A few days ago, my husband wrote a post about the qualities that make a woman marriage material, and I wanted to write a follow up post from my female perspective.
When you talk about what makes a man “marriage material”, for most women, a whole host of traits come to mind. I remember making a list of 16 traits I was looking for in my future husband-to-be, and tucking them away in my journal. The list highlighted things I hoped about his faith, his prayer life, his ministry, his community, etc. But let’s be honest ladies, sometimes we’re FAR more superficial than that!
But as I reflect on my relationship with my husband John, there are a few things that I really want to share with all the women out there looking for a man, and all the men out here trying to become all that God has called them to be. Out of all the things I was on the lookout for, these are the things that absolutely nailed it when it came to recognizing “marriage material”:
Humility: There’s probably no bigger turn-off to a woman than a man who is full of himself. I remember going on a date with a guy who could talk about nothing other than himself (and seriously, I tried everything to change the subject). But the opposite of that, is a man who is humble. To say that the bible mentions humility as an important quality is quite an understatement. It’s mentioned constantly throughout scripture as a trait that is so close to Christ’s heart (Philippians 2).
When I met John, that was the first thing I noticed about him (that and the fact that he chose to wear long sleeves with shorts…but, whatever). Watching him interact with people, hearing him ask so many thoughtful questions, and seeing that he was more interested in getting to know people than simply talking about himself was the first sign that he was a humble guy. And it’s not because he didn’t have anything to be proud of. The truth of the matter is, at the time we met he was applying for med school and working at Harvard (a fact I didn’t even know until 2 months into our friendship) yet he never gloated about his life or accomplishments. He didn’t need to. True humility is when a person realizes they don’t need to talk up their life, because they’re actually living it.
There’s absolutely no room in marriage for pride, and that humble spirit is something that strengthens our marriage even today because he’s quick to listen, apologize, confess, and forgive. He’s quick to choose to put me first, and that quality in a husband is more priceless than I could have ever known.
Gentleness: Our society tends to wrongly stereotype this into being a “woman’s” trait. But believe it or not, gentleness is a key component for all believers in Christ, and is found all over Scripture. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, one thing I hear far too often from women is that they’re feeling burdened by the weight of their husband’s temper or anger issues. There is nothing more terrifying than feeling like you have to walk on eggshells because you don’t want your husband to blow up or you’re afraid to cause a scene. And sadly, this isn’t an uncommon problem even within the church.
To me, a gentle man is synonymous with strength, not weakness, because it’s a sign that he is in charge of his emotions and not the other way around. John was one of the most gentle guys I had ever met. In fact, his friends had even nicknamed him the “gentle giant”, and he truly lived up to that reputation.
Ladies, don’t make excuses for a man who yells, rages, or calls you names and lacks control of his emotions. This kind of man will only bring you down and snuff your spirit. Look for a man who will build you up, and shower you with love with his sweet and gentle heart.
Integrity: To me, a man of integrity boils down to someone in whom what you see is what you get. It’s a man who is honest and who is living the life he claims to be living even when no one is looking. We’ve all met guys who talk the talk, but when it comes down to it, there walk is a whole lot different.
I could tell that John was a man of integrity because his words always matched his actions. Whether dealing with me, or dealing with others, there was a consistency in how he lived his life and it was evidenced by the reputation he had with his family, his friends, and the people closest to him.
As I got to know him, I began to see traits of honesty, purity, and simply a desire to pursue righteousness in his life. He treated me with respect, and honored me in our interactions both physically and emotionally (which is definitely something I wasn’t used to seeing in a guy). And my favorite thing about this integrity, was that it had nothing to do with “winning” me, but everything to do with what God was doing in his life.
Now that we’ve been together for 15 years, it’s that heart of integrity that I can call my home. Like I’ve said before, a man who has nothing to hide, becomes a safe place in which a woman can hide her heart. Because I can TRUST the work that God is doing in his life: John has been, and always will be, my safe place.
Ladies, don’t give in to the lies of society. A man who is marriage material is not defined by the size of his biceps, the size of his wallet, or his ability to flirt and charm. Marriage is for life, and at the end of the day the most important quality in a man is nothing less than the size of his heart.
When you find someone like that…marry him.
Read our entire love story, and learn how to create your own, by picking up a copy of my book, True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life! It’s a book that’s changing hearts and lives, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that!
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DEBRA FILETA is a Licensed Professional Counselor, national speaker, bestselling author, relationship expert, and founder of the Debra Fileta Counselors Network. She’s written five books including Choosing Marriage,True Love Dates, Love In Every Season, Are You Really OK? and Married Sex. She’s also the host of the hotline style Love + Relationships Podcast answering listener questions about love, relationships, and mental and emotional health. Her popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, reaches millions of people with the message of healthy relationships. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter or book an online session with her or someone from her team today!