Note: The following post was written by my friend Laura. On this blog, I have often offered men suggestions about what to ask prospective mates. Laura’s article looks at the problem from the other side, offering women suggestions about what to look out for in a husband candidate. I’ll be posting one per day for the next 10 days.
Apart from the decision to follow Christ, marriage is the biggest decision you will ever make. It is a lifelong commitment that will impact every area of your life for as long as you both shall live. As Jesus’ disciples realized and the apostle Paul taught explicitly, for many people it is better not to marry at all (1 Corinthians 7). But for those who do marry, it must not be entered into lightly. Here are ten behaviors to avoid in men when considering committing for life.
4. Isn’t teachable or open to constructive criticism. Have you ever met a man who earnestly contends to mature in Christ, who seeks out constructive criticism from mentors and friends, and who strives to become better as a result? I have, and it is truly inspiring. Such a man is humble before God and men, and despite any weaknesses he may have, he continues to learn and grow and become a wiser and better man all the days of his life. Authentic Christians with demonstrated character and ability will have influence in his life, and his wife need not worry that he is unwilling or unable to change in the ways that really matter.
Teachable men listen to the criticisms of others, but they don’t let criticism destroy them. They evaluate the critiques of others, discard the useless ones, embrace the valuable ones, and with an attitude of thankfulness rather than woundedness or despair, they implement valuable changes to become better men.
In contrast, lesser men are broken by a single criticism, they avoid all but the highest praises, and they wither at the suggestion of room for improvement. Run from these men. They are too fragile to lead a home, and they are too insecure and consumed with flattery to take the time to do the hard work of learning ways to grow and change for the sake of their own good and yours.
If you aren’t sure what kind of man you are with, start by asking him about his role models and mentors, and what he has learned from them. Ask in what ways they have challenged him to become a better man, and find out how he has implemented their recommendations and imitated their example. Additionally, offer him your own feedback on his character or behavior and pay attention to how he responds. If he hasn’t demonstrated a consistent willingness to learn and grow, this is not the man you want to marry.