Married for Five Minutes:
Hope for Living Inside Real-Life Marriages
Shundria Riddick, M.A., LPC & Michelle Stimpson
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Paperback ISBN: 1-943563-05-5
Hardcover ISBN: 1-943563-06-3
Ebook available through online retailers
Publisher: Edifying Reads, an Imprint of MLStimpson Enterprises
In ministry to women, I’ve been blessed to meet several Christian sisters who profess to know Him and be actively seeking God but are still unsure of what a godly man looks like. Let me be clear: No man is perfect. Some men are wolves in sheep’s clothing, but I believe that many more just need an opportunity to grow as people and in their relationship with God before they are ready to marry.
To that effect, let me share advice that MANY women have shared with me—clues that he is either is not a godly man or is not ready to be married to one of God’s precious daughters at this time. While we are not in a position to judge a person’s salvation, it is possible to see the “fruit” of the Spirit as clearly outlined in Galatians 5:22. Each of the characteristics below could easily be classified under one or more of these traits.
Let me forewarn you: The tone of the advice is strong because the women who shared the tidbits were adamant in their discussions. Here goes!
1. How does he talk about people? Does he routinely discuss how silly other people are? Does he speak ill of family members and people who are supposed to be his friends? Is he the only smart person in his version of what happened at work? The love of God is manifest in our love for one another. A man who makes a habit of belittling and fault-finding has not yet realized God’s love for him and is still full of pride. Eventually, his accusatory finger will turn to point at you.
Contrarily, a man who speaks life and goodness into and about others will readily prophesy God’s goodness over every aspect of your marriage. When tough times come, he will speak edifying words that build you both!
2. Does he routinely lead you or tempt you into sin? A man who is sincerely concerned about your spiritual well-being does not want you to compromise your faith. The love of God does not lead us away from His desires for us. If he’s leading you wrong now, what makes you think he’ll lead you right later?
A husband who loves the Lord seeks to obey Him (John 14:23-24). A wife who trusts in the Lord alongside a husband who honors God can rest in the fact that even when she’s not 100% sure of where her husband is leading, she can trust that God will honor her husband’s decision and her obedience.
3. Does he initiate conversations about God? Jesus? The Holy Spirit? It would be impossible for your man to know God intimately and not mention Him in conversation with someone else he’s bringing into the inner circle (i.e. you). When the old man dies, the new life is lived through Christ (Galatians 2:20). If the “new man” is silent, this is a red flag.
Why is this important? The man is the head of the household (1 Corinthians 11:3). A man who actively seeks God for guidance will find it (Matthew 7:7). What a blessing it will be to know that your husband is consulting the Master about your marriage!
4. If he has children already, is he an active part of their lives? A man who does not support his children in every way possible has a character problem; he is not exhibiting the character of God. Such a man is not ready to be married to you or be the godly father you want for your children. Also, don’t fall for the, “I don’t have a lot of time,” excuse, either. If he’s had enough free time to pursue you, he had time to try to keep in touch with his children.
If it’s “in him” to do right by his children and remain respectful to the mother of his child(ren), he understands what it means to hold up his end of an obligation.
5. Could he support you both financially? A man isn’t ready to be married until he can adequately provide for a wife and possible children. Even if you two decide on a two-income household, the question is still could he provide the basic needs if necessary? God didn’t give Adam a wife until he had a job. Who are we to think we know better than Him?
Do your future husband a favor: Allow him the time he needs to develop the confidence of knowing that he is capable of being a good provider. An able-bodied man who knows he can support his wife and children by the grace of God has fulfilled one of his God-given roles (1 Timothy 5:8). My personal advice to newly married couples is to try not to create a lifestyle that requires two full-time salaries.
6. How’s his temper? Does he call you outside of your name, curse at you or become almost scary when he’s angry? Is he easily agitated and impatient? These are major red flags. A man whose temper flares easily has a minefield of underlying issues that he needs to deal with before he can even begin to love you like Christ loved the church. He’s not ready to marry anyone, let alone you.
A patient husband can bring peace into an otherwise volatile situation. His calm presence alone de-escalates disagreements and keeps drama out from under your roof. Whether he is patiently teaching your son to tie his shoes or choosing to make a funny comment instead of arguing, his even temper will bless your household for years to come.
7. What about joy? Is he grumpy? Does he have a good time in the company of friends or family? Does he enjoy a hobby or is he still searching for what makes him happy? A man who is trying to find out what makes him “happy” is not ready to be married because he has yet to realize the Fountain of Life within him. Beware especially if he says you are the source of joy in his life. This is a problem because the joy of the Lord is supposed to be his strength, not you (Nehemiah 8:10). Resist the urge to be his all-in-all. It may be flattering, but you don’t want that burden for life.
A man who is filled with the joy of the Lord may not walk around whistling and smiling all the time, but he can face each day with hope, knowing that Christ will prevail regardless of circumstances. He can roll with the punches in your marriage because his joy is secure in God.
8. Does he forgive easily? Does he hold a grudge against his father? Does he bring up offenses from the past that he should have released a long time ago? Does he think everyone is out to get him? Is he the type who cuts people off forever when they get on his bad side? Forgiveness is a major factor in any successful marriage. Spouses have to forgive one another on a regular basis and be able to give one another the benefit of the doubt. If the man you’re dating does not know how to forgive, he will build up resentment toward the imperfect, “real” version of you in a short while. He is not ready until he has received forgiveness and gives it freely.
A husband who forgives easily will be your treasure from now until death do you part. After all, he has to put up with you, right? Because he understands how easily Christ forgave him, your husband shares that same heart for you. He will speak the truth in love in an effort to restore whatever the enemy is trying to steal from your marriage.
9. How well does he communicate? Men and women communicate differently, so this can be a tricky one. But here’s a pretty good test: When you two have a disagreement, is he able to patiently listen to your point of view and is he eager to resolve problems—or at least agree to disagree? A spouse who don’t communicate often has unspoken expectations that you could never fulfill and/or harbors undeclared resentments that you won’t even have the opportunity to rectify until he explodes in destructive communication.
The good news here is that, with effort, your husband can learn how to communicate the goodness in his heart. A wife who knows what her husband desires (and vice versa) is in a much better position to give him what he wants.
10. Is he generous? Is he a giving person or does he have an “every man for himself” mentality? The Bible tells us that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son (John 3:16). A generous, unselfish man who mimics his Heavenly Father will also be a giver. Does he faithfully support the ministries that feed believers through financial means? Generosity can even be see in little things like leaving tips at a meal or a quick donation to kids selling cookies outside the grocery store. Also, consider how he spends his time. Is it all used up on him and his interests/endeavors or does he share his time with those who are in no position to reward him? (Spending time with you doesn't count because that’s mutually beneficial.) A selfish man is not ready to put his wife and family above his own desires.
A generous heart goes a long way in a marriage! A generous person approaches finances, time, goals, and even sex with a considerate mindset. Quite frankly, wives tell me that it’s just flat-out easier to lavish love on a man who so freely gives of himself.
The bottom line for a godly husband can be summed up in this question: Does he resemble your Heavenly Father? If you don’t see any fruit, it’s probably because there is no root or the root hasn’t grown deep yet. No one will ever love you like your Heavenly Father, but you should at least see some of His characteristics flowing through the man you intend to marry.
Along this same line, if you’re attracted to a man who doesn’t show any fruit, you’re not ready to enter a covenant, either, because no woman of God who understands her value in Christ would sign up to be with someone so far from her Father’s heart. Don’t make excuses for him or for yourself.
Seek God about your future spouse. Just today, I was talking to a newlywed who said to me, “God didn’t say no—so I took that as a ‘yes’.” Ask God to let you know if this person is His best for you and be willing to walk away if the answer is “no.”
Finally, know that a real man of God doesn’t want anything less than a real woman of God. If you have been leading him into temptation, cursing him out, and paying his bills, it’s no wonder you are with someone who’s so out of line. This is the blind leading the blind! Come out of darkness. BE the godly person you want to marry. Surrender to Christ and let His light shine in you. It will repel the ones who are not for you and attract one who is.