What does it mean to “find” a wife?
I greatly respect your words as godly wisdom so I’ve resolved to ask how you interpret Scripture in terms of whether men should go out and “find” that woman they desire to be their mate or whether they should sit tight and wait for God to bring her into their path as they seek the kingdom. As an example, should I continue serving in my church despite the lack of girls that are single or inspiring, or should I continue to serve and perhaps on my free time visit various churches, studies, young adult groups etc. with eyes open?
Thanks for your question. As I read through it, a couple of things stuck out to me.
First – and I know this was not your primary question – I want to encourage you to revisit the characteristics you are looking for in a potential wife. It may be that you’re on track here, but I wonder what you mean by “inspiring.” I raise this just because so many single men have bought into some worldly notion of what they should be seeking in a wife instead of (or at least in addition to) the characteristics of a godly woman/wife extolled in Scripture. Are you perhaps overly focused on things like physical attractiveness, “chemistry,” worldly accomplishment or the like?
In seeking a wife, a wise, mature, godly man will make God’s priorities his own. When the Bible describes what God values in women and wives, it focuses on character and godliness. In 1 Peter 3, Peter instructs wives, “do not let your adorning (also translated “beauty”) be external . . . but let your adorning (beauty) be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” Proverbs 31, in describing the excellent wife, provides 20 verses about her godliness and character, then for good measure throws in verse 30: “charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Titus 2:3-5 instructs women to be “reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. . . . to teach what is good . . . to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Are these the things you find “inspiring” in a woman?
Again, I don’t quite know what it means that you need to be “inspired” to pursue a particular woman. I don’t want to read too much into a single word, but it sounds both a little mystical and also a bit self-focused. Certainly, attraction and affection and (eventually) a shared vision for marriage and a future together should be part of a dating and then marriage relationship. But remember that feelings of attraction, affection and inspiration, like all emotions, ebb and flow over the course of a marriage and even a dating relationship. Plans and visions change. In other words, you should eventually marry a woman not primarily because of the way she makes you feel, but because you believe she is someone you can love and serve well (Ephesians 5:25-27) and with whom you can serve God better for His glory’s sake.
Okay, end of sermon. As to your primary question, it is perfectly fine and appropriate for a man to actively seek a wife. Scripture holds up marriage as a good gift from God, and most of us are called to marriage rather than singleness and celibacy. Also, as I’ve written before, it’s wise and good for men to initiate and show leadership within dating relationships, so I don’t really know what it would look like for you as a man to take a completely passive, mystical, “let go and let God” approach to finding a wife. I would encourage you to prayerfully and actively pursue marriage even as you actively follow Christ in other ways.
All that said, it matters how you pursue marriage. I would encourage you to pursue marriage in ways that keep you connected to the context of a solid church and mature believers who know you well. Returning to what I wrote above, you might prayerfully give the women in your own church community another look. If that isn’t fruitful – that is, if there are really no godly single women in your church to even consider dating –you might think about finding a singles group associated with another solid church in your area if you can engage there regularly and consistently while still being meaningfully involved in your own church. I would not encourage you to flit from one singles group to another or one church to another untethered to meaningful relationships and accountability. I also would not encourage you to make the decision lightly to leave your current church for “better prospects.” As I said, normally it is better to seek and find a spouse in the context of other established relationships and accountability, where people know you or your potential spouse (or both) well. If leaving your church becomes something you are considering, certainly get some counsel before taking that plunge.
I will pray for you to have wisdom as you seek a godly wife – and I will pray that you find one!
Copyright 2015 Scott Croft. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Scott Croft served for several years as chairman of the elders at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., where he wrote and taught the Friendship, Courtship & Marriage and Biblical Manhood & Womanhood CORE Seminars. Scott now lives in the Louisville, Ky., area with his wife, Rachel, and son, William, where he works as an attorney and serves as an elder of Third Avenue Baptist Church.