As a woman, what should you look for in a potential mate? Many women have made a list of their “must have” qualities. That’s good – I think you should. (As long as you aren’t so particular to say “He must be between 5’6″ and 5’8″, play Canasta, have brown hair no longer than his ears, and never listen to secular music.”) As women, we’re very familiar with the Proverbs 31 woman. Maybe we haven’t studied her extensively, but we’ve certainly heard about her – about how she’s a godly ideal for us to aspire to. Men are counseled to study her to know what to look for in a wife.
Yet, women don’t have a “Proverbs 32” man. It’s like God has left us wanting something – a list of qualities for us to look for in a man. And yet! That’s not true at all. God has indeed left us with a list of qualities to look for in a husband. I propose the list of qualities we should look for in a husband is the same list of qualities that God has told us to look for when selecting elders of the church. Nothing in Scripture itself tells me to use these passages in this way; I just think it’s wise. It doesn’t mean that your husband needs to actually be an elder. On the contrary, not every godly man is called to the position of elder in a church in a formal way. But I do think every man should strive for the qualities of an elder.
There are two primary passages dealing with elders (called overseers) – 1 Timothy 3:2-7 and Titus 1:5b-11.
“An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to win or pugnacious, but gently, uncontentious, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?); and not a new convert, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil” (1 Tim. 3:2-7)
“…appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.” (Titus 1:5b-11)
The first two qualities:
Above reproach – A general, overall quality. It should be difficult to accuse him of something and have it be automatically assumed to be true. Example: If your boyfriend was accused of stealing, it should be really hard to believe. People would want some undisputable proof before they’d believe it. Their first reaction shouldn’t be “Oh, that’s probably true. Charles probably does steal.” or “I believe that Patrick would yell at people.”.
The husband of one wife – Obviously, he can’t already be married. If he’s married and you’re considering dating him, well, then my advice probably doesn’t mean much to you! We’re obviously coming from different viewpoints. But you want a “one woman” kind of man. A man that isn’t a womanizer. He must be above reproach in his relationships with women. He pursues one woman at a time. He doesn’t jump from woman to woman just to see what’s out there or because he’s “bored” with the one he has. It doesn’t mean that he hasn’t had previous relationships, but it does mean that he takes relationships seriously and prayerfully. He isn’t prone to approaching woman after woman.