No one is perfect. So when God reveals your future spouse to you, this won’t be accomplished by you seeing someone who is the ideal Christian with every good quality you could ever hope for.
With that said, certainly God wants us to become the most mature Christian we can be and to marry someone who is also seeking to continually grow in the Lord.
According to the world’s standards, many of the traits Christians should look for can seem strange. So here are 4 unusual things God will lead you to look for when you are seeking a godly spouse.
1. A Good Sparring Partner
Whenever a fighter is getting ready for a fight, one of the most important persons in their life is their sparring partner. Their sparring partner is their teammate that they fight as a way of preparing for the real fight ahead. A good sparring partner will literally attack you as a way of helping you. Not only will they attack you, but they will seek to mimic the attacks of your upcoming opponent so that you can gain experience fighting someone with that certain fighting style while not actually needing to get into a real fight.
A good spouse will do this for you. Obviously I’m not talking about physical sparring or actual combat. They will be a safe place to share how you feel, what you think, and what you currently believe. But when they see an error, they will lovingly point that out for you. They will do this in a gentle way that is not meant to harm you but rather to improve you.
As Proverbs 27:6 states, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”
2. A Fair Fighter
Sparring partners never try to hurt each other. A bad sparring partner forgets the point of what they are doing and they turn sparring into a real fight where they are trying to hurt you instead of help you.
This is what can happen in marriage if the couple does not know how to fight fair. The world will tell you to try to find a spouse you never fight with. But that is impossible. Conflict eventually always arises. But there has to be rules that you both follow, lines you won’t cross, and a motive you both have that is rooted in love and not hate.
As Galatians 6:1 states, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Look for someone who is willing to do this for you and willing to receive this from you.
3. An Independent Person Who Chooses to Need You
People usually take one of two sides when the idea of “needing” someone comes up in relationships. Some say, “Of course you should need each other! Who wants to be with someone who never needs you!” The other side says, “No, as Christians, the only person we should ever truly need is God! You should want your spouse, but you should not need them!”
I think both sides are right, but both are talking about two different things. Yes, Christians should only fully put their hope in God, not in a spouse (Psalm 16:2, Psalm 27:4). But on the other hand, yes, you should need your spouse in a real way rather than being distant and cold towards them (Read Song of Solomon). Without really needing this person, do you really love them?
I’m reminded of what C.S. Lewis said about God needing us, “If He, who in Himself can lack nothing, chooses to need us, it is because we need to be needed,” (The Problem of Pain). Of course we are not God, so this quote does not directly relate to us. But if we have God, who fills us perfectly, why would we need anyone else? Because to love is to open yourself up so much that you are choosing to need someone for their benefit.
So as Christians, we should be independent people who are so secure in God we don’t need anything in this world; but we should also have the love of God in us, so we should also be choosing to need others because they need to know we need them so they can feel our love. Again, not because we need them in the ultimate sense, but rather because we are choosing to love them and vulnerability and dependence are a part of love.
In a healthy marriage, you choose to need your spouse so they know the full weight of your love.
4. Someone Who Refuses to Put You First in Their Heart
The most loving thing you can do for someone else is to love God more than them.
It’s not loving to idolize someone. Only when God fills our heart with his perfect love can we be free to fully love someone else.
It might feel good to have someone put you first in their heart. But overtime, the lack of God being first will have deadly effects and their relationship with you will be poisoned.
When God is leading you to look for a godly spouse, he will lead you to look for someone who will refuse to love you more than they love God (Matthew 22:37-40).