by Dr. Stephen Kim
“Jerusha Edwards was the same age as Sarah Pierpont and had all the qualities of Jonathan idealized in her New Haven counterpart. As much as anyone, she was his model of female piety. She was renowned for her devotion, her solitary contemplations, sweetness of temper, fine understanding and beautiful countenance….When she died a number of her family wrote tributes to her model of submission.” -George Marsden, describing Jerusha Edwards (the sister of Jonathan Edwards) in his biography, Jonathan Edwards: A Life, Yale University Press 2003.
There are many Christian women who desire to be wed. Among the problems facing them, however, is a strange obstinacy on the part of some to resist asking themselves, “What are the traits that a Christian man looks for when looking for a spouse?” Perhaps of greater consequence is the question, “What are the traits that God expects in a marriageable Christian woman?” Regardless of how attractive a woman thinks herself to be, the question ought to be, “Is she aligning herself to the Word of God?”
The following are ten desirable qualities Christian men want in a spouse.
- Faith. The first thing a Christian man looks for in a marriageable woman is faith. “Does the woman truly believe in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior?” Christian men are prohibited from marrying unbelievers and hence, faithful men of God will not even consider an non-Christian woman (2 Corinthians 6:14). A woman that loves Christ above all is an attractive woman.
- Same Vision. Men look for women with the same mission. The scholar C. S. Lewis once said, “When the two people who thus discover that they are on the same secret road are of different sexes, the friendship which arises between them will very easily pass – may pass in the first half hour – into erotic love.” A missionary needs more than a woman who simply loves Jesus. What he needs is a woman that’s also called to go to the mission field with him. Not every woman can survive and suffer in the hardships of bleak mission fields. Not every woman can survive the load and scrutiny of being a pastor’s wife. Not every woman can bear her man being on-call at the hospital, firehouse, or ambulance four nights out of the week. Men look for women who will complement them (so a doctor will look for a woman that can raise the family while he’s not home, whereas a missionary will look for a woman that could survive the mission field alongside him). A woman on the same mission is an attractive woman.
- Beauty. Some men try to come off as hyper-spiritual about this one by saying things like, “I only look for the inward beauty of the heart–a woman’s beauty doesn’t matter for me.” That’s garbage. That’s like saying, “I like apples that taste like paste because I only eat them for nutritional value.” C.S. Lewis also saw physical repulsion as an inhibitor for romantic attraction: “Indeed, unless they are physically repulsive to each other or unless one or both already loves elsewhere, it is almost certain to do so sooner or later. And conversely, erotic love may lead to Friendship between the lovers.” I certainly would never force any of my sons to marry Christian girls that they found to be unattractive. For marriage, beauty is an important consideration for men. Christian men fellowship and care for unattractive mothers, sisters, friends, and female cousins all the time; however, for the woman that a man is expected by God to procreate with, physical attraction certainly matters! God made wives beautiful and wired husbands in such a way that they delight in their beauty. As the tongue was made to delight in honey, so the eyes of men were made to delight in the beauty of their women. There is absolutely nothing wrong in relishing in the beauty of your wife. In fact, it’s actually a good thing. Listen to this biblical writer: “Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful! Your eyes are doves behind your veil. Your hair is like a flock of goats leaping down the slopes of Gilead (Song of Solomon 4:1). A beautiful woman is an attractive woman.
- Humility. Men can’t stand women who flaunt their beauty on social media. It says a lot about them. Foolish men fall for such vanity, but wise men wisely stay away. A humble woman is an attractive woman.
- Kindness. Although men look for beauty, that outward beauty will only lead to strife if it is not accompanied by the inward beauty of kindness. I’ve often said, “Good looks will get you a date, but kindness will get you a relationship.” When the world is against them, men want to receive kindness from their wives. They do not want a nagging or argumentative woman: “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife” (Prov 25:24). A kind woman is an attractive woman.
- Wisdom. Not all Christian men are wise, but all Christian men look for wise women. The wiser the man, the wiser his life companion ought to be. Again, beauty might land you a first date, but few Christian men will marry a woman who is foolish. Conversation and trust–to a certain extent–are built upon wisdom. A foolish woman is difficult to trust and communicate with. “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion” (Proverbs 11:22). A wise woman is an attractive woman.
- Willingness to Bear Children. Christian men take God’s command to bear “holy seed” seriously. Women who do not wish to have children are automatically disqualified by most Christian men. A woman’s willingness to bear children and manage the home is a powerful proof of her salvation and deals a deadly blow on the head of the enemy (1 Tim 5:14). A fruitful woman is an attractive woman.
- Joyful. Men love to make women smile. The ancients used to call this trait “sweetness of temper.” Christian men want to come home to joy and a sweet home environment. Life is difficult as it is, and the last thing men desire is the continual drip of a malcontent at home. This trait of “joy” is not thoughtless levity. [Thoughtless women cause their husbands great shame: “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones” (Prov 12:4).] Rather, “joy” is the expression of happiness that overflows from a life that is daily trusting in, and content with, Jesus Christ (1 Thess 5:16). A consistently joyful woman is an attractive woman.
- Submissive. Perhaps the crowning mark of a Christian woman is submission. The Bible says, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord” (Col 3:18). Submission is perhaps the quality that is most lacking among Christian women today. Due to the pervasive work of feminists and egalitarians, the notion of women submitting to their husbands is completely foreign. Yet, this is a trait that God looks for within godly women and, non-coincidentally, it is also a trait that godly men look for in marriageable women. A submissive woman is an attractive woman.
- Active Devotional Life. Godly men will inquire about a woman’s devotional life. Is the woman daily in her Bible and in prayer? Yes, after marriage, the man will help develop these spiritual disciplines; but godly men will not marry a woman that speaks much about “loving Jesus,” but doesn’t actually spend time with Jesus through prayer and Bible reading. The absence of a devotional life is a strong warning sign to a godly man. As Jesus said: “There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42). A woman who reads her Bible is an attractive woman.