A list of 22 rules – commands, really – that a woman wrote out for her boyfriend to sign and follow has gone viral and has been the subject of news stories around the world.
Much of the list is focused on cutting off the boyfriend’s contacts with other women. He can’t have any woman’s phone number, can’t look at other women, needs to walk away if a woman comes up to him, must allow the girlfriend to check a list of the phone numbers he calls, and must never allow women in his home if he moves in with the girlfriend.
Another rule says: “If I say jump, you say ‘how high princess.’” And just in case all this is too subtle, yet another rule says: “If I catch you around girls I kill you.” Let’s hope this is hyperbole.
I don’t know anything about this woman’s relationship with the guy she sought to control, but it is clear it was not marked by trust. I’d be very surprised if it is still intact.
The anonymous woman who wrote this list certainly struggled to understand what is important in a significant other. Many of us – including me – have grappled with this over the years.
Fortunately, I’m married and a father now and haven’t been “in the market” for new romantic companionship for years. But like so many young adults, when I was single I chased the experience of dating, grew addicted to the highs and lows of dysfunctional relationships, and later suffered through bringing these bad habits into my marriage.
The fact that I am now married to a beautiful follower of Jesus is only because of God’s tremendous grace – and only after we worked through some very difficult years of rebuilding trust and love. So many couples with stories similar to ours have very different endings.
Today we spend countless hours counseling young couples as they prepare for marriage. We have the opportunity to observe the relationships of others as we prepare for the weddings I’m officiating as a pastor.
I’ve had the opportunity to see clear patterns of what works in relationships and what ends terribly. I’ve seen how awful compromises of morals and logic are made when strong emotions get in the way. I’ve also seen how some individuals go about dating in a way that’s so controlling that no one can ever meet their “standards.”
Most singles are trying to answer the same question: “Who should I date?” But that’s the wrong question. The question you should ask is: “Who should I marry?”
Lift your eyes above the here and now and the fun of dating a stranger, the emotional rush of a long phone conversation, or the pursuit of premarital intimacy. Instead, start to think about dating with long-term happiness in the mind – the happiness marriage can provide.
Rather than 22 things women should want a boyfriend to do or not do, here’s a list of 10 things women should want a man they marry to be. The answers are rooted in the Bible – a very old book but as relevant today as ever!
- Submissive to authority. Rebellious guys might grab your heart for a moment. But for a long-term relationship, you want someone who will admit that he is not always right, and be willing to change when others point that out to him. Does he listen to others and yield to wisdom? (Hebrews 13:17)
- Honesty. Does he say what he means and do what he says? Does he go out of his way to speak with whole, complete and concentrated truth? Without honesty, you can’t trust what he says – including when he says “I do” and commits to you in marriage. (1 Corinthians 13:6)
- Kind. Is he nice to others around him? Don’t expect him to be consistently kind to you long-term if he is not kind to others. (2 Timothy 2:24)
- Selfless. Does he think of your needs, and the needs of others, ahead of his own? Is he generous and willing to share his possessions and time with others? Husbands are called to love their wives selflessly and sacrificially, “just as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25).
- Patient. Is he willing to wait for good things? Does he value you enough to wait for you? “Patient” is the very first word used to describe love in the famous “love chapter” of the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:4).
- Courageous. Will he stand for what is right when it is difficult, embarrassing or unpopular? Will he stand up to protect you? (1 Corinthians 16:13)
- Gentle. Can he control his strength, and balance it with grace? (1 Timothy 3:2-3)
- Diligent. A diligent person can be counted on to provide. Does he work hard? (Proverbs 12:24)
- Faithful. Consider his reputation closely. Anyone can fake the things on this list when trying to impress a woman. Does he have a reputation consistent with these character traits? (Proverbs 20:6)
Committed to God. Those who follow the Lord and are prayerful and are committed to Him have a moral compass to guide them. This will certainly help in how they relate to their wives. (Galatians 5:22-25)
Ladies, if you focus your attention on finding a guy with traits that make him a good husband – and not simply a good date – you’ll be more likely to end up with “happily ever after” instead of heartbreak.
Is there anything that didn’t make the list that should be there?