by Dr. Stephen Kim

In a former post, I detailed 10 men that Christian women ought to avoid when considering marriage.  Today, I present to you my list for Christian men.

“I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house” (Proverbs 7:7-8).

1. The Unbeliever. Scripture is replete with exhortations against such marriages (in both the Old and New Testaments).  Contrary to popular misconception, God’s prohibition against marriages to foreign women in the Old Testament was not due to racism.  Instead, God was simply preventing the spread of idolatry.  Israel, God’s chosen people in the Old Testament, represented what Christians would later represent in the New Testament.  Hence, God’s prohibition against marrying an unbelieving woman in the New Testament (2 Cor 6:14) is simply the extension of God prohibiting a Hebrew man from from marrying a Canaanite woman in the Old Testament (Deut 7:3-4).  “Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods, and the LORD’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you” (Deut 7:3-4).

What then, is a believer?  A Christian essentially is someone who believes in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  What then, is the gospel?  The gospel is: 1. God is holy, loving, and just.  He therefore, must condemn all sinners to punishment in the flames of eternal hell;  2. You and I are all sinners who deserve nothing but God’s wrath in hell after our deaths; 3. God loved humanity so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus (who was fully God and fully man), to die on the cross for your sins.  Jesus paid the debt for your sins and absorbed God’s wrath on your behalf.  3 days later, Jesus resurrected from the dead; 4. If you repent (turn from) all your sins and personally put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord, God and Savior, then you will have eternal life. (For more information on the saving message of the gospel, click here.)

2. The Divorcee. Jesus clearly taught that unless the first marriage ended due to a partner’s sexual infidelity, a second marriage is to be considered invalid and adulterous (I explain this teaching further here).  A divorced woman, therefore, is off limits for a Christian man–unrepentant adultery being a sin that prevents one from obtaining eternal life (1 Cor 6:9).  “If she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (Mark 10:12). “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery” (Matthew 19:9).

3. The Older Woman. Not a sin, but certainly not God’s ideal.  God expects men to be the spiritual leaders of the home (Eph 5:25) and it certainly requires an extra measure of grace to lead a woman who’s older than you.  Again, if you’re a man and you’re already in such a marriage, then honor it till the day you die–it’s still a valid marriage and divorce is not an option!  However, if you’re not yet married but thinking about an older woman I want to remind you that God intentionally (with good reason!) created Adam before Eve in the First Marriage.  Scripture informs us that God created man first chronologically for the sake of authority!  Listen:  “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve” (1 Timothy 2:12-13).  Evidently, within the First Marriage, God intended chronology (age) to be a reason for the man’s authority. The apostle Paul informs us that God’s design within the First Marriage also serves as a basis for our modern-day human relational dynamics between the sexes.

Apparently, even secular researchers are now beginning to discover results that back up God’s wisdom as demonstrated in the Bible:

  • “If you’re a woman two or more years older than your husband, your marriage is 53 percent more likely to end in divorce than if he was one year younger to three years older.” (Source: Rebecca Kippen, Bruce Chapman and Peng Yu, “What’s Love Got to Do With It? Homogamy and Dyadic Approaches to Understanding Marital Instability,” Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, 2009.)
  • “Marriage generally improves life expectancy, but the age gap between a couple affects the life expectancy of men and women very differently.  Marrying an older man shortens a woman’s lifespan, but having a younger husband reduces it even more, the study found.  The findings, drawn from the medical records of two million Danish couples, suggest that the best a woman can do is marry a man of about the same age. Health records have shown previously that men live longer if they have a younger wife, an effect researchers expected to see mirrored in women who married younger men. However, a woman who is between seven and nine years older than her husband has a 20% greater mortality rate than if she were with a man the same age.” (Source: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2010/may/12/marrying-younger-man-woman-mortality)
  • A new study shows that women who marry men seven to nine years younger than they are increase their mortality risk by 20 percent. This is the opposite of the finding for men who marry much younger wives – their life expectancy increases. The new study from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, changes assumptions about how marriage can extend life, owing in part to improved support systems spouses can provide for one another, and the supposed psychological benefit from having a younger spouse, who could become a caretaker should the older spouse become infirm.” (Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/for-married-women-age-gap-can-be-deadly/)

4. The Feminist.  There’s no room within Christendom for the “Christian feminist.”  Though women and men have equal value in the eyes of God (Gal 3:28), they certainly have different God-given roles.  Any woman who tries to usurp her husband’s authority or even claims to be a co-leader with her man is gravely dishonoring the God who created her to be subject and obedient to her husband (Eph 5:22, Col 3:18, 1 Pet 3:1).   Eve was distinctly created “for” man, a point that the apostle Paul makes abundantly clear in 1 Corinthians 11 when he writes, “For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man” (1 Corinthians 11:8-9).  Men, your wife is to be your “helper” (Gen 2:18)–not your leader and certainly not your equal in terms of authority.  Look for a woman who agrees with you in this very vital God-ordained relational dynamic.

5. The Immodest-Dresser.  Sexy might inadvertently catch your eyeballs, but it shouldn’t catch your heart.  The way that a woman is willing to expose herself says much about her heart: “And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart” (Proverbs 7:10).  The text in Proverbs explains that a woman will dress in a certain way to catch a certain type of man.  Don’t be that man.  Don’t be the fool who’s led by his hormones instead of the Holy Spirit.  Remember: you want godly, not gaudy.  

6. The Gossiper/Slanderer.  Women may generally love to talk, but there’s wisdom in looking for a woman who speaks with wisdom. Gossip and slander are not good things to have in your marriage. Desperate housewives make for desperate husbands.  “Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not” (1 Timothy 5:13).

7. The Childbirth Avoider. Do not marry a woman who is not willing to have children of her own.  In the Christian worldview, there is absolutely no room for two married, biologically capable, human beings to remain intentionally child-less.  If you are adverse towards having children, then there’s a simple remedy for that: single-hood.   However, if God has called you to marriage, then He actually expects children.  Both the New and Old Testaments are very clear on this teaching: “Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring” (Malachi 2:15).  “Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control” (1 Timothy 2:15).

8. The Wander-Luster.  There’s nothing wrong with the occasional family vacation.  There is something very wrong with a girl who regularly needs to be “out of the home.”  The constant desire for new experiences, new places, new faces, and new forms of entertainment only serves to clearly manifest the fact that the woman has not found her rest in God.  Believe it or not, Scripture speaks repeatedly about such women:  “She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home” (Proverbs 7:11); “Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to” (1 Timothy 5:13).

9. The Career-first Woman. Now, I want to clarify something here.  There is nothing wrong with a woman who works (Acts 16:14), what’s wrong is a woman who puts her career ahead of her family.  Modern American society might hate to hear this, but God made men to be the providers and women to be the nurturers of the home (in most instances).  It’s okay for a woman to be a doctor, attorney, or any other professional.  However, if her career is coming at the expense of her home, then something is wrong.  If day-care is raising her young children while she’s working, then something is wrong.  I understand that there might be a season of life where the wife might have to be the main bread-winner due to her husband’s unemployment, but it should not be the desired norm. The woman ought to be willing (and even desirous–to some extent) to give up her job for the sake of raising her kids in the Lord.  “So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander” (1 Tim 5:14).

10. The Devotion-less Woman.  Is the woman having a regular, daily devotional time with her God?  If she doesn’t love the Lord now, chances are, she won’t love the Lord after marriage.  (Don’t delude yourself–you’re not going to change her.)  You want to marry a girl who has an intimate relationship with Jesus.  Jesus (not you) has to be the first man in her life.  Here are some good questions to ask: Does she have an active prayer life?  Does she have a heart for evangelism?  Is she hungry for God’s Word?  What does her pastor think about her?

Do you remember this account from Scripture:

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. [39] And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. [40] But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” [41] But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, [42] but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42 ESV)

Marry the Mary (no pun intended).  Such women have picked “…the good portion, which will not be taken away” from them. God be with you men.  Strong families start with strong wives.  Choose wisely and choose in the Lord!

Other articles by Dr. Stephen Kim: 10 Reasons Why You Can’t Be Gay & ChristianThe Four Purposes of Marriage;  Remarriage is AdulteryChristians and the Theory of Evolution; A Response to John MacArthur’s Position on Divorce & Remarriage

About Dr. Stephen Kim

Dr. Stephen Kim is the pastor of Mustard Seed Church in New York City. He also served as Associate Director of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, NYC Extension Center. Pastor Stephen is the happy husband of one beautiful woman and the joyous father of four beautiful children. As a pastor and writer, he is passionate about accurately feeding Christians the Word of God: “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?" (Matthew 24:45)
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  1. Anonymous says:

    what about an woman 49 yr marrying a man 66 yrs old how is that viewed.


  2. The Truth Was Told says:

    Most women that do have a Career today are a total disaster to begin with since they really think that they’re God’s gift to men which they’re Not at all. They usually have a very bad Attitude Problem too since they would make a very Horrible wife anyway. A great reason why many of us Good men are still Single now.


    • Jodi says:

      What planet do you live on? You state you’re a “good” man, yet your ignorance about, and disrespect and disregard for women is appalling. I’m sorry, sir, but you are not a “good” man, which is the obvious reason why you’re still single.


      • The Truth Was Told says:

        Most women nowadays have really Changed since the Good old days which Most women back then had a much nicer Personality and were Definitely much Easier to meet compared to today.


  3. absinthe says:

    I cannot express how absolutely absurd these are. Submitting to God? Yes. Submitting to a human as equal and as much of a sinner as I am just because he wears the “pants of the family”? Absolutely ridiculous and pathetic. A woman has the right to speak up,and has the right to be older. Not feminist,just true. I mean,I wouldn’t really expect the woman to step up and do all of the masculine things. Seriously though? You don’t know a damn thing about marriages. You don’t have to wait until marriage to engage in intimacy,you don’t have to “be fruitful and multiply”,and women certainly don’t have to “submit unto their husbands” . Isn’t that what we have a God for? I would rather respect my husband and he respect me because we both genuinely feel that way,not by the order of a book.


  4. Stephen says:

    This was simply excellent. I’m a Christian male and looking to marry some day. I already had an idea in my head about what kind of woman to marry – and just about everything I thought of is on this list!


    • Michael says:

      Good luck finding a woman that matches this criteria, Stephen. Have you thought of contacting the Duggar family? I think one or two of the females in that family are coming into marrying age. Good luck in your search.


      • Anonymous says:

        I fit them all, at least I think I do…so Michael, maybe open your eyes, stop being sarcastic, and look round for those of us girls who are godly and attempting to live uprightly. Most of us don’t boast about it, but we are out there. And trust me, it it almost as hard to find similar guys, but they are out there, as well.


      • Sarah says:

        I fit them all, at least I think I do…so, Michael, maybe open up your eyes, quit the sarcasm, and look around for those of us girls out there who are godly and attempting to act uprightly. Most of us don’t go around boasting about it, but we are out there. And trust me finding a similarly qualified guy is hard, but not impossible, and definitely worth it. I had to see my father cheat on my mother and break up a marriage that violated several of these rules on the flip side (he was a new believer and younger than her). She has since learned the error of her youth…and I know the consequences of a marriage with both people not firmly grounded in God.


  5. Brooke says:

    I agree with this but I think the age thing is silly, because I think the whole spiritual leader factor is more based on personality and temperament rather than age. Two of the most ideal Christian married couples I’ve ever seen were a woman older than a man by a significant difference- one was a 44 year old woman who married a 31 yr old man, and one was a 31 year old woman who married a 19 yr old (obviously a very mature 19 yr old). Both of the woman are very sweet spirited, quiet women who absolutely have tenor husband as their spiritual leader and you can tell by the way they interact with each other. They are both really good examples of a strong Christian marriage.


    • KP says:

      I agree with you on the insignificance of age, Brooke. But I would go so far as to say that it isn’t even based on personality & temperament. It’s based on following God’s word.

      If you are a Bible believer, you see that the word clearly states that the husband is the spiritual leader of the household, & that the wife is to respect & submit to him (as long as he does not ask her to go against God’s commandments). Therefore, as a wife, his age, his temperament, etc are irrelevant. The level of challenge is irrelevant. Because it’s not about him. It’s about God. We don’t do this based on our feelings, but based on God’s commands.

      My husband is eight years my junior, but it has zero significance to us. He is a wonderful, godly man who does make it generally easy to respect & follow him. On occasion his age might show, but it matters not. He’s the leader, regardless of whether he acts like the leader. I follow him even if it means waiting with patience for him to lead.

      Every man leads in his own way. If the wife tries to bully her husband into leading, then she’s actually doing the leading. I am by nature a forward, spirited woman, & my husband loves these qualities in me. He is quiet, thoughtful, & methodical. These personality traits don’t get conflated into leadership of our family, tho’, simply by training in God’s word. And the Lord has trained me in the qualities of quietness & patience, where those are warranted. It’s been a joyous ride!

      To all Christian wives I would say, be grateful for wherever you’re at, because whomever you’ve married, he’s now the one for you!


      • Nina says:

        Hi my brother
        Am really sorry that if I can tell that you have mis understood the bible when it talks about spiritual leader. I am a Christian woman who is devoted to God , reading the word of God.
        Being a spiritua leader doesnt mean that you have to be old. We have pastors who are young but they are still leaders, leading old people that have never being disrespected.


  6. anonymous guy says:

    So many stuck up, snobby, feminist christian women here… Glad to know, I’ll stick to being single then.


  7. Sean says:

    Sadly you just named how most christian women are today…


  8. C says:

    God bless you for this article, sir. If I ever visit NYC your church will be the first place I stop. I am so sick and tired of all the wishy washy churches that do not preach truth. I am a woman and I whole heartedly agree with this list. The only one I do not feel is such a hard and fast rule is number 3 but I can see where Dr. Kim is coming from– it will probably be more difficult for an older woman to respect and submit to a younger man. And a “wanderlust” person doesn’t mean always “at home” but that a wanderluster would be restless and unsatisfied with everything. The home really is where the heart is, i cannot fathom why any woman would consider caring for her home beneath her! I have a flexible job in which I serve the Lord, but cannot imagine being away from such a gift that God has blessed to me for the pursuit of a career! Anyway, these truths may hurt the feelings of unbelievers but for myself, God is Lord and his commands do not upset me.

    As to the people commenting, especially the women.. I feel sorry for you. You truly do not know the Lord and are wallowing in the sinfulness of the world. Both genders are equally as sinful and in need of a savior, but I have noticed that most people have the audacity to insult men and then throw a fit when the cruelty they dished out is thrown back at them. I didn’t want to agree at first when men talked about “male bashing” in the church but it is indeed noticable. It is true that the Church seems to only be discussing men’s sins (which should be discussed) but fails to call out women’s sins (which should also be discussed). A pastor can preach against pornography but fail to discuss women’s submission in marriage. He can talk all day about deadbeat dads, but ignores the similiar reality of the woman who uses her child as a welfare ticket (and trust me honey, I grew up in a pretty rough area so when it came to single motherhood both realities could be seen about 50-50… I have seen some dark things that humans are capable of doing– both men and women). It is not that men are more “holy” or that their sins should not be called out but it is noticable that churches do not rebuke women for their sins too which I think is just (You wanted equality, correct?). You are arrogant and prideful women if you think men are the more sinful ones and cannot handle being called out on your sin. I cannot believe that so many women in the comments think they are justified in calling men “scared little boys” but will throw a fit if they are called bad names too. “Judge not, lest you will be judged” should be told to you, not Dr. Kim. You are arrogant and prideful if you think that your own ideas and this feminist movement provides any sort of truth as opposed to the Word of God.

    When you truly love God with all your heart, your own personal wants and needs, and any worldly ideas become moot. I do not shudder at the Lord’s command for me to submit to my husband, or that women should not preach , or that women’s priorities should be workers in the home, because these are God’s truths. I know God’s design for the family and for women is beautiful and good, and I have observed the fruits of both a godly home, and an ungodly one (Remember, I grew up in a rough area).. And I must say, the first time I entered a Godly home I cried and prayed that I would be able to give such a life for my future children. Women, we cannot find happiness apart from God. The feminist movement, your personal wants will not bring you happiness. Only by follwing God’s plan for your life in not only godly womanhood but also godly personhood will you truly begin to be saved. But for now, it is a disgrace that you can proclaim the name of Christ on your lips but ignore His perfect will.

    Ladies, we are not any more sinful than men, but we are still sinful and can do nothing apart from God. The only difference is that I believe that we specifically are a certain attack, just as the serpent came to Eve first, before the man. Our godly femininity which is the other half of the image of God (ezer) is being trampeled on. Masculinity is just beginning to be under just as severe of an attack, but I can see a lot of men fighting back. But women seem to have fallen for the serpent’s message and don’t seem to be pushing back. But our femininity can be used to be a light into this darkness if we stay strong and cling to God in these times of trouble. God needs women to embrace our calling, and for men to embrace theirs… But we must not wait on the other to do so first. Women, I can tell you have been broken and tricked by the enemy and although you pride yourself on “progress” I can see that your hearts are heavy and are not producing fruits. Turn and embrace God, do not arrogantly assume that feminism, our world, or yourself knowns better than God. I pray that you would turn away from these things and fight the good fight against darkness. And men, I tell you to embrace your masculine virtues, not in a “man up” sense, but so as not to allow the enemy grab a foothold in you as well. Even though it pains me to say that I believe marriage is a beautiful thing, I can understand men’s hesitancies so I will not say “Man up and get married.” But please fight for God’s will. And I pray that you will be able to find a Godly wife in spite of all this! Everyone, we need to fight against the corruption of man and woman– God’s creation and image of Christ and His church.
    In Jesus Name,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks C.🙂

      James 4:11
      Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

      We should be far too busy fulfilling Christ’s command to love than to judge the love of love and thereby not keep it – too busy loving each other rather than judging. Unfortunately, like you say, men have to be protective of themselves in this era.😦


  9. Rachel says:

    Very good articles that you write about…I enjoy reading them


  10. Jake says:

    A woman that has a Career would Not be a Good woman to marry at all.


    • Gerry says:

      Please let us (me) know which of the criteria in which you do not believe. Thank you.


      • Have you ever considered that a couple choosing not to have children has a lot more time and resources to serve God in other ways? Of course we need families, but it may not be for everyone.
        Traveling opens your eyes to so many things in the world! What about a missionary couple? It is a big advantage to have a passion for other cultures when you are a missionary, and even when you’re not, traveling is a big eye-opener. And wouldn’t God want us to look at the world and appreciate it’s beauty?
        Just some examples. Not everyone is the same and people can serve God in different ways.


        • Gerry Allwin says:

          “allthenames…,” WhatisdescribedbyDr.Kimis a married woman who is “always” gone, not a missionary wife of a missionary husband.


    • Michael says:

      I’m guessing you are single, then, Jake.


  11. Rahel Pragya Lakra says:

    I am a firm believer, and do not agree with some of the criteria given. It feels that these facts are given mainly out of experiences and do not portray the will of God completely undermining God’s nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Bethany P. says:

    I am Christian, and agree with much of this, but the gap of leadership between a man and a woman is much smaller than you portray. In certain situations, like when dealing with a situation with children, and if the woman spends more time with the children, the woman should have the final say. It just makes sense! And if the woman makes the money, then the final say for money should go to her. Also, there are Christian feminists. Those are people who believe that a male life is worth just as much as a female life, and that women can vote, just like men, and that men and women should be paid the same for the same job. It crosses no Christian lines!


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