The Matter

Qualities to Look for in a Future Spouse

Earlier this week, my friend asked me a couple of questions regarding dating. He asked me “what are some qualities I should be looking for in a person” and “what makes a good marriage”? I thought they were good questions and sent him a short spiel. I figured that it’d be a good thing to write about on the blog since it’s something that a lot Christians think about. When I was still single, I wondered what my spouse would be like, and when I was dating, I wondered if I was doing anything right. After going through that, I realized that I should not have gotten hung up on that and that I shouldn’t have idolized the pursuit. With what I know now, I can at least answer the questions that my friend asked, so here you go..

The qualities that you should be looking for in a person should be the core qualities that you yourself hold to. For example, for me, the core quality that I was looking for in my wife was whether or not she loved God. I knew that if that held to be true, then how she lived her life would show as a result of that core quality. If she truly loved God, then she’d care about the church, about others, and about what the Bible says. How we live our life would be similar on a fundamental basis, and we can see eye to eye on major decisions. Then, all the other qualities are a bonus like if she could bake, if she could cook, and if she was pretty. I knew that those things could change, but how she lives her life would be grounded in God who does not change.

With that said, there are some qualities that you should look for in a person while you are dating. These qualities make and break relationships. I learned more about these qualities during pre-marital counselling, so I would say that they also make a good marriage. Here they are:

  1. Communication
  2. Conflict resolution
  3. Commitment

The first quality is communication. The person should be open to both listening to you and communicating their thoughts. If the person does neither, then I don’t know why they’d want to be in a relationship in the first place. If they only listen, then you’re not going to have any feedback on whether she approves or disapproves of what you’re doing. If she only talks, then you might as well not be there since you’re not talking to each other.

The second quality is conflict resolution. You will inevitably get into some sort of disagreement about something. Don’t be surprised if you do. Everyone has their own preferences whether good or bad, and that will inevitably lead to conflict. Instead of looking for someone who you’ll never have problems with, it’s good to look for someone who is good at resolving those problems with you. Specifically, both of you should be willing to understand where the other person is coming from, be willing to compromise their personal preferences, and come to some sort of agreement. If that seems impossible to do with the other person, then you’re going to have a hard time if you get married.

The third quality is commitment. I think this one is kind of self explanatory. If you want to be in a relationship, then commitment is important. There are various levels of commitment in any relationship. Dating means that you’re trying to get to know the other person to see whether or not you want to get married. Engagement means that you’re committed to getting married to that person and plan to do so. Marriage means that you’re committed to one another for the rest of your life. In regards to this, if you’re dating, then you’re trying to look to see how committed the person is to you. I’m not saying that the person’s whole dating life is supposed to be dedicated to spending time with you, but there should be some level of commitment to get to know the other person and spend time with them.

Interestingly enough, these are qualities that you should look for while dating and at the same time, they are qualities that make a good marriage. The core qualities that you hold for yourself is fundamental in what you look for in your spouse. The qualities that make a good marriage are qualities that you should look for while dating. These qualities are communication, conflict resolution, and commitment. If you’re looking for these qualities while in a relationship and your partner shows these qualities, then you’re probably going in a good direction. Hope this was helpful for you. If you have any questions for me, then feel free to comment or ask me!

2 Comments

  • David Mobley

    Commitment: I’d actually put the commitment in a slightly different way (one that I know you get, but I’ll say it anyway) — even more important than commitment to one another is commitment to God, and at some level, if that’s there, then commitment to spouse doesn’t really matter. To put it another way, at first our marriage was really rocky, and we fought a ton. One of the steps I had to go through was to realize that even more than trying to fix my marriage, I had to be committed to Christ — even if and when that meant it appeared to lead me into greater conflict with my wife. He had to come first, even if it destroyed my marriage. And ironically, that realization was part of what I think helped get us through the toughest times, because I was able to stand for what was right and then my wife followed me in that — rather than trying to put “get along with her” first.

    So commitment is key, yes, but commitment to God. And if both spouses are truly committed to him then commitment to one another follows. 🙂

    • Mathew

      Thank you so much for your comment David! I appreciate that you also shared your experience to better emphasize your point.

      Yes, I agree that commitment to God is key to being committed to your spouse. I find myself getting frustrated with my wife when I’m not committing to God and living for myself. However, when I am living for God, then loving my wife is easier.

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