Not many people know how to pursue marriage with purpose.
For example, when you ask single men and women what they’re looking for in a spouse, many seem unprepared to answer that basic question. The most common responses generally have to do with physical attraction. And that’s not unimportant.
But couples who want a marriage that stands the test of time rise beyond that initial connection point. They keep deeper character traits top of mind, understanding that they’re in a relationship with a whole person, not just a body.
Another idea for single men and women to consider is the length of their engagement period. Jean and I were engaged for six weeks and have been married for over thirty years, so there are no hard and fast rules. Generally, though, couples who rush into marriage do so before they’ve had an opportunity to experience each other in a variety of different seasons and situations. They don’t get below the surface and answer questions like:
- What is he like when he’s stuck in traffic and late for an appointment?
- How does she act when she’s stressed because of a hospitalized loved one?
- How does he treat his mother?
- What’s her relationship like with her father?
- What is he like when he’s around his friends?
- How does she feel about children?
People are usually on their best behavior when they’re dating. It’s in the course of the journey that you see a person for who they really are. That’s why no attribute is as important as character.
On our Focus on the Family Broadcast “The Search for a Godly Spouse,” we’re airing a stirring message by Pastor Alistair Begg, the senior pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, OH since 1983. In this recording, he is speaking to a group of college students, but he’s sharing principles that apply to hopeful soon-to-be-marrieds of any age.
Alistair says it’s a lot easier to have a great relationship when you’re married to a person with the sort of Christ-like characteristics Alistair outlines.
For women, here’s his advice for what to look for in a husband:
- He’s committed to having a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
- He should be an individual of obvious integrity.
- He should be able to lead boldly.
- He should display the ability to love sacrificially.
- He should be able to laugh heartily.
- He should model genuine humility.
For men, here’s Alistair’s advice for what to look for in a wife:
- Like her husband, a wife should having a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
- She should possess an inner beauty that goes deeper than her skin.
- She should be an initiative taker with an attitude of submission.
- She should build her husband’s confidence.
- She should display kindness that touches others.
- She should have a sense of humor that braves adversity.
Over the next couple of programs, Alistair will explain each of these points in full to help couples build not just a good marriage, but a biblical marriage.
In addition to his role as a pastor, Alistair is the daily speaker on the national radio program, Truth for Life. With his Scottish brogue and down-to-earth preaching of the Word, he’s a favorite of millions.
I’d like to offer you a copy of Alistair’s book Lasting Love: How to Avoid Marital Failure for a gift of any amount. When you help Focus on the Family today, your donation will be doubled for twice the impact in helping others through this ministry. Our thanks to generous donors who’ve made that possible. Visit our website for more information.
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