Evaluating A Suitor – Thoughts to Consider from an Older Sister

{by Katrina Rebsch}

As those of you who follow this blog might know, God has recently brought into my life a most amazing young man and we are engaged to be married!  Words cannot even begin to describe the sheer joy that has characterized this new season of love and discovery with the one for whom I have been waiting and praying all these years. 
In recent weeks, I received an email from the mother of some good friends who asked me to consider writing for the benefit of other girls what I’ve learned when it comes to evaluating a potential suitor; questions to ask to get to know him, and qualities to look for in his life.  While I am certainly no expert on the matter of guy-girl relationships, I have had quite a bit of experience this past year and a half with the evaluation process as various “interested” young men have entered and exited my life.
What I hope to do in this article is simply share what I have learned along the way and give some older-sister encouragement to those of you who are still waiting for your own Prince Charming.
Before we even get to the guy however, let’s talk about you, the girl!
Thought to Ponder #1 – God is the Author of the Best Love Stories Ever! 
Marriage, love, romance, sacrifice – these are all His ideas and His inventions.  Novelists and screen-writers don’t even come close to capturing the breath-taking beauty of a true love story scripted by the Creator of the universe.  I enjoy reading a sweet romance or watching a wholesome chick flick as much as any girl, but no human can come close to writing a story like God can!  So the question is, are you committed to His story for your life, or your own? 
I have seen what can happen when a young lady grows desperate and takes matters into her own hands, running after anyone who will notice her and throwing values to the wind as she seeks immediate gratification on her quest for love and attention.  There is great sorrow and heartache.  Manipulating people and circumstances to try to write one’s own love story is not the way to happily ever after.  Only when the pen is yielded to God and fulfillment sought in Him is true joy experienced.  But of course, happiness is not the goal; glorifying the Lord is!  And He is glorified when we are satisfied in Him, yielded and obedient to His will, and content to wait for His timing in the romance department. 
Thought to Ponder #2Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
I know we live in an instant-oatmeal society where words like ‘patience’ and ‘waiting’ are not very popular.  However, the Bible is full of admonitions to wait on the Lord!  His way is perfect and His timing is best!  When I was much younger, I would often hear older girls talk about how their beloved was worth the wait and I would think to myself, “I hope I can say that one day!” 

The years passed.  Life was full and rich…and lonely at times.  Lonely for a guy.  Lonely for someone to belong to, for someone to raise a family with, for someone to grow old with.  Would there ever be someone?  Would I ever get married?  Would he really be worth the wait?
I am now 26 years old and by God’s grace can truly, whole-heartedly, without a shadow of a doubt proclaim, “YES, YES, YES!!!  This man whom God has brought me HAS been worth the wait!”  He is everything I ever prayed for and so much more.  Had I rushed ahead of God’s timing or settled for the first guy who came along, I would have missed out on the indescribable beauty and wonder of this relationship with Nathan Britton, who is without question, the best and most perfect man for me!
I’m not saying that in every situation the first guy who comes along is an unwise choice; many times he could very well be God’s will!  I’m simply wanting to encourage you to be careful and not fall for the first one just because he is the first one!  Evaluate wisely, be on guard against premature infatuation, and be willing to wait on the Lord’s timing!
Thought to Ponder #3 Princes Need Prayer!
Guess what?  If it’s in God’s plan for you to get married, your future husbands are alive right now.  Your own Prince Charming exists.  Somewhere.  Out there.  You may not know his name or his face or anything about him.  Regardless, he needs your prayer! So pray for him!  Pray for his protection, for his moral uprightness, for his relationship with the Lord.  Pray for God to build His character into the life of your man.  Pray for him to be a strong leader and to stand firm against temptation.  By praying for him even now, you are “doing him good all the days of [your] life.” (Proverbs 31:12)  I prayed for my future husband for many, many years before I met him this past January.  What’s so amazing to me is to see every quality I ever prayed for him evident in his life.  
Okay.  Now that we’ve got a foundation established for us girls, let’s talk about the guys.  When someone comes along who is interested in you, what questions should you ask?  What qualities should you look for?
Questions to Ask a Potential Suitor:
On matters of faith/practice:
  •  Is he a Christian? 
  •  What is his salvation testimony?  (Pay close attention here!  Is it story about him and what he did to “be saved”, or about Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross?)
  •  Does he read the Word regularly? 
  •  Is he part of a local body of believers?  What kind of church is he involved with? 
  •  Does he have sound doctrinal beliefs that match up to your own?  (There are many “stripes” of Christianity out there; is he of the same stripe as you?)
  •  Does he love the Lord and actively pursue a more intimate knowledge of the Savior?
  •  Does he know why he believes what he believes?
  •  Is he living in obedience to the Word of God?
  •  Is he involved in any ministries?

On matters of character:
  •   Does he honor his authorities (and yours)?
  •   Is he honest?
  •   What does he believe about lying?
  •   Does he walk in moral uprightness?  (You will want the help of your father or pastor to help ask detailed questions along these lines.)
  •   Is he a gentleman?
  •   Is he kind to others or only to the girl he is trying to impress?
  •   How does he treat children, those with special needs, and the elderly?
  •   Is he a leader?
  •   Does he have direction and purpose in life?
  •   What is he passionate about?
  •   Is he easily offended?  Does he carry grudges?
  •   Is he humble and teachable or proud and know-it-all?
  •   Is he a man of integrity?
  •   What makes him angry? What brings him joy?
  •   What is his definition of love?
  •   Does he manifest the quality of self-control and self-discipline?
  •   What are his strengths?  What are his weaknesses?

On matters of family life:
  •   What does he believe about guy-girl relationships?
  •   Why does he want to get married?
  •   What does he believe about the roles of husbands and wives in a marriage relationship?
  •   What are his beliefs about children, family planning, birth control, etc.?
  •   How does he view his future position as spiritual leader of the home?
  •   What does he believe about the discipleship of his children?
  •   What does he desire regarding the education of his children?
  •   What does he think about adoption?

On matters of lifestyle and personal standards:
  •   What are his music convictions/preferences/tastes?
  •   What are his standards regarding movies and media?
  •   What does he think about clothing/women’s dress/modesty, etc.?
  •   What does he want his future home life to look like?
  •   What does he think about video games/computer games/the internet?  (Are there any addictions there?)
  •   What are his beliefs about alcohol?
  •   What are his beliefs about dancing?
  •   What kind of books does he enjoy reading?
  •   How does he handle finances?

I am sure there are many, many more questions that could be added to these lists!  These are just some ideas to get you started.  As you ask these questions, be evaluating how the answers line up with your own beliefs and values.  Parental wisdom and input is invaluable in the evaluation process as well!  However, you are the one who might be marrying this guy, so you need to know if the two of you are likeminded enough in all the essential, non-negotiable areas.  Some of these areas will be areas of preference vs. conviction.  It is very helpful to determine ahead of time what are unchanging convictions for you and what are areas in which you can be more flexible if the fellow believes differently.
When it comes to the qualities to look for in a potential husband, I found it very helpful to narrow down my list to three main, essential aspects:
  1.  A man of God
  2.  A man of character
  3.  A man whom I can respect and follow

The definitions of these bullet points will be different for different people and wrapped up in these points is the obvious need for likemindedness. 
In the evaluation process, however, please remember that no guy wants the unrealistic expectation that he will be perfect in every way.  And by perfect, I mean sinless and incapable of making mistakes.  If you have these expectations sandwiched around an impossible list of qualities he must fulfill you might find yourself an old maid forever.  There must be room for grace and understanding that the man God has for you is going to be human!  However, that is not to say we should compromise beliefs and convictions just to get any guy!  There must be balance between waiting for God’s best while at the same time being willing to join your life with a fellow imperfect human.
There is so much more that could be said about guy-girl relationships, but my goal was not to write an exhaustive article on the topic.  I simply wanted to share some things I’ve learned along the journey and some thoughts to ponder when those suitors come knocking! 
Remember – this is only the rest of your life that is at stake!  Commit your way unto the Lord, trust also in Him and rest assured that He shall bring it to pass!  Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. (Psalm 37:5, Psalm 27:14)
Here’s to joyfully ever after for the glory of God!!!

Comments

  1. Congratulations Katrina!! May the Lord bless your marriage to the fullest. Years ago you were a faithful and godly witness to me about being careful with guy-girl relationships. Your story blesses and inspires me! Thank you for everything. Love from Florida.

    • Thank you so much, Savannah, for your sweet words of blessing and encouragement! How well I remember meeting you at the Maiden's Quest in Virginia several years ago. :) Hope all is well with you in Florida!!!

  2. I love all the questions! I am going to use those some day! :) And congrats on your engagement! :)

  3. Katrina thank you so much for writing this!! It is a great help to me right now. And the questions as well as being great for the guys, also make me look at myself in these areas.

    “…Happiness is not the goal; but glorifying the Lord is!” The Lord has been tryng to drive that home to me lately.

    Thanks for being an older siter , Marci

  4. Thanks so much Katrina! Great post:) So happy for you!!!!

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