Thursday, December 03, 2009

(Part 3) Who Am I Waiting For?

Thank you all for your interaction with these posts. It's a hard subject to tackle, and I certainly don't have it all figured out, but I enjoy discussing it. Ultimately, everyone's story and situation is different, but through this we see God's creativity at work!

This post especially is more for the unmarried girls... What characteristics must your future husband have? What I've written isn't intended as a "shopping list," but as honest thoughts... okay, and a little dreaming thrown in. :) Guys are certainly welcome to read as well, and if you care to comment, I know we'd enjoy hearing what you're looking for in a girl. If you're married, is your spouse like the one you imagined you'd marry? I look forward to hearing what you all have to say on this topic!
"'Then what kind of man wilt thou love?' 'Someone heroic and valient, not merely skilled in speech. Someone who is kind and pure in heart. Someone who does not play with white roses that belong to others." - From Before You Meet Prince Charming by Sarah Malley
So, who am I waiting for? I don't know his name. I call him "My Dearest," a name I came up with when I was 15. It's much nicer than referring to him as "the unknown one," or some other such name! =)

Like every maiden, I have my moments of wondering, of dreaming... Do I know him? Or have I never laid eyes on him? Will the sparks fly when we first meet, or will it be a growing, deepening attraction? What does he look like? What's his name? What are his interests, his passions? What does he want to be? What are his goals in life?

I can wonder, but I don't have a set list of what those things have to be. I'm pretty adaptable and can get along with varying temperaments, as long as they are Christ-like. As to looks, I've never had a particular attraction to only one type of physique. Okay, so I'd really like him to be at least my height or preferably taller (I've never liked the thought of having to look down on my husband!) - but even this isn't a prerequisite. It's a preference; ultimately character is more important than height. I've known many happy women whose husbands are shorter.

Another preference was that of age - I wanted my husband to be older than I, thus seemingly easier to follow. But as I've seen many immature older guys and a few solid and wise younger men, I've determined that maturity is more important than age. Younger or older, he must be one I can respect.

It's easy to write up a long list of what I'm waiting for, and I've even done it a time or two. But I don't expect him to have mastered the character traits I've written. Everyone - myself included! - is a work in progress. All I ask is that he be growing in character and have evidence of fruit in his life.

The top non-negotiable is that he must be a Christian - a Bible-believing, growing, and steadfast Christian. I'd love for him to have grown up in a Christian home as I have, but even if he is the first Christian in his family, the test is whether he is sincere, passionate, and committed to following Christ no matter the cost. Being with him should spur me on to greater faith in the Lord.

He should be a gentleman, thinking of others above himself. Is he kind? Compassionate? Slow to anger? Humble? Quick to apologize and forgive others? Trustworthy? Strong and steadfast in what is good? Generous? Joyful? I don't expect him to be perfect, for I'm certainly not! But he should be striving to be daily molded and refined into Christ-likeness.

There are other crucial questions to consider...

What kind of husband would he be? Is he committed to life-long marriage, with divorce not an option? Will he follow God's direction as he leads his family? Would he try to love me as Christ loves the church? Will he want me to be a keeper at home as I wife and mother?

Would he make a good father? This is a huge one for me: he must want children - as many as God wants to bless us with - and desire to home educate them. I have wanted a large family since before I can remember, and I really desire to teach them at home. This may not be near the top of the list for every girl, but it is one that is important to me. It would be fun if he came from a large family and was homeschooled himself, but even if he's an only child and went to public school, that will be fine, as long he desires children of his own and wants to homeschool them. Together, we will train and teach them to know and love God.

Another good test of character is whether he is committed to working diligently and not going into debt (except, perhaps, when buying a house). The first years may be lean ones, but there are many ways to live frugally (I've read all three volumes of The Tightwad Gazette after all!) and the benefits of saving and paying cash are numerous.

He must be committed to purity and waiting for God's timing. In this world, I know that he may have made mistakes, but if he has truly repented and is now seeking to live a set-apart life, who am I to hold the past against him? I don't expect him to have the same exact views of courtship (there are so many out there!), but if he is committed to involving our parents and honoring God in our relationship, all should be well.

Other things are more or less preferences. My dad and brothers are examples of how I'd like my man to be, but abilities and interests are inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. He should be committed to purity and holiness in what he reads and watches, but I don't expect his favorite books and movies to be the same as mine. I don't care much for sports, but could learn to like them if he does - as long as he doesn't devote all of his time to watching them. It would be nice if he could fix things around the house, but I don't expect him to be as all-around handy-man as my dad. He may have never danced or cared to, but I hope he'll at least try it - with me. =) Coming from a musical family as I do, it would be nice if he played an instrument and/or sang, but it's not necessary. I do hope he at least enjoys music though, for there's bound to be a lot around. :)

As to profession - entrepreneur, doctor, engineer, writer, carpenter, big-city businessman or country farmer - it doesn't matter. He should be able to provide for a family, and above all be seeking to glorify God in whatever he does. Jasmine's post "Oh, Lord, May I Marry... A Plumber" is a good read that I can relate to.

A great question to ask, which I've heard many people advocate, is "Will we be able to serve God better together than apart?" Our marriage shouldn't just be for fun or to ease the loneliness, though those are reasons for marriage. Together, we should glorify God, as marriage is a picture of Christ's relationship with the church. It's a big responsibility, one not entered lightly.

It will be exciting to one day find out what kind of man God pairs me up with! Which leads to the question... Is there only one man out there for me? Of course, you can only marry one man! ;) But is there only one whom God has chosen for me? I'd like to think that there is; the God Who knows the end from the beginning can prepare a husband for me! God is sovereign; but He has also given us free will. If one person made a bad choice and married the wrong one, wouldn't that throw everyone off? I don't understand it all, and haven't figured it out, but I do trust that God will guide me to the right one to marry. And when I pray for my Dearest, I trust that God knows who I'm praying for, even though I don't. :)

It's easy to get distracted when you meet someone who seems to meet the "qualifications." It's crazy how quickly a girl's thoughts can jump to marriage! As people have said in the comments section, it is good to be friendly to a guy you're interested in - turning and running each time you see him would just make things worse. ;) There is a place for "guy-nudging" (encouraging him for who he is) as Eric Ludy writes about in Authentic Beauty. But I do have to remember that just because someone would make a good husband, it doesn't mean he's the one for me. Emotions easily fly ahead to thoughts of marriage (trying out his last name, imagining the ceremony... I know you've done it as well, try as we might not to!) but these must be guarded and reminded to wait.

Instead of making lists and dreaming about what I want my husband to be, I should use this time to ask God to shape me in to a woman who will make a good help meet for him.

I do pray for him every day, asking God to strengthen and bless him, wherever and whoever he is. I pray that God will teach him His ways and grow him into a valiant man of God.

When will my Dearest come for me, to woo my heart and win my hand? It would be nice if it's soon, but even if he takes years to get here, I'll be waiting.

And in the meantime, there are plenty of things to do...

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

You know, the way you said about understanding that in this world, he may have made mistakes in the past, but as long as he's committed to purity and set-apart-ness now, you can love him? That really brought tears of joy to my eyes, because I have made mistakes, and knowing that there are people out there who will not hold that against their future spouse makes me sing for joy. The Lord is good!

Sheila said...

Thank you Anna! This series of posts has been so encouraging to me! It is such a delight to finally see people who are dedicated to this kind of a future spouse. What wonders!

Chelsey said...

Hi Anna,

I've been married for almost eight months now, and as I was reading your post, I started thinking about my "ideal husband" whom I had dreamed about and prayed for in comparison to the husband that the Lord gave me.

I won't go into explicit details (for example, I always imagined my husband being dark-eyed and dark-haired - he has blondish hair and blue eyes!), but I will say the following:
1) Even if you're not 100% sure of what you're looking for, the Lord can fill in the gaps. I knew my husband was a Christian and that he would be a leader in our home, but since we've been married I've learned more and more of how perfect he is for me and how he is exactly what I need.

2) As far as family/life background, while I think it is an important consideration, it's not necessarily that important. The Lord can do a great deal in the heart of a sinner. My husband grew up in a family wrecked by divorce and abuse and dysfunction. He hardly knew his father and his mother worked three jobs. He went to a public school and a liberal university. But God saved him when he was 13 and put him in a church where he was mentored by a godly older man. I, on the other hand, was homeschooled for most of my life and grew up in a godly Christian family. But my husband loves the Lord with all his heart and desires for us to have as large of a family as the Lord gives us. He took a new, better-paying job so that I will be able to stay home with our little one (who is due in February!) and his desire is for me to stay at home and teach them when they reach school-age. However, this was not necessarily his view when I first met him - the change in his heart happened over time. So I would say to be patient if it seems like the Lord has brought a husband, even if he doesn't seem to be exactly what you are looking for at first.

I hope this is helpful. I appreciate the encouragement you're giving to other young ladies!

Joanna said...

Anna,

Thank you. Thank you for doing this series. I think it's one of my favorites of the ones you've done. Really, the Lord is using it to encourage me abundantly.

May He bless you!
Joanna

Miss Emily said...

Oh my dear Anna, you always seem to take the words right out of my mouth! This post and the other 2 parts are so well written! I also just wanted to add into here what I refer to my future husband as lol. I call him, my beloved, and I also pray for him everyday. God bless! <3

Maggie said...

Hello,

You have such a lovely blog with such amazing posts. I am fairly new to your blog too and this is an amazing post. I am loving this series. The posts on this blog are such a blessing!

Many blessings,
Maggie
www.behindtheteenscene.blogspot.com
~Be sure to check out the giveaway at my blog~

Samantha said...

Anna, thank you for sharing this! It's so nice to have other friends in this season of life as well. Indeed, it is often fun to dream of Prince Charming. My sister is the only other girl in our group, and seeing her marry and now with two kids, makes me wonder, "when's my turn?" Then I stay over at her house and baby sit and think, "thank goodness I'm single! I could NOT do this every day just yet!"

Ella said...

I always tell my mom that it will take a special breed of guy to put up with me--as I definitely have my quirks.

But for me, he has to be a Christian, want to homeschool, open to many children (but willing to adopt), not be legalistic, and he and I have to think the same politcally.

I do like sports, so that isn't an issue for me. But I do hope he would like watching classic movies =)

However, like I think I know what yo're going to say next....there is stuff I am doing as I wait.

www.timothydeanmills.com said...

Anna, thanks for these great posts! These are very good thoughts. It is hard to go through the waiting phase, but praise God that He has a bigger plan in mind for us than we can see. You might find my book helpful as you think through what you are looking for--it is available for free to download at www.lookingforawife.net. God bless you in your waiting, finding, marriage, and family.

In Christ,

--Tim
www.timothydeanmills.com

Victoria Faith said...

Anna,

Lovely series! It is like you can just about read my thoughts sometimes. :)

What I went ahead and made the one day was two seperate lists.

The first list was a *requirement* list. Everything on that list is based on things I know without a doubt that God has shown me through His word are right.It includes things like "Very Conservative Christian" also I believe I wrote "a good provider/hard worker". Of course there are other things on that list, but I will not bore the rest of the world with all the details. ;)

The second list was just a very undetailed list of things I would like to see, but do not necessarily have to because I know God could have other plans. One example being that I would really prefer someone who wants to live in the country and have a farm and be as self-sufficient as possible. However, I am open to options because we never know what the Lord has in store. He may want me to marry a farmer, a doctor, or even a missionay who has been led to live in another country! Whoever it is, it is so good to rest in the Lord and know He is taking care of it all and we'll bring us together someday.

God is so awesome!

Maria Pauline said...

I guess I've always made it easy: I could never enter a relationship with someone I don't respect. And for me to respect someone means a lot-- it means they are upright and Godly.

Thank you so much for tackling this in depth. It helps so much to hear you confess that you struggle just as much as I do. You should write a book someday. Or several. You would be good at it.