Have you ever made a list of characteristics that describe your “ideal mate?”
My girlfriend Theresa and I did when we were sixteen. My list included really mature traits like the color of my dream date’s hair (brown) and how his derriere looked in a pair of Levi’s 501’s.
Theresa—who I’m still blessed to be friends with almost three decades later—and I had a great laugh when I dug up those old lists several years ago. I had been asked to speak to a group of Christ-following college women about how to make wise decisions about men. (I’m pretty sure they chose me because after years of making really poor relationship choices, I had finally gotten it right with my amazing husband.)
On one hand, what constitutes each woman’s ideal mate varies from person to person. But on the other hand I believe that, if you desire to walk with God for a lifetime and partner with your husband in bringing God’s kingdom here to earth, there is a list of five essential character qualities he needs to possess.
If I were advising a younger Christian woman about character qualities that are non-negotiable in the man she dates and marries, this is the list I would give her:
- Does he have strong Christian male friendships?
- Watch how he interacts with other women, especially waitresses and his mom. Does he treat them with honor and respect?
- Is he quick to forgive? Is he able to admit he is wrong and ask for your forgiveness?
- Does he inspire you to walk with Jesus more closely? Does his thirst for the Word challenge you to drink from it more deeply? Does his prayer life cause you to fall on your own knees?
- Does he love Jesus more than he loves you? Is he willing to walk away from you if you don’t love Jesus more than him?
Now, just because you can answer “yes” to all of the above questions about a guy doesn’t necessarily mean you should marry him. But if you answer “no” to any one of these, I would strongly caution you about moving forward in a relationship with him.
What do you think about the list? Do you agree or disagree? What character qualities would you add?