To my single daughters,
Marriage is a big deal.
Like a huge, hairy monster under your bed, big deal.
Maybe the word marriage already makes you uneasy, but I fear you are focusing on the wrong monster. Are you afraid of singleness, of being alone? I get it. Before marrying your dad, I had that worry too. But now that I’m on the other side, I’m here to tell you that what you should actually fear is marrying a man without integrity. That is the true monster.
the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
synonyms: honesty, honor, ethical, morals, righteousness, virtue, decency, fairness, sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness, good character
“he is known to be a man of integrity”
I’m not trying to frighten you into perpetual singleness (your dad might prefer that), but I am trying to scare you, because I think you need to be scared.
There are single women all over the world not doing their homework before they marry. They ignore their gut instincts, stay stuck in relationships that should have never started, and are blind to their own dating dysfunction. They live isolated from others – no one is around to shine a light on the red flags. Don’t let that happen to you. When you are dating, seek wisdom. Stay in community.
I know this because I’ve been there. I spent four years dating a habitual liar. And had I been a little older, I might have married him. That possibility terrifies me to this day. My life would have looked so different. You are only as strong as your weakest link. Time, marriage, children, none of these external factors will change a man’s character. Integrity doesn’t simply appear one day. Integrity is ingrained.
You already know the importance of finding a man who walks with God. But dating a man who attends church, or one who leads worship, or even one who graduated from seminary, doesn’t guarantee you have found a man who loves God. All my boyfriends attended church, not all of them knew Jesus. Your standards need to be higher than outside appearances.
Along with integrity, and a true relationship with Jesus, look for a man who values story – someone who seeks to understand his own past and uses that knowledge to better his present and future. I know we were perfect parents, and you have nothing to talk to a counselor about, but he may not have been so lucky… Just kidding, I know you have plenty of material for a counselor. My point is, marry someone open to vulnerability and accountability.
And if all this isn’t enough to give you pause, remember, the man you marry will raise your children. You have no idea how much you will love your own babies. You will want the best for them, so pick a father who will parent with integrity.
Daughters, as you navigate the dating scene, keep these truths in mind.
Marriage won’t complete you.
First off, you’re not incomplete. You were made in the image of God. You are fabulous just the way you are, and the God of the universe loves you. He has an incredible plan for your life whether you are married or not.
Marriage isn’t an accomplishment.
Graduating is an accomplishment. Running a marathon is an accomplishment. Getting promoted at work is an accomplishment. Marriage is a lifestyle choice. It’s not for everyone.
You won’t live happily-ever-after.
Not until heaven and earth are restored, anyways. Your happily-ever-after comes from Christ alone. Marriage can bring you a lot of happiness, but your partner will also disappoint you and annoy you. We are all fallen.
This advice is coming from your mom – someone who hopes you have lots of grand babies – but I would rather you be single than married to a man who brings you grief.
Contentment is a choice. You can be content single or married. You can be content childless or with a quiverfull. Every option has advantages and disadvantages, positives and negatives. If you choose marriage, choose a man after God’s heart. Pick someone who is worthy of you, who challenges you, and whose integrity remains constant no matter what situation he is in. Life will be hard at times, choose a husband who will help you carry the burden, not add to it.
* Dear son, this article applies to you too. Find a woman with integrity, who loves Jesus, and values story. And be a man of integrity – An example to your sisters, a blessing to your wife, and a reflection of your father.