This is the second part to this post.
Part 1: Why the List: Available here
Part 2: The Essential Characteristics: THIS POST
So here are the characteristics themselves:
Unerring pursuit of Christ, and Christlikeness:
I have already written many, many blog posts about this! In all those posts, I make the point that this is not about my trying to prove my religiosity to all my Christian friends. Heavens, no! Rather, this is simply an unapologetic expression of self-interest. Someone who sincerely strives after Christ and sincerely strives after Christlikeness will treat his wife well. Yes. He. Will. Even in those inevitable times when he is not full of passionate and tender feelings towards her, or even when he is instead filled with dislike or irritation towards her rather than overflowing love. If for no other reason than to honour and obey God. The key word here is sincerely! There are so many insincere jokers who will pretend to be all about God, who will never stop talking about Jesus, the Bible and holy things, but…it does not quite spring from the determination of their heart. They will probably treat their wives according to what is truly in their hearts, and frankly speaking, I do not want to be there to find out what that might be!
Someone who evaluates himself and tells himself the truth and then takes appropriate action:
Oh my goodness!!! Oh my goodness!!! Oh my goodness!!! From my interaction with people, it has been strikingly brought home to me that many people, if not most people, are not very self-aware. They apparently do not analyse themselves to work out why they behave the way they do, and they definitely do not take action to improve their behaviour. This means that people will often respond to you out of some deep-seated insecurity or prejudice within themselves that they are either unable or unwilling to recognise, much less deal with. There is simply no way I could live with this in marriage. For me it is absolutely essential that my husband should be someone who constantly evaluates the reasons for his own behaviour, or what is happening in his heart, and tells himself the truth – and then deals with it! It is absolutely essential to me that he does his constant unfailing utmost to uproot these negative impulses in his heart, so that he could treat me – and everyone else around him, with beautiful behaviour that stems right from the heart.
Here is the thing: it’s not that he would not constantly be facing these temptations to succumb to pride, ego, etc. He will – like absolutely everyone else in the world. The difference though is that he would be constantly on his guard to refuse to let these things take hold of him; he would be so saturated in Christ-like character that these things would barely touch him – or at least that would be his determination.
If this sounds implausible, then let me say that I know people like this – men like this – who are so full of Christ and who are so devoid of ego that every interaction with them is an absolute delight. And they are *completely* sincere. Wow! Dear Lord, I hope you have someone like this lined up for me! And then there are those of us who are not quite as accomplished in this area – but we are still determined. That is the category I belong to – it is going to be a while before I can honestly describe myself as being devoid of ego. And then there are the ones who don’t even try, or don’t even know how unfragrant their character is. And because they neither know, nor care, nor can bring themselves to deal with it, that will be the same unattractive behaviour they will offer to you, day in, day out. Sometimes in my experience of these people they even apparently expect you to be grateful for the poor behaviour they offer you. No thank you – I’d rather remain single, thank you very much!
Someone who wants marriage as much as I do, and who will invest as much effort into it as I will!
Here is the thing. My marriage is very, very important to me. I plan to invest so much effort into it. In my previous interactions with guys which never quite materialised into relationships, I can candidly say that I always gave my all. Sometimes I know that that would have scared the man away. That does not disturb me because I need someone who is going to be strong enough to take my thousand percent, and if he is going to be scared away by my intensity I’d rather that he was scared away before marriage than during it. So I want someone who is not going to be scared by me and all that I am, but has rather got his own thousand percent of outstandingness to offer me. I assure you, I can take it!
Furthermore I really hate the idea that I would be giving my utmost, and he would be happily sitting there, taking the benefits of my effort, while making no effort in return to me. Even if he made a small effort, or even a big effort (relative to other people), that would not be good enough for me: he has to make at least as much effort as I do – and I am planning to make a lot of effort!
A man who is never satisfied with where his character has reached, but is constantly striving for growth
Constantly growing husband equals very happy wife! If a man is constantly growing, then hopefully there will always be exciting and intriguing things to learn from him. Even as I write this my eyes are glowing with excitement, as I imagine looking forward to the latest new thing that he will unveil, mentally asking myself: “What has he got now?! Or what fascinating thing is this man up to now?! And here’s the thing – the confidence that it will
always usually be lovely, and good, and joyful. I’m not trying to suggest that the Christian life or married life is perfect, or full of unrestrained excitement. I hope though that even in the challenges of life, Huggie-Wuggie and I would still find ways to encourage one another or inspire one another or simply fall into one another’s arms and laugh and giggle together!
If once again this sounds unrealistic or too difficult to attain, then let me please assure you that sincerely, all you have to do to attain this is to stay grounded in God. Please please believe me. This is sincerely all you have to do! God is the author and creator of er, creativity and true joy, and inspiration, and all that is beautiful. When you are immersed in God’s Spirit then the fruit of God’s character flows out of you. It is not just wonderful considerate character – although that is of course wonderful! It is also beauty, and amazing ideas and motivation to carry them out. God is an everything God – He is so indescribably gracious and generous – and He gives His children every characteristic that is truly lovely – and I want some of that delicious “everything” in my marriage (by His grace)!
A man who applies himself to excellence and aspires to be the best he can be, but is content with a simple life
Because this who I am! While it is perfectly possibly to aspire after unlimited character and internal beauty, without diminishing what is available to other people, the same is not true of tangible resources. The more physical wealth I have, the less is available to go around for other people. I am not preaching what I am about to say now as a standard for everyone; that is, I am not saying that everyone else also has to live this way. However, even though I am extremely ambitious in terms of my goals and dreams, I am personally committed to living a life that is as simple as possible. My big dream for my marriage is that we enrich and bedeck ourselves not with physical trappings of wealth, but rather with tender love and phenomenal character and endless laughter and holiness, and as much of God as He will allow us to have!
More essential characteristics hopefully to follow soon!