Character Matters in Choosing a Mate

We were building our house in Raleigh when Hurricane Fran whipped through North Carolina. We went to bed in our apartment that night expecting to dodge the worst of it, but awoke to devastation on a level I had never before witnessed. Seventeen large pines had mercifully missed my son’s bedroom as he slept and lay on the ground beside his room. The foundation of the house we were building, and had so carefully placed between two large oak trees, was filled with a hundred year fallen beauty.

We had gone to bed sending up prayers for our neighbors in South Carolina, thinking we were safe. They were missed, and North Carolina was slammed. How could the weather forecasters have missed by so much?

Now we know that far out in the ocean the hurricane had moved north just a few degrees. Could a few degrees really matter so much? A few degrees extended over hundreds of miles put the hurricane in a totally different state.

What is true for storms is also true for people. A few degrees off in character extended over several years can put a person in a different state of being from who you thought they were.

Many have lamented to me over the lack of character in their mates. “He partied in college, but I was so sure he would settle down after we married. I told him I would never marry a man who did drugs or didn’t attend church with me.”

Others share how they attended church functions with each other while dating. Some even met doing ministry activities together. They wonder how someone so involved could be so unkind at home.

Religious activity should not to be confused with goodness or with having a meaningful relationship with God. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were hyper-religious. They also reeked of self-righteousness—and lack of love for God and fellow humans.

Never choose a mate based on what you hope he or she will become, or on who he/she claims to be. Who is this person now? How do they treat those they don’t know? If he/she never changes, would you be happy with that person? Do you want their traits duplicated in your children? It is godly, not mean, to be discerning.

The person you marry will affect you and your extended family for the rest of your life. Carefully consider the character of those you date and where that character will take that person and you in the years to come.

Proverbs 31:10 says, A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies (NIV). A spouse of noble character may be rare, but worth the wait. Don’t settle for less.



This was adapted from my new Bible Study book, Your Invitation to a Better Life, Lessons Learned from Women Named in Jesus’ Genealogy.

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  1. Keita Ikeda

    Just why is it that these are all examples of men who turned out to be something different? It does seem like a bit of misandry.

    On the more serious side, would you elaborate on why anyone would want to pretend to be a Christian, or be religious? As for me, I don’t think there’s any value to pretend to be a Christian in this day and age.

    • debwilson

      Good point. Because I counsel women, my examples are from listening to their stories. I hope the rest of the blog showed that it is important for both genders to be careful. I certainly meant no disrespect to the male gender. Proverbs 31:10 says a wife (woman) of noble character is rare.

      As to your other question, Matthew 7:15-23 talks about those who look like sheep on the outside but are wolves inside. Some even performed miracles and did great things in Jesus’ name. 2 Cor. 11:13-15 says that Satan’s servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Why? Ephesians. 2:1-4 says that all unbelievers follow the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air (Satan). I don’t think they know they are. They may even believe they are being noble. But until we become alive in Christ, to some degree we are being used by the enemy. That can also happen to true believers. Remember the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5, and King David in 1 Chron. 21 where these were all deceived and used by Satan. We each need to ask the Lord to search us daily to be sure we are walking in the light with Him, and are not being deceived.

  2. Sandi Brown

    I think sometimes people believe they are Christians, but they are deceived. As in the parable of the sower and the seed — sometimes the “seed” fell on rocky soil and began to grow but there were no roots and so the plant died in the heat.

    Also, I believe these lessons can apply to choosing friends — while I want to wittness to nonbelievers — I want my very closest friends to be those of noble character and I want to be of noble character for them.

  3. Janis

    Wow, Debbie, you sure are reading our mail! Thanks so much for taking the time to put these thoughts together. The Lord is really using all your efforts.

  4. Diane Allen

    Great post Debbie — one to save and share with my daughter in the future.

  5. Lisa Walker

    Ditto from me, Debbie. This is a keeper to share!

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