Dating advice

Painting: "Courtship", by Edmund Blair Leighton (1888)
Painting: “Courtship”, by Edmund Blair Leighton (1888)

Here is a list of questions that I ask Christian women to find out if there are interested in men and marriage and children. Women can use this list on men with a few adjustments.

Before we look at the list, let me just point out what kinds of questions are bad. You want to avoid asking leading questions that will allow the person to just give a yes or no answer. Don’t ask “who did you vote for?” – that’s much too easy to fake. You want them to argue for their positions on different issues at length, and in their own words, and with reference to their own experiences.

It’s also a good idea for men to observe a candidate’s behavior over time to see if it’s consistent with her answers. Also, I think that even if the woman gets none of the questions right, but begins to ask you for books to read so that she can answer them, then that counts as a right answer. You just have to make sure she follows through, though. I sent one woman a book on Christianity and capitalism for her Christmas gift in 2009 and it took her 18 months for her to write the book review! In all honesty, these questions are pretty tough, so I think that the best you can hope for is that the person becomes curious. I had to learn the answers over many years. Having said that, you could probably cover most the topics with about $40 worth of introductory books.

When scoring the answers, you can award bonus points for extras, e.g. – naming any scholar as an authority (especially non-Christian scholars), referencing a book or a debate, referencing peer-reviewed papers, listing and refuting other points of view, recounting debates she herself has had with opponents, and pointing to her own past writings. Best of all is passion and aggression in answering the questions. Sometimes it is a good idea to pretend to disagree with her, or to pretend to be unconvinced, and then have her try to convince you. Another good thing to look for is susceptibility and vulnerability – she should have real feelings about these topics – it shows that she’s invested in them.


1. Cosmology

What scientific evidence would you point to to show that God created the universe OR that God fine-tuned the universe, or parts of the universe, for intelligent life?

SAMPLE ANSWER: The big bang theory, the fine-tuning argument, galactic habitability, stellar habitability, or terrestrial habitability.

BONUS POINTS: referencing hard evidence like light element abundances, cosmic microwave background radiation, or specific instances of fine-tuning.

WHY IT MATTERS: She can’t be a Christian unless she knows God exists, and that can’t just be based on feelings and community. An awareness of the scientific evidence shows a seriousness about spiritual things – that her belief is rooted in objective reality, not in subjective feelings, culture, community, etc. It’s not “her truth”, it’s “the truth”. If she doesn’t know why she believes, then she can’t be relied upon to make decisions as a Christian, especially in stressful situations. There is always going to be a conflict between doing what one feels like and doing what is consistent with reality. Having scientific facts helps a person to do what they ought to do.

2. Intelligent Design

Explain the concept of intelligent design and explain how it applies to the i) origin of life OR ii) to the fossil record.

SAMPLE ANSWER: Explain the concept of specified complexity and Dembski’s explanatory filter, then explain how it applies to (i) amino acid sequencing or the double helix, OR (ii) to the sudden origin of animal phyla in the Cambrian explosion.

BONUS POINTS: Ideally, for the origin of life question, she’s going to mention things like UV radiation, chirality, cross-reactions and peptide bonds, then calculate the approximate probabilities for generating a protein by chance. For the Cambrian explosion, she should graph out the introduction of phyla over time, and explain the Ediacaran fauna and why they are not precursors to the Cambrian fauna. Bonus points for bashing theistic evolution, or talking about the early earth environment and the problems with forming amino acids.

WHY IT MATTERS: Darwinian evolution is bad science because it is really just philosophy (naturalism) masquerading as science. You can’t marry anyone who pre-supposes a materialist view of metaphysics like naturalists do, and then allows that philosophical assumption to overrule the scientific evidence. You don’t want to be paired up with someone who lets their prejudices overturn data.

3. The problems of evil and suffering

Assuming that Christianity is true, why do you think that God would allow suffering and evil in the world? Distinguish between human evil and natural evil in your answer. Also explain what role you think God’s permission of evil and suffering has in maturing Christians.

SAMPLE ANSWER: Define the deductive and inductive problems of evil, explains several different responses to them, such as free will, character formation, natural law, the ripple effect, etc. Mention the burden of proof for claims that certain evils are gratuitous, i.e. – noseeums.

BONUS POINTS: explaining how evil relates to Christian theology and God’s purposes for humans being knowledge of him and not just happiness, talking about Jesus’ own suffering and the meaning and purpose of it. More bonus points for pointing out how atheists cannot even complain about evil without assuming objective morality, which requires a moral lawgiver.

WHY IT MATTERS: Lots of nasty things can happen in a marriage. Children can get sick or die, jobs can be lost, and so on. It helps when you are dealing with a person who expects it and will not jettison their responsibilities and belief in Christ in order to pursue happiness unencumbered. The main thing is that the woman thinks that the purpose of life is to know God, and that suffering and evil play a role in gaining knowledge of God. You definitely do not want to marry someone who thinks that the purpose of life is happiness, and that God is some big bearded grandfather in the sky who just wants to hand out goodies to people and make sure they are having a good time regardless of what they choose to do.

4. The moral argument

What is the is-ought fallacy? What is the difference between moral objectivism and moral relativism? Give one reason why moral relativism is false. Give one reason why an atheist cannot rationally ground prescriptive morality. Explain why objective morality relates to God’s existence.

SAMPLE ANSWER: Explain the is-ought fallacy. Explain objective and subjective morality. Discuss the reformer’s dilemma and how it refutes relativism. Explain that atheism requires materialism, and materialism denies free will – so moral choices are impossible. Outline the moral argument.

BONUS POINTS: Give more than one reason where only one was asked for, refute attempts to assert objective morality on atheism, explain how moral obligations are related to God’s design for humans.

WHY IT MATTERS: You can’t marry a person who thinks that the moral law is not a brake on their desire to be happy. There are going to be times in the marriage when self-sacrifice is required by the moral law – either for you, for God, or for the children. It will not be easy to be moral then, so you are looking for someone who thinks that morality is real, and not subject to their feelings and whims. It might be worth asking the person when she has had to do the right thing when it was against her self-interest, like those valedictorians who name Jesus in their speeches and then get censored.

5. The resurrection of Jesus

Assume you are talking to a non-Christian. Explain how you would make a case for the bodily resurrection of Jesus on historical grounds. This person does not accept the Bible as inspired and/or inerrant.

SAMPLE ANSWER: Explain the criteria for establishing minimal facts / historical bedrock, list a set of minimal facts, explain why they pass the criteria, propose at least two naturalistic alternatives to the resurrection, and disprove them. MUST mention 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 in order to pass.

BONUS POINTS: listing atheist scholars who support each minimal fact, discussing N.T. Wright’s work on the Jewish concept of resurrection, referencing Richard Bauckham’s work on the gospels as eyewitness testimony, mentioning the pre-suppositions (naturalism, relativism) of liberal scholars like Crossan and Borg.

WHY IT MATTERS: The resurrection is the cornerstone of Christian belief. A person cannot encounter skeptics and not be able to defend the resurrection on historical grounds to them. The resurrection matters to how people act: they act completely differently depending on whether they believe that this life is all there is, or that this life is just a precursor to eternal life with God. You want someone who takes the long-term perspective.

6. World religions

Name two major world religions and argue against them using either the laws of logic, scientific evidence or historical evidence. Explain the concept of middle knowledge, and why it is relevant to the problem of religious pluralism.

SAMPLE ANSWER: Refute Theravada Buddhism with the big bang, or refute Islam with the crucifixion of Jesus, etc. MUST mention specific beliefs of that religion that are testable, and not just argue that they reject Christianity and are therefore false. Explain how middle knowledge reconciles free will and divine sovereignty, and that it also helps to solve the problem of people who have never heard the gospel.

BONUS POINTS: Using evidence that is universally accepted by people outside of that religion. Using scientific evidence. Referencing Acts 17:27 or other Bible passages when explaining middle knowledge. Mentioning objections to middle knowledge, such as the grounding objection.

WHY IT MATTERS: Many younger Christians today believe that Christianity is moralistic therapeutic deism. They think that the purpose of religion is to have good feelings and to be nice to other people and to make other people feel good. It’s all about feelings. You need to make sure that she knows how to make people feel bad and is comfortable doing it, with evidence. Middle knowledge also grounds the person’s willingness to see people as being responsible for their acceptance or rejection of Christ. Instead of taking a hands-off fatalistic approach to salvation, someone who accepts middle knowledge is going to take persuasion seriously and expend effort to try to change the people around them.

7. Abortion

How would you establish that the unborn are fully human and deserve protection? Explain three pro-abortion arguments and then show why they are false. Name three incremental pro-life policies that you would introduce if you were a legislator.

SAMPLE ANSWER: Use the SLED test and the law of biogenesis. Talk about the DNA signature of the unborn being distinct from the mother. Explain and refute the back-alley abortions argument, the it’s the woman’s body argument, the Judith Jarvis Thompson violinist argument, etc. Legislation would be parental notification, banning funding for abortion providers, mandatory sonograms, etc.

BONUS POINTS: Refute more pro-abortion arguments, reference specific legislation that is in-flight or was recently signed into law. Experiences protesting abortion or debating abortion with pro-abortionists. Experience counseling a post-abortive or crisis pregnancy woman. Mentioning biological details of foetus development.

WHY IT MATTERS: Basically, because people who think that sex is for recreation, and that it is ok to kill children to avoid any limits on the pursuit of happiness are not qualified for marriage. You can’t enter into an intimate commitment with someone who is willing to commit murder in order to get out of the consequences of their own selfish pursuit of pleasure. That is not going to work in a marriage – you need someone who makes good decisions, avoids harming others, is chaste and self-controlled, and takes responsibility for her actions when they go awry.

8. Marriage

Explain the public purposes of marriage, and then outline three threats to marriage and explain what legislation you would propose to neutralize these threats. What choices should people make before marriage to make sure they will have a stable, loving marriage?

SAMPLE ANSWER: Some public purposes of marriage are i) to force moral constraints on sexual activity, ii) to produce the next generation of humans, iii) to provide children with a stable, loving environment in which to grow up. Three threats to marriage are i) cohabitation, ii) no-fault divorce – which leads to fatherlessness, and iii) same-sex marriage. There are others, too. For legislation, there are things like tax incentives, shared parenting laws, school choice to de-monopolize politicized public schools, etc. Pre-marriage behaviors are things like chastity, experience with children, having lots of savings, being physically fit, etc. Having a degree in experimental science, math or economics is excellent for a woman. Avoid artsy degrees, especially English.

BONUS POINTS: Name more threats to marriage, explain the effects of fatherlessness on children, explain how divorce courts work, explain how socialism impacts the family through taxation and wealth redistribution, explain what happens to women and children after a divorce.

WHY IT MATTERS: It’s important for people who want to get married that they understand that marriage takes time and effort, and it requires both spouses to prepare for marriage, to be diligent at choosing a good spouse, and to understand what spouses and children need in order to stay engaged.

9. Children

Explain a person you admire and then tell me what you would do as a mother in order to produce that person from one of your children. What are some people and laws that you would change to make your job easier?

SAMPLE ANSWER: Jay Richards. Jay Richards is one of the most well-rounded Christian scholars operating today. He has knowledge of multiple areas, including economics and science. To make a Jay Richards, you need to be very careful about his education – which could mean homeschooling and saving money for later university tuition, as well as exposing him to apologetics and debates at an earlier age. He would need to have the dedicated attention of his mother for the first two years of his life, at least. Some laws that would help would be lower taxes, school choice, and academic freedom laws.

BONUS POINTS: Explaining how different things like day care, public schools, divorce, etc. harm children. Explaining how mother and fathers contribute to the child’s moral, cognitive, spiritual, etc. development at different times. Explain how the child is harmed if both parents are not present and engaged to play these roles.

WHY IT MATTERS: Marriage is an enormous sacrifice for a man. Not only is there the risk of divorce, but wives and children are very expensive. A man can serve God fine as a bachelor. He has to have compelling reasons why getting married would serve God more than staying single. Producing influential children seems to be one of the major reasons for a man to get married, and he needs to see evidence that his wife is on board with that.

10. Husbands

Explain the roles of a man in a marriage, and tell me some of the things you would do in order to help your man to achieve those roles. What groups would oppose your husband from fulfilling those roles, and what have you done in your life to prepare yourself to help your husband in his roles? What are some of the most important things that a man needs from a woman, and what specific things should a wife do to provide them?

SAMPLE ANSWER: Men are supposed to be protectors, providers and moral/spiritual leaders. In order to help men to be protectors, women have to give them time to study to discern truth from lie, and support their ability to be physically strong, and to own firearms. It is also a good idea for women to have a positive view of good men who use force to restrain evil, as with the American military. Women should support the use of force against radical Islam and terrorists, as well. In order to help men to be providers, women have to advocate for fiscal conservatism in the public square. That would mean advocating for lower taxes, less government spending and smaller government. It would also mean being frugal in the home and helping the man to move ahead at work. If the children are up and out of the house, it could mean going back to work or starting a business to help make ends meet – or monitoring investments. For a man to be a moral and spiritual leader, a woman has to be supporting of him making moral judgments in the home, disciplining the children, holding her accountable for moral errors, and for making exclusive truth claims when it comes to spiritual things. She should not censor him when he gets into debates about spiritual things, even if other people who disagree feel bad – so long as he is not being a jerk. Her goal is not to be popular or liked, but to support her husband in his roles. The most important thing a man needs is respect, and that means treating him as important and significant, being grateful for his contributions, soliciting his opinion on things, being mindful of his male nature, which is more visual and sexual.

BONUS POINTS: Having read “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands”, “Men and Marriage”, “Love and Economics” and “Taken Into Custody”. More bonus points for having written about what she learned about men and marriage from books like that. The goal here is for her to have a real awareness and sympathy for what men are facing as husbands and fathers, and to have an idea of what women can do to support them in their roles.

WHY IT MATTERS: As a man, you have certain needs – the biggest need is for respect. If you are thinking of marrying a woman who cannot define respect, and doesn’t know how to give you respect, then you are going to be in for a world of hurt. The more she views marriage as a joint project with specific goals and external challenges, the more understanding and support you will get. No one wants to fly a plane with someone who doesn’t know how to fly a plane, fix a plane or navigate a plane. The more she knows about men and marriage, the better it will go for you – and the children.

Parting thoughts

This list is not exhaustive, it’s just to give you an idea of the kinds of things you should be looking for. A lot of it is the attitude. You are looking for a woman who does not shift blame onto you, who takes responsibility when she is wrong, who argues using logic and evidence, who loses arguments gracefully, and wins arguments gracefully, and who loves you and cares for you even if you are fighting. If the woman is resentful and doesn’t want to learn anything to deepen her faith, then drop her and find someone who will learn – it will be much better for you to partner with someone lovable and helpful, instead of a selfish lazy feminist.

If I were making a list for women, I would emphasize different things more centered around the specific roles that men play in the marriage – asking for his resume, work history, savings, investments, past relationships with women, parenting ability, self-defense ability, mentoring ability, and especially on moral issues and Christian truth claims.The most important thing that a woman needs is love, and the man should be ready to speak about love at length, and explain how he is going to provide her with love during the courtship and during the marriage. Women need to know that they are significant and desired by the man.

55 thoughts on “Dating advice”

    1. Trying to give dating advice to most Western single women is (in my experience) like herding cats. Chemistry, appearances and peer-approval are too important for most of them.



      Western single women are not the kind to put structure and rules around courting and marriage, these days.

      1. Things other than Christian things are more important to most women . They want the same as secular women….

  1. I’m a 23 year old woman and this is so good! i got all the bonus question, i’m such an apologetics/ theology nerd lol. I wish every Christian girl could answer these questions, it would solve a lot of problems. Unfortunately there are no guys my age at church who even know what the word apologetics means let alone any of the arguments. Anyone interested is at least 20 years older than me… and i’d like o get married sooner rather than later :(.

    1. Wow! That’s pretty impressive. Excellent work! I don’t even mind if people don’t know any or even all of these, as long are willing to learn them. They have to believe that these things are important.

    2. Really? That’s not true; It’s the opposite in my church. I’m the only man, who is interested in these. But, people forget that everyone is unique, some don’t care about these, but they are superior in other things. Even if a person knows all things, but doesn’t love, he’s going to be a clanging cymbal.

      “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

  2. I could answer all of them except for #1 Cosmology’s: Bonus Points. I don’t know much about light element abundances and cosmic microwave background radiation. Any book suggestions?

    I went to the science section in Barnes & Nobles the other day and all the books were titled with the agenda to refute the existence of God. Any book by Stephen C. Meyer was under the philosophical/theological section. Any atheistic book was under the “science” section…It is silly to consider what people label as “science” these days.

    1. I have a lecture set to go up on Sunday at 10 AM featuring a physicist who will explain it.

      Here is a good essay:

      Basically, right after the creation, you only have hydrogen (atomic number 1). In the very hot stages, the hydrogen is fused into heavier elements until you have 73% hydrogen, 26% helium and 1% all the others. That is a prediction made by the Big Bang theory, and you can measure the element abundances (see the essay) and see that it’s confirmed. So there is no hope for atheism, here. And then the evidence for the redshift and the cosmic microwave background radiation just triple the case’s strength.

      A good book is on this is Robert Jastrow’s “God and the Astronomers”. Get the second edition.

      And check out that post on Sunday morning featuring Dr. Mike Strauss.

  3. I got most or all parts of each question. A lot of them I’ve learned since getting married though, as my husband and I became a Christian only months before our wedding. We’ve been walking the road together, which has been rough but worth it.

    Some of your requirements (like avoiding women with artsy majors) may be a bit arbitrary. Some men may enjoy an artsy/emotive woman, as long as she is also theologically grounded and shares his goals in life, etc. She may even use her talent in service to her church. I’m not saying it’s wrong for you to not really be interested in a woman like that, but it doesn’t necessarily apply to all men.

    Btw, tell me more about that violinist argument in regards to abortion? An atheist feminist used that one in a discussion with me once, and I wasn’t aware it was a well known argument. (She gave up on the discussion when I asked her if murder is wrong.)

  4. >Here is a list of questions that I ask Christian women to find out if there are interested in men and marriage and children.

    [There follows a list of questions on theology that most seminarians would flunk.]

    Wintery Knight, I love your blog, but I think you’ve gone temporarily insane.

    Being willing to breed Christian children, being willing to baptize those children, and being willing to drag those children to church once a week is about as much theological achievement as most Christians can achieve.

    If the church didn’t allow anyone to marry but those who could pass your test, it would die out in a generation.

    If you want to get married to a Christian and make babies, obviously you have to avoid people who just claim to be Christians but who don’t walk the talk.

    The flip side is that if you set impossible standards for potential mates, you’re not going to make any babies at all.

    1. That’s what Christian apologetics ministries are for. If I can’t find a woman who is going to look me straight in the eyes during courtship and assure me that she will do everything possible to influence the university, the church, the culture and the children for the glory of God using her mind to reach others, then I’m not getting married. I have a checkbook and there are good ministries. There is no need to get married and have kids with someone who thinks that their private subjective intuitions and feelings can override the clear need for Christian parents to use their minds for the glory of God.

      I got your comment confused with a post I wrote about Katy Perry, so I deleted some of my comment.

    1. Yeah, because people who study English typically (not always, I’m an exception) do it because it’s easy. They don’t like hard stuff like math, technology, engineering and science. So if you meet someone who studied English, you are usually dealing with someone who either wants to be happy or wants to be lazy or both. Certainly, it’s a lousy field to be in for men who want to have a marriage and a family and children – it doesn’t pay the bills. A person who has to do lab experiments, write programming code, stitch up wounds or do electric engineering is, in my opinion, a more mature person because they study hard things and make their living doing things that are difficult. Petroleum engineering is a more serious profession than writing poetry, and people who go into it know they are in for hard work, difficult problems and a huge salary. It’s more practical even if it is not easier.

      1. Wow. The way you stereotype people is part of the reason you’re single; people choose majors for many reasons, laziness isn’t one of them. Is there something wrong with happiness? People gravitate toward majors they find interesting; a lot of those wound-stitching people are good at that sort of thing and don’t find it difficult, likewise the engineers and computer programmers.

        Having a preconceived notion of what your wife should be like other than Christian is also bad; not everyone is interested in apologetics. Do you want someone who forces it because she wants you to like her, or one of those lazy, happy English majors who reads, therefore is open to apologetics?

        1. If you do what you like and can’t provide for your family, then whose fault is that? I mean, we know what things cost, and we know what jobs pay more. It sounds to me like you are saying that you don’t care about providing for your wife and kids, so long as you get to run up college debts studying things that make you happy. Is that wise, though? If you want a family, you need to count the cost and make the decisions that allow you to take care of them. Things that wives and children need cost money.

          Also, suppose you refuse to learn apologetics. How do you respond to the people in our society who claim that God does not exist and that Jesus did not rise from the dead? It seems to me that what you are really saying is that you should be allowed to put your happiness above defending God’s reputation and pursuing his goals, e.g. – evangelism, changing the culture, etc. That’s fine, but no serious Christian marries for happiness. They marry for the same reason they do anything else in life – to put God first.

          1. You apparently believe in a) the prosperity gospel and b) 21st century consumerism. It’s possible to be happy without having a ton of money. Wives and kids need love, food, clothing and shelter, none of which need to be fancy or expensive. Tons of kids wear hand-me-downs from older siblings or that’s purchased at thrift stores; small children especially grow out of their clothes quickly so much wear remains. If you mean you need to be able to provide multiple cars, all the electronic toys, cable tv, etc, you’re right, an English major is less likely to provide those things but they’re unnecessary.

            Apologetics isn’t the only way to show people that you’re Christian. I’m Catholic (which you might realize due to my reply to the other guys comment) and you can tell; I went to a different parish on Sunday because I had reason to be there and at Mass, Communion is always offered, although may only be received by Catholics in good standing with the Church, but there’s more than one way to receive. First, one must make a gesture of reverence before receiving; that might mean bowing or genuflecting (you might know this as Tebowing), or kneeling. One may receive in the hand or on the tongue, while standing or kneeling. It would be rare that someone receive in the hand while kneeling but technically is a possibility. I genuflect before receiving on the tongue. I did that at a parish where everyone appeared to receive in the hand while standing. That right there is evangelization by actions.

            You may know that Catholics don’t eat meat on Friday during Lent (or on Ash Wed.). However, Catholics are supposed to abstain from meat on Friday year long unless a) they substitute other penance or b) it’s a feast day. I don’t eat meat on Friday. Or, harkening back to days gone by, Wed. These too may be forms of evangelization.

            I sometimes arrive or leave work early or run off at noon. People give me a hard time about it and sometimes demand to know why. I never hear another peep out of them when I tell them I had been or was going to Mass.

            I therefore disagree with you about apologetics; some people can’t be won over with all the information you can provide but little devotions can make all the difference in the world. And it isn’t a matter of belief or disbelief that Jesus was raised from the dead; more importantly, God created us because He loved and He loved us so much that He gave his only-begotten son to die on the cross for the remission of the sins of many. He loves us more than our tiny little human brains can comprehend. Dying on the cross was the littlest expression of His love, akin to your mother kissing your owie to make it better when you were a kid; yes, Jesus dying on the Cross was God kissing humanity’s owie.

          2. Rather than insult me by accusing me of believing in the prosperity gospel, why not read this:

            Note that costs decrease as you have more children, but this is the before tuition cost.

            Regarding your Catholicism, I think you did a good job of showing what your focus is on, and just know that evangelical Protestants are more focused on the Biblical method of evangelism – the one used by Jesus. Jesus used evidence (miracles, and his own resurrection) in order to convince people. Not devotions, mysticism, praying the same thing over and over, rituals, special days, abstaining from meat, etc. So when a Protestant is confronted with a non-believer he uses the Jesus method, which is taught in the Bible: logical arguments and evidence. You sound very intelligent, so I know you understand what I am saying here. Christianity is a religion that is either true or it isn’t, and the way we show that something is true to someone who doesn’t accept it is with logical arguments and evidence. Just like a lawyer would in a courtroom. In fact, that’s commanded in 1 Peter 3:15. The Greek word there literally means “a court-room defense” – calling expert witnesses, producing evidence. This is the Biblical model, the model used by Jesus when confronting non-believers.

      2. Some intelligent, hard-working people also go into the humanities because they (1) have a passion for it; or (2) were educated in a rotten school district but are able to attend a reasonably good college based on good grades and high SAT scores. It is VERY hard for a person who has experienced really poor science and math classes all through junior high and high school to compete against the privately-educated sons and daughters of physicians, dentists, and engineers in university pre-med classes, etc. There’s an academic deficit, and there is almost always a self-confidence problem. The self confidence problem is often a bigger issue than the academic deficit. The children of the wealthy can also afford unlimited tutoring, and don’t need to work part-time while attending school, while those of more limited means do not have these options. What you really want to avoid are the women who have degrees in any kind of “studies,” as well as the women who have run up student loans that exceed what they will gross in the first year or two in the work force. A woman with a worthless degree and $75,000+ worth of debt will generally have “magical thinking” issues about money and a whole host of other life issues. If you die before your children are raised, she will squander every dime you leave behind.

        Your parents may have been too focused on their careers, and not focused enough on raising their children, but as far as I can see, you didn’t move from town to town, or from school to school, and your parents didn’t divorce and remarry and drag you through a series of step-families. There are plenty of intelligent women out there who have worked very hard for their degree in art history or whatever. If the wife is going to be a full-time homemaker, I would focus on her thriftiness (or lack of same), her general work ethic, and her attitude toward the consumer culture, and look at whether she has the skills and the inclination to be a good wife and mother.

        My family is not nearly as educated as yours on the whole, but there are numerous happy 40 to 50 year marriages among my relatives. Not a single one of the women could answer most of your theology/philosophy questions. It IS possible to be a very good wife, and to serve Christ faithfully without an IQ of 160.

        Nevertheless, I have enjoyed what I have read of what you have written, and may the Lord bless you with a wonderful wife.

        1. I like this comment, and you’re right about my family not divorcing, moving, or any instability like that.

          Immigrants like me often have an easier time with math and science than languages. I excelled at English and computer science, though.

  5. This is crazy. The Apostle Paul would fail your “test”. I doubt he knew anything of Big Bang cosmology, or irreducible complexity.

    Apologetics is not essential for a Christian witness. It is like medicine .You can take it when spiritually-ill [having doubts], and it does help, but the better thing is not to fall ill in the first place – by keeping your relationship with Jesus on fire. Pray, read the Bible, deepen your relationship with the Lord, keep living a holy life and you won’t need apologetics.

    1. “Dad, you say that as Christians we believe X. But X doesn’t seem to be true, for reasons 1, 2, and 3.”

      “Well, son, you just need to pray more, and read the Bible, and deepen your relationship with the Lord. Just keep living a holy life and you won’t need to know why those objections are false.”

      Good luck with that.

    2. Paul may not have known those particular arguments but Acts 17:16-34 Is a great example of Paul’s use of apologetic as a witnessing tool.

      Also apologetic is commanded in 1 Peter 3:15
      (But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess.)
      The word translated as “answer” is “apologia”.

      Christianity has become overly emotion based How do you witness from emotion? No one can feel what you are feeling, and trying to explain the working of the Spirit to someone who’s never experienced it is nearly impossible. I’ve heard so many times, “let you Christian life be your witness” but I don’t recall Jesus saying, “just live you life in Me and people will see what you have and want it.” No, He said to go out and tell them the Kingdom is at hand. I don’t even know how you would do that without some level of apologetic.

      1. I agree with you, Pam. If Paul were alive today, he would know how to talk to the culture and deal with their objections. He would probably be something like a William Lane Craig, using his “great learning” (Acts 26) to dialog with people about what is true. If the objection were the problem of evil, he would answer that. If the objection were Darwinism, he would answer that. And he would be able to make a case for God’s existence and the resurrection. Just like Peter appealed to eyewitness testimony to prove the resurrection in Acts 2.

      2. Actually that’s exactly what he said in John 13:35 – “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

  6. This is a great article, and even though I can hardly answer all of the questions (I have minimal apologetic knowledge) I now want to learn more! I always need some starting point to find new fields to study and this list provided me with a lot of questions to find out about more. Thank you very much!

    1. If you want to learn more, it doesn’t matter what you know now – you pass the test. The test isn’t designed to get the answers. It’s to see who things that marriage is a serious enterprise that will require work. That’s it – that’s what it does.

  7. So she has to have a PhD in biology and philosophy?

    I don’t see it. I would prefer a faithful and holy spouse and mother who would be the properly submissive wife yet take care of the house and just prays a great deal and knows the simple right and wrong and cannot be dissuaded that it is every ok to steal, hurt, or divorce, not because of the intellect, but because of will and virtue.

    Knowing something is NOT doing something. Just as there is an is-ought dichotomy, there is a orthodoxy-orthopraxis dichotomy.

    Knowing the answers is not the same as believing them. And knowing complex philosophical and scientific terms is not the same as simply knowing right and wrong – there are few edge cases, morality is easy to know, but hard to do. It will take prudence, temperance, and fortitude to prevent thoughts of a divorce from taking hold. I would rather have a simple woman who thought divorce was unthinkable than a brilliant woman who could rationalize Henry VIII’s actions. (See CS Lewis comment about “Card Sharps” from Abolition of Man near the end of section 1).

    I would prefer a brilliant woman who would homeschool our children through calculus, languages, science, music and the rest, but simply having them be faithful – to know Jesus – is the only thing that is non-negotiable. We won’t be judged on how smart but how righteous our children become.

    The devil is far more intelligent than any of us and can intellectually undo all the best human reasoning. We are not saved by reason, and reason often becomes a trap. The manosphere uses the term “Rationalization Hamster”. Does belief that “… God created…” stem from intellectual rigor, or because it was revealed and is an article of faith? I have no fear about how old the earth and cosmos is, if there was a big-bang or not because no matter what is discovered about nature, I believe that God created/caused nature. If somehow one of the scientific points you require was negated (through actual evidence, not the puffery that passes for science), would you lose your faith?

    Men and women are different. The questions you ask would properly be asked by women of men who are more direct and logical.

    As a Catholic, I have a few more options: “How often do you say the standard prayers”. When was the last time you missed mass on sunday or a holy day of obligation and why? Do you do adoration or holy hours? First friday or saturday devotions? When was the last time you were at the sacrament of reconciliation? (I might add some things to insure it is faith and not superstition or something else).

    I can also add the view on contraception which is not covered in your question 8, except very indirectly as a public purpose so there will be a next generation of humans. See Casti Connubi or even the prophetic Humanae Vitae. Here is my question: Why did every orthodox protestant church condemned contraception as a very grave sin before 1930 (Provan, bible and birth control), but almost none do today. And what effect did that have on marriage?

    If the woman is passionately in love with God – and puts God first and from that source practices virtue and righteousness, then I would have little worry. I can bring my intellect as part of my role as the husband to defend the family against attacks. And I can expect some quarrels, illogic, feelings, fit-tests, and the rest (as she should expect my concupisance). Love will be something I will, not something conditional. And she must will to love me. Richer or poorer, sickness or health, till death do we part.

    A wise man said one holy mother is worth more than 25 of the best teachers.

    1. No, she has to be have the response of saying “I can see that I would be a better wife and mother if I could answer these questions, so I will work on them”.

    2. As you get to know someone, don’t you learn whether they go to Adoration or First Friday/Saturday? Don’t you find out whether they fast from meat on Friday or the manner in which they receive? These are all things you learn as you get to know people, not suitable for an interrogation. I wouldn’t be impressed with a guy who interrogated me about my prayer life; that’s personal, between me and God, not something that some random guy needs to know.

  8. I think your requirements are fine as far as they go, but you didn’t leave enough room for metaphysics or philosophy. In my opinion, the metaphysical arguments for God’s existence are stronger than those based on science. For starters, how about Aristotle’s argument for an Unmoved Mover? (Read his Metaphysics; it’s a book guaranteed to get you thinking.)

    1. The modern, scientific arguments based on current state-of-the-art repeatable experiments are more powerful. The ones you mentioned are not useful for modern people. It’s like quoting poetry to them.

  9. Great questions to screen a potential mate.
    Also in some ways couldn’t help but remind me of “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion. ;-)

  10. I subscribe to everything you have mentioned here WK. This is what I want in a wife……..sadly, all Christian women don’t even know anything about topics like this

    1. I have been successful in leading some to learn, but often they are in their 30s and it’s just too late. It’s amazing when I find out that they have been reading things like The Shack, Experiencing God, Francis Chan, Harry Potter, Left Behind, etc. right through their 20s. As if there was no battle in the culture taking place at all!

  11. I found your blog this afternoon, and so far I’ve read a lot of it and am ending (for tonight) here. It has encouraged me greatly to read your blog. You are right, there is a war, and we must be ready to fight with everything we have and more. I hope to be a David in this world, taking on any giants God sees fit to allow me to face.

    About your pledge to celibacy until the right woman comes along; that is great thinking and reasoning. When I was 21, I met a man who I thought was “Super Christian”. He even told me that God had spoken audibly and said that we would always be together. I asked all the “right” questions, and found him to be perfect for me and very in tune with Christ. We married, and the moment the marriage ceremony was over, he changed. It was like marrying the hero in a melodrama, only to have him morph into the villain.

    So my life before hubby was all about following Christ, learning more about Him, talking to Him nearly constantly. Then life with hubby became trying to escape from hubby’s vicious tantrums, taking care of our children without a bit of help from him, protecting them, protecting myself. He has slowly come around to being a better man, but there’s still so much trouble. I am just now coming to a place, 18 years later, when I can begin rebuilding my relationship with Christ. I haven’t divorced him because I want to please God more than anything. Life is so very short, and I try to do what I can to follow His loving laws, though I am far from perfect.

    So you are wise to ask the questions you mention here. You are wise to be content until then. You are wise to prize God and Godliness above a relationship with another human. I see what your blog has done for me already, and I know you are fighting battles for God and strengthening the Christians, as well as making the non-Christians reconsider and perhaps even change their viewpoints. If you married someone who was not created by God for you (one with the fire, passion and dedication you have), your ministry would undoubtedly be hindered.

    I look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, and I am so sorry for you about your story.

      My advice to young women is that they never believe anything a man says in a relationship. The only way to test a man is to ask him questions that he cannot possible answer unless he has studied deeply. And even then, ask him for where he has written about these things he speaks about, and even where he has acted to advance these causes he speaks about. There are lots of good men, but a woman cannot tell which men are good from mere words. There has to be more to it than that. I am very disappointed with the way that men present such a rosy picture of themselves to women at times, and then change so much afterwards. I have heard this story before, and it makes me mad.

      1. I have been blessed with four sons. (Anytime I wonder if God loves me, I think of them, and I know He does!) I am raising them to the best of my ability to be strong, Godly men. Now three of them are only a few years away from being men, and it is distressing to see how much they are like their father used to be, including abusive toward me. This is yet another reason to marry a truly Godly person and to settle for no less. My prayer for them is that God will allow harm in their lives that will mold them and shape them into Godly men, and that they will end their lives on the road to Heaven rather than hell. Anyway, thanks for your reply. I wish I had known even one person who had spoken wisdom to me before I was married. I try to be that person for others now. Hard to present truth without being pushy, but God truly does give one the right words when they are needed.

        The boys aren’t horrible, btw. Just badly in need of male influence to help them know what a true Man is, as God created him to be.

  12. If the Duggars had to follow your rules, they would never have had their children. Also, a woman doesn’t require a PhD to be a good wife- but if that is your requirement and to be able to grasp most of the topics mentioned, you need to have studied both logic and research, then you’ll end up with a much older woman who has had the time, resources and ability to do the above while holding down a job which would require some withdrawal from social interactions, making her either unavailable and when she becomes available, ill-equipped to handle relationships.

  13. It’s prudent to consider her family as well; the right in-laws can make you set for life. Chelsea Clinton certainly didn’t land her husband because of her looks.

  14. Wow. What circles of women do you run in? I’m happily married to a wonderful Christian woman now, but while single never met a woman anyplace who could have answered any of those questions at all. Not one of them. (We have a lot of work to do…)

  15. At point 10 you listed books that would be good for women to have read. Do you have any you would recommend to men?

    1. Men need to read the Five Love Languages, the Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell and everything by Jane Austen. Any little practical books you can find about how to express love in a million different ways.

      1. (1) What are two or three examples you have of “little practical books” about various was of expressing love? And, (2) I like Austen, so I’m curious about what you see as the significant ideas or ideals in her works that make them recommended reading.

  16. It’s quite clear you have a very scientific outlook on apologetics. You assume mistakenly, however, that all, or even most people, will be more likely to be persuaded thus than by poetry. It all depends on the sort of person you’re speaking to. Plato, Dante, St. John of the Cross: these are the people I find persuasive. Of course, that make sense as I spent many years studying classical philosophy and medieval literature (in Latin, Old English, and Old Norse, which were all not lazy subjects). If I were to try to persuade someone of my creed, I would begin where Plato did, with the virtues, and proceed thence. Talk much about hard science to me and my eyes roll back in my head. And you ought to know not all women like Austen. I detest every one of her books and would far rather relax with Beowulf.

  17. Hilarious list of questions.

    Do you want a wife, or a lab assistant?

    The intellectual stuff is for men. Its a bonus if a woman has it, but not necessary.

    Look for a decent woman who is kind, patient and hardworking.

    Its best to initially check for these things by observing from a distance rather than directly asking and thus disclosing your hand.

    Verification of your assessment by family and friends will help to reduce confirmation bias.

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