Everyone should know what they are looking for when they look for a spouse. This way you will know when you have found the right person.
It is my belief that the majority of problems within a marriage develop because the couple did not know what they wanted in a spouse before they married or what they were unwilling to put up with in a spouse once they were married.
It is my contention that if every couple went into marriage with a list of the top ten things they had to have and top ten things they could not stand there would be fewer failed marriages.
Look, marriage is all about the relationship between two people. Everyone is different and not everyone is compatible with everyone else. The best marriages are made between two people with the most things in common and their values are similar enough for them to work together despite the slight differences.
Here is a look at the list I had and the list my wife shared with me 11 years ago before we had our first date (we met on the internet on a Christin singles website).
List of 10 must have’s in a spouse
1. God fearing, spirit filled, bible believing Christian.
3. Similar Interests (love of family, pets, love of outdoors, etc.)
4. Loving (Passionate)
6. Forgiving attitude
7. Good conflict resolutions skills
8. Thrifty (Financially responsible)
9. Intelligence (educated)
10. Sense of humor
Chucks 10 Can’t Stands
3. People who hold a grudge
4. People falsely claiming Christianity
5. People with addictions
6. People with negative attitudes
7. People who constantly complain
8. Those who put possessions ahead of people
9. Financially irresponsible people
10. Neat Freaks
Elaine’s 10 Must Haves
- Committed relationship with Jesus
- Committed to marriage
- Knows themselves and can take the ups and downs of life
- Adaptable to surprises
- Conflict resolution skills
- Good at talking and listening
- Ability to handle setbacks
- Financially responsible
- Passionate in marriage
Elaine’s 10 Can’t Stands
- Job #1
- Irresponsible with money
- Unreliable people who cannot follow through
- Negative attitude (glass half empty)
- Sex outside marriage
- People with addictions
- People always late
- People who focus on me alone for their happiness
- People who use possessions as a measure of success.
Did you notice that none of our must haves mention outward appearance like looks, hair, height or weight? My desire is for those qualities which have lasting meaning and provide stability to relationships. Character matters and has long lasting value to me. God looks on the inside of a person’s heart. I desire to be like him.
What areas of life does my wife help me in?
We know that there is nothing that we have to do singlehandedly in our lives. If we would only reach out to one another, we are each there to help the other. We may not agree on the exact way a thing should be done (often we don’t) but we are willing to try to work together to accomplish whatever task there is to accomplish. She reaches out for me; to hold my hand, as we drive along our way daily. She reaches out for me with conversation that desires my input, my considerations and thoughts. She is never far from my thoughts as I reach out to her in the night and hand in hand she walks by my side in the day.
She adds so much texture and color to my life that when she is gone somewhere, I live in a box, a world of black and white: colorless; until she returns. When she enters the room where I am, it is like the sun coming out from behind a cloud. The room is brighter and warmer for me when she is near. Being near her brings me joy and contentment. When we are together we share more of the joys of life and see things that we would not notice if we were not together. I notice smells and remark upon them because I know her sense of smell no longer works.
She and I share a sunset at home or while camping and can feel a special connection even if we are surrounded by other people. We walk hand in hand at a crowded amusement park and share intimacy. We can go to a restaurant and while we share a meal we also share quiet intimate conversation in an atmosphere of romance. Working together in the kitchen while we prepare a meal or clean up afterwards can become a romantic event if we share a hug, a caress, or a kiss on the neck. We can share and explore our intimate needs and vulnerabilities without feelings of shame, doubt or selfishness. We can experience the pure joy of connectedness; of oneness; as we seek to fulfill each other’s needs.
She helps me mathematically. Being with her multiplies my joys, divides my burdens and sorrows and adds to my understanding of God and our relationship to Christ as his bride daily. When we are together I feel stronger and more alive. With her and Christ in my life, I am whole. As we grow older we experience the deep satisfaction of companionship and togetherness as we face the challenges of growing older. We help each other to understand and adjust to the variations we experience as our bodies change.
When I am going too slow; she helps motivate me to catch up. When I am hesitant she helps me to steps out on faith. When I am afraid to take a risk she encourages me to try anyways, even if I may fail. I know she will support me whatever the outcome. And then when I am going too fast she is there to remind me to relax and not try so hard that I hurt myself. She reminds me to enjoy the ride to our destination as much as I will enjoy our time together once we get there.
She believes in me when no one else does. She lifts me up in her prayers daily and hands me over to God’s tender, merciful care. She reminds me that I am loved, needed and special to her and our family. She helps me to head in the direction which will benefit our family or relationship. She reminds me that I can do what needs doing or that it is OK for me to ask for help whenever I need it.
She knows me better than anyone else in the world and can be completely honest with me about what she thinks, feels and wants to know. I know she will give me her honest opinion about everything. Indeed, she often simply says what she things as fast as she thinks it so there is no filter on her thoughts. I love it that I can absolutely know what she is always thinking just by listening to her. I also enjoy knowing that I can also talk with her about anything and she will listen until I am finished and then share her honest opinion with me.
When I desire to sit in silence (playing video games perhaps?), she is able to draw me out of my shell of solitude. When I desire to hide in the background, she can draw me into conversations that will reveal the depth of my emotions with honesty. Even when I say nothing, she knows what I am thinking simply by watching how I am acting. When I am tired and about to get grumpy she gently reminds me to relax and let go of the stress.
She has strengths where I am weak. She has the ability to understand our daughters better than I ever shall. She is their friend and they look to her for an example of how to be a woman of God while our sons and grandsons look to me for an example of how to be a Godly man and to love my wife as Christ loved the Church and gave his life for it.
1 Corinthians 7:5
Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
By withholding due benevolence, denying the use of the marriage bed, refusing to pay the conjugal debt, and which is called a “diminishing of her marriage duty”, Exodus 21:10 where the Septuagint uses the same word “defraud”, as the apostle does here; it is what both have a right to, and therefore, if either party is denied, it is a piece of injustice, it is properly a defrauding; though with proper conditions, such as follow, it may be lawful for married persons to lie apart, and abstain from the use of the bed, but then it should never be done, except it be with consent: because they have a mutual power over each other’s bodies, and therefore the abstinence must be voluntary on each side; otherwise injury is done to the person that does not consent, who is deprived against their will of a just right; but if there is agreement, then there is no defrauding, because each gives up their right.
Satan, who knows the temperament and disposition of men and women, may tempt them not only to hatred of, and quarrels with one another, but to impure lusts and desires, to fornication, adultery, and all uncleanness; a very good reason why, though abstinence from the marriage bed for a short time, by the consent of both parties, for religious purposes, may be lawful, yet ought not to be continued for more than 2 weeks.