The Pursuit of Marriage and a Godly Woman

Talk about the least qualified person to write a post like this.  Seeing as I haven’t the first clue about marriage, nor the best record of going about the pursuit of it in a godly manner, most could cast this note aside and look to better sources than myself.[*][†]

With all that said, I have to write this for my own sake now, due to the weighty, uncomfortable, but necessary/good question brought up by a friend of mine.  Something along the lines of:  “What is a godly woman?  To a godly man?”  In other words: “Assuming you are a godly man, what would you look for in a godly woman?”

At the time the best I could come up with were some surface-level descriptions of what any Christian- having nothing more than a passing glance at a quote on the subject- would know.  Sure the question is uncomfortable, and I was afraid of getting myself into trouble using words like submission, teachability, and homemaker, but that can’t be a good excuse.  As we all know though, everyone has more courage behind a computer than they would face to face, so maybe now I can think about this and try to formulate words (I don’t intend to offend, but recognizing those who have stumbled upon my posts in the past I hope you’ll understand where I’m coming from; also, let me apologize for the disjointedness of this post, think of it as…stream of consciousness musings).

Firstly, a short summary of what might constitute a godly man as it relates to marriage (something I should probably write myself a separate note over and pray about more).  And this is directly from John Piper’s site:

Headship is the divine calling of a husband to take primary responsibility for Christ-like servant leadership, protection, and provision in the home.”

Joshua Harris takes us back to the Genesis account as the beginning of understanding biblical manhood and womanhood, and I think highlighting the first essential point: That men and women were created equal in the eyes of God.  Cliché?  Sure.  But often the most obvious things are more quickly forgotten.  I don’t believe it is just men who’ve forgotten this, but women as well.  I suppose if it were better grasped by both sides, male-chauvinism and feminism would likewise dissipate.

Maybe one way to understand the difference between the man and woman would not be in qualitative but quantitative terms.  That is, in what capacities, roles, or function do they differ?  There is no chauvinism in that.  In a play- as Joshua Harris says- we each have an assigned role, if someone steps outside their role it messes up the whole act and the play becomes confusing.

The role of the husband–and I think this applies to the single man as well (“Before we’re husbands and wives, we’re brothers and sisters in Christ who rehearse together God’s definition of masculinity and femininity” -Josh Harris)–is to care for the woman to sacrifice body and soul for her, as an image of how Christ loved His church.  Paul makes that point beautifully,

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church… “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” –Ephesians 5:25-33  (emphasis&abridgement mine)

That may–and probably should–frighten us as men, but it should also inspire us to a high regard for marriage as a wonderful thing which actually has the ability to express the Gospel to those who see from the outside.

Okay, but what about the main point I brought up, since the question was put to the males that were present at this discussion, “How would you describe a godly woman?”

I’m going to try to narrow this down to the essentials:

She should be seeking God first.  “Duh,” you might say.  The real question though isn’t “do they say they are Christian?”  But, “Do they act like a Christian?”  There are a lot of women in the Church- especially in Oklahoma- where about 9 out of 10 college-aged women probably attend a church.  Much could be said on this one point alone including: submissiveness, prudence, and modesty.

Superficiality is rampant in America, and many women get caught up in being outwardly beautiful (and many men want it that way), but one mark of a godly woman is that she seeks for inward beauty; godly beauty:

“…women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” -1 Timothy 2:9-10 (and this is what a godly man should be seeking in a godly woman)

Implicit in this point as well (for guys) is whether or not you are seeking God first as well.  As much as some Churches may look like dating services, they aren’t.  The Church serves the purpose of a people coming together with a singular goal: To praise and worship God as a body.

I have heard something along the lines of:

You should be running towards God, and while you’re doing that you look beside you and see a woman running with you, and you ask them to run that race with you.

As corny as it might sound, I think it has a lot truth to it.  A godly woman would be one that has her eyes set upon Jesus, with Him as her first priority, and would be a person who would help a man to do the same.  Together striving towards an ultimate goal and encouraging one another on the way.  The following point could easily be wrapped up in this first one but I think it still needs to be said.

She should have a submissive heart.  Here’s where I start to get in trouble; hang on a sec!  I understand that submission sounds like a terrible word, as though it were synonymous with slavery, belittlement, or oppression.

Again stealing from Piper regarding biblical womanhood now:

Submission is the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts.”

As I’ve said, the male should be the household leader, why this offends some women I have no idea.  The responsibility is daunting in itself.  To me, childbirth is a wonderful thing, but to be honest, I don’t envy those who must go through it; nor can I go through it, for God has not given me that role.  He’s given me another role and I don’t argue with the Director, who is not only directing, but giving me the breath to play my part.

Just as the man has a responsibility to lead in the spiritual and physical areas of his family, the woman has the responsibility to encourage, support, and help in his endeavors.  No one role is more or less important.  Obviously God saw it good to give man a helper in the garden and I don’t think God would do anything out of superfluousness.  The woman has an equally important role to play in the care of the family, the bringing up of godly children, and in the Church.

She should view motherhood as a noble calling (This is taken out of Josh Harris’ Boy Meets Girl).  Last point for me, and I’ll be brief, but I think this is something important for both men and women.  Often in our culture motherhood is looked down upon (and along with that is the stay-at-home-mom).   But I think that women should see this as a high calling, a noble calling, and one which a man would be willing to support.  Ideally, the man brings home the wages, the wife stays home with the children…ideally.  Some have objected with, “what if they get divorced and the woman has no way of getting a job?”  Of course the primary problem with that question is the planning ahead for a divorce.  Also, I have nothing against a woman going to school, getting an education, or even having a job, just that if it is possible for the man to work and the woman to stay with the children, then they should do that.  I grew up in a family where this was not done, I spent most of my life in childcare and at home alone, this did not yield fruitful activity, to say the least.

This is definitely something I must think–and pray–about more.  So I leave it there, and leave it to anyone else to elaborate on any point they wish or correct me for leaving out an important aspect or thought.  God bless.

In Christ,

Jon


[*] i.e. Joshua Harris, Boy Meets Girl & I Kissed Dating Goodbye. ed. John Piper and Wayne Grudem, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.  And a recent suggestion to me by Voddie Baucham, What he must be…if he wants to marry my daughter.

[†] This post last edited March 10, 2013; due to the high traffic of the article and changes in my life, I felt that I should update this a bit.  For instance, the line “I haven’t the first clue about marriage”…well, I am now married now, to my beautiful wife of 7 months, Moriah.  Take the rest with that in mind.

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~ by TSL on February 22, 2010.

 
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