The most important personal relationship that a man can have, outside of his spiritual relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, is his relationship with his wife. In the process of looking for a wife, the highest principle is to look for a woman with a personal faith in Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul tells us not to be “unequally yoked” with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14). Unless a man and woman are in full agreement on this most crucial issue, a godly and fulfilling marriage cannot take place.
However, marrying a fellow believer does not guarantee the full experience of being “equally yoked.” The fact that a woman is a Christian does not mean she is necessarily a good match for you spiritually. Does she have the same spiritual goals as you? Does she have the same doctrinal beliefs? Does she have the same passion for God? The qualities of a potential wife are crucially important. Far too many men marry for emotional or physical attraction alone, and that can be a recipe for failure.
What are some godly qualities a man can look for in a wife? Scripture gives us some principles we can use to create a picture of a godly woman. She should first be surrendered in her own spiritual relationship with the Lord. The apostle Paul tells the wife that she is to submit to her husband as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22-24). If a woman is not surrendered to the Lord, she will not likely see submission to her husband as necessary to her own spiritual well-being. We cannot fulfill the expectations of anyone else without first allowing God to fill us with Himself. A woman with God at the center of her life is a good candidate for a wife.
Paul also gives some character traits for a woman in his instructions about leaders in the church. “In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything” (1 Timothy 3:11). In other words, this is a woman who is not overly proud, knows when to speak and when to be silent, and is able to take her place beside her husband in confidence. She is a woman whose first focus is upon her relationship with the Lord and her own spiritual growth.
The responsibilities of marriage are greater for the husband, for God’s order places him as the head of his wife and his family. This headship is modeled after the relationship between Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:25-33). It is a relationship grounded in love. Just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it, the husband is to love his wife as he does his own body. Therefore, a man’s personal spiritual relationship with the Lord is of supreme importance in the success of his marriage and his family. Willing sacrifice and the strength to choose to be a servant to the betterment of his marriage are the marks of a maturing spiritual man who honors God. Wisely choosing a wife based upon biblical qualities is important, but of equal importance is a man’s own ongoing spiritual growth and his surrender to God’s will in his life. A man who is seeking to be the man God wants him to be will be able to help his wife be the woman God desires her to be and will be able to build the marriage into the union God, he, and his wife desire it to be.