Making a list for what you're looking for in a spouse is a good effort. Sometimes we focus on things like personality, looks, education, hobbies, and similar passions. These are all valid and important. Others rest on feelings to drive decisions and as I shared in the last blog, feelings can be fickle. I believe there IS a list that is not onerous or legalistic. There are a few fundamental standards that set the bar at a solid level and if you're looking for love, never settle for less.
My premise is that true love is sustained from two people who live from the inside out. What flows from the spiritual core of two people is the stuff that makes us most able to plow through trials, overcome differences in personalities, and enables us to grow together for a lifetime. More than personality, style, hobbies or even our love language, core spiritual virtue is the glue that makes a couple strong.
I believe there are core spiritual standards that must be seen in another person before we commit to a lifetime. This is more than checking off a list, it's seeing these over a period of time. Never look for perfection but consistency is critical. They take time to watch what comes out of a person because like the fruit from a tree, fruit is always consistent with the root. Please consider these three core spiritual standards:
- Spiritual Transformation
Jesus said it clearly, "you must be born again" (John 3:7). Going to church and even cracking the word is great but a person must come to a change-point – we must be transformed from the inside out. When a person recognizes their need for God, claim nothing but God's grace, and have a story of new life found in Christ alone – you have great start! People who speak of God's mercy and are humbled that God saved them from themselves have the right spiritual DNA.
- Spiritual Submission
Paul writes that we must be careful how we walk (Ephesians 5:15). He also goes on to talk about submission to God's Spirit and that this submission will be best seen in how we relate to those around us (vs. 18-21). Caring for the life and spiritual vitality of others is evidence that our spiritual core is healthy. One of the things I like to ask women to look for in a man is their ability to receive input, insight, and feedback from men and women. One of the greatest ways to see spiritual submission is a persons ability to be teachable.
- Spiritual Direction
We are Jesus followers and that's much more than church attenders. The essence of faith is best seen in the direction of our life. The writer of Hebrews describes core spiritual life in athletic terms. "...run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1). Not everyone moves the same speed but one thing is sure, if our leader is Jesus we move in a way that aims to honor him in every way. You can tell by passion, conversation, and compassion if a person aims and makes moves to follow God. Note: Look for substance, not style. How people follow Jesus is as unique as each persons unique design.
One last word. First and foremost be this person. Search your own heart and get aligned with God. God wants you to radiate and someone really dynamite is looking for these same things in you, even if they can't put it into words. You got this! Praying for you as you find love – it's all by God's grace and goodness.