When alarms sound in our heads, we need to listen. This is especially true when they concern potential marriage partners. This radar warns, “Be careful. Don’t think you can fix him.”
Just as the great patriarch Abraham wanted a good wife for his son, so our heavenly Father wants good spouses for His children too. His warnings protect us from marrying the wrong kind of men. Here are five types of men to avoid.
1. He has addictions.
“Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money” (1 Tim. 3:2-3).
People who are physically and emotionally dependent on substances and habits endanger those close to them. “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control” (Pro. 25:28). City walls protected the inhabitants from harm. Addictions invite financial problems, mood swings, harmful influences, and, in some cases, legal repercussions into your home.
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The habits and substances that numb an addict’s pain hinder his judgment. Just as you wouldn’t want to ride in a car driven by someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol, neither do you want to partner with someone driven by an unhealthy habit or substance. Even “acceptable” addictions, like exercise, cause repeated heartache when they take precedence over family and faith.
Addictions generate shame and deceit. Secrets build walls in a marriage. If you want to be lonely in marriage, marry an addict.
2. He’s angry.
How do you feel when you are around an angry person? Are you relaxed and free to be yourself? No way!
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Living with an angry person is like walking through a minefield. The meal he loved yesterday irks him today. And the dress you bought with him in mind hoping for a compliment—forget it. He’ll find something wrong with it or have a snarky remark for you.
Rage isn’t the only sign of anger. Cutting comments and sarcastic jokes are enough to leave you feeling bad. Before long you doubt yourself. His anger will rob your joy as surely as the stomach flu steals your appetite.
Scripture warns, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared” (Pro. 22:24-25).
“An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins” (Pro. 29:22).
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Life happens. You need a spouse who can handle disappointment, not one that will crush your children’s spirits or foster angry teens.
3. He’s charming but lacks character.
Many women have said the gifts and attention their husbands showered on them while dating ceased shortly after marriage. “What happened?” they wondered. The Bible warns, “Charm is deceptive” (Pro. 31:30), and “an enemy multiplies kisses” (Pro. 27:6).
Who we marry affects us—and our extended family—for the rest of our lives. It’s wise to consider where the character of the person we date will take us in the years to come. Let me illustrate.
We lived in Raleigh when Hurricane Fran tore through North Carolina. “We fell asleep sending up prayers for our neighbors in South Carolina, thinking we were safe. We awoke to crashing trees and howling winds, smack dab in the middle of Fran. How could the weather forecasters have been so off? We learned that, far out in the ocean, the hurricane had moved north—just a few degrees. A few degrees doesn’t seem like it would make much of a difference. But a few degrees extended over hundreds of miles put the hurricane in a different state.
“What is true for storms is also true for people. A few degrees off in character extended over several years can put people in a different state of being from whom we thought they were.” *
How does he treat servers, co-workers, and his parents? A man of noble character may be rare but worth the wait. Who is the person beneath the charm?
4. He’s lazy.
The Scripture says, “One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys” (Proverbs 18:9). How many people have lost their families, careers, and souls through laziness? The parable of the talents called the idle servant “wicked” and “lazy” (Matt. 25:26). These strong words are spoken with good reason.
Apathy damages our character, hinders our growth, and robs God and those with whom we live and work. Those who ignore their responsibilities damage their team’s morale and effectiveness. A spouse who is too lethargic to invest in his marriage or share the load of rearing children drains the whole family.
Sloths are parasites to society and their families. Paul wrote, “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” (2 Thes. 3:10). Laziness often hides behind unreasonable fears and excuses (Pro. 26:13).** Steer clear of a lazy man.
5. He lacks a growing relationship with God—even if he’s religious.
Perhaps the man you’re interested in started attending church with you. Maybe he is active in ministry. But is he hungry to know God? Does He love Jesus and people?
Religious activity and a heart for God are not the same. “The Pharisees, who were the pastors and Bible teachers of Jesus’ day, were hyper-religious. They also reeked of self-righteousness and lacked the mark of true faith—love for God and people.
“The warning in 2 Corinthians 6:14, ‘Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For… what fellowship can light have with darkness?’ deals with a person’s essence, not his or her profession of faith. There is a difference between having a religion and enjoying a relationship with Christ.” ***
Don’t marry someone to redeem him. That’s Jesus’ job. Marry someone you respect for who they are now, not for who you hope they will become.
*Content taken from Little Women, Big God: It’s not the size of your problems, but the size of you God by Debbie W. Wilson
**Content taken from Give Yourself a Break: Discover the Secrets to God’s Rest by Debbie W. Wilson
***Content taken from Little Women, Big God: It’s not the size of your problems, but the size of your God by Debbie W. Wilson
Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman who has experienced an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie speaks and writes to help others discover relevant faith. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991. Share her journey to refreshing faith at her blog.
Publication date: August 3, 2016
Read more about marriage advice from the Bible in our Marriage Guide.