Six of the finest young people on this planet happen to be our granddaughters. Margaret and I are blessed beyond measure.
In order of their arrival into our lives, they are Leah Carla, Jessica Mae, Abigail Rebecca, Erin Elizabeth, Darilyn Samantha, and JoAnne Lauren. They are as pretty and sweet as their names.
Sometimes, when I’m in the car with one of you, I will raise the question: “How do you choose a husband? What kind of man will you marry some day?”
Now is the time for you to be thinking of this. In fact, you should have been giving this thought for some time now. Leah, senior member of this sextet, is 25 and little sis JoAnne is the youngest at 16.
First, whom to avoid. Run from these types just as fast as you can, as far as you get…
1) Lazy. No matter if he’s charming and sweet-talks you and thinks you are the best thing ever (which you are!), do not be taken in by him. If he can’t hold a job and prefers to live off the earnings of others, marrying a bum like him would be a disaster. You will be the breadwinner for your entire married life. Marry a hard worker.
2) Disrespectful. Watch how he treats his mother and sisters. That’s how he will be treating you eventually. Do not be taken in by a charmer if he’s not respectful to his mother and sisters. These guys tend to become abusive to their wives and children. We do not need him. Marry a nice guy.
3) A slob. If he expects others to pick up after him, this is a major warning sign. It’s also a clue to other character flaws. Mostly, it shows his immaturity. Marry an adult who takes responsibility.
4) A druggie. If he smokes marijuana now (it’s illegal, remember!), chances are he’ll go in for other mind-altering chemicals. If he’s into any kind of painkillers and stimulants, ditch him. He will say he can quit anytime, and maybe he can. But cut him out of your life. You do not need this complication. Drugs are killers. No exception! Marry someone smart, not stupid. Someone healthy and strong, not weak and addicted.
5) The critical. He doesn’t go to church because they’re all hypocrites, he doesn’t like preachers because they’re all running scams, and he doesn’t read the Bible because he already has it all figured out. Get rid of him. He is a loser and you deserve better than this. Marry a man humble enough to know he needs God and smart enough to live for Him. Find one who not only goes to church but reads his Bible during the week and prays.
6) The debtor. This guy loves to spend and run up accounts on credit cards. “Aw, we’ll figure it out later.” He is a disaster looking to happen. Run fast. Marry someone wise. Otherwise, you’ll be paying his bills for the rest of your life.
7) A user. This guy uses people. He manipulates them, and will soon be trying those tactics on you. Do not argue with him. Just get rid of him as soon as you can. And change your phone number because he does not like to take ‘no’ for an answer.Marry someone who loves to bless people and gets joy from helping them.
Be strong. Be wise. And be pro-active.
Being “pro-active” simply means you decide now the kind of man you want to marry and the kind you will not marry under any circumstances. Why? When people “fall in love,” they often rationalize their standards and ignore their principles. They say “this can’t be wrong; it feels so good.” (Give me a break!) Best to determine this early and stick to the plan.
What this means…
1) You will refuse to date some guys who have a lot going for them but do not qualify on the character issue. Tell them, “Thank you, but no.”
2) You do not have to give a reason to anyone you do not wish to date. If he keeps pestering you for a reason, this too is a bad sign about him. A smart man can take a hint. A loser cannot.
Do not argue with someone you have turned down. The longer you stand there and try to make them see your point of view, the more you weaken yourself. No explanation is necessary. “No thank you” will suffice.
3) You must guard your heart at all times. Pray constantly the Father will guide you in these (and all) matters, and stay close to Him. When you meet a guy for whom you feel an attraction, ask the Father (in your spirit, at that very moment!) to protect you and make you wise.
4) Beware of “needing a guy in your life at all times.” You have friends who always have to have a boyfriend, otherwise they don’t know what to do with themselves. This makes them targets for the unscrupulous. Be strong and need no man to make you complete. When God sends the right one along, you will know it.
5) If the most important people in your life do not like a fellow, trust them. No one loves you more than your parents, your siblings, and your grandparents (moi!). Make up your mind now, that if they warn you off a fellow, you will take that seriously.
6) Do not rush into a wedding. Take your time. Many a person has wed in the first flush of a romance only to wake up a few weeks later and realize they had married a disaster. Take your time. (Oh, I said that? Well, take your time!)
7) Insist that you will get married in church and the pastor will perform the ceremony. (If you want Grandpa to assist, I’m happy to do this. But it’s all right for me to sit in the congregation with Grandma.) Now, your pastor is going to insist on some pre-marriage counseling sessions, and you should have this. Read some books about marriage and the two of you discuss them. Start with Gary Chapman’s book on “Five Love Languages.” Your pastor will have additional suggestions. (Another red flag goes up if your guy does not want to read those books, have these discussions, or attend these counseling sessions.)
Ask the Lord to choose. No one knows you better or loves you more.
With this letter, I don’t want to get in the way of whomever the Lord has in mind for you. Ideally, the guy you bring home to introduce to us will be a Christian (one who goes to church, studies his Bible and actually lives it!) as well as smart, respectful, hard-working, loving, clean, and as handsome as Grant and Jack (your brothers or cousins!).
Should he be of the same denomination? Ideally, yes. But if not, you should both agree before marrying which church you will attend. (A longtime friend whose husband goes to a church she disagrees with strongly urged me to add this point. If you are not worshiping together, your marriage is missing something vital.)
Ask the Lord now and every day of your life to choose for you, and to show you when He does.
Be willing to wait for that one. Pray for patience.
My friend Monte waited a bunch of years before God led her to the right husband. In a private note, she said, “I stood in 12 weddings and was in my 30s before attending my own wedding.”
Her counsel to you is this: 1) It’s okay to wait for the right man. God may have adventures for you, friendships, and other experiences which you could not do if you were married.
2) When you meet someone you’re interested in, use Scripture to assess them as marriage material. Monte and her husband hold up Ephesians 5:25ff as their standard.
3) Monte said to tell you, “If the man says, ‘God told me I am to marry you,’ run as fast as you can. This is a tactic of users. Tell him you listen to God too, and as soon as He tells you, you’ll be in touch.”
Just know that Grandpa loves you dearly and prays for you every day. I want your happiness more than I want my own. I have learned the truth of Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thy own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy paths.”