rebelling against low expectations

5 Traits to Look for in a Potential Spouse

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There I was in my first relationship. Although I had only known the young woman for a short time, she seemed to be a godly gal. She professed faith in Christ, attended church regularly, and served in the church. Yet, it became apparent she lacked spiritual maturity. She failed to take responsibility in certain areas of her life and ignored wise counsel.

Soon our relationship was over.

Following that time, I noticed a repeated refrain echoing among my fellow Christian singles: “I’m looking for a good Christian.”

While the desire to find a good Christian is commendable, it is insufficient unless one can describe what a good Christian looks like. After searching Scripture, five overarching characteristics became my framework for what constitutes a good Christian and what I would be looking for in a future wife: holiness, humility, honesty, hospitality, and humor.

1. Someone Who Pursues Holiness

The Christian life is a call to the pursuit of holiness. In 1 Peter 1:15–16 we are commanded, “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”

As Christians, we are called to imitate God in our conduct by keeping His Word and living distinct from the world. We are to prioritize purity in word, thought, and deed.

Someone who pursues a life of holiness seeks to please God with their lives. Their life will be characterized by confession of sin and dependence upon Christ. The one who pursues holiness prioritizes time spent with God in Scripture and through prayer, as well as commitment to the local church. Look for someone who is dedicated to their own sanctification.

2. Someone Who Displays Humility

The reality is we all fall short of the first characteristic. The second characteristic takes this into account.

Our response when we sin is not to give up on pursuing holiness or to simply try harder. The cross of Christ reminds us we are not justified by our own righteousness or holiness. We are saved by the grace of God through the person and work of Jesus Christ.

The person who displays humility has a repentant heart and a teachable spirit. They don’t argue with the truth of God’s Word instead they submit to it. They are “quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19). They strive to have the mind of Christ, displaying humility as they think of and consider others’ interests before their own (Philippians 2:3-5). Find someone who has been humbled by the gospel.

3. Someone Who Lives Honestly

The gospel not only changes our attitudes; the gospel also changes our words.

After introducing the subject of new life in Christ, the Apostle Paul begins to detail what this new life looks like, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:25).

While the immediate context is to the church, the principle can be applied to any interaction we have with others.

Living honestly means more than just not lying; living honestly means speaking truthfully as well as living transparently. As you consider someone to date or as a potential spouse, have conversations on the importance of transparency and accountability in a relationship. Honesty is a crucial element in a relationship that prioritizes holiness and displays humility.

As you consider someone to date or as a potential spouse, have conversations on the importance of transparency and accountability. These are crucial elements in a relationship that prioritizes holiness and displays humility. Click To Tweet

4. Someone Who Practices Hospitality

The biblical vision of relationships is Christ-centered and others-oriented.

One avenue this outward-focused life can be seen is through the practice of hospitality. Hospitality is about having an open heart and home toward others, inviting them into your life. 1 Peter 4:9 tells us how we are to do this, “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling”.

The person who practices hospitality welcomes others into their life joyfully. They have a caring heart and a generous spirit. They look for opportunities to connect with others and find ways to bless them. Pray to God for someone who practices hospitality and desires to bless others.

5. Someone Who Values Humor

I believe one necessary characteristic remains: humor. While Scripture may not explicitly uphold this characteristic on the same level as the previous four characteristics, humor still has an important place in a relationship. Proverbs 31:25 mentions laughter when speaking of the Wife of Noble Character and Proverbs 17:22 values a joyful heart as good medicine.

A person with a sense of humor brings some ease during tight situations and helps keep things in perspective. They take the gospel seriously but not themselves. When couples value humor they can joke around and laugh together during both the high and low seasons of life.

When couples value humor they can joke around and laugh together during both the high and low seasons of life. Click To Tweet

Strive to Be Who You’re Looking For

As these five qualities became the framework for the type of person I hoped to date and marry, I was better able to discern and ask questions of young ladies I got to know. This led to me meeting, dating, and marrying the woman I now call my wife, Esther. She is a God-honoring example of someone who pursues holiness, displays humility, lives honestly, practices hospitality, and values humor. She is the type of woman I want to be with because she is the type of person Scripture calls us to be.

Strive to be the type of person you are looking for by pursuing holiness, humility, honesty, hospitality, and humor. Click To Tweet

Strive to be the type of person you are looking for by pursuing these five characteristics. Ask God to help you be a person of holiness, humility, honesty, hospitality, and humor.


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About the author

Theron St. John

is a follower of Jesus Christ. He is married to his beautiful wife, Esther, and they live in Louisville, Kentucky. He has formerly served as a youth pastor with Blue Ridge Christian Union Church in Shelbyville, Indiana and has a heart for young people. His passion is to share the hope of the gospel with all who need it. He writes about this hope on his blog, EntrustedByGod.

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rebelling against low expectations

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