Young woman

Looking for a husband? So was I.

And then I gave up. And it’s probably the best thing I ever did.

There’s plenty of advice out there about choosing a husband. There are many lists of things you should look for, and matching services – even Christian ones – promising to help you meet Mr Right.

I’d like to look at it from the other side. Sadly, if you are looking for Mr Right there are a number of married women who would be glad to give him to you! Learning from mistakes others have made may save you a lot of heartache. (And in a moment, I’ll also share two things you SHOULD do.)

Yes, I do know what it’s like to struggle with being single. I was 48 years old before God brought my husband and me together. I know what it’s like to feel lonely, to long for someone special to love and to love me. I know the ache of loneliness, and what it’s like to wonder what could be so terribly wrong with me that God has not brought me a husband.

One Valentine’s Day when I was in medical school all of us single girls got together for a meeting of the Lonely Hearts Club. We tried to make each other feel better about not having a boyfriend or husband. It didn’t work very well! Loneliness can be so difficult.

While I was single I made some of these mistakes listed here, and I’ve seen people close to me make others. Whether you’re never married or newly single, here are some things NOT to do in your search for a husband:

  1. Neglect your physical health. Shawna, a patient of mine, wanted a man to love her before she would seriously work on losing weight. That’s so sad! Whether or not, and when, you find a godly husband, your body is God’s temple, and it’s the way in which He touches the world through you. You won’t ever get back the years you neglect yourself: you’re worth taking care of right now.
  2. Forget to LIVE! Single people have a unique freedom to learn, grow, choose, and chart their own path. Take advantage of your freedom. Enjoy life. Your life won’t start when you get married: live every day to the fullest right now. You’ll only be happy married if you learn to be happy single.
  3. Only have single friends. You can learn a lot by hanging around married people too, both good things and bad things about marriage. Make an effort to observe and interact with couples. Watch what works and what doesn’t. Ask them questions. Your life will be richer, and you will probably find out some mistakes you can avoid in the future.
  4. Use sex to get a man. This may sound old-fashioned, but I’ve seen too many women in all kinds of pain to apologize for this position. It’s not worth the broken heart and crushed spirit, or the risk to your physical, emotional, and spiritual health and future, to take a chance. In the heat of loneliness and passion it’s hard to remember the consequences of sex that nobody talks about. Just don’t do it!
  5. Settle for too little. Loneliness can make us do strange things. The drive for relationship is very strong for most of us: God made us that way. But many married women would agree that an unhappy marriage is MUCH worse than being single. If you see red flags in your relationship, don’t move forward. Things will NOT get better after you get married.
  6. Believe it’s too late. It’s NEVER too late! It’s not too late to be happy, to find love, to do things right, to learn, to enjoy life. God never gives up on you, and you shouldn’t either! Happy marriages can happen at any age, and after any pain in your past. That’s not a guarantee of marriage, but it IS a guarantee of a good life if you grab ahold of it – perhaps with a husband you could only dream of.
  7. Spend more time looking for the right person instead of becoming the right person. If you want to marry a prince, become a princess. I don’t mean primarily how you look on the outside, although that is important. I mean becoming the kind of person your potential future spouse would value – on the inside. Ask God to help you develop an appealing character.
  8. “Play around” with men you would never marry. This is a follow-up to number 7. Your life and future are too important to risk spending time in relationships that are shallow, controlling, violent, or unbiblical. Your heart is a very fragile thing: guard it with care. The man who is worthy of you will value you even more for the care you give your heart.
  9. Become anxious while “waiting.” A desperate woman is very unattractive to most men, at least the kind of man you want for a husband. Practice being interesting, generous, and happy. God understands what it’s like to be lonely: turn to Him with your heart’s needs. He has ways to fill your heart better than anyone else.
  10. Neglect to ask God to be your Match-Maker. He knows you, and your potential future spouse, much better than you do. And He knows the future. When your heart wants so badly to be loved it can seem hard to trust Him. Stay alert and prepare yourself, but let Him be the primary One to decide who and when you will find that special someone.

Thankfully I didn’t do everything wrong. Before I met my husband I had completely given up on ever being married. I had learned to let God meet those needs in my heart, and it was enough. I was so surprised when God brought Al and me together, but I felt sure that this was God’s doing.

Even so, there were some things I needed to be sure of. Al had been married before, and he is older than I am. During the months we were getting to know each other there were several times I went to my knees. Over repeated and extended times of prayer I laid out all my thoughts and feelings before God. I prayed, “God, I know what my heart wants. But as much as I am able, I lay my feelings aside. I want to hear Your will for me as clearly as I can. I know that if marrying Al is NOT what you want for me, then doing so will only result in pain. If it IS what you want for me, then You and I can handle any challenges that come along.”

Each time I went before God I prayed a similar prayer. And each time I stayed on my knees until I sensed what He was saying to me. I had no reservations at all when Al and I got married a few months later. And God’s blessing on our marriage has been evident every day since.

Instead of making those mistakes mentioned earlier, here are two positive things I encourage you to do.

  1. Study your (potential) spouse. If you’re looking at a man now, be honest about him to yourself, and to a trusted friend or mentor. Don’t gloss over anything. If there’s nobody in your life right now, study what makes for healthy relationships and do your part in preparing.
  2. Stay on your knees. You don’t know the future. You don’t know what challenges you will face, who will enter your life, or whether the man you’re looking at will remain true to you and to God. But God knows all that, and more. You need to stay close to Him as you’re looking for a husband, and every day in the future.

I have observed the pain that an unhappy marriage can bring. I have also experienced the joy that a happy marriage can bring when God is allowed to be the Divine Match-Maker. Love and marriage is a risk – something God knows a lot about. He risked everything to love you!

In your search for a husband remember that He is the only one that you can trust completely. Think of your heart as a precious gift, a priceless jewel. Value it, guard it, and polish it. Don’t hide it away: just choose thoughtfully where you will open your heart.

When you’re hungry for a relationship, remember that God loved you first. That makes you special! Let Him care for your heart, and your relationships will be full of love.

Your turn: Have you made any mistakes in looking for a husband? What would you say to someone who is looking right now? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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