very plain jane featured and still be found attractive by him.
    I was 29 when I got married. After afew different dating relationships in my very early 20’s, I purposed in my heart to let God write my (what would than become ‘our’)love story. Ten years of molding, shaping, learning to live my life-devoting it to the Lord rather than waiting for my prince charming to serve, I was asked to begin a relationship. As mentioned before, habits and traits we cultivate or don’t cultivate before marriage continue to be our strengths and weaknesses after marriage. The wedding day does not all of a sudden make us into the climax of potential. I appreciate you all who aspire to make this world a better place by what we can ‘give’ to others around us rather than ‘receive’ of others. Gratitude contributes much joy in the journey!

  21. It’s always been the hardest try,perfection, and maintenance of the intrinsic value of one spouse to another. But when one manages to maintain that value, throughout the ups and downs of life, I personally think she gets to be the perfect match.
    Currently I’m looking for a right partner, but all those I’ve come across are literally making me feel like I’m having a one way relationship. It’s like too much of me, apologizing, committing myself, being alert to prevent any disorders and arguments. Which seems boring and stressful.

    I thank you Debra for being such an eye opener, to us who seem blinded by love to keep pressing so hard on our literally mindless spouses. Now I can make aright decision for a happier life. Amen. Joash K Clive, Uganda .

  22. “Nothing melts a man’s heart more than a woman who exudes love and compassion for others. ”

    But what if compassion for others translates into seeing the husband as a means to and end? My wife is very compassionate toward others, even to the point of having an obsessive need to stress herself out on behalf of people we barely know. The result is that the children, her parents, her friends, and people at church get the compassion and I get stuck paying for it or picking up the slack at home when she is exhausted from all the compassion. My heart isn’t melted, it’s starving for a little of that compassion to be directed my way.

    “There is nothing more attractive than a woman who is secure in who she is and knows her value.”

    As long as she realizes her value is not more than her husbands. It is profoundly NOT attractive to be a demanding diva.

    This article sounds like it should be called “The politically-correct guide to what a man should SAY he wants in a wife.” Contrast that with Titus 2: 4-5:

    “Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

    Self-controlled, pure, busy at home, kind, and subject to their husbands… definitely not politically-correct. But biblical.

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