(Available on Instagram: @prayingforyourfuturewife and @prayingforyourfuturehusband)
For a godly woman, prayer is as essential for spiritual life as breathing is for her physical life.
If you, as a daughter of God, do pray, you know the power in it; if you don’t pray on a regular basis, you are missing out on seeing God do wondrous things.
And, assuming that you are like most of the population, you’ll be married one day. If that is God’s plan for you, I can state this emphatically: a man woke up today in need of your prayers.
Maybe you know him, maybe you don’t. You might have passed him in the produce aisle, or you might have known him for many years. Maybe you’re dating him; perhaps you are engaged to him. He may be a long time coming or waiting just around the corner. Whatever the case, he needs your prayers, just as you, as his future wife, need his prayers. There are so many good reasons for praying for your future husband…
This is the man you will wake up beside, the man who will be your best friend and the man with whom you will become one. You’ll share life with him. You want absolute and complete trust to be present in your marriage. You want him to lead your family in a Godward direction. You want to see conflict resolved, love deepened and the purposes of God furthered by your relationship together. An exciting man isn’t necessarily a godly man, but rest assured, a godly man is an exciting man. If a truly surrendered, serving and humbly strong godly man seeking to become like Christ doesn’t excite you, then it’s pretty clear that you are bored of God. You need a man who loves God far more than he loves you, for only that kind of man can love you like Christ does.
That is the kind of person God’s daughter wants next to her.
And that kind of man desires a special kind of woman.
He wants a woman of feminine strength, consistent character and passionate prayer. He needs a woman marked by honesty, loyalty and stability. A man following hard after Christ desires a woman who is more concerned about pleasing God than pleasing anyone else, including herself. That kind of man wants to do life alongside a woman who is a giver, not a taker. God’s man longs for a woman seeking to do him “good, not evil, all the days of her life” (Prov. 31:12). “All” means all her days, including now.
That is where you come in.
When I wrote the post “How to Pray for Your Future Wife” last year, I could not have anticipated the response. Single guys contacted me (literally, from all around the world) to let me know that they were working through items on the list on a daily basis for their future wives; some men even adapted the list and used it to pray for their current wives. Parents told me they had suggested the prayer topics to their sons, and women were thankful their requests were honored. I have been deeply humbled by the readership. Shortly after the post, many emails began arriving asking the same question: “How should women pray for their future husbands?”
I had some things on my personal list that I would hope my future wife is praying about, but I wanted to hear from other men I know who are seeking God as well. So, I went to some of those guys and asked them, “If you could tell your future wife the most honest and transparent prayer concerns for your life, what would you say?”
Through email and by phone, over dinners and lunches and standing in the middle of quite a few trout streams, these men and I talked about common struggles, shared battle scars and felt those familiar fires rise within our hearts as we spoke of our dreams for the future. And that brings us to this list. These are the things I heard most often from the men I know love God more than anything else. The topics are unvarnished, raw and real. Like I mentioned in the “How to Pray for Your Future Wife” post, there is one topic for each day of the month and scripture references as well for each request. Take some time, look up those verses, and focus on those biblical principles as you pray for your future husband. Along the way, I have embedded some links that might help flesh out some of the ideas a little more fully as well. Also, it might be helpful to know that the topics are worded as many of the men stated them, so the explanation following each gives more detail about how you can pray for your future husband with specificity.
But don’t feel like you should pray only for the things mentioned. Certainly, there are things that could be added, but I know if you are seeking His will for your life, asking for wisdom and are clean before Him, and begin to pray about some things desired by godly men, His Spirit will lead you to some other things for you to pray specifically for your future husband.
Ladies, on behalf of single men who are seeking Him, allow me to thank you for undertaking this labor of love. You are stepping into battle for that man, and he, you, your future marriage and even the lives and marriages of your children and grandchildren will be blessed for it. No matter the distraction, regardless of the discouragement, keep praying for your future husband. It is worth the effort, the focus and the perseverance. Through the praying, God will not only work in the life of your future husband, but in you too. After all, the ultimate goal is not to have a great marriage or have a wonderful husband. Those things are instruments to the final goal: to become more like Christ by glorifying Him.
Consider this your next step into His likeness and another way to do him good “all the days of your life.”
How to Pray for Your Future Husband
- His love for God – “I truly want to love God with all that is in me.”
It is a weighty challenge to become a true man of God. It takes time, focus and commitment. It takes pain, testing and surrender. But we men know it is worth the cost. Your relationship with your husband will depend upon his (and your) relationship with God. You are designed to desire the kind of love that God gives. Only a man pursuing God can pursue you in the right way with the right motivation.
Marriage is God’s design, and a godly man knows that you try to leave Him out, you set yourself up for total failure at worst and abject misery at best. No matter how much fun, how handsome or how comfortable he may be, if you get into a relationship with a guy who does not follow Christ, you will be sitting squarely upon a relational time bomb. It may take years for it to explode, but when it does, it will devastate you. Marriage is one of the biggest spiritual undertakings of your life. If you are connected to someone who does not share a common source of power and is not aligned with God, you are entering into a relationship unequally bound (2 Cor. 6:14-15). Without God as the center of your marriage, even if the world proclaims your relationship a success, it will have no impact upon eternity, no lasting fruit and no approval from Him (Ps. 127:1).
Don’t trust your understanding of marriage more than the Creator of marriage. A man who loves God truly is the only man who can truly love you; don’t settle for less.
He loves God with all his mind, will, soul and strength (Luke 10:27).
His knowledge of God grows even more (2 Pet. 3:18).
God totally transforms him through His Word, and he desires to spend more time with God (Josh. 1:8; John 17:17).
- His teachable spirit – “Remaining teachable before God is very important to me.”
You want a man who is teachable. A teachable man is a growing man. When a person believes he has arrived at a level of total maturity, that person shows just how much further he needs to grow. I’m not talking about having new hobbies or furthering his education. I mean that the person you marry should have a spirit that is open to loving critique. He should know enough to know that he doesn’t know enough. Mistakes don’t cripple this man; mistakes challenge him to betterment.
It is not just enough that your husband is a Christian; he should be a growing follower of Christ. He should want to learn more about God, how to serve Him and how to serve others, and that spirit will make a dramatic difference in your entire family’s life. When a man becomes unteachable, he is saying, “I have enough Jesus already.” You don’t want to be with a man who believes he already has “enough” of Christ in his heart. Besides, it’s not even really a matter of how much Jesus he has, but how much of him that Jesus has.
He will continually press forward to become more like Christ (Phil. 3:12-15).
He will be sensitive to the teaching of God’s Spirit (John 14:26).
He will grow in and lead his family and others in knowing the reverential awe of God (Ps. 34:11).
- His calling – “I ask God to guide me to my place in the world and fulfill His calling upon my life.”
The godly man knows that there is more than this world. There is more than the nine-to-five workweek, more than looking forward to vacations and weekends, and more than seeking to be entertained and comfortable. We want to do something that is meaningful and lasting. But we want to do things that truly matter for His Kingdom, not our own. These kinds of things only happen when we are being used by God in the ways He has gifted us.
Godly men want to see the great needs of the world met by a great God…and we want to be instruments in His hand. We want Him to fashion us into the tools to shape this and future generations for Christ. We want Him to use us to blaze trails deep into the enemy’s territory. We want to be consumed by something that is larger than self that will last, not a lifetime, not centuries, not until the end of the earth…but for all eternity. That only happens when we hear and respond to His call on our lives.
The godly man wants to watch in awe as his calling and his wife’s calling mesh and then advance God’s plan. Today might be a good day to ask God to fulfill your calling as well…
He seeks God’s will for his life (Rom. 12:2).
He is open and surrendered to where God leads (Is. 6:8).
He is faithful where God has placed him now, and seeks to fulfill God’s plan in his current place in life (Luke 16:10).
- His prayer life – “I desperately want to be a consistent and persistent man of prayer.”
You need a man who talks to his Father. This kind of man will be the first to recognize, confess and embrace his utter dependence upon the grace of God. You need a man who will stay on his face before God and cry out to Him on behalf of you. You want a husband who will do battle on his knees for your heart, mind and life. You need a man who absorb spiritual blows for your family. Don’t underestimate the discipline of prayer. A prayerless man is a powerless man; a powerless man is a dangerous man.
“But,” some women might say, “I’ll just pray enough for both of us.” That sentiment may be well-intended, but it is misguided and shortsighted. Could you wade into a physical battle and fight while carrying your husband on your back the entire time? Most likely not. So why on earth would you believe you could carry him through a lifetime of spiritual warfare? You need a man to lead you, not a child you must carry. Prayer is not an option in a husband; it is a necessity. Your husband is a natural man, but must depend upon the supernatural (James 5:17). And my hope is that as you are praying for your future husband, he is praying for you as well.
He depends upon the power of God through prayer (John 15:5).
God gives him a deeper desire for prayer (Luke 11:1).
He can concentrate and focus as he prays (Matt. 6:6).
Prayer is always his first, not last, resort (James 5:13-18).
- His repentance – “I want to repent immediately whenever I sin.”
Take a few grains of sand and allow them to slip between the massive gears within one of the clock towers of Europe. Now take the same amount of sand and sprinkle it into the works of a finely-tuned Swiss watch. Though you might not notice an immediate lag in time with the huge clock, that tiny amount of foreign material tumbling into the delicate movement of the watch would affect its ability to run accurately, if at all.
The same is true with sin. The more sensitive we are to God’s holiness, the more attuned we will be to our own sinfulness. Daughter of God, the man you want must not only desire to avoid sin, but must be so close to God that he responds to conviction immediately. You need your husband to be a man who examines his beliefs and then changes his actions whenever he sins. One way we can know we are becoming more like Christ is if our hearts are broken by what breaks His heart. A readily repentant man understands his sin well because he understands the holiness of His God well.
He is quick to seek forgiveness from God (1 John 1:9; Matt. 3:8).
He desires to be cleansed of all sin (Ps. 51).
He does not grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30).
6. His fears – “I sometimes fear that I will fail at life.”
We all have insecurities and doubts, and your future husband is no different. Though there are countless fears men have, the one that keeps coming up most often is the fear of failure. We often wrap ourselves in the ability to perform in life. We hold down the job, make the grade, get a raise and meet the standards at which most of society nods approvingly. But men often feel they are one misstep, a single mistake or a solitary rumor from utter ruin. The man you marry should be able to face these fears knowing that God Himself has declared him righteous, accepted him fully and has shown him the same love as His own Son (John 17:23).
(Just a side note to this point…Ladies, if you knowingly denigrate your man, or just say careless things about his abilities, his job or his worth, you will cut him more deeply than you could possibly imagine. When you do that, you are awakening and feeding that fear living inside him. A man needs a truth-teller, but only when she speaks with respectful care for him will he be able to receive that truth.)
He is not captured by the lies of the world (John 16:33).
He understands his identity in Christ and finds his worth by the acceptance found only in Him (Eph. 1:6).
He knows he is truly loved and completely pleasing to God (Col. 1:22).
- His contentment – “Contentment is elusive for me at times.”
True contentment is never circumstantial. Paul knew it to be true: “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:11-13).
Notice that Paul doesn’t deny the reality of his situation. He knows well the pains of hunger and want as well as the comfort of having plenty. He says that he “learned” contentment. It does not spontaneously arise; it is acquired, usually through loss, and pain…and acceptance. The view, through the process, is expanded, yet the focus is narrowed. Paul’s perspective is not based upon the externals, but something eternal.
I must remind myself often: I am an eternal being. Why would I think anything less than an eternal God could ever satisfy?
We may be asked questions like, “What would you live or die for?” That is too small a question. If we know Christ, we are eternal; we will live forever, so our priority must be bigger than just life or death.
We men often attempt to fill our greatest need for God by cramming our lives full of other, lesser things. The pursuit of fulfillment here will always ache of incompleteness. But the incompleteness we experience here points toward One who is fully complete, in and of Himself, and One who will complete what He started in us (Phil. 1:6). You want your future husband to be living in the light of eternity now and be satisfied with the blessings of God, yet still yearn for Him far more than any of the world’s temporal pursuits.
He will trust in the provision of God (Matt. 6:25-26).
He will seek God first (Matt. 6:32-33).
He will enjoy the spiritual gain that comes through contentment in Christ (1 Tim. 6:6-7).
- His purity – “I must be vigilant when tempted by sexual thoughts and images.”
This is an area of great struggle for most men, and I recently wrote a blog post detailing this topic, so please permit an excerpt in explanation…
God created men to be visually stimulated and to desire the beauty of a woman. God knew exactly what He was doing when He crafted the female body and formed a being that would appeal to men like nothing else. There is a very good reason for that: the desire for and enjoyment of a sexual relationship in marriage (1 Cor. 7:3). God created sex as a great thing (just read The Song of Solomon). But it is not just the beauty of a naked woman that is the issue. It’s an “intimacy thing.” Sexual sins offer a twisted glimpse of what it means to be vulnerable with another. When we, as men, are down, hurt or lonely, the lure of false intimacy is strong. Any sexual sin promises the intimacy and openness of Eden. It promises knowledge and nearness without any shame. We are hard-wired, by God, to desire that.
But sexual sin fails to deliver. Sexual sin, whatever it may be, requires no discipline to achieve it, no time to build it, no trust to enjoy it. It breaks the heart of God, circumvents His perfect plan and leaves one empty. When we desire to let our eyes rove, it’s a good indication that we are not living satisfied with God.
When we sin, we believe that what we are doing will bring us happiness. The enjoyment never lasts, but we want to believe it will. All sin is a false path promising to lead us back to Eden. One day, in heaven, we will experience no lies, no struggle and no death and forever live in peace, joy and perfection.
But the world, the flesh and Satan all whisper to us that reality then and there isn’t enough for the here and now. The appeal of sin is we know things should be different than they are, and the seductive lure of that knowledge tugs at our deepest, God-given desires for restoration. We turn a good gift bad. We must remember that only God can satisfy our greatest needs, our deepest desires and our strongest longings. The thirst we have is the thirst He gives for the water only He can supply.
You want a man who knows this truth and lives it out.
He understands that his body belongs to God because He bought him at a great price (1 Cor. 6:20).
He flees from any and all sexual temptation (1 Cor. 6:18).
He exercises self-control by being controlled by the Spirit of God (1 Thess. 4:3-5).
He values the sanctity of sex within the covenant of marriage (Heb. 13:4).
- His humility – “I hate my sinful pride.”
Pride can motivate a man to madness. In order to self-promote and self-protect, we often go to great extremes to feel that familiar satisfaction within ourselves. When we attempt to find our worth in anything other than Christ, pride will always be a result. One problem with pride is that the accomplishment never lasts. We may get a swelled chest or head, boast and swagger about while recounting the glory that is ours, but new legends arise, and the old ones are soon forgotten.
In ancient times, the crown of laurel leaves given to the victors of athletic competitions served as a potent reminder of fading glory, for as the time passed, the leaves dried and fell (1 Cor. 9:25). We too must be reminded to live in the blessed humility of knowing we have been given a righteousness that is not of our own making or merit but only by grace (Eph. 2:8-9). If we know Jesus truly, we will know ourselves. And if we know ourselves, we will know we have no reason for pride. Daughter of God, please understand, a sincerely humble man gains great power, but he will only wield that power well by developing a greater humility still.
He will live with great humility in the grace of God (James 4:6; Prov. 11:2).
He values others more than himself (Phil. 2:3).
He is willing to spend time with anyone, regardless of their status (Rom. 12:16).
His humility leads him to deeper trust in God (1 Pet. 5:6).
- His priorities – “I must refocus my priorities daily.”
The world is crammed with of distractions. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between what is good and what is best. The hours of the day dash by and work emergencies and unexpected tasks weigh on his schedule. If he is goal-oriented (like most men), it’s easy to feel like nothing of lasting worth is being accomplished. But though he needs to work to pay bills and provide, he must know that a man who is too busy for God has time for nothing else. Pray that your future husband knows what to turn his focus upon now, what will need attention later and what can be ignored altogether. He only has a certain number of hours in a day, and God wants him to invest those in the things that matter and the things that last.
You want a man who pays most attention to the eternal things, because that kind of man has the attention of heaven, and heaven has his. Only a man like that can give the proper attention to the right things.
He learns how to use his time wisely (Eph. 5:16).
He recognizes that life is short and lives accordingly (Ps. 90:12).
He makes time for God above everything else (Luke 10:42).
- His endurance – “I am often tempted to give up, even though I know I must keep going.”
Passion takes you far; persistence takes you further. But we, even as men, can grow weary. When emotions lag, energy wanes and the end is unseen, endurance must be developed. Dogged persistence is mined from the very depths of our inner selves, forged in the fires of suffering, tempered by circumstance and polished by adversity.
Endurance is not a matter of distracting oneself long enough for the discomfort to pass. Nor is it adopting a carefree attitude about dealing with suffering. It’s not whistling past the graveyard. It’s not shrugging your shoulders and moving on. People who distract themselves from the pain rarely grow deep. You need a man who will be there for the long haul.
Your husband should fight to no end for God’s best for you and your family. When the difficulties arise, he must be willing to rise to them. He needs to learn about the discipline of endurance now in every trial coming his way. No matter what your future husband may face, pray that God will grant him the maturing of his endurance, and show him that the very struggles that seek to hinder him can be used by God to grow him in unexpectedly great ways (Phil. 1:12-14).
He has great patience when working for His purposes (Gal. 6:9).
He waits for God with hope (Ps. 27:13-14; Rom. 15:13).
He faces trials with patience, looking to the result (James 1:4).
He looks at difficulty as an opportunity for purification (Job 23:10; 1 Pet. 1:7).
- His work – “I feel the weight of having to work ‘by the sweat of my brow.'”
Let’s face it; the difficulty of work is part of the original curse of humanity. It’s by the sweat of our brows that anything gets done (Gen. 3:18). But work itself was a part of God’s original plan, and that is why there is great dignity in the stewardship of labor (Gen. 2:15). Too often, we men put our worth in how well we perform at work (remember point #10?).
Because we are created to work and to relish using our skills and giftedness, men feel the impact of losing a job in a very deep way. The loss of a position can feel like an indictment: “You are dispensable. Your contributions are of no value here.” For a man exercising his God-given talents and following His will, this message (real or perceived) can hit especially hard.
Our work is a part of being made in His image as stewards of the earth. We can hold a redemptive view of work by seeing it as worship to the Creator. We must remember that we don’t work primarily for a paycheck, but to glorify the King of the Universe. Pray that your future husband views work as an offering to God, as hard as that might be at times, and finds joy in what he does.
He works hard and avoids laziness (Prov. 31:13-19).
He works for God first (Col. 3:23).
He works in a way that gives others a glimpse of our future serving God forever (Rev. 22:3).
- His rest – “It’s hard for me to disengage from the battles of the day and relax.”
As I mentioned in the previous section, work can be a monster from nine-to-five. But the dragon doesn’t necessarily slink back to his cave when the whistle blows. Your future husband may spend hours awake throughout the night replaying the day and trying to make sense of it. He might work in a place with such relational toxicity or daily stress that he needs time to flush much of that from his mind. Add to those pressures the difficulty of being a man in today’s society, and you have a volatile mix.
To listen to the rhetoric, many of the ills of the day are labeled as testosterone-induced, and men are routinely faulted for being too “manly.” Your future husband must learn that there will always be critics, and they will always be loud. But just because they are loud and critical by no means are they always right. We live in a fallen and broken world; that is the reality of it all. This is life at the tip of the spear. But we are not left without help. We need God’s perspective on rest, trust and life to navigate the daily grind and all that comes with it.
He learns to “be still” and know that God is in total control (Ps. 46:10).
He finds soul-rest in Christ alone (Matt. 11:28-29).
He recognizes that the work of God speaks louder than the harshest of critics (Nehemiah 4).
- His battles – “I am aware that I face many seen and unseen spiritual dangers daily.”
Satan would love to destroy every man who follows God, including your future husband. Crafty temptations, subtle frustrations and outright attacks are lined up strategically to wear down and tear down his resolve, his witness and his work.
John Newton wrote, “Satan will seldom come to a Christian with a gross temptation. A green log and a candle may be safely left together, but a few shavings, some small sticks and then larger, and you may bring the green log to ashes.”
Pray for your future husband’s protection. When you get one of those strong impressions to lift him up, to go before God and ask Him to deliver your Mr. Pending from danger, don’t hesitate. You may well find out some time from now how your prayer intersected with what was going on at that exact moment in his life. Pray not only for the large threats, but also that your future husband is aware that even the “small” dangers he faces really are assaults on God’s Kingdom.
He will be protected from Satan’s snares (2 Thess. 3:3).
He will follow close to God and depend upon His character for his protection (Ps. 91:14).
He will call upon the Lord in every danger, earthly or spiritual (Ps. 71).
- His witness – “I want to lead others closer to God by my life.”
You want a man who leads, even in the little things. You want a servant-protector at your side. This kind of man will lay down his life for you, but won’t stand by idly if you are damaging your own life. He will lead you in praying for things on your heart and his. He will want to lead you and your family to become more like Christ. But a man will never learn to lead others until he learns to lead himself. Your future husband should never underestimate the importance of what he does when he is alone and leads (or fails to lead) himself.
Leadership is not becoming lax in our vigilance and allowing activity to replace commitment and abilities to replace surrender to God’s hand. Leadership is not just looking good on the outside. Your future husband may be busy for God and people may praise him for his stand, service and show of love for our Lord, but inwardly there may be a broken connection between God and him. Being connected is of utmost importance. What he does in private has a direct bearing on how he leads in public and in the home. That’s the weight of leadership; it’s hard, but worth it. Leaders don’t serve as leaders to gain titles, control people’s lives, or receive human praise and recognition. In short, leaders don’t serve themselves, but serve others and God.
He will lead with great spiritual influence as he displays the working of God’s Spirit within him (Gal. 5:22-23).
He would show servant-leadership in all he does (Luke 22:26).
He would always recognize Christ as his ultimate leader (1 Cor. 1:13).
One thing I have not mentioned yet is the idea of fatherhood. Your future husband may already have children of his own, you might be bringing your own children into your future marriage, or you and your husband might one day have a child together, thus creating another human who will live either with God or without Him forever. Regardless of how children are brought into your life, fatherhood brings unique challenges to the life of any man, and prayer will help your husband navigate those critical waters more easily. One of the weightiest responsibilities a man can be given is to nurture, lead and mold another person into a mature follower of Christ. Your husband will play a major role in developing them into the people God has in mind. With each stage of growth, your children will face different struggles, ask new questions and encounter difficult decisions. You and your husband will be the strongest voices of influence; pray that your words, actions and attitudes show Christ to your children in the clearest way possible.
He reflects the love of His Father to the children in your family (1 John 3:1).
He does not provoke the children, but leads them in the correct and godly way (Ephesians 6:4).
He views fatherhood as having long-term consequences in the life of your family (Proverbs 22:6).
- His singleness – “I desire for God to use my singleness for His purpose.”
Your future husband is single today for a purpose. Let me rephrase that truth: today, he is called to singleness… and you are too. Perhaps not ultimately, but today, yes. There is something that your future husband can do today that only a single man can do. He has a divine mission given to him today by the King of Kings, so pray that he accomplishes it. He has no compelling reason to sit and watch the sand fall through the hourglass and lament every passing grain. He can learn much about what is best for him during this season of singleness. His life (and your life too) is not “on hold” until marriage. He is a complete person right now, and in Christ, he has already begun living his eternal life (1 John 2:17).
Pray for your future husband to know that his pursuit of God must be the thing that leads him to pursue you and that if he seeks God, all the other things will be provided (Matt. 6:33).
Christ grows him in ways that he would not experience were he married now.
He uses his singleness to further God’s kingdom and not waste it.
God leads him through his singleness with gentleness and grace.
(1 Cor. 7:32-35)
- His self-sacrifice – “Dying to self is the biggest battle I face.”
“The flesh is a built-in law of failure, making it impossible for the natural man to please or serve God. It is a compulsive inner force inherited from man’s fall, which expresses itself in general and specific rebellion against God and His righteousness. The flesh can never be reformed or improved. The only hope for escape from the law of the flesh is its total execution and replacement by a new life in the Lord Jesus Christ.” -Mark Bubeck in The Adversary
According to Romans 8:12-14, we must put to death the areas of our lives controlled by and related to the flesh. The flesh can be described as all the habits of who we once were before Christ. Since God crucified the old person (who we were before knowing Christ) on the Cross, we now crucify the flesh (the habits of who we once were) by power of the Spirit. But, inherent in the word “crucified,” is not simply killing the flesh, but a condemnation that results in the death as well. There should be the passing of a sentence and a surrendering to a terrible death. It’s the only way. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “When God calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Your future husband should see the flesh for the threat that it is and die to it daily.
In learning how to die, he will learn to live. Open hands have even more to give…and more to receive. As he dies, he can live more. Every time your future husband opens his hand wider to release something in obedience, He pours more of Himself into that stretched hand. With His arms stretched wide upon the Cross, Christ gave all and was open to the fullness of the perfect course set by the Father. He could, we can, sacrifice because He has received and given us all things (John 13:3; Rom. 8:32; 2 Pet. 1:3; Phil. 2:8-11).
“A good, devout person first arranges inwardly the things to be done outwardly…Who has a fiercer struggle than the person who strives to master himself? And this must be our occupation: to strive to master ourselves and daily to grow stronger and advance for good.” -Thomas à Kempis
He would seek God’s will before his own, no matter the cost (Mark 14:35-36).
His life would display the power of God as he lives a life crucified to sin and self (Gal. 2:20).
He would seek, above all, to live for Christ daily (Luke 9:23).
He would exercise consistent spiritual discipline (1 Cor. 9:27).
- His forgiveness – “I wrestle with forgiving certain wrongs.”
Forgiveness is hard…very hard. Often, when we or those we love are done wrong, we men feel like we must settle scores before we move on. That sense of justice is strong. (It is also why movies like The Godfather, Taken, Gladiator and The Revenant hold such attraction for men). But when we forgive, we are set free from bitterness, anger and the need to “do something” to find that justice. We must understand that when someone hurts us because of sinful choices, we don’t have to hold on to those things for one simple reason: the ultimate sin is toward God Himself. When we live in sin toward others, we break God’s law. That’s serious business. I have never written a universal moral law, neither have you, but God has done that. That’s why David could say, “Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight” (Ps. 51:4). David’s sin, even though he killed a man to cover an adulterous relationship, was against God first and foremost. We must turn our hurts over to Him. We must place the offender in His hands. We must trust Him in this. Forgiveness is an act faith. You want a man who knows this, not one mired in bitterness and anger toward others.
And you certainly want a man who offers forgiveness readily to you as well. You need a man of grace who knows that “seventy times seven” covers a lot of ground and a man who knows that “love covers a multitude of sins” (Matt. 18:22; 1 Pet. 4:8).
He will never seek revenge, but will trust God fully (Rom. 12:19).
He will show tenderness, compassion and forgiveness as Christ does (Eph. 4:31-32; Col. 3:13).
His forgiveness toward his enemies will reflect a supernatural power (Acts 7:59-60; Luke 23:33-34).
He is quick to seek forgiveness from other and offer it quickly as well. (Matt. 5:23-24; Luke 17:3-4).
- His honor – “I want to live with respect and honor.”
Daughter of God, I can’t stress a man’s need for respect strongly enough. Just as women are designed by God to respond to love, men are hard-wired for respect. A godly man wants his name to be synonymous with certain values like honesty, integrity, goodness, wisdom and honor. This trait can cause men to respond to public criticism or embarrassment in a negative way. This response is not necessarily due to an overly fragile ego, just as harsh, uncaring words that hurt your heart point to an overly sensitive spirit. Remember: an arrow can kill by striking entirely different organs. Just because it hurts differently doesn’t make the damage less.
In praying for your future husband, you want him to have a healthy view of the man he is as he is approved by Christ, but at the same time, when he interacts with others, does his job and lives his life, he should reflect the truth that He is representing God to the world. This will mean that he will value his reputation and how he is considered by others. Your future husband should take his role as an ambassador of Christ seriously; pray that he does (2 Cor. 5:20; Prov. 13:17). Though it pays great dividends for you, him and your family in the here and now, the ultimate benefit is to advance the cause of the King who sent us and add to the citizenship of heaven itself (Phil. 3:20).
He values his good name (Prov. 22:1).
He holds a good reputation among non-believers and does nothing to harm his witness (1 Pet. 2:12; 2 Cor. 6:3).
He has a genuine, healthy concern for what others say of him (Prov. 27:21).
- His friendships – “I have few close friends I can talk to honestly and openly.”
Never before in the history of the world have people been so connected, yet so lonely. For all the advantages of social media outlets, virtual “relationships” have caused a new, and often not-so-positive, paradigm shift. Without face-to-face communication, it is all too easy to create a varnished view of reality and contribute to the belief that relationships are easily disposable (if someone does not please you, just unfriend, block or delete). This kind of tactic does work well in real life unless you are willing to be labeled as insensitive, juvenile and flighty. In the real world, we must deal with issues, talk through concerns and sort out disagreements.
If you marry someone who does not know how to deal with that reality, you will pay a hefty price later. If your future husband is like most men, he is trying to navigate this landscape of presumed dispensability and longs for real connection with true friends. Many men find themselves drifting into solitude for lack of brothers in Christ to walk alongside them. Men need other guys who can encourage them, challenge them and “go to battle” with them (Ecc. 4:9-10). They need men who will listen to their struggles and support each other in prayer. Men also need mentors who are older, wiser and more seasoned in their walk with Christ to give counsel, illustrate maturity and share hard-won wisdom (Rom. 1:12). Pray that your future husband has brothers to journey alongside, mentors to show the way and men younger in the faith that he himself can pour into and multiply the influence of Christ in the world.
God gives him friends who will help to grow and challenge him as he helps to do the same for them (Prov. 27:17).
He is careful about the people he allows to come into his life (Prov. 12:26; 13:20).
He has at least one true, deep, lifelong friend (Prov. 18:24).
All his relationships would bring honor to God (1 Cor. 15:33; Rom. 12:10-11).
- His patience – “Waiting, without worrying, on God to act is often hard for me.”
As men, we like to take action. We like to “make things happen.” We like to see quick and decisive progress. But sometimes God will place us in a holding pattern. He allows us to circle in the fog and does not give us any time of arrival. To be sure, He knows the exact time He will move in our lives. In the meantime, men can worry and wait…or we can wait in faith. Someone once said, “What God does in us while we wait is more important than that for which we wait.” In the waiting, He shapes us.
A.B. Simpson once wrote: “There are some spiritual conditions that cannot be accomplished in a moment. The breaking up of the fallow ground takes time. The frosts of winter are as necessary as the rains of spring to prepare the soil for fertility. God has to break our hearts to pieces by the slow process of His discipline, and grind every particle to power, and then to mellow us and saturate us with His blessed Spirit, until we are open for the blessing He has to give us. Oh, let us wait upon the Lord with brokenness of heart, with openness of soul, with willingness of spirit, to hear what God the Lord will say!”
Far too often, because of impatience, we sacrifice the “best” yet to come and settle for the “good enough” now. We seek to gratify the flesh instead of glorifying Christ. Why? Because we refuse to wait on God’s best. There is a phrase in Galatians 4:4 that we can learn much from: “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son…” The fullness of time. Some translations read, “At the exact right moment.” That’s when God sent Jesus: the exact, perfect moment in time. He was not early, nor late, but arrived at the perfect time. If God orchestrated the arrival and life and death of His Son with perfect timing, we can trust Him with our concerns, and He will deal with them at the perfect moment. Pray that your future husband knows that if I can trust God with his eternity, he can trust Him with the next 24 hours. This man you are waiting on must learn to wait on God with a trusting heart because He always keeps His promises.
He will live his life without anxiety or worry (Phil. 4:6-7).
He will trust God’s providential care (Ps. 139:5-14).
He will wait upon God and have his strength renewed by Him (Is. 40:31)
- His guilt – “I want to be free from any false guilt.”
“The heart is deceitful above all things,” wrote Jeremiah the prophet (17:9). And, at times, the deceit of your future husband’s heart turns against him and begins to chip away at his resolve. Certainly, a person can be guilty and not feel guilty. On the other side of the coin, a person may not be guilty truly, yet feel great guilt. So then, there is an objective fact of guilt and a subjective feeling of guilt. The answer for true guilt against a holy God is dependence upon the grace and forgiveness of God, and the answer for false guilt for old sins is dependence upon the grace and forgiveness of God (Rom. 3:23-24).
Past sins long forgiven, old mistakes made years ago and distant hurts caused by others can all seem to be very much present when guilt is at play. Your future husband needs to know how to differentiate between false guilt and true conviction. Guilt views sin as a change in status before God. Conviction views sin as behavior before God (Rom. 8:1,33). False guilt is the fleshly response to sin. True guilt is the spiritual response to sin (2 Cor. 7:10). Guilt says, “You are no different than you were before,” but conviction says, “You are a new person in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:16-17). Guilt demands that we pay the price. Conviction reminds us that Christ paid the price (1 John 2:2). Guilt says, “You can’t go back to God until you get clean,” and conviction states, “Come to God and be made clean” (Col. 1:19-22). Guilt seeks to bind us, while conviction seeks to free us (2 Cor. 7:11).
He will know that his sins are cast away (Micah 7:19), washed clean (Is. 1:18), removed (Ps. 103:12) and forgotten (Heb. 10:17).
He will live out the gospel of grace in his life and be set free from false guilt and feelings of condemnation (John 8:36; Rom. 8:1).
He will understand that Christ is faithful to always forgive us (1 John 1:9).
He will press forward for the goal of Christlikeness and not be paralyzed by the past (Phil. 3:13-14).
- His trials – “I want my trials to be used by God to make me more like Christ.”
God can use trials to build your future husband’s character in ways that can never be matched by lesser means. Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “Great hearts can only be made by great troubles.” Few experiences of pain, mined fully for meaning and purpose, do not build inner strength and the produce proven character. James implores, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4). Through suffering, our character is deepened and matured.
Even though the pain of suffering may be great, in the midst of a fiery trial your future husband can rest in the comfort that God has a purpose, and one of those purposes is to refine his character in order to more fully sanctify him. But the hottest fires can be the longest-burning as well. Pray that your future husband understands the importance of staying put in the heat. Silver ore will grow warm near the crucible, but it will never be purified that way. Proximity does not equal transformation (Luke 13:26-27). Like nail prints in His hands, our deepest wounds can bear the greatest weight of glory. No matter the heat of the fire or weight of the burden, no suffering here can compare to the joy awaiting the follower of Christ in heaven (Rom. 8:18-25). Or, in the words of C. S. Lewis, “They say of some temporal suffering, ‘No future bliss can make up for it,’ not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.”
We groan here, yes, but we point to Christ. The world is sinful, we are born into sin, and each and every one of us is offered an opportunity for repentance. He can restore us, and then use us to bring the message of the hope found in Him to the world that needs restoration by His power. You don’t want your future husband to be kept from all trials, but you want him to grow more like Christ through them.
He will remain steadfast under the pressure of trials (James 1:12).
He will rely upon the power of Christ during times of trouble (John 16:33; 2 Cor. 12:9).
He will witness God using his trials to deepen his relationship with Jesus (1 Pet. 5:10).
- His integrity – “I try to live with integrity, and sometimes that costs me.”
The word “integrity” carries with it the idea of completeness, soundness and sticking to a standard. Like your life, those same characteristics should define your future husband’s life. Your future husband’s “yes” should be “yes,” and his “no” should be “no” (Matt. 5:37). No matter what the people around him do, no matter who is watching or even if no human is watching at all, this man you pray for should seek honesty always. We often live compartmentalized lives, believing that things in one compartment never touch the things in other compartments. Nothing could be further from the truth.Outward obedience without inward submission is hypocrisy. The inside and the outside must match.
David prayed to God in Psalm 51, “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts” (v.6). That truth is critical for the success of your marriage to your future husband and his influence as a leader. He should be who he is in Christ regardless of the environment, even when being honest and living for Him will extract a toll. The Psalmist wrote that a godly man “swears to his own hurt and does not change” (Ps. 15:4b). In other words, he keeps his word, even when it hurts. You need a man who sacrifices his own comfort for the sake of his character. Pray that God raises your future husband up as a man known for his integrity.
His life is characterized by integrity (Prov. 10:9).
He does not live by situational ethics, changing the way he lives based on his surroundings and circumstance, but is stable and consistent in all his ways (Matt. 5:37).
His integrity preserves and precedes him (Ps. 25:21).
- His boldness – “I want to be bold in God’s power.”
It’s tempting to live life by a formula, but that’s not how God has told us to live. Since His power is limitless, His knowledge is without fail, and His goodness is perfect, God can be trusted completely. Your future husband’s faith will be tested, stretched and grown by what he faces daily. His faith and trust are precious to God. You want him to face anything in his life and say, with confidence, “God is working in and through me.”
When you look through the New Testament, when people are filled with the Holy Spirit, one of the sure marks of that indwelling control is shown by their boldness in telling others about Christ (Acts 4:8-13). You want a man who lives boldly since his God is a God of power. He should be a person who, knowing the immensity of the gift of God’s Spirit within him and being controlled by Him, has the boldness of a lion and the gentleness of a lamb. In other words, you want a meek man. To this point, Jesus said that the meek will inherit the earth (Matt. 4:4). Now, before you get concerned about the usual, modern definition of “meek,” let’s clear something up. A meek man is not a weak man. Always remember, in the Bible, the word “meek” means “strength under control.” Your husband needs to be a man bold in His Spirit but controlled by His Spirit.
He lives life by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7; Hab. 2:4).
His life is marked by a holy boldness (Eph. 6:8-20).
His trust in God allows him to follow in any direction He leads (Prov. 3:5-6).
He places everything upon God and relies upon Him to work (Ps. 37:5).
- His heart – “Guarding my heart is a full-time job.”
Authenticity begins where belief and behaviors meet, and that’s in the heart. Because the heart is the source of activity, your future husband must take great care with it. The Bible tells us to “keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). The state of his heart will affect everything about him. It will influence his words (Prov. 4:24), what he looks at (v. 25), where he goes (v. 26) and all he does (v. 27). Few things are as dangerous as an ungoverned heart.
We are commanded to “keep” or guard and protect our hearts from those things rising against it. One of the meanings of the Hebrew word “keep” is used to describe a military blockade. We must watch carefully what goes into our hearts, that is, we watch our hearts “with all diligence.” How do we guard our hearts? By making sure that we align our hearts with the truth (Ps 119:11). Your future husband should not guard his heart just to keep stuff out, but to allow the right things (like God’s truth) in…and then come back out in our living so that all can know that God is changing us. You need a man who knows the value of his heart and goes to the greatest lengths to protect it from harm.
God teaches him to guard his heart against anything that would do damage (Prov. 4:23).
He will have godly desires, given to him by God Himself (Ps. 37:4).
Jesus would be “at home” as He dwells in his heart (Eph. 3:17).
- His dreams – “I want to give my life for something greater than myself.”
Beating within the chest of every man is a heart longing to make a lasting difference in the world. Never underestimate a godly man’s desire for a legacy. To paraphrase Emerson, we want to know that lives have “breathed easier because [we] have lived.” Lesser men content themselves with passing fancies, but the true man knows that only the eternal will last. Real men know that a person can be recognized in public, adored by many, connected socially, Instagram-famous and followed by thousands and still be unknown in God’s Kingdom (Matt. 7:23). Men are designed for noble sacrifice, and your future husband is no different.
Pray for your future husband to be a man who knows the value of sacrificial service. Pray that he places himself humbly under the direction of his King and willingly offers himself to be poured out for the sake of others (Phil. 2:17). Pray your future husband has the heart of Christ Himself, as “even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45). You want your husband to demonstrate by his actions to you and your family that he is “among you as the one who serves” (Luke 22:27).
“…On a certain day all unannounced we come upon a man or we see this man who is perhaps already known to us and is a man like all men but who makes a certain gesture of himself that is like the piling of one’s goods upon an altar and in this gesture we recognize that which is buried in our hearts and is never truly lost to us nor ever can be and it is this moment, you see. This same moment. It is this which we long for and are afraid to seek and which alone can save us.” – Cormac McCarthy
He follows the example of Christ’s service (Phil. 2:5-7).
He serves quietly and sincerely, even when it’s messy (John 13:12-17).
He recognizes he was made for God to use as He sees fit (Col. 1:16-17).
- His wisdom – “I ask God for wisdom daily.”
The word “wisdom” as found in the Bible is best understood to mean “skilled living.” You want your future husband to live with a heart of wisdom; your desire should be that he would navigate the world with skill and tact while leading his family in the same way. His discernment will save him (and your family) from many potential problems. He should cry out for wisdom, seek it out and rely upon an understanding that comes only from having spent time with God. You will be an instrument to bring a voice of wisdom into your marriage as well and should be of the spiritual caliber to become your husband’s most valued and trusted confidant and counselor. Let me encourage you to ask God for wisdom as well, after all, He promises to answer that prayer (James 1:5).
He shows humble wisdom (Prov. 31:26).
He seeks wisdom and hears her call (Prov. 2:3-9; 3:13-18).
He asks God for wisdom persistently (James 1:5).
- His understanding of love – “I want to love like Jesus loves.”
How your future husband defines love will be a very important determining factor in the stability of your marriage. A few years ago, I sensed God pressing me to create a working definition of love for all my dealings with others. After considering it, I arrived at this: “Love is the choice to seek the greatest good of another regardless of the cost.” For me, it is the most accurate definition to clearly reflect biblical love, but it is also the most challenging definition to live out. To love like Jesus loves means that a person is willing to die to self for the well-being of another. I once told a dear professor of mine, “The two grandest themes in literature are love and death.” She responded, “If it is true love, there is no difference in the two.” She was right. For a man to love like Christ, he must love by sacrificing for her and willingly nurturing her. God tells men to cherish their wives “just as Christ does the church” (Eph. 5:29). The word “cherish” means literally “to keep warm” (like a mother hen keeps her chicks safe and warm under her wings). Men are called to reflect Jesus to their wives and treat her as a precious gift of God.
He views love as a choice to seek the greatest good of another regardless of the cost (Eph. 5:25).
He develops a Christ-like love for others (1 Cor. 13:4-8).
He understands the great value of sacrifice (John 15:13).
- His ability and willingness to communicate – “When married, I want to communicate with my wife better than anyone else.”
When we listen, and not just hear, we show how we value the words of another. And when we take the time to listen, we are saying, “Your feelings, thoughts, dreams, concerns and, yes, you yourself are important to me.” Some men have a hard time communicating with their significant others, and that is a major point of struggle and conflict for many couples. Pray that your future husband will learn to listen without trying to “fix” every issue that arises. Leaning to communicate is part of husbands loving their wives and a way to “dwell with them with understanding” (1 Pet. 3:7). A man should be a student of what women need, how they think, and more specifically, a student of his own wife. You want a man who will seek to know you truly, accept you fully and seek to understand you at a level no one else can.
Daughter of God, if you truly want to be listened to in love, then you need a man who is “like-souled.” That is, on a very basic and deep level, there is a connection that goes beyond simple pleasantries, surface smiles, mutual interests and physical attraction. You want the bonding of lives that arises only by the shared reference of having Christ as Lord. There is no substitute for that connection, and nothing comes close. The only way he can truly listen to your heart is if his heart too is captured by Christ. That spiritual bond will not eliminate all problems, but it will help bridge communication between you both as husband and wife and give you the endurance to work on understanding each other over a lifetime.
(Here are some books that have been very influential in shaping my view of marriage and communication that might prove helpful to you as well.)
He will take the command to bear with his wife with understanding seriously (1 Pet. 3:7).
He would know when to speak and when to listen (Prov. 10:19).
He would be “quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19).
He would speak with grace and build others up, especially you (Col. 4:6; Eph. 4:29; Prov. 25:11).
- His view of marriage – “My desire is to see marriage as God sees it and to live out the Gospel through it.”
We want the intimacy. We want to know another and be known. We desire to be with another without shame and to become one. That is what marriage is designed to give, even though we must battle sin and insecurity in order to experience it. Marriage offers a small taste (in a sinful world) of what we will experience when all is restored, and we are in perfect relational harmony with each other and with the eternally-faithful God Himself. That is why we are called to loyalty to one wife (Prov. 5:15-20). Marriage is practice for heaven. The godly man wants to use his relationship with the woman in his life to worship God. Did you get that? God wants you both to use your relationship to worship Him.
I was asked some questions last year about my view of marriage and my own future wife (“Miss Pending,” as I call her, whomever she might be) and after pondering those questions, gave the answer that follows. I believe that it captures the heart of what I have heard many men say about marriage over the last few months of discussion…
I know I don’t know all the struggles we will face in marriage or the depth I will need to die to self or the difficulties of each of us being sanded and, at times, rubbed raw by the sinfulness of the other…but I want it.
I want it all.
I want the joys and tears and slammed doors and making up and concerns about the future and the grace of God’s provision. I want dinners growing cold under heavy conversation and prayers offered up sweetly like incense.
I want to ponder paint swatches for the eighth time and not be able to fully grasp an appreciable difference in the exact shade for the living room walls but know that it’s not about the paint or the walls but the lining of a nest and the nest is the home and that is how it should be.
I want to sit up late to rock the baby and fix the dishwasher and change the oil and take out the trash and rotate the tires and go to the store in the middle of a rainstorm to pick up products for her that a single guy never thinks about.
I want to make coffee and rub feet and bring flowers and notice her hair and leave notes and call just to say I was thinking of her.
I want sore knees and lost sleep and tear stains from praying for her.
I want dirt under my nails and grit between my teeth and my tunic flecked with my own blood from wading into battle on her behalf.
I want the tango. Stumbling and tangled and on each other’s toes and pressing into her and she into me and both of us into God. Feeling the small of her back rest in my hand and allowing me, wanting me, to lead and both of us hearing the same rhythm and learning the steps and no longer two but one and being willing to step back onto the floor again and again.
I want to put a ring on the hand of a woman I can look at and say, “Help me become like Christ, and I will spare nothing to do the same for you.”
I want holiness, even through hurt.
I want sacrifice and service and sanctification if it all kills me in the process, and I know it will; it must.
I want her to look down at my hand around her hand and easily imagine nail prints.
There is no other way.
His view of marriage is not shaped wrongly by poor examples or the world’s view of relationships, but by God’s perfect plan (Eph. 5:31-33).
He wants to see you become purified and sanctified by Christ above all other things (Eph. 5:27).
He would live out Christ’s example of sacrificial love actively, passionately and consistently (Eph. 5:2).
My prayer for you, dear daughter of the King, is that God blesses your prayers for your future husband. I pray that He gives to you lavishly all the things He wants to use to make you most like Him. I pray that you will know what it is like to enter into a marriage with a greater hope than “happily ever after.” My prayer is that you enter your marriage with the dream of “like Christ, for Christ, in all things.”
May my prayers for you, and your prayers as well, be answered by His grace, in His time and for His purposes.
A note for you: If you read this far, first of all, “thank you.” Secondly, might I ask you for a favor? I wrote the two posts about “How To Pray for Your Future Wife” here and here. If you were to read over the lists on those posts, you would find that many of the things I mention for men to pray for regarding a future wife arose from conversations I had with women on the topic. But I know that many of you likely have some concerns and prayer points that were not mentioned in the two posts. So I ask you, the readers, the same thing that I asked those women I spoke to a while ago: If you are single, and if you could tell your future husband some things you would want him to be praying for you right now, what would they be? And if you happen to be or have been married, and knowing now what you might not have known before you were married, what are some things you wished your husband had been praying for on your behalf or things you desire prayer for now?
I have already begun a new list of items for yet another post, and I would love to hear the things that God has placed on your hearts as prayer concerns. You can reach me at the contact page or by emailing me at email@example.com.
Thanks again for reading, and thanks in advance for your thoughts!