As long as your relationship with God is on-par, you—in the mysterious balance between man’s free will and God’s sovereign will—have the freedom to choose your spouse.
If you are pouring into your relationship with Christ and desire nothing besides Him (Psalm 73:25b), the Spirit will be with you in your choice of a life partner.
So how do you know which guy is the right one? What should you even look for to begin with? Thankfully, the answers are not as ambiguous as they may initially seem.
It’s all about the one who calms your storm. It’s your dancing partner, adventure buddy, stare at the stars while talking about life, and best friend in one. You will experience something with him you have never experienced before.
But don’t settle for a guy just because he may be interested in you or you can see it working out with him. You don’t marry someone you can live with, you marry the person you cannot live without.
Here are 10 ways to check if he is Mr. Right-for-you:
He will be a man, not a boy
A man of God will lead you like Abraham, fight for your love like Jacob, care for you like Boaz, and love you like Christ. The right guy will be a leader who gives when he doesn’t have to, cares for others, continuously grows, lives authentically, empowers others, manages hardship, and serves with humility.
A boy gives false promises. A man honors his commitments. A boy thinks “me.” A man thinks “us.” A boy blames others. A man accepts responsibility. A boy lives off others. A man lives for others. A boy relies on himself. A man relies on God…and you should, too.
Marriage is not about finding your “other half” in a 50 + 50 kind of sense. Each of you should be a complete person, confident in their identity and able to stand on their own two feet. In that case, “I do” can mean 100 + 100, which is much more powerful anyway.
You’ve found a good man when he makes you want to be a better woman.
Check his character
First of all, good looks don’t really matter. We are all aging and will one day loose our youthful appearance, so don’t marry someone primarily because of how they look.
Outward appearances will fade, so look below the surface and analyze a potential suitor’s character. It’d be better to have a beast who treats you like a princess than a prince who doesn’t.
“A gentleman will open doors, pull out chairs, and carry things. Not because she’s helpless or unable, but because he wants to show her that she is valuable and worthy of respect.”— Charles J. Orlando
As one anonymous internet contributor once said, “He ain’t gotta have money or a brand new truck, but he better shake my daddy’s hand when he comes to pick me up.”
Look for a guy who is serious enough to have deep conversations but also whimsical enough to dance in the rain. Someone who has purity, confidence, faithfulness, humility, high standards, and a relationship with Jesus.
A Godly man will be faithful, a spiritual leader, respectful, a family man, a provider, honest, a good communicator, happy, loving. You can also run him through the 1 Corinthians 13:4 test:
______ is patient and kind; ______ does not envy or boast; he is not arrogant or rude. He does not insist on its own way; he is not irritable or resentful; he does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. ______ bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Who does he hang out with? What does he read, watch, and listen to? How is his reputation with those who have known him longer than you?
How he spends his time and money will show you what he worships, and don’t ignore anything you may find— the good, the bad, or the ugly. If you’re seeing an inkling of _____ now, it will only be magnified if you get married.
Him < God
Imagine a man who talks to God about you, prays to God that he gets to marry you, who thanks God for you.
Imagine a man so focused on God that the only reason he looked up to see you is because he heard God say, “That’s her.” (This is actually how my pastor’s son noticed his now wife, so it is possible!)
A passion for God is the most attractive feature a man can possess. The right guy will seek, worship, and acknowledge God because a real man opens more than the door. He opens his Bible.
“Know this: if he’s a guy that God is suggesting as a good choice for you, he is a man who talks to God. He’s a man who listens for what God might say back to him, even about the choice of a spouse. He’s a man who would be willing to pray about what place you might hold in his life. He is also man enough to be honest with you about how he feels.”— Susan Rohrer, Is God Saying He’s the One?
Wait on the Lord for the one who not only pays attention to you, but is paying attention to what God is telling him to do when it comes to you.
Marry a man who loves Jesus. Who loves God before he even knows you exist. A man who falls to his knees with tears in his eyes and hands held high without a care in the world of who’s watching him. A man who knows that God is the foundation in your relationship, a relationship that brings each of you closer to Him.
The guys who pray for you, play with your hair, write you notes, take the time to look at your eyes, lend you their coat, are good with kids, pick flowers for you hair, go on walks with you, know how to make you smile, want to protect you, you can talk with for hours, call you beautiful, are honest, will wait for you, know how to be goofy, look at you and smile, sing you songs, smile, love life, and—most of all—love God.
A man will only love you well when he knows Love Himself and regards Him with deeper affection.
A real man doesn’t put a woman first. A real man puts God first because he knows that he has to follow God in order to lead his lady.
A man who is not after God’s heart should not be after yours. If he doesn’t fall on his knees in prayer, he doesn’t deserve to fall on one knee with a ring.
“Dear future husband: Find God, find yourself, then come find me.”— Unknown
He will actively pursue you
If a guys is seriously interested in you, you will know. He will be aware of his intentions and make them known. He won’t leave you wondering whether he’s into you or not. What does intentional pursuit look like?
- He will call it a date, not “hanging out” or “just chilling”
- He will call you first. You won’t have to chase him
- He will let you know he has taken an interest in you
- He’ll be glad to meet your family because he has nothing to hide
- He will read his Bible, go to church, and follow Christ (and not just to impress you)
- He’ll embrace your friends
- He’ll respect your body and won’t try to convince you to sin
- He won’t be scared of the word marriage
- He’ll want to introduce you to his friends
- He knows that he isn’t some perfect Christian guy but a sinner saved by grace
Then, even years after “I do,” a Godly man will never stop pursuing his girl. One couple in my church body set aside one evening out of the week and have spent every Thursday night of their marriage intentionally with each other.
He will maintain boundaries
The mark of a man is restraint. If the guy you’re interested in cannot exercise self control now, what makes you think he would if the two of you were married?
When God sends you the man you are called to be with, you will know. He will speak to your spirit, not flesh. He will lead you to God, not to sin.
The man who loves Jesus will respect you. He’ll pursue you and treasure you. He won’t pressure you or control you but gently walk beside you and lead you. He will appreciate you as the gift of beauty you are and remind you of it. He will worship with you. He’ll pray for you and pray with you. He will lead you with strong hands, stand up when you can’t, but remind you that only God can satisfy.
Anyone who truly wants to be in your life will respect your boundaries.
There’s a difference between somebody who wants you and somebody who would do anything to keep you. Remember that.
He will love you for who you are
Ultimately, your future spouse is going to find out how you chew, how you slouch, how you dance, how you smell at every point in the day, how your face looks underneath all of your makeup, how you love chocolate, how you can be hyper at times, how certain games and shows make you really happy, how cranky you can get when you’re tired, and how you think you look bad in all of your photos.
He is going to know everything about you, and you know what? He’s still going to love you.
The right guy will love you in ways other men didn’t, someone who will look at you the same way you look at the stars. His eyes will show you how much they love you without a single word.
Find someone who isn’t afraid to admit that they miss you. Someone who knows that you are not perfect but treats you as if you are. Someone who’s biggest fear is losing you. One who gives their heart completely. Someone who says “I love you” and means it. Last but not least, find someone who wouldn’t mind waking up with you in the morning, seeing you in wrinkles and your gray hair, but still falls for you all over again.
The right guy also won’t be afraid of your insanity. His love will roar louder than your demons. He will understand the worst of you and fall in love with your scars because they helped make you who you are today.
While the wrong one may find you in peace and leave you in pieces, the right one will find you in pieces and lead you to peace.
“The right one will make you fall in love with yourself, too.”— Dhiman
He will bring peace to your busy mind
You will be able to talk to the right guy like you talk to yourself. You will cover every topic under the moon, even ones you’re uncomfortable addressing, but it will be okay with him because the two of you will see eye-to-eye on the principles that matter.
There’s a reason why BF stands for boyfriend and best friend as they should be one and the same.
Marry the guy who will play with your hair, won’t mind holding your cold hands, will go on long walks with you, is serious but also knows how to have fun, makes you laugh, will join in on your random burst of song, watches chick-flicks just to spend time with you, lets his inner-child out sometimes, isn’t afraid to be himself, will stand up for what he believes in, will stand up for you and protect you, makes you feel like a princess, you can be completely yourself around, you can talk to about anything, will pray with you and for you, loves you, but loves God more, but most importantly is your best friend.
The right guy will bring you comfort naturally, someone who is home and an adventure all at once.
When a serious girl finds someone who calms the storm in her mind, she will love him so fiercely it will defy even her own logic.
He makes you fall more in love with Christ
The only thing any of us truly need is Christ, so you should be looking for characteristics of God in potential suitors and marry the one who brings out your truest identity in Christ.
“Whatever makes you feel the sun from the inside out— chase that.”— Gemma Toy
The greatest thing a man can do for a woman is lead her closer to God, so don’t settle for a guy who doesn’t prioritize his relationship with God.
There’s a big difference between a guy who goes to church with you once a week and a man who encourages your walk with Christ daily.
Marry a man who genuinely loves God and leads you closer to Christ. Marry someone who makes you fall in love with God every single day.
He won’t be perfect
A common misconception in society today is that we are good at our core. This is not the case (Romans 3:9-20). We are broken people living in a fallen world. I am not good, you are not good, and any future spouse won’t be either.
“The truth is everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”
— Bob Marley
My dad describes marriage as “two sinners in box.” Inevitably, something will break down and the fairytale feeling with slip away. “Those who marry will have worldly troubles,” Paul promises in 1 Corinthians 7:28.
Because of this, you shouldn’t marry someone before you have a genuine fight with them because marriage isn’t about finding a “perfect” someone but someone’s whose problem solving skills work well with yours.
The right guy will sit down with you and say “let’s fix this” instead of ignoring you. He will be someone who will fight for your marriage instead of give up when skies grow dark.
The couples who are meant to last will go through the hardest times and come out stronger.
“A person whose primary goal is to glorify God has a great backup plan: he will be a repenting person.”— Rick Thomas, Get Ready
It’s not about who sins the least. It’s about who’s willing to grow and change. Someone like Steve Rogers: not a perfect soldier but a good man.
A man who is honest and real with you is more important than someone who just appears to be perfect. A humble yet flawed man who loves God.
As Bob Marley says, “He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.”
If he makes you laugh, kisses your forehead, says he’s sorry, makes an effort, holds your hand, works hard, attempts to understand you…then, believe it or not, he’s quite perfect.
Is he right for you?
Although you do not need another human to complete you, your future spouse should compliment you. As 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 says, your future husband should fill in where you lack.
To get really practical, it is my nature to take people at their word. I will believe you before I question you, so my “other half” should lean toward skepticism. He would fill in where I lack just as I would fill in for his lack, like pieces to a puzzle.
“He was the skepticism to her trustfulness, she was the imagination to his realism. He was the logic to her emotion, she was the voice of his perplexion. She was the social butterfly to his isolated hermit, he was the calm to her storm. They fit together like pieces in a puzzle.”
— Tristen Thomas, “A Little Girl’s Story”
As I can get hyper locked-in on a goal, my future husband needs to be someone who sees the peripheral. Purple versus blue, if you’re into CliftonStrengths. People whose strengths are primarily purple need people with blue so they don’t run over anyone.
The list could go on and on, which goes to show that you need to know yourself before you could possibly know what you need in a spouse. Do not, however, rest on the acquisition of complete self-awareness because you may never come to understand the complexities of your soul, as I know I will never come to understand mine.
If you try to fix yourself fixed before you get married, you will never get married.
Ultimately, your purpose is to point others to Christ, so you should only marry if being with him helps you display Christ’s love for the Church more effectively than you could by yourself.
“Because Eve was made in the image of God and without sin, she did not need Adam’s love because there was nothing wrong with her either. She needed Adam for the same reason Adam needed her— to more efficiently image the One who created her.”
— Rick Thomas, Get Ready
Trying to find Mr. Right-for-you may seem hopeless. How can I find him when, at times, the world seems to be full of immature boys? Rest assured, good men do exist.
The seemingly fairytale-like attributes above may come across as far-fetched, but I know guys who possess them: Caleb Russo. Christian Boulton. Luke Black. Matthew LaPenna. Nathan Sigmon.
Be patient. If marriage is within God’s will for you, your future spouse will come along. Prayers don’t have expiration dates. If God is making you wait longer than expected, be prepared to receive more than you dreamed of.