42 responses

  1. Nurse Bee
    November 17, 2011

    I do agree although I think the same could be said for husbands and wives. And while you give some good examples of motivation, there are many others (and video games is not necessarily a sign of laziness, my husband enjoys gaming, and was the first in his family to go to college and had to earn his way through).

    • Sheila
      November 17, 2011

      True, Nurse Bee. We can’t expect a great husband if we’re not also great! And it’s not that video games are all bad–but if they’re consistently letting opportunities to go to volunteer, or to work, or to go out with friends, then I do think it’s a problem!

    • Tunzo
      October 25, 2013

      Thanks for wonderful insight on what to look for in husband by potential wives. In my view, all these may be secondary. The first thing needed from the husband by any woman is sex. A woman does not marry another woman. A man must deliver to the wife. In fact Paul was mad about this in 1 Corinthian 7. We must be honest – at least girls must be honest to God and ask this from God!! In my 26+ years in marriage and counselling I have noted that many marriages are “surviving” on that cord!!!!Advise the young women and pastors alike to get this squarely in their prayer and counselling life.

  2. Cheri Gregory
    November 17, 2011

    Sheila —

    I’m going to share this with ALL my students, guys and girls!

    As a teacher, I see SO many issues with #3 (because #1 and #2 aren’t in place.) Kids who were happy, engaged in life, contributing to the school community suddenly become withdrawn, isolated, and self-centered when they get into a bad relationship.

    As adults, we see this huge change and want to send out a search party to find them and bring them back. But they’re too busy convincing themselves that they are “nobody” without this one person…that their life will be ruined without him/her…when it’s really the relationship that is ruining both lives!

    Thanks for an important and well-articulated discussion of this life-altering topic!

    Cheri Gregory recently posted…A Gift of Grace: a Daughter’s ThanksMy Profile

    • Sheila
      November 17, 2011

      That’s sad, Cheri. And I totally know what you mean. I see it in our youth group all the time, too!

  3. Renee
    November 17, 2011

    Good post, Sheila! I’m passing this along to my girls.

    • Sheila
      November 17, 2011

      Thanks, Renee! Hope they listen!

  4. Lori
    November 17, 2011

    Your Thanksgiving post is amazing!!! I’m sure you accidentally sent it before you wanted to since it’s not on your blog. I have done that several times. Now, before I even write a post, I set the date for sometime in the future so if I accidentally hit the post button, it won’t go out to all my readers! Just a little advice because I have done the same thing one too many times! ;) Your writings are terrific and very much needed today.

    • Sheila
      November 17, 2011

      Actually, I scheduled it for Thanksgiving, but when I looked on the calendar I chose the wrong Thursday :) But thanks for giving a great advertisement for next Thursday’s post! HEY EVERYBODY: MY THANKSGIVING POST ROCKS!!!!

  5. Janet
    November 17, 2011

    I am mentoring a college girl. I sure will give this to her.

    When I was young, I wanted my man to love me, adore me, and want me. I got SO much more than that!!

    God is soooo good!

    <3 Janet
    Janet recently posted…The Simple Woman’s DaybookMy Profile

  6. Millicent
    November 18, 2011

    Someone who makes you laugh is just priceless. I am glad I found that.
    Millicent recently posted…To love and to cherishMy Profile

    • Sheila
      November 18, 2011

      Absolutely, Millicent! I’m glad I found that, too.

  7. Rachael
    November 18, 2011

    when I was 18, I decided I really just wanted to be a wife and a mom. But, there was noone who I was interested in or who was interested in me, so I went on with life. I met my current husband when I was 27 (26?) and we got married when I was 28. I had 4 requirements:
    1. Love God
    2. Love people and desire to see them know God
    3. Significant overseas experience, China preferred
    4. 5’9″ or taller — I wanted him taller than me even if I wore high heels… is that totally shallow?

    Hubby is all this (and he’s 6’2!). Its amazing how God answers our prayers if we will only wait for him.
    Rachael recently posted…In a week…My Profile

    • Sheila
      November 19, 2011

      That’s funny, Rachael! But I’m sure you would have married a shorter man. It’s just that God gave you your dreams instead…

  8. Esther
    November 18, 2011

    Having worked with teenagers for many years, I love how you have summed this up.

    And as a mum of four boys, you have put into words what we should and hopefully are raising them towards. I think boys and girls need to be so aware of this stuff.

    • Sheila
      November 19, 2011

      Thanks, Esther!

  9. J
    November 22, 2011

    I think two things mentioned can be very dangerous if not further explained.

    The first is “There has be a sense of camaraderie and equality for a marriage to work.” This statement can be easily viewed as somewhat typical feminist posturing. God said that the husband is the head of the wife, wives should submit to their husbands and be subject to them in everything and for young women to be taught to be obedient to their husbands. Now God also said to obey Him rather than men (if the husband is trying to lead the wife into sinful behavior). However, most objections over submission are not about sin. Christians need to be very careful about trying to bend God’s word around their feelings instead of bending their feelings around God’s word. If we disobey God’s design for marriage, we should not be surprised if the results are not too great.

    The other comment was “Attraction isn’t even as important, because attraction grows out of friendship”. The Bible may not say a lot about attraction, but you better be honest with your husband-to-be about this up front. Most men would not marry a woman who is not attracted to him. If he finds out his wife wasn’t very attracted to him when they married (and she likely told him that she loved him anyway), he will likely consider you a liar and manipulator and have trouble ever trusting you again. Also, attraction does not grow out of friendship as easily as some might believe. Otherwise, you wouldn’t hear about the dreaded “friendzone” from so many guys. I would say that men often lose their initiative when they feel like their wives don’t love them or are attracted to them. Attraction and marital love are inseparable to men, and a lack of love will likely shut him down for years (if he’s commited enough to God to not divorce). He will lose initiative. He will struggle to follow God and put Him first with such a heavy burden on his heart. He won’t be interested in bringing out the best in a woman who doesn’t love him, etc.

    Sheila, if you meant something different or more nuanced than what I addressed above, please elaborate. Thanks.

    • Sheila
      November 22, 2011

      Let me try to explain then. I believe there definitely needs to be a sense of camaraderie and equality–meaning that we each feel free to share our feelings, we each feel as if we are free to explore what God wants for our lives, and we each feel like valued members of the relationship. If one is serving, and never sharing feelings or thoughts, and if one is not valued, that is not right. If a woman marries a man because she is in awe of him, that really doesn’t lead to a good marriage on either side. You have to be able to respect one another; someone who is in awe of someone, and totally neglects their own worth, is not going to be a good marriage partner.

      As for attraction not being a big issue, I really don’t think it is. Look, lots of women get married because they’re sexually attracted to their husbands. In the vast majority of cases, that attraction goes away. Why? Because they don’t work on their friendship and they don’t feel valued. Just because you’re attracted to someone when you’re dating has no bearing on whether or not you will be attracted to them after being married for five years. What matters is not whether you are sexually attracted to them tremendously; it’s whether you are good friends and you’re prepared to work at the relationship and love your husband. For most women, attraction grows out of love; it isn’t the other way around. And if you marry solely based on attraction, that attraction will fade anyway. Marry because of a rock solid friendship, though, and you’ll likely find attraction grows. Of course, this is a bit of a silly argument, because most women, if they are rock solid friends, are also attracted to their husbands, and I don’t think women would marry without feeling some attraction. But you don’t need to go weak kneed. You don’t need to melt at seeing them. That’s a romantic lie movies tell us. What you need is to love, commit, and work on your friendship. That’s what attraction grows out of, and that’s what will sustain attraction, not the other way around.

  10. Erin
    January 29, 2012

    Great post, it sums up exactly what I believe about relationships.
    I have a great desire for marriage, but have never even dated. One of the reasons is that I don’t want a boyfriend/husband who is just a Christian, I want one who is passionate about their faith and committed to doing God’s will. This is because my faith is so important to me and God is such a huge part of my life I know that if I got into a relationship with someone who isn’t as committed to God as I am it won’t ‘bring out the best in me’ which I believe marriage should be about.
    And while people do change and develop, I think that it’s important to see these qualities in a man you want to date because rather than hope he will change during your relationship and find yourself married to someone who has different priorities and values than you do.

    • Sheila
      January 29, 2012

      So true, Erin! You’re on the right path, and I pray God brings someone for you.

  11. Natalie
    October 16, 2012

    Ok, I really love most of what you post on your blog, but I’ve got two fairly significant qualifications (and one small one) I’d like to make here. Sheila, I’d love to hear what you think about these.

    1. Attraction is more important than that – at least in my life. While I don’t necessarily believe in love at first sight, with my husband it was definitely something at second sight because in many of our first conversations we jumped into the deep end and quickly started discussing significant issues. I think a lot of that was about us being attracted to each other and trying to figure out whether this was potentially a good thing. In a way we became friends after we figured out what to do with this whole attraction thing. So I think telling girls that attraction grows out of friendship can leave them unprepared for if/when they meet a guy at school and develop an instant crush. Heck, I still meet men I find attractive, but I just accept it as part of their social dynamic and move on. Ditto my husband. So guess there’s two points here – Attraction is something you should expect, and attraction isn’t something to make that big a deal out of either. The man you marry should be attractive to you, but finding another man attractive doesn’t mean you made a mistake. (Hope that point is somewhat clear.)

    2. (I really like and appreciate your larger point about camaraderie and not putting each other on a pedestal – I just have a quibble.) The key is bringing out the best in EACH OTHER. Erin above might know that, but it’s not what she said. Girls hear entitlement messages everywhere they go, so I think we need to be careful saying this one. Bringing out the best in each other doesn’t mean making you happy, agreeing with you, unreservedly supporting anything you want to do, etc. Sometimes bringing out the best in each other means holding each other accountable, challenging sin, and helping the other person set emotional/behavioral boundaries. Sometimes this is NOT FUN. Girls need to hear this. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t warm fuzzy ways of bringing out the best in another – sometimes we all need a little extra support, encouragement, and love. Sometimes we also need a swift kick in the rear. As our marriage counselor said, “Iron doesn’t sharpen iron without a few sparks flying.” Those sparks are normal, healthy, and not necessarily a sign that someone is doing it wrong.

    3. Guys and girls are (often) spiritual in different ways. Girls are often more emotional. Guys are often more logical. So a girl might raise her hands in worship, cry, and spend a lot of time talking about what God means to her. A guy, on the other hand, might read a book on Deuteronomy, mow his aunt’s yard, and ask the pastor about the sermon. I’m speaking in generalities, but the point is that girls should be careful not to judge a guy’s spirituality or Christian commitment by whether or not he acts in ways that come naturally to her. There are men (I married one) who don’t spend a whole lot of time talking about God but who are there every time the doors are open and are very interested in Christian issues and will discuss them by the hour. I lean that way myself, but I’m also more likely to talk about the relational import of a sermon and to try and make emotional sense of the Bible. Just saying, your way doesn’t have to be his way for them to both be valid.
    Natalie recently posted…Words matter – most of the timeMy Profile

  12. Sandy in Los Angeles
    June 25, 2013

    I agree with these things, and have told them to my 21 and 18yo daughters. However one I have added, and think is very important, is someone who likes children.

    I came from a family who loves children. I have four brothers. All four and my father really like kids. So, when I married my highly motivated hubby, I was rather shocked at the lack of interest he had in ours especially when the were young.

    I found myself staying home a lot and not leaving them with him much. If I left them with someone, I wanted it to be someone who payed SOME attention to them.

    I homeschooled and my kids really have turned out GREAT! And, my hubby really likes spending time with my kids now. But, I think there was some damage done to their self esteem from when they were young.

  13. Jen
    June 25, 2013

    This is such a great article! I’m so thankful my parents taught me what to look for in a godly man. Couldn’t ask for a better husband, after thinking marriage was far off for me!
    Jen recently posted…the start.My Profile

  14. ButterflyWings
    July 6, 2013

    The problem I had with my first husband is he conned me into believing he was these four things. I saw later (too late) that those four things are what he wanted to be, not what he actually was. And when he lost that desire, he stopped trying.

    But my post was actually to ask…. my second husband and I are really struggling with praying together. We are both introverts in real life (lol despite me starting to becoming more extroverted online, anything that doesn’t require actual speaking) and while we both passionately love God, praying together is something we really struggle with. We try but it’s getting more awkward not less.

    Any suggestions on what we can do?

  15. Rachel
    August 12, 2013

    It’s really hard for me to read this and to not point out all of the things my husband is not. :( All of the things you listed here are what my husband isn’t. We’re both christians, but our marriage is more important to me most of the time. Our two year anniversary is tomorrow, and I wrote out all the things I DO love about him and I’m going to give it to him. It really helped me see why I married him, and I learned to pick out the positives in him, not the negatives.

    • Sheila
      August 12, 2013

      Rachel, that’s a VERY good attitude, and a very good plan! This list is great if you’re single, but once you’re married–you already have the right guy. So it’s up to us to cherish him!

      Happy anniversary.

  16. Hanlie
    August 30, 2013

    I know from experience that attraction isn’t the most important thing. My mom told me this when I was young
    and I’ve experienced it myself: Respect is WAY more important than attraction. Actually her exact words were
    that I needed a man that was smarter than me. She is so right. I dated a guy that wasn’t, and it was a disaster.
    He was intimidated, and it lead to some borderline abusive behavior.
    I would also find it incredibly hard to respect a man who wasn’t smart, which would
    hinder the whole submission mandate significantly.

    I also found how respect can lead to attraction. I knew a guy in high school and had zero attraction to him. I thought of
    him as a brother.
    However, I found that the more time I spent with him in college, the more I got to know about him the more I respected him
    and the more attracted I was to him. We would probably have ended up together if I hadn’t moved to another country to grad school.

    I now found a man that I believe conforms to all of these. We do find it a bit hard to pray together though. We do
    go to church together and we do talk about God and spiritual things, but I think we both find it hard to pray out loud and
    be open about our spiritual lives. I think we should join a small group fellowship this semester and he has agreed to this.

    Any advice on other things we could do to increasing spiritual intimacy as we move to engagement/ marriage?

  17. Shari
    September 12, 2013

    This is great! I remember in high school writing out a list of things I wanted in a husband. Seeing it written down put things into perspective for me and helped me realize the things that were most important. I then prayed for my future husband. I’m now celebrating 5 years of marriage and have two beautiful children with him. God has truly blessed us! I’ll be sharing this post with others!

  18. Linda Samosir
    March 15, 2014

    Thanks, Sheila. This article is exactly the answer to my prayer. Now I know the reason why I always fell empty in the relationship I have now. I usually think that I am the one who have too much to ask to my spouse. The 4 things is honestly what I really need in a husband. God bless you, Sheila.

  19. Angela Ferrara
    April 15, 2014

    Thanks for sharing. Just an fyi for the doubters…..I had no attraction for my husband, before I really got to know him. Now I think he’s really cute.

  20. dan Mielke
    May 14, 2014

    Thank you for this article. i am currently writing a curriculum for teens on becoming marriageable material and how to find marriageable material, and appreciated so much your first point on a committed love for God. My wife and I have also appreciated your insight into relationships through your book, “The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex.” Thank you for your God honoring work.

  21. leah
    June 16, 2014

    For those of you who have trouble praying with your husband- it can help significantly if you pray aloud while you are alone…doing this for a while can allow you to get used to hearing yourself pray…without the feeling of being anelized by another person. Also remember…you are still talking to God when you pray with your husband…He is there to support you…and you him…no one should be critical of another’s prayer.
    As a 17 year old i prayed for a spouse who would love God and love me…forever. That was it. I married a man at 20, whom I was attracted to and with whom I could talk to about anything-including spiritual matters. We were very young spiritually but we have grown together and are about to celebrate 9 years of marriage that gets better every day! We talk a lot and try every day to be better people…in all aspects of life. I am very blessed!
    I have learned so much over the years and my husband is my best friend. I never talk bad about him to anyone…ever. I try and tell he when he does something that makes me happy…I say thank you for little things…I brag about him in public (tastefully)…and he is such a wonderful husband!!!
    Thank you for the article. It is well rounded…however…you shouldn’t settle for anyone. Some girls will find these qualities in a man and he will be willing to propose marriage but they will not feel…like he is the one. If your spiritual life is good and you have a personal walk with the Lord and you just don’t feel right about it…don’t do it. Not everything is logical and sometimes God wants us to trust that when the time and person are right, he will let us know. Don’t marry anyone, even if they seem perfect…unless you can look at them everyday and say ” This is the wonderful person God blessed me with!”
    Love and Prayers to all

  22. Sarah
    August 6, 2014

    Thanks for the post!

    I think it’s so important to pray and read the Bible together! Unfortunately that is a huge struggle in our marriage. My husband is a youth pastor but still refuses to pray with me. We have tried reading the Bible together but usually end up disagreeing and/or arguing, which obviously leaves us more drained than filled up. We have been married 3 years and are still pretty young, I see this as a really important practice and would love to learn how to change it. Any thoughts or suggestions?

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