Advice to Women: Marry an Evangelist
Shortly after I began dating Rob, I was talking with one of his friends. "He's a great guy," she said. "But have you heard him pray?" Her question was rhetorical. We had both sat in the church prayer meeting and listened to that young man call on the name of the Lord. He was unashamed and earnest.
Reader, I married him. And for more than ten years he has continued to pray, every morning before we walk out the door and every evening in our living room. Praying with my husband, hearing him talk about the Scriptures, and together discussing spiritual things has been one of the great joys of our marriage, a vital means to my own spiritual growth and an encouragement to our fellowship, not only as husband and wife but as brother and sister in the Lord.
So, when I read a recent blog post telling single Christian women they ought not to make competency in prayer and teaching the Bible a requirement for a husband, I hesitated. True Love Dates author Debra Fileta wrote, "As awesome as it is for a man to pull out his bible [sic], share some verses, or do a devotional—if you ask me, that's not the mark of spiritual leadership, that's a spiritual gift. We all have different spiritual gifts, which is something I've been so aware of since getting married."
I agree with Fileta (and Marlena Graves, in another post) that couples-only devotional times aren't a great diagnostic tool for a husband candidate—I'd rather observe in the ordinary context of the church prayer meeting or Bible study. But I don't want single women to think that praying aloud, reading the Bible and explaining it to others, and testifying to the work of God are optional spiritual gifts, granted only to some, from which a potential husband might be exempt.
Of course, whether a man talks easily about God is not the only test for a godly husband. I want my single friends to marry a man who demonstrates a life transformed by Christ, who shows forth spiritual fruit in love. But being a great guy, even a great Jesus-loving guy, is not enough. Christ-like character must be joined to Christ proclamation. We serve a God who—in the words of Francis Schaeffer—is not silent, and his disciples shouldn't be either.
For complementarians like myself, finding a husband who can teach me the Scriptures is particularly important, of course. Maybe, too, I'm writing from life in the Bible Belt where every nice boy from a nice family is a nice Christian. Among the single women I know, marrying a man with the ability to explain the Scriptures sometimes becomes an afterthought. But, for every Christian, "teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom" (Col. 3:16) is a vital mark of true faith. Please, marry a theologian.
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