Jonathan Pokluda | 2018-10-23
Guys, when you think of the perfect girl what is she like? Before you go out looking for her you may want make sure the traits and qualities you have in mind are biblical and not just personal preference. What if the girl you’re looking for is just a fantasy that will turn into a nightmare? In this message, we look to Proverbs 31 as a framework for what to look for in a wife.
Guys, when you think of the perfect girl what is she like? Before you go out looking for her you may want make sure the traits and qualities you have in mind are biblical and not just personal preference. What if the girl you’re looking for is just a fantasy that will turn into a nightmare? In this message, we look to Proverbs 31 as a framework for what to look for in a wife.
Come on, Porch! How are we doing? Tonight I'm talking to the men. Ladies, you can leave. No, I'm kidding. Are there any dudes here? Did the guys show up? I love it. Well, I want to say hi to our campuses, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Tulsa, and wherever you are around the world if you're listening. Welcome to The Porch. We're glad you're here. We're talking to the men: what to look for in a woman. To find out what you guys are thinking, we went to the State Fair of Texas here in Dallas and we were asking some guys. We caught some video. Why don't we start by watching this?
Josh: Hey, guys, Josh and Alaina out here at the State Fair. We're here trying to figure out how people navigate life, love, relationships.
Alaina: Dating, their dream guy, their dream girl. Do you believe in the one? Soul mate, all that stuff.
Josh: Yeah, come along for the ride. Let's figure it out. Describe to me your dream girl.
Male: She's got to be into the same stuff I can be into, because if we ain't into the same stuff we're not going to click.
Male: Probably have to be a Mexican, nice body, tan.
Male: If she's got a nice smile, some cute eyes. You know, the body doesn't have to be perfect, but, you know, a little curviness. Funny, I guess.
Alaina: What do you think?
Male: Someone who's quirky like me. I don't know. Just instant connection, I guess.
Male: He said beautiful smile. That's like the first thing, smile. If she has a good personality. I never really was big on the body, so, like…
[End of video]
All right. So that's what we're thinking. My family and I went to the State Fair as well. It's a very different experience when you have three kids with you. We're riding the ladybugs and stuff. We go through that warehouse thing. It's not the car show but that area by Big Tex, if you've been there or you've been to Dallas. In there they sell hot tubs and mattresses. Have you guys been in there? You probably don't even go in there, but we go in there because we're those people.
We're walking through, and there's this guy selling a Vitamix, a blender. Our family gets sucked into this guy. He has the microphone on, and he's just making the sale, talking about how amazing this blender is. I don't know if you have blenders or you're into juicing celery or something, but this dude is just getting after it. It's an amazing blender. It weighs the stuff you put inside. It tells you the recipe, and then it tells you if you're putting enough of it in there.
He's mixing it all up. He's pulling some spinach and some kale and some grapes. I'm like, "Man, I don't want anything to do with that." He adds some ice and water. It keeps telling you it will be red until you put just enough in, and then it turns green. Then it says to switch to the next ingredient. He's just mixing it up. As I was thinking about that with my family as this guy is adding stuff in there, this is what I think guys do when it comes to trying to find the perfect woman: they want these different ingredients.
Like, "I want her to be really fun, but not too much drama. I want her to love football, but not too much football. Like, not more than me because that's weird. I want her to be really hot. Add the cayenne or whatever. She needs to look like Gigi Hadid or Megan Fox but also serve like Mother Teresa. I want her to love to work out, because I like to look at people who love to work out." You're kind of throwing that stuff in there, and this is what you're thinking. You're trying to mix up the perfect woman, and it leaves you looking and wanting and searching.
If I'm honest, as I've met with guys over the past decade here has been my big takeaway of what you guys are looking for: you don't know what you're looking for. You don't really know what you're looking for. You're thinking, "When I find it I'll have this feeling, this emotional response." That's what's going on. Like, "It'll be perfect. It'll be just the right mix of everything. She'll have a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and everything is going to blend together perfectly. Throw me into her life, and we're going to mix together perfectly." That's just not how it works.
I see guys get into relationships, and everything seems right, but then anxiety kicks in, fear kicks in, cold feet kicks in. All of these questions begin to consume them. They go, "Well, I don't know if she's the one or if we're going to make it work or if I should go farther, take that step." What if I could help you tonight? What if I could give you, from the Scriptures, the things to look for in a woman? Just to keep it really simple, here are some things you can look for in a woman.
This evening we're talking about the fantasy girl as we move through this series called Fantasy: Finding Real Love in a Fake World. The reason we say, "Finding real love in a fake world" is because that's the big felt need everybody came in here with, everybody is listening with. You want to be loved. You want to experience love. You want to give love. The problem is the world says, "This is how you do that," and they have no idea what they're talking about. They're awful at it. They're really, really, really bad at it, yet they're your teachers.
Be it social media, be it Tinder, be it movies, be it TV shows, be it airbrushed magazines…it's fake, and it leaves you not knowing what you're looking for. You end up thinking about a wife like she's a smoothie with all of the perfect ingredients in there. You don't even know what ingredients you're looking for. I'll say it in a different way, kind of throwback to last week: you're looking for the wrong ingredients.
So what can we do about it? I want you to know I understand. I empathize with you. When I was looking for a wife, here's the truth about where I was. I wasn't in a relationship with Jesus. I was entrenched into an addiction to pornography and sex. I loved going to the strip clubs. So what did I want in a wife? I wanted someone who looked like a porn star who I could tolerate. Honestly, I could just put up with her.
The reason I say that is I think that's a lot of you men. You came in here. You've been brainwashed by the same teacher I was. You may not say it like I did, but subconsciously that's what you want. You want someone who's hot by your standards who you can tolerate. That's going to lead to tragedy, disaster, despair, divorce, and a lot of hurt. You might just keep looking and looking and looking.
I want you to know, men, marriage is a good thing. Proverbs 18:22 says, "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord." So if you are here or you are listening and you are well and you want a wife, find one. Like, find one. I want to help you. We could do this before you go home tonight. I'm telling you, we can make it super simple. We'll just do some arranged marriages and mix it up. It's going to be awesome. But you have to start by knowing what you're looking for. I think the Scripture is going to do this.
We're talking about the fantasy girl, and it's interesting because there's a Scripture, an entire chapter of the Bible dedicated to the fantasy girl or the gold standard, if you will. Do you know what it is? Proverbs 31. Proverbs 31 woman. I've probably referenced Proverbs 31 fifty times in the past 10 years, and I've never taught this text in the way we're going to do it tonight, verse by verse, looking at it.
It's really an interesting text, because do you know who wrote it? It says "King Lemuel." There's some debate around this, but leading scholarship believes there was no King Lemuel of Israel. We don't see that in history, which should encourage you, because the other kings we see in the history books show us who they were. We don't see this one. King Lemuel means devoted to God or the fruit of my vows.
People think it's talking about Solomon, but it says who wrote it is actually King Lemuel's mom, which would be Bathsheba. So this Scripture would have been written by Bathsheba. Here's why. It's a loving mother, a wise mother giving instruction to her kid. "Hey, this is who I'm praying you end up with."
Proverbs 31:10-31 is actually a poem. It's an acrostic. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Every line starts with one of those letters. If it was done in English, it would be like "A is for apple, B is for…" That's an acrostic. As you go down, it's the first letter of every letter of the Hebrew alphabet. So this is a mother giving instruction to her children. "Hey, this is what you look for." Here are the promises it makes.
If you find this woman, it says, "Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land." Ladies, I'm going to give you some good advice. Every man here wants to feel respected. He has a deep desire inside of him to feel respected. Specifically, when he gets married he wants to feel respected by his wife. This text says you find the right woman, and you're going to be respected not only by her but all of the people of the land.
It goes on to say the promise to the woman. "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.'" These are the words of her husband. Then the command to the guy, because this text was not written to women. This is not the, "Hey, here's what you must be, women." This is "Hey, guys, here's what you should value. Here's what you should look for."
It ends with an instruction to the men. "Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." That was not something that was done in Israel. This is extraordinary praise for an extraordinary woman. It is the gold standard. Ladies, can I tell you something? For the next few minutes, you're really going to have to fight something: comparison. Resolve your heart right now that you don't let it turn downward, that you don't grow discouraged, because there's hope in this text. Hang in there with me as we move through this text, that it would not beat you down.
Proverbs 31. We're going to look at seven qualities. Yes, seven from this text. I've read commentaries that listed 31. I've read commentaries that listed 10. I think we can dumb it down to seven qualities to look for as you're dating someone. What is dating? My friend Daniel Crawford next door gave me this definition. I love it. "Assessing someone's suitability as a spouse." How do I assess someone's suitability as a spouse? This text, men, will help you do that. Verse 10. Let's go.
"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies." Where it says, "A wife of noble character" it could also be translated in the Hebrew a capable wife. It's saying you have to seek her out. She is difficult to find, but if you find her she's more valuable than rubies. Right off the bat you have an application, men. You have to find her, which means you have to look for her, which means you're going to have to take a risk.
You're going to have to get out there and search for her. She is not, while you're watching the Cowboys game, going to fall through the roof and land on your lap. That's not going to happen. You have to seek this woman out. "Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." It says right off the bat what we're looking for, one of the qualities…
1._ She is faithful_. Let's make that practical. What does that mean? It means she's trustworthy. It means she does what she says she's going to do. You can ask yourself that question. What does she do? "How do I know if she's faithful?" Does she do what she says she's going to do? Does she use her words to build up? Does she gossip? That breaks trust. You have to trust this woman. This is your life partner we're talking about. A marriage has to be built on trust. If there is no trust, there is no marriage.
This woman should be known for her integrity. You know this is true if you've ever been in an untrustworthy relationship. It is miserable. I've been in one. You guys are nodding your head, getting whiplash back there. It is terrible. It causes you so much pain. You feel trapped in a prison, but you can't get out. This is a big problem.
It's really interesting. Fox News two weeks ago actually asked me to write a response, an article about this girl who made a list of 22 things her boyfriend had to do. Did anybody see this? Here's a picture of this list. It's like, "You are not to have single girls' numbers. If I text you, you have to respond within 10 minutes. If I catch you with another girl, I will kill you." Wow. She says, "You can't hang out with these particular friends."
I'm looking at that. I read it. They say, "Hey, we want you to write a response to this." I'm reading it. I'm like, "Man, my response is that relationship is no longer intact." The way they found this list is this guy traded in his car, and whoever got the car…the list was still in there…posted it on the Internet and said, "Oh, this poor soul," and it went mega viral, like, worldwide viral.
So they said, "Hey, respond to this," and I said, "Listen. That marriage is doomed, because there's no trust there." That's not healthy. You have to be able to trust each other. Now let me say this to you guys. Just because you don't trust her doesn't mean she's not trustworthy. A little subtle rumble there. During this message let's not elbow each other or point. Don't do that.
Just because you don't trust her doesn't mean she's not trustworthy. It may be your issue. You may not be trustworthy. Untrustworthy people don't trust people. That's a fact. Untrustworthy people don't trust people because they're afraid someone is going to do to them what they're already doing behind their back. I'm talking about if you have evidence or proof that she is not trustworthy or she is not faithful.
If she's faithful, how does she care for her home? Verse 13: "She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands." Flax is used to make a really fine linen. When it says she's eager to use her hands, what it's actually saying is she enjoys it. She finds joy out of doing these things. In context it says, "She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar."
That is such a beautiful text, because what it's saying is people who are around her are like the people standing at the docks, and when food comes in from all of these lands it's exciting things. It's things they've never seen. It's saying that when you sit down to a meal she has made you don't know what it is. You don't know what to expect. It could be anything. She's not serving you Hamburger Helper. She's coming up with creative things. I just love that that's in the text. It says, "She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants." What this text is saying is she's able to assess the needs of her family.
2._ She is attentive to the needs of her home_. This is something you're going to want in someone you're going to spend the rest of your life with. What does that mean, practically speaking? It's talking about her caring for her family. Does she love children? You're like, "Well, how do I know if she loves children?" She wants to be around them. "I'm going to babysit. I'm going to keep so-and-so's… Oh, I just love their kids. I love when they're around."
Why is that important? Well, because a huge part of marriage is raising children. What I've seen in my generation and the generation behind me, Gen Z, is we get self-absorbed and selfish and we start to think, "Kids kind of get in the way." I do weddings sometimes where we're talking with people and they're like, "Well, we're going to travel the world, and then we'll have kids." What I would tell you is travel the world now, because marriage is about family.
God's view of kids is he says they're a blessing from the Lord. Have a lot of them. That's what the Lord says. So if you don't view kids as a blessing, you don't view children like God does. You should consider that. If you can't have kids, that's not a disqualifier at all. You can adopt. I have a friend in ministry. He and his wife never had children, but they have poured their lives into millions, literally millions of kids. That's a life well lived.
So what does it look like to love children? This woman has skills to make a house a home. Homemaker has a negative connotation today. I reject that, because I think God's Word rejects that. It is a compliment. It is a gift. Here's the encouragement to you, ladies. If you're out there and you're like, "Yeah, but that's not me…" This is a great time to work on those skills.
It's not a nonnegotiable for you, I'll just say. My wife doesn't love to cook. She has a ton of gifts, a long list of gifts. Cooking is not on the first couple of pages, so we eat out a lot. That's okay. I like to eat out. We have a budget. We stick to it. It works. We have a great marriage. So don't be discouraged if that's not you, but this is something that is straight from this proverb, so I'm putting it before you.
Right now there are some women in the room who are like, "Oh, he's against working outside the home." No, not at all. This woman works outside the home. This text goes out of its way to show that this woman works outside the home. She works outside the home; she works inside the home. She does a lot of work. That's this woman, Proverbs 31 here, but let me show you that she works outside the home.
Verse 16: "She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks." So, men, you're looking for a woman with big arms. That's going to be important. "She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers." A distaff is something for sewing or knitting.
Then also in verse 24 it says, "She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes." This lady is getting after it. She has jobs upon jobs outside the home. That's the truth.
3._ She's not lazy. She's going to have to do a lot of work. Men, here's why: because being married to you is a lot of work. I know from experience. Being married to me is a lot of work. A _lot of work. Marriage is hard. Have you guys ever heard that? Anybody sick of hearing that? "I'm so sick of hearing how marriage is hard." Let me tell you the truth. Life is hard. That's the truth. Men, let me talk to you for a minute. Life is hard. That's why you need a helper. That's what the Scripture calls a wife: a helper.
Can I tell you something before you get offended and walk out? It's what the Scripture calls the Holy Spirit, God: a helper. Do you know why you need a helper, men? Because we need help. It's just that simple. We're just some dudes who need some help. So God in his kindness is like, "Hey, let me help you. I will not only give you my Holy Spirit to help you, but I will create an amazing, beautiful creature that is incredible in the way I have wired her to come alongside you."
It's going to be important that she is not lazy, because the job before you (it's not just marriage; it's life) is hard. I have a hard job. I love my job. I love where I work. I love who I work with, but I write a term paper every week in the form of a sermon. I listen to people's problems every day. There are some difficulties to it. Let me tell you something. I wouldn't trade my wife for her job for one second. I am not one of those dudes like, "My job is harder than hers." No, her job is so much harder than mine. It's so much harder than mine.
So as you think about marriage, you need to know what the job is in order to find the person you're going to partner with. I know you're thinking, "I just want someone who's fun and hot." This actually comes from the book, if you've read it. When I was in high school, I had this huge crush on this girl in my class. We'll call her Kelly. It's a made-up name. We were being partnered up, guys and girls being partnered up.
So I'm sitting there, and the teacher is going around, and I'm like, "Please, please put me with Kelly. Please." I don't even believe in God, but I'm like, "God, please put me with Kelly." (At the time. I believe in God now, just in case you were wondering. Big fan of God.) So she's going around, and she's like, "Okay, we'll do Jeff and Elizabeth. We're going to do John and Jennifer." Then she's like, "All right. We'll do Jonathan and…" I'm like, "Please, please, Jesus, please." "…Kelly." I'm like, "Yes!" because I was attracted to Kelly. She was attractive.
I just didn't consider what the assignment was. The assignment was we were going to dissect frogs. Kelly was cute, but she hated frogs, especially the dead kind. She didn't want to touch them at all, and that was challenging, because I wasn't very good at biology, and I was really hoping she was going to be smart. So now we are in this partnership, and she's not very good at the assignment.
That describes more than half of the marriages I see. I just chose someone. I didn't consider what the assignment was. I just was hoping they would be good at sex, not the 99.4 percent of all the other stuff, like we talked about last week. The sex, if you have a lot of it…a lot of it…is 0.6 percent of the time. What about the 99.4 percent of all of the other stuff? You want to make sure you both are good at that.
It's interesting. We make so many decisions (I'm talking to you guys) around sex. I just think that's true in dating. A big driver for that is "I want her to be attractive." Is sex better with attractive people? Don't answer out loud. Just think about it. I'm just going to let you think about it. "She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy."
4._ She's tender to the needs of others_. Keep in mind this is the gold standard. These are not all nonnegotiables. These are good ideas if they're there. This is what a mother prayed for her son. She's tender to the needs of others. "JP, how would I know?" Does she text encouraging things to people when they need it? Does she lift their spirits? Is she writing notes? Is she thinking about the needs of others around her? Does she desire to give?
Is she serving? This is so big. Is she serving? That's like half the battle. Is she involved in a church and serving there, giving of her time there? This is huge. It comes from Genesis, chapter 24. Here's what's going on. Abraham… Have you guys heard of Abraham? Abraham is looking for a wife for his son Isaac, so what he does (and we can learn a lot from this) is he gets his servant, Eliezer, and says, "I want you to go and find my son a wife."
Now this is crazy that Eliezer can find Isaac a wife when they haven't met or anything because he knows what he's looking for. That's the difference between us and them. See, in Bible times you literally could just leave the house with a list. You could go up to somebody like, "Check. Check. Check. Check. I do." You could do that then. We've complicated things since then.
So Eliezer leaves and he's looking. Where does he go? He goes where servants hang out. He goes to the well, and he prays. He says, "Lord, would you send someone to me who is a servant who would not only give me water but also water my camels?" Now a well in those times… There was a flight of stairs that went into the ground. It was hard work to fill up buckets of water and then walk those stories of stairs.
Then Rebekah comes up and says, "Here's some water, and let me go and also get some for your camels." So, he's looking for someone who serves, he goes to where servants go, and he chooses someone who served. This is such a novel idea. Then they get married. It was that simple. Why is it not that simple anymore? "You have to have chemistry, JP. Chemistry is so important."
My bride has this in spades. She's super-sensitive to the needs of others. She comes into a room, and it's like her superpower. She's a kindergarten teacher. She just walks into a room, and she finds the most vulnerable person and just moves to them. It's like a magic trick she does. Whether it's a baby or an elderly person or someone who had a bad day, she can just smell it from across the room and move to them and love on them and encourage them like crazy. She is a nurturer through and through.
Our marriage faced a really big challenge this year, probably one of the biggest challenges in 14 years of marriage. We got a puppy. I thought, "We're going to let the puppy inside, and it's going to be all good." I didn't consider how nurturing she is. She likes to put ice in the bowl and make sure the water is of a good temperature and that it's comfortable and that the TV is on when we're not there so they're entertained. That's all lost on me. I'm like, "We're not doing any of that. No. Okay, fine."
If I'm honest with you, if I'm just putting it all out there, I'm jealous of the dog. I'm like, "Stop showing her so much attention. I'm over here." I know I need a little bit more of that in my life. I know Christ would walk into a room and be finely in tune with the greatest needs and move to the person who is most vulnerable. So, are they tender to the needs of others?
It goes on to say in verse 21, "When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple." I want to focus on the "clothed in scarlet" and "she is clothed in fine linen and purple" and "she makes coverings for her bed." This is kind of a strange one, but I see it clearly in the text.
5._ She is aesthete. Has anybody heard of this word? I hadn't either. Here's what it means. It's where we get the word _aesthetics. Does she care about making things pretty? You're like, "Really? That's on the list?" Dude, it's from Proverbs 31. All right? You argue with the Scripture. Here's why I think the Holy Spirit preserved this text for thousands of years so we can read it and apply it to our lives today.
It's because, if I'm honest, as I think through the sexes and the genders and the roles we play, a lot of guys don't care if things are pretty. God is like, "I like things to be pretty. I'm a creator. So if you're going to have a home, I want things to be pretty." Guys are kind of like function over form. We just want things to work. We don't care if they're pretty. Girls are like, "No, I want it to work, and I want it to look good." So you make your home pretty.
If you think I'm lying, you know that you went to some guy's apartment and had to go to the bathroom, and you went somewhere else. You're like, "I am not going in there. It is a biological experiment in there, and I'm not setting foot in his… He's growing mold in there." That's just what some guys do. I'm telling you, these aren't nonnegotiables.
Monica and I had the opportunity to build a house. People will walk in and say, "Oh, is that Monica? Did she do…?" I'm like, "No, that was me." I tend to be the one in the relationship who cares more about this. That's okay. If that's where you're at…you're finding balance, you know how God made you, how God wired you up, and you're looking for someone to complement that…that's all right. Again, these aren't nonnegotiables. Not all of them anyways.
"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness."
6._ She's sensible in preparation. Sensible_ means chosen in accordance with wisdom. She makes choices according to the knowledge she has. It says she speaks with wisdom. She's clothed in strength and dignity. Then it says she can laugh at the days to come because she's prepared. As she looks at the challenges they're facing, she has a plan for that. She's prepared for that, and she watches over the affairs of her household. She is not idle. She shows care for the future.
This also comes from verse 18 where it says her lamp does not go out at night. Like the virgins who stopped preparing and let their lamps go out in the New Testament. That phrase in the Hebrew, "lamps do not go out at night," means she's prepared. She has a plan. Now I'm not saying she's OCD. I'm not saying she's super high-strung, like constantly planning. I'm just saying she's not given to manis and pedis and happy hours and spray tanning over actually getting ready for what she needs to be getting ready for, being aware of what is coming at her.
This preparedness leads to confidence. It says she laughs at the days to come. On our kitchen table… You walk into my house at any given time, and right there at the kitchen table is my wife's chair, and on her chair is her purse and her Bible study bag, which is like books and books, and on the table is an old-school calendar that she buys every January from Barnes & Noble.
At night we put the kids down, and she sits down in that chair and just goes to work. She has colored markers. She has a marker for every color of her thoughts, just writing down. "On Tuesday you're going where? You're traveling and you're speaking? Okay. Then Thursday what are we doing? This weekend we have soccer games." She's just marking stuff up, grabbing the yellow and the red and the green. She does it every night. I'm so glad she does, because I'm awful at that.
Here in Dallas it has been raining since 2012, so we've rescheduled all of the kids' soccer games. Basically, we have to play a whole season of soccer games in two weeks. That's a true story. That has changed everything. The sun came out and so did soccer games. So she's writing, "Okay, we can't do that. We have soccer game, soccer game, soccer game." It's like playing Tetris, moving this stuff around, but she's great at it. It's so helpful.
I'm not saying your wife can't be spontaneous. I'm not saying she can't be artsy and fun, but I am saying that what this mama prayed for her son was that he would find someone who's sensible in preparation. Then it says in verse 30, "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting…" My daughters say this verse every day to me before they get out of the car for school. "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
I love what the author is doing here. They juxtapose chemistry with the fear of God. You say, "What does the Bible value?" I would say the Bible values the fear of God infinitely times more than chemistry. That's the truth. I use "infinitely more." I'm not even over-speaking. I could say a hundred times more, a thousand times more. Infinitely times more the Bible values the wisdom of God and the Holy Spirit, values the fear of God over chemistry.
7._ She is yielded to God_. Ladies, I want you to be encouraged because this is really the only one that's a nonnegotiable. The other ones are "nice to haves." They may help you be prepared, but as I said last week, what if it's as simple as being the most godly person you can and finding the most godly person you can and marrying them? What if it's that simple? What if we've complicated things?
They have to be yielded to God. Here's what that means. There are people listening right now here in Dallas and Fort Worth, El Paso, Tulsa, and driving in their car, streaming on the Internet, sitting in their apartment, who don't even know God. You're not dateable. You're not marriage material. Followers of Jesus should run from you as fast as they can unless they are seeking to share the gospel with you, and even in that I'd encourage you to find someone of the same sex.
What you need to do… The good news is it's very simple. What you need to hear is that God loves you so much he sent his only Son Jesus Christ to this earth to die for your sins, to pay the price for your sins so you don't have to go to hell and pay the price for your sins. Your sins have been paid for on the cross. God, to show his infinite power, raised his Son Jesus from the dead. It really happened. That's how he became the single most notorious character in the history of history: he rose from the dead.
Paul said, "There are 500 people who saw him. They're still alive. Go ask them," he writes to the Corinthians. When we trust in him, that he died for our sins and God raised him from the dead, His Holy Spirit comes in our lives, and here's the other good news, ladies: what that Holy Spirit does is it makes you godly. So if you're sitting out there and you're like, "Man, I'm just not there. I'm not perfect," you don't need to be perfect. You have a Savior who's perfect, and his Holy Spirit is working inside of you to one day complete you so that you would be perfect before Christ. Until then you live in an imperfect world and you don't need to be perfect.
Guys, I'm talking to you now. Gentlemen, I'm talking to you. You're not looking for perfect; you're looking for practical. You're not looking for someone who's perfectly made for you, because she doesn't exist, because you are so messed up. You're looking for someone who practically complements you so you can marry and serve God together. They love God, you love God, you come together, you love God together, and you raise children to love God. You have them. You adopt them. You disciple them however you can.
This is God's plan for the world. At some point we moved away from it. When did we move away from it? When did our selfishness infiltrate this plan? Are we happier? No. Are we more depressed? Yes. Are we despairing more? Yes. Are suicide rates at an all-time high? Yes, they are. What if we just went back to the basics? What if we just started to learn from the Creator, we went back to his design and said, "Okay, I'm going to scrub out all the trash that Hollywood taught me, and I'm just going to go back to this"?
My wife and I weren't following Christ when we met. We were idiots. I was a bigger idiot than she was, but both of us were not following Christ. Around the same time, God in his mercy introduced us to him through his Son Jesus Christ, and our lives began to radically change. Marriage was not an option for us until then.
Do you know what our relationship looked like before then? We would get together, we'd break up, we'd get together, we'd break up. "I love you. I hate you. You walk home. I never want to see you again. You did what with who when, where, why?" Talking to me. Then God came into our lives and began to sanctify us; that is, making us like him. As we began to pursue him together, he did a work in our relationship. This work is available to you.
You're not looking for the perfect; you're looking for practical. Biblically speaking, how important is chemistry? It's not. Some of you haven't experienced chemistry, men, because you've experienced chemistry with thousands of two-dimensional images on your iPhone for the past 6 years or 16 years. Chemistry long-term is not available to you. You need to get well, gentlemen. You need to heal. You need to return to the gospel.
But if you are well and you desire marriage, it is available to you. There are godly women all around you right now. Just because she's here doesn't mean she's godly, but I know there are godly women all around you, sitting in front of you and beside you and behind you. Take notice. I get it all the time. Let me just address this. "What if I'm not attracted to her?"
A friend told me last week, lovingly just said, "I feel like you're saying if I'm dating someone who's godly… Like, they're really godly, they have a God-fearing heart, but I'm just not feeling it and I break up. I feel like you're saying something is wrong with me." Here's how I responded to that: "That's exactly what I'm saying. There's something wrong with you. It's called sin. It's wrong with all of us, and we're not attracted yet to the things God is attracted to."
In 1 Samuel 16 he says, "I do not look at the outer appearance; I look at the heart. I'm attracted to the heart." So you say, "What do I do? Am I just supposed to marry them?" No, absolutely not. No, you break up and you work on you. You go and say, "God, why am I not attracted to the things you're attracted to? Would you grow me spiritually to the point where I would be attracted to the things you're attracted to?"
What role does chemistry or attraction play in an arranged marriage, which is our example in biblical times? I know it's not much today anymore, but in biblical times… Isaac had never seen Rebekah. He didn't have a choice whether he was physically attracted to her or not. He just entrusted that huge decision to someone else because that someone knew what they were looking for. Gentlemen, you have to know what you're looking for.
It says in verse 31, "Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." Honor her. To love and to cherish, we say at a wedding. Honor her. "What if I'm not attracted?" Are you ready, gentlemen? Here's the answer to that question: You have to be able to cherish her. If you can't cherish her, don't waste her time for two seconds, but for the rest of your life you have to be able to choose to cherish her, because there will be times when she's not attractive to you.
There will be times where you don't find her attractive. That's the truth. She's not going to find you attractive either on days, seasons, months at a time. That's going to happen, but you have to choose to cherish her in those moments. In fact, there's a male ballet dancer who said, "Ballet is about the woman." He said, "My job as her partner is to highlight her, to make the beautiful more beautiful." He said, "She's amazing on her own, but with me she can fly higher, and people come to see her display the art and the beauty."
When I say cherish, men, that's what I'm talking about, that you would get with that woman and that you would highlight her beauty. Because do you know who's beautiful? A woman who is well loved is beautiful. When someone is loved well they become more beautiful and more beautiful and more beautiful. George Strait was right when he said, "You look so good in love." Here's the reality: you show me a woman who has been loved well, and I will show you someone who is beautiful.
So if you want to be married to someone who's hot, gentlemen, you marry someone and love them like crazy. You cherish them. That's the truth. That's the reality. I've seen a lot of beautiful women jump into marriages and fade like flowers cut from their source because they didn't marry cherishing husbands.
What's not in this list? Age isn't in this list. It doesn't value if she's older than you. She may be an amazing wife. Is she a virgin? It doesn't say. Does she have kids? There are some amazing women here who have children who would be incredible wives to you. Can she have kids? That's not on the list. Is she a good kisser? It's dumb, I know. You can laugh because it's stupid. Does she come from a good family? What does she look like? None of this stuff is on there.
Are you asking the right questions? I know you think through the lens of sex. I get it. I'm a dude too. Let me say something crazy. If she has all of these things but y'all can't even have sex, you can't experience intimacy, your marriage is going to be better than if she has none of these things but is amazing in bed. Get your head around that. That's true. You say, "How do you know?" Because I talk to a lot of people. They'll talk to pastors about anything.
In summary, is she faithful? Is she attentive to the needs of her home? Is she not lazy? Is she tender to the needs of others? Is she aesthete? Is she sensible in preparations, and is she yielded to God? That's a fantasy girl. That last one is the most important one. You get that last one, that's the nonnegotiable. There are other things. Those are good. You take them.
A little more, a little less. You're mixing up the smoothie. "Give me more of that, a little less of that." You want her to be faithful. They're not all created equal. You might be able to get by with her not being aesthete, but she needs to be yielded to God. Men, to find someone yielded to God you need to be yielded to God. That's the truth. It's funny. We think about this all wrong.
That guy was making that smoothie up there. I'm like, "I don't want anything to do with that. I'm out on that." He mixes it up and pours me a little Dixie cup and hands them out to my kids and to me. I'm like, "I don't even want…" I'm with my 9-year-old. She's like, "I'm not drinking that." I'm like, "I'm not either. I'm with you." The guy is like, "No, just taste it." I tried it. I was like, "Oh my gosh. That's amazing. When did you sneak in a pound of sugar or something? That was incredible. All I saw you put in there was stuff that's good for me."
You want her to be fun and attractive, but if you go after the things that are good for marriage, the fun and the attractive is going to come. It might surprise you. But if you go after the fun and attractive and chemistry as the top priority and leave out those other things, it's going to mess you up. Your marriage is going to die before it starts. If you don't believe me, look behind you. Not literally behind you. I mean look at your past dating life and what you valued. How did that work out?
Guys, would you just consider if I'm right? Don't even stoop to consider if I'm right. Would you consider if he's right? God loves you. He wants something from you. Don't just hear me say, "Suck it up and eat your vegetables." That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying you start your list with what God values. If you do that, you're going to be okay. Guys, I know you're confused. I know you've believed lies, but, guys, if you're well and you want to get married, I can help you. I'd love to help you. Let me pray.
Father, thank you for loving us enough to even care about these little things, who we would partner with. God, as we consider the ingredients that we would seek out, would you just help us in our foolishness to love what you love, to long for what you long for, to seek what you seek out in us, really the things you create in us, God, by the power of your Holy Spirit? You're the King of hearts. You direct them wherever you please. So, Lord, would you be the King of our hearts and would you direct them to someone whose heart you already have and help us to live out your will? In Jesus' name, amen.