Reblog: How to Choose a Husband

I like to follow quite a few blogs, but I do have my favorites. I was reading through one of them today, and came across this post, and just had to share it.

For a laugh, check this one out:

How to Look Desperate in Five Minutes Flat

And check out the rest of Phylicia’s blog here:

How to Choose a Husband

“I want to watch this! ‘The War on Men’ is up next!” Mr. M himself looked interested to watch as well, probably to find out who ultimately won the war.

After enduring an extensive commercial break Suzanne Venker came into view on the screen. The interview was short, but intriguing. Venker was talking about her recent book How to Choose a Husband, which addresses marriage in modern culture, the impact of feminism on women and their view of men, and the frustration many older career women encounter when, into their late twenties and thirties, they remain unmarried.

I have three sisters and two brothers. My sisters and I have been raised with a strong set of values concerning marriage and family, enforced by our parents’ fun-loving, unified marriage of 23 years displayed before us during our childhood and into the present. My sisters are some of the few women I can discuss marriage with in our feminist-founded culture, so after watching the interview I was not surprised to find two Suzanne Venker articles in my email inbox from my 18 year old sister Autumn.

Read this! She said. It’s amazing!

Judging by her enthusiasm I knew what I had to get her for Christmas: one of Venker’s books. I immediately looked at ordering How to Choose a Husband, but as a new print it was not yet shelved. I wandered through Barnes and Noble until I found Venker’s first book, The Flipside of Feminism. 

I have kept fairly vague in my blogging when it comes to opinions on marriage, but in reading snippets from Venker’s book I was delighted to find so many little-shared truths about women and marriage – separate from the biblical mandates Christian women should adhere to – that I couldn’t contain myself!

Growing up I was asked what I look for in a man: what are my priorities? My practical approach to dating turned some people off (including some potential suitors) because it was too ‘serious’. Venker outlines the precise reason for this serious approach to dating in her book. Dating is not recreational. It cannot be taken flippantly. It is a trial period where a man and woman discover each other’s priorities and if those priorities align for a future together. There is no specific time period necessary to discover that alignment: just the wisdom of God, and common sense.

So how does a girl choose a husband? Before I share Suzanne Venker’s expert advice, I have outlined below what my parents have taught me and my sisters over the years. Their wisdom has been pivotal as we have navigated our own relationships.

How to Choose a Husband

1. By staying close to the Source: Jesus Christ.

“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good.”  – Psalm 73:28

An ungodly, or moderately godly girl isn’t going to have the option of a wonderful godly man, because a wonderful godly man knows that a weak woman can never support him in marriage. Just as a cracked pillar cannot hold up a building, a godly man knows that his house will be built around his wife. He won’t choose the faulty version, so we can’t be that faulty version! Yes, we are imperfect – but Christ perfects us. Stay close to Him! It is He, after all, who knows our future. Stay in His hand and let Him work all things together for good (Romans 8:28).

2. By looking for the three qualities: a hard worker, a man who fears God, a man with a teachable heart.

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1

My father always said he only required three things of the men who asked for the hands of us, his daughters: for them to fear God, work hard, and be teachable. A man who fears God lives in awe of His grace and mercy. This in turn motivates such a man to be all he can be in work and character. A man like this also cultivates a humble heart constantly desiring to learn and change. This is not too much to ask. While each of these are equally important, a man who lacks a teachable heart should be the first you avoid – which leads to my next point.

3. By weeding out the chaff.

Do not put your trust in princes, in a son of man who cannot save.” Psalm 146:3

There are a lot of ‘good’ guys out there, girls. There are a lot of ‘Christian’ guys out there. There are a lot of church-going, worship-leading, ‘servant-hearted’ guys who will ask you out, pay for your dinner, open the door, the car door, ANY door to persuade you to ultimately open your heart. Be cautious! Don’t fall for the first, second, or even the third who ‘does all the right things’. Sometimes a godly man doesn’t do what culture says is ‘the right thing’. He might be a little awkward in company because he won’t watch the TV shows everyone else deems okay. He might not be alright with a drink now and then. He may not want you to wear the clothes you favor because today’s style rings of street corner. Remember that a real man is teachable, but not pliable. A real man is more than an open car door and a ten-AM church service. He knows what he believes, and he stands on it. A real man takes thought for his woman, but he is not run by her. Go on dates, but don’t let the fear of singleness keep you from saying no to a second when the man is below the best God has for you. Trust God.

4. There is such a thing as too picky.

“Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” – Matthew 10:16

Believe me, I’m not talking out of two sides of my mouth. Weeding out not only the losers, but the ‘sub-par’, is necessary – don’t waste your time and emotion on users. But how you weed these fellows out is dependent on your priorities (which is the premise of Venker’s book). If your list is a mile long, down to haircut, music preference, and eye color, breaking news: you might be single a while!  Pray about your priorities in dating your future husband. What do you want for your future family? They will be directly affected by your choice in a partner. Take consideration for them when you establish what you are looking for in a man. And give guys some grace. Not every man spiritually leads the same way. Not every man will lead worship, preach a sermon, or do Bible studies with you. Many men lead quietly by serving in the church or being involved in ministry. Don’t force him to be who he is not, or impulsively overlook a quality guy because he doesn’t lead spiritually the way you think a man should. Be patient, kind, and sympathetic – but simultaneously discerning and wise.

So what did Suzanne Venker have to say about priorities in dating? Read on to find out her startling perspective on choosing a spouse:

“Since it is assumed women are no different from men [in today’s culture], women are no longer taught to look for a stable, career-oriented guy. The plan is for women to support themselves. The only women who think to look for a guy who makes a decent income, or who has the ability and drive to make a good income, are the women who know they plan to stay home with their children.

“But most women today do not plan to do this. They have been groomed for another life altogether. Whether or not they eventually quit their jobs to stay home when they discover how demanding babies are, they don’t assume beforehand that they will do this. The result is that women often ignore a boyfriend’s financial potential.

“In the past, mothers warned their daughters to look for men who can provide for them. They correctly assumed their daughter would be out of the workforce for some period of time and thus would need a husband who could provide for her and their future children. That’s what happened to Lori Gottleib, the single mother author who warns women not to do what she did. When Gottleib was dating boyfriends whose financial prospects were bleak, her (smart) mother asked her if she thought these men would be able to support a family. “At the time, I thought she was such a throwback to the ’50s, so old-fashioned and unenlightened and out of touch with women of my generation. But it turns out she was right.”

“Indeed, love does not pay the bills -nor does it allow women to stay home with their babies. But the average woman hasn’t been taught to think in these terms. She worries only about herself and considers dependence on a man to be a bad thing. After she matures and has children, however, she begins to feel resentful. This is understandable, since she has, in effect, been lied to her entire life by just about every woman she knows. With all the talk of woman’s independence, no one ever suggested she might want to stay home!…

“Finally, it is imperative that couples determine how they plan to raise a family. Regardless of how carefully women plan their lives, the truth is that children will rock their world. In many cases, whatever plans women had go out the window once they’re holding their own babies. That’s why couples should discuss ahead of time their values and expectations about family life. While plans are subject to change, knowing each person’s ideal is key – many married couples find themselves stuck with lives they hadn’t prepared for because they never discussed the matter beforehand.”

It’s too late to talk about these things in marriage.

It’s asking for trouble to talk about these things in engagement.

It’s planning ahead to ask hard questions while dating.

How much wasted time, money, and emotion would be saved if we as ladies were more discerning in our dating lives? Fewer hearts would be broken if we kept our heads in the game and our priorities in mind when deciding between suitors. Your future – whether it’s the next few months or fifty years – is at stake.

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