Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What do Men Really Want in a Wife? - Mary Kassian

“What do you want in a wife?” I questioned a variety of the guys wandering the halls at my church one Sunday. Their answers were as varied as their ages.
  • The 7-year-old: “Girls? Ew….. but wait – can she make chocolate chip cookies like my mom?”
  • The 13-year-old: “She has to be hot. But in, like, a nice way, ya know?”
  • The 18-year-old: “My future wife…. hmmmm…. same beliefs, beautiful, funny, sweet, smart – but not a know-it-all, great personality, and I like long hair!”
  • The 24-year-old: “Integrity, adventurous, trustworthy, and fun. The kind of woman that I would want my daughters to grow up to be.”
  • The 31-year-old: “I’m looking for a partner, a woman who will share in my passion for life, ministry and children. Obviously, she would have to be committed to raising a family – that is huge for me.”

They’re looking for good mom-material

According to Pew Research Center, the men of the Millennial Generation (those born after 1980 and into early 2000) are looking to marry a girl who will make good mothers for their future children. When asked to rank education, income, housekeeping skills, sexual intimacy, caring personality, family, and motherhood, 93% of Millennial men picked “a good mother” as number one.

If you think about it, that ‘s kind of amazing. More than any generation before it, Millennials grew up in dysfunctional, single-parent or absentee-parent homes. They were raised under the banner of feminism, spoon-fed the mantra that women can do it all and be everything to everyone, and yet these men chose motherhood as their top priority in a wife, over career, education or even looks. It seems the twenty-something crowd of single men are looking for a woman who is not only willing to have children, but also who is committed to raising them.

Cooing at Babies?

But when I shared the research with a single 23-year-old gal, she responded, “Um, that’s great… But what does that mean for me?” And she has a point. For a woman chasing after God, desiring to one day be married, how does this information affect her? Should it?

Should she start cooing at every baby that is carried past the singles department? (but really, how can you resist squishy fat cheeks and belly laughs??!) Should she casually mention her ovaries or ticking clock in conversation? Does she stop talking about her career aspirations or personal dreams or ministry involvement and just talk about the importance of motherhood on her dates?

(Now that’s a scary thought. Imagine the poor guy.)

The “What does that mean for me?” is a fair question. But I don’t think the fact that guys nowadays are looking for good mom-material should change the way a single Christian girl approaches things. It’s admirable and affirming that guys seem to be valuing more biblical assets in choosing a wife. But as God-fearing single females, your primary responsibility is to Christ, not men or the social trends in wife-picking.

Keep aiming for godliness

As women of God, we are to reflect Christ to the world in the way he chose us to – through our redeemed femininity. And that can be lived out in lives of married and single women alike. Take Proverbs 31 for example.

A woman of God, wholly feminine and fully redeemed:
  • She is trustworthy - “The heart of her husband trusts in her” (v. 11)
  • She builds others up - “She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life” (v. 12)
  • She is a hard worker - “She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.” (v. 13-14)
  • She maintains the right priorities - “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” (v. 27)
  • She is kind, compassionate and self-giving – “She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.” (v. 20)
  • She nurtures those in her sphere of influence - “She rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and portions for her maidens.” (v. 15)
  • She makes wise decisions - “She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard… She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.” (v. 16, 18)
  • She has a positive attitude - ”she smiles at the future.” (v. 25)
  • She exhibits godly character -“strength and dignity are her clothing (v. 25)
  • She shares God’s wisdom and ways with others - “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” (v. 26)
  • She values God’s design for women and the institution of marriage – and it shows in all her actions -“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” (v.28-29)
  • She follows hard after God - “a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” (v. 30)
These qualities – that have nothing to do with discussions of a ticking biological clock – are not specific to motherhood. They are qualities that can be pursued by all women. Yet the women who possess these qualities will inevitably make good mothers. And it’s these timeless qualities of womanhood that will be noticed by interested, god-fearing marriageable males.

So for you single gals who have a desire to be married and have a family, your focus isn’t all that different from us married ones. Your focus shouldn’t be how to become what a man is looking for in a wife. Instead, you just need to “stay the course” and remain focused on becoming a more godly woman.

By Mary Kassian. This article first appeared on The Girls Gone Wise Website.

Mary Kassian, the founder of Girls Gone Wise, is an award winning author, internationally renowned speaker, and distinguished professor of Women's Studies at Southern Baptist Seminary.

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