Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"The List:" What I Should Have Wanted in a Husband

I've been thinking lately about the lists girls make of qualities they daydream about in a future husband. I had one of those lists in high school, and it was populated with great qualities like, "tall," "dark," "handsome," "athletic," "good sense of humor," and (of course) "Christian."

Now that I've been married for nearly two years and we have a few bumps and bruises under our belts, I've come to appreciate qualities in HH in some unexpected ways. Allow me to make a few suggestions to all the single ladies out there: here are some qualities you should really look for in a husband.

  1. Does he delight in serving? Not just serving you (and not just to impress you, so watch out for those first few months!), but does he serve others as well? Does he see needs and meet them proactively and joyfully? Oh, it is such a Gospel-filled delight to be totally undeserving and to be served by someone who loves you selflessly.
  2. Is he broken about his sin? He will sin; you will sin. You both will sin generally, and you will sin in shocking ways against each other. Does he grieve over his sin? You'll know if he does, because he will be quick and thorough in repentance of his own sin; and he will be quick and tender in granting you forgiveness for yours.
  3. How does he respond to criticism? I'm talking about criticism from you, as well as from others. Does he (eventually) see it as redemptive? Or is he defensive and angry? Get this: God will call you, as his wife, to be a corrective voice in his life time and time again. He will either come to see you as a nag ("It is better to live on the corner of a roof than with a quarrelsome wife" ) or as his most trusted and blessed voice of reason (hint: you'll both benefit if it's the latter).
  4. How does he criticize? How does he criticize you, and how does he criticize others? Is he harsh and biting? Does he love you enough to correct you at all? Lately I've noticed several men in the digital world who sound sarcastic, bitter and mean-spirited in their criticism of others (all brothers in Christ); my first thought both times has been, "I'm so glad I'm not married to them!" I believe that in the manner that they criticize others, they will also criticize their wives in times of anger or frustration.
  5. Does he seek help from others? Does he actually listen to and heed their advice? Is he building relationships with peers and more mature men who can help him when he's stuck -- this applies to career, finances, conflict, even instilling a dishwasher or planning a vacation. You will both need help in your marriage; sometimes a 30-minute conversation will be enough to get you back on track. Will you and he get that help quickly and from the right people? One step further: will he take the lead in getting that help? I am both broken and blessed when he humbly seeks help for problems that that have barely even started to rear their ugly heads (even while I'm still in denial).
  6. Does he strive to be a good steward? This includes not just his/your money and other resources, but of time, relationships and talents. Does he take care of his home and car and use them in a way that not only ensures that they last, but that blesses others? How does he feel when you disagree with him about purchasing a "luxury" item?
  7. Does that good stewardship involve being generous? A generous heart reflects Our Father's generous heart (and I'm not connecting generosity with wealth; generosity is a heart attitude regardless of how deep your pockets are). You will be blessed by his generosity, and you will be blessed as you both are able to serve others through generosity.
  8. How is his relationship with his family? Is it strained? If yes, does that grieve him? Does he desire to build a good relationship with your family, one in which you both can honor and serve and enjoy your family? I am so blessed that we enjoy delightful relationships with both families; I realize that this isn't always possible, but there is a posture by a husband that I think facilitates this type of relationship.
  9. Have you seen him submit? If you read Scripture like I do (it's okay if you don't read it just like I do), you believe that you are called to submit to your husband. He's not the head of your relationship, though; God is. He is called to submit to God and while that is hard to measure, have you seen him submit to anyone (e.g. your father, an employer, a pastor) in something he doesn't necessarily want to do? It's much easier to submit to a husband whom you believe is actively submitting to God and who is (healthily) distrustful of his own motivations.
  10. Is he aware of the major areas in which he struggles? And, does he have a plan for growing in those areas? Again, the question is not if, but how he will struggle. God calls us all, as pilgrims, to walk in faith, which involves daily repentance and grasping hold of his grace. When you marry, you are choosing to partake in your husband's struggles (and he in yours); the Help that he offers you will only come from the help that he is actively experiencing from his Savior.
"Tall, dark and handsome" is great (I got them, too!), but they will quickly fade or become irrelevant. Look for these, and I think you will see the sweetness of your union with your beloved just increase with every year the Lord gives you together.


Melodee said...

Thanks for this, Molly! What a great list.

Beth said...

Excellent list, Molly! Thank you!

Samuel Bostock said...

This is one of the best of these lists I've come across - thanks very much!

Can you get your husband to do a similar one?

ashleigh said...

Thanks for sharing this!

Addie said...

I love this as well.

Lonnie Smith said...

Hmmm, can I marry your husband?

Missy said...

Wow, this is good.

And wow, this makes me love my husband even more. :)