Well last night I wrote and published quite an angry post about unexciting aspects of male character that I would find hard to live with. However overnight I’ve been able to have a wee little think and this occurred to me: the reason why I have come across those kind of character flaws at those levels of intensity from supposed “Christians” is because of the low standard of churches I have been exposing myself to, and the low standard of commitment to Christ that they demand of their members. Of course no church is perfect and even in the most committed churches you will get people who are not spiritually very serious, and even the most serious Christians will have their flaws and their failings that they will be working through. However, there is still such a huge, huge difference in character between people who are truly committed to Christ…and people who are not. So my first priority then is to make sure that the people I surround myself with are truly committed to Christ, then hopefully I will not need to worry so much about those types of character failings. My great hope is that, moving forward I will be surrounded by so much spiritual sincerity that I will happily be able to forget all about those less-than-wonderful “Christians” I’ve previously had the un-privilege to meet.
The reason why character is so important to me is because this is all that I am looking for in a marriage! I do not care about a man’s financial standing because I am not looking for him to support me financially; I am working very hard to be able to make my own money. I am not hoping for marriage because of social status or children or any other of those reasons why women are typically thought to want to get married. For me it is all about the man himself and the interaction between him and me. This is the only reason why I would want to get married. So his character is crucially important to that. If his character would mar the interaction between him and me, then that would completely negate the reason why I wanted to get married in the first place. I also need to make it clear that I too am working extremely hard to achieve these character strengths for myself. It does after all work both ways. I want and need to be a phenomenal wife as my own necessary contribution to our phenomenal marriage.
So then, these are the necessary character traits. (I have already created a category here on this blog about necessary characteristics for my husband and criteria for our marriage, available here. )
1. ALL SOLD OUT TO CHRIST
The very very first characteristic for my husband is that he should be genuinely “all sold out” to Christ. Guess what?! I’ve already written several posts on this topic – surprise surprise! This is not about me being religious, or about my trying to “prove” the depth of my spirituality by making this the first characteristic. Rather it is from the most pragmatic sense of self-interest; a man who is genuinely sold out to Christ will treat people around him considerately as a consequence of his interaction with Christ. He will treat his wife with respect. He will pursue honesty and integrity in all his dealings. This characteristic is totally non-negotiable. I just don’t want to consider any other possibilities – Jesus first, period!
I insist that he must be genuinely sold out to Christ because I’ve found myself consistently unimpressed by the character of so many supposed Christians; these people pay all the lip service in the world to Christ: they love Him so much, they want to live for Him, live to serve Him. However if you were to dig just a tiny bit beneath the surface, you would quickly find that they are completely devoid of any real character; there is no sincerity to them; their lives are not sincerely directed by what is just and what is true. At best they are superficially nice, but it does not truly spring from their hearts. I would hate to be married to anyone like this.
Read a relevant blog post here
Many of the essential characteristics are subdivisions or necessary consequences of this first characteristic of being “sold out”. That is, if a man is genuinely sold out to Christ, then he will inevitably display these essential characteristics as part of that. However I am still going to spell them out.
2. HE HAS TO TELL HIMSELF THE TRUTH
This should inevitably result from someone who is pursuing Christ. He has to be able to assess himself, evaluate himself deeply, then tell himself the truth about his own actions then take appropriate action to correct himself. He cannot try to justify himself just from public opinion. “Well everyone says I’m OK so I must be OK!” Seriously?! I interact with so many people where ultimately they will leave me thinking “You are lying to yourself!” And they will keep insisting and they will keep arguing and they will be so vociferous about it all. They must know that what they are saying is not true. It is as if by their insistence they are trying to persuade their own selves. I cannot live with that.
3. HE HAS TO BE DESPERATELY PURSUING GROWTH IN CHARACTER
Once again this should be an inevitable consequence of a desperate pursuit of Christ. What this means in practice is that he is constantly working on himself to become a better person; to grow in integrity, in righteousness; he carefully evaluates himself, evaluates areas that he needs to work on – and then he does it. What this also means is that if he makes a mistake he is not complacent about it. He does not say “Well no-one’s perfect!” Rather he works on it, corrects it, does whatever is necessary, and puts it behind him. Also he does not wait for anyone, like for instance his long-suffering wife, to tell him what he has done wrong. Rather he can identify it within himself and take action on it before anyone else has even noticed. If it does happen, as it inevitably will sometimes, that he sincerely does not realise that he has done anything wrong, when he is told about it, he is humble enough to listen, he is honest with himself, and he takes action where and as necessary.
4. A MAN WHO AGGRESSIVELY DEALS WITH HIS OWN INSECURITIES AND EGO
The angry post I wrote yesterday was all about these two things. I appreciate that we are human beings, and to a certain extent we all have insecurities and other failings. However I just cannot live with these two things, especially if they are directed at me or my ambitions, or if their effect is to undermine me.
I have written a post about further (non-character) characteristics, it is available here