by Stephen Kim (with one minor edit for biblical accuracy — original erroneous text retained in footnote)
“I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house” (Proverbs 7:7-8).
1. The Unbeliever. Scripture is replete with exhortations against such marriages (in both the Old and New Testaments). Contrary to popular misconception, God’s prohibition against marriages to foreign women in the Old Testament was not due to racism. Instead, God was simply preventing the spread of idolatry. Israel, God’s chosen people in the Old Testament, represented what Christians would later represent in the New Testament. Hence, God’s prohibition against marrying an unbelieving woman in the New Testament (2 Cor 6:14) is simply the extension of God prohibiting a Hebrew man from from marrying a Canaanite woman in the Old Testament (Deut 7:3-4). “Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods, and the LORD’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you” (Deut 7:3-4).
What then, is a believer? A Christian essentially is someone who believes in the gospel of Jesus Christ. What then, is the gospel? The gospel is: 1. God is holy, loving, and just. He therefore, must condemn all sinners to punishment in the flames of eternal hell; 2. You and I are all sinners who deserve nothing but God’s wrath in hell after our deaths; 3. God loved humanity so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus (who was fully God and fully man), to die on the cross for your sins. Jesus paid the debt for your sins and absorbed God’s wrath on your behalf; 4. If you repent (turn from) all your sins and personally put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord, God and Savior, then you will have eternal life.
2. The Divorcee. Jesus clearly taught that unless the first marriage ended due to a partner’s [death],* a second marriage is to be considered invalid and adulterous. A divorced woman, therefore, is off limits for a Christian man – unrepentant adultery being a sin that prevents one from obtaining eternal life (1 Cor 6:9). “If she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (Mark 10:12). “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery” (Matthew 19:9).
3. The Older Woman. Not a sin, but certainly not God’s ideal. God expects men to be the spiritual leaders of the home (Eph 5:25) and it certainly requires an extra measure of grace to lead a woman who’s older than you. Again, if you’re a man and you’re already in such a marriage, then honor it till the day you die – it’s still a valid marriage and divorce is not an option! However, if you’re not yet married but thinking about an older woman I want to remind you that God intentionally (with good reason!) created Adam before Eve in the First Marriage. Scripture informs us that God created man first chronologically for the sake of authority! Listen: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve” (1 Timothy 2:12-13).
Apparently, even secular researchers are now beginning to discover results that back up biblical claims:
- “If you’re a woman two or more years older than your husband, your marriage is 53 percent more likely to end in divorce than if he was one year younger to three years older.” (Source: Rebecca Kippen, Bruce Chapman and Peng Yu, “What’s Love Got to Do With It? Homogamy and Dyadic Approaches to Understanding Marital Instability,” Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, 2009.)
- “Marriage generally improves life expectancy, but the age gap between a couple affects the life expectancy of men and women very differently. Marrying an older man shortens a woman’s lifespan, but having a younger husband reduces it even more, the study found. The findings, drawn from the medical records of two million Danish couples, suggest that the best a woman can do is marry a man of about the same age. Health records have shown previously that men live longer if they have a younger wife, an effect researchers expected to see mirrored in women who married younger men. However, a woman who is between seven and nine years older than her husband has a 20% greater mortality rate than if she were with a man the same age.” (Source: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2010/may/12/marrying-younger-man-woman-mortality)
- “A new study shows that women who marry men seven to nine years younger than they are increase their mortality risk by 20 percent. This is the opposite of the finding for men who marry much younger wives – their life expectancy increases. The new study from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, changes assumptions about how marriage can extend life, owing in part to improved support systems spouses can provide for one another, and the supposed psychological benefit from having a younger spouse, who could become a caretaker should the older spouse become infirm.” (Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/for-married-women-age-gap-can-be-deadly/)
4. The Feminist. There’s no room within Christendom for the “Christian feminist.” Though women and men have equal value in the eyes of God (Gal 3:28), they certainly have different God-given roles. Any woman who tries to usurp her husband’s authority or even claims to be a co-leader with her man is gravely dishonoring the God who created her to be subject and obedient to her husband (Eph 5:22, Col 3:18, 1 Pet 3:1). Eve was distinctly created “for” man, a point that the apostle Paul makes abundantly clear in 1 Corinthians 11 when he writes, “For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.” (1 Corinthians 11:8-9). Men, your wife is to be your “helper” (Gen 2:18) – not your leader and certainly not your equal in terms of authority. Look for a woman who agrees with you in this very vital God-ordained relational dynamic.
5. The Immodest-Dresser. Sexy might inadvertently catch your eyeballs, but it shouldn’t catch your heart. The way that a woman is willing to expose herself says much about her heart: “And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart” (Proverbs 7:10). The text in Proverbs explains that a woman will dress in a certain way to catch a certain type of man. Don’t be that man. Don’t be the fool who’s led by his hormones instead of the Holy Spirit. Remember: you want godly, not gaudy.
6. The Gossiper/Slanderer. Women may love to talk, but there’s wisdom in looking for a woman who speaks with wisdom. Gossip and slander are not good things to have in your marriage. Desperate housewives make for desperate husbands. “Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.” (1 Timothy 5:13).
7. The Childbirth Avoider. Do not marry a woman who is not willing to have children of her own. In the Christian worldview, there is absolutely no room for two married, biologically capable, human beings to remain intentionally child-less. If you are adverse towards having children, then there’s a simple remedy for that: single-hood. However, if God has called you to marriage, then He actually expects children. Both the New and Old Testaments are very clear on this teaching: “Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring” (Malachi 2:15). “Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control” (1 Timothy 2:15).
8. The Wander-Luster. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional family vacation. There is something very wrong with a girl who regularly needs to be “out of the home.” The constant desire for new experiences, new places, new faces, and new forms of entertainment only serves to clearly manifest the fact that the woman has not found her rest in God. Believe it or not, Scripture speaks repeatedly about such women: “She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home” (Proverbs 7:11); “Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to” (1 Timothy 5:13).
9. The Career-first Woman. Now, I want to clarify something here. There is nothing wrong with a woman who works (Acts 16:14); what’s wrong is a woman who puts her career ahead of her family. Modern American society might hate to hear this, but God made men to be the providers and women to be the nurturers of the home (in most instances). It’s okay for a woman to be a doctor, attorney, or any other professional. However, if her career is coming at the expense of her home, then something is wrong. If day-care is raising her young children while she’s working, then something is wrong. I understand that there might be a season of life where the wife might have to be the main bread-winner due to her husband’s unemployment, but it should not be the desired norm. The woman ought to be willing (and even desirous – to some extent) to give up her job for the sake of raising her kids in the Lord. “So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander” (1 Tim 5:14).
10. The Devotion-less Woman. Is the woman having a regular, daily devotional time with her God? If she doesn’t love the Lord now, chances are, she won’t love the Lord after marriage. (Don’t delude yourself – you’re not going to change her.) You want to marry a girl who has an intimate relationship with Jesus. Jesus (not you) has to be the first man in her life. Here are some good questions to ask: Does she have an active prayer life? Does she have a heart for evangelism? Is she hungry for God’s Word? What does her pastor think about her?
Do you remember this account from Scripture:
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.  But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,  but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42 ESV)
Marry the Mary (no pun intended). Such women have picked “…the good portion, which will not be taken away” from them. God be with you men. Strong families start with strong wives. Choose wisely and choose in the Lord!
* Original Erroneous Words: a partner’s sexual infidelity
* Original Erroneous Words: a partner’s sexual infidelity