Marriage: Part I - "He who finds a wife ..."

He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the LORD.” Proverbs 18:22

Tim and I had just walked into the small prayer chapel at a conference in Florida we were attending with our youth group. Both 17, we had recently discovered we really liked spending time together!

Noticing the large open Bible in the middle of the room, Tim started to read from it. He read the verse above, but found it unpleasant. You see, my beloved husband of 23 years was convinced then that the Lord had called him to a life of singleness. (“What was I thinking?” he now wonders. “How could I be so inconsistent as to continually state that I was called to singleness, and yet date Anne?”) Since he didn’t like that verse, Tim flipped a page and read again.

House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the LORD.”
Proverbs 19:14 (NAS95)

Inside I chuckled. Already I sensed that maybe this was the man for me. Tim on the other hand was not so thrilled, and he decided it was time to leave before we “happened” on any more verses like those.

Two summers later the Lord showed both of us independently, while Tim was on a mission project in Mexico, that we should marry, and our wedding took place two years later, on Aug. 1, 1981.

As our own children reached early teen years Tim and I began to reflect more on our courtship/dating process. Parts of it were good, others weren’t. I am appalled at my lack of asking or thinking about some issues that really matter. Thankfully, the Lord was very gracious in giving me a husband who has been more than I could ever hope for.

Initially I was attracted to Tim because of his spiritual maturity, which has continued to be a defining aspect of his life. I was drawn to his passion for the Lord, and how he served Him in our church and in missions. I knew he would be a strong leader in our future home, guiding us in worshiping the living God. I knew that we enjoyed doing things together, that our temperaments are very similar which makes getting along a breeze, and that he loved me more than I could imagine. (Not to mention the fact that I thought he was cute. People said he looked like John Boy Walton or John Denver, two icons of the ‘70’s.) Yes, here was a man I could find it easy to respect, even submit to, though I only gave that a cursory nod, since I read it in the Bible but didn’t really understand.

On the other hand, I never considered what kind of father Tim would make. Here God’s mercy has been so evident. Little did I know that parenting would so dominate our lives in the years to come! Tim is a fantastic father, sacrificing himself for his children, teaching them, guiding them in godliness. But – I didn’t know that when we were 18, and I didn’t even consider it as a factor in looking for a husband. Granted, we did teach Sunday School to the 2 and 3 year olds most of the time we were dating, and that should have given me some clues, had I been looking for them, but I wasn’t. So my advice to my daughters, and other young ladies, is watch how your young man behaves around children. What kind of father will he be? It matters! Talk about discipline and training of children, how many children you hope the Lord will allow you to have, and how soon you want to start a family.

Continually thankful for the Lord’s providence in bringing us together, and yet also wanting our children to be more open-eyed in their mate selection, Tim and I have made some guidelines. First, we do not want our children casually or recreationally dating. To us it is clear – call it what you may – courting or dating, but the goal in mind should be finding a spouse and not just a good time with someone you “fall in love with” for a time, then break up and move on to someone else.

Second, we want our teens to think through what it is they are looking for in a husband or wife. Before they graduate from our homeschool high school, each one must write out his or her list of requirements and desires in a spouse. At first Andrew, ever looking for ways to get out of writing assignments, told us he wants a Proverbs 31 woman, and he would just copy Pro. 31: 10-31. Sorry, we said, you have to look at all Scripture, and be a bit more thoughtful! He did, and came up with a short, but fine list.

Kara, never content to do things the way most people would do, made a checklist, complete with point totals, including bonus points for having a ranch out west. See Kara’s list here. From time to time she realizes that some of her requirements have changed, so her list is continually undergoing refinement.

Still, the third leg of this table is open dialogue with us and/or other older Christians in our children’s lives. Based on trust built up over years, and knowledge and love for them, we want to continue to be able to guide them as they make these critical decisions. Sometimes someone else may know the people involved more than parents, and it is wise to ask for their advice. Several years ago a young man in our church came to Tim and I and told us that he was thinking of proposing to his young lady. He wanted to know if we saw any reason this would not be a good thing. This wise man also sought the counsel of several others who knew him and his beloved. Happily, they have been married for almost two years now, and are blessed with a growing family.

Finally, prayer is the last essential in finding a godly husband or wife. Like many parents, we have prayed for years for our children’s spouses. Sometimes I get a kick out of praying for a husband or wife for one of my young children, knowing that the person I am praying for is also a young child. I pray that they, as I pray for my children, would love the Lord with all their hearts, souls, minds and strength. I pray that the husbands-to-be would be strong leaders (especially important for those of my daughters who are more, hmmm, opinionated!), that they would love my daughters as Christ loves the church, that they would be good fathers, etc. For my future daughters-in-law I pray that they would be prepared to be godly wives, respectful, and ready to love their husband and children. As my children reach the age when they start thinking about these things, I hope that each in turn will also be making the whole matter of marriage a serious prayer topic.

Even though Tim says that the young man has not been born yet who is worthy of one of our four beautiful daughters, and even though he has told Kara he might not allow her to marry until she is 40 (or 50, or 35, depending on how generous he is feeling, and how impatient she is acting,) we really do hope that each of our nine children will be blessed with a marriage that is as beautiful as ours. As we recently told a soon to be married couple, we are so happy with each other, that we want the same for everyone. Looking carefully at Scriptural duties of husbands and wives, plus knowing your own personality will help to make an easier time in finding that person the Lord has created for you.


Brian said…
That's a great post, thanks for the encouragement!
Anne said…
Oh - I forgot to mention this. The one key thing (besides the essential biblical standards) that Andrew wants in a wife is that she must be logical!

Popular Posts