The hardest thing for a Christian man to do is choose his wife. Unless God gives him a direct revelation of who to marry, he is on his own when it comes to making a decision that will assuredly involve hesitation and doubt. While I can’t begin to offer guidance on whether you should give a yes or no to a certain woman, I can share knowledge on three broad types of women and how seriously you should consider them for marriage.
1. Traditional women
A woman who is born in an explicitly traditional family has been given God- or pagan-centered morals since birth, even if those morals weren’t taught to her as coming from God the Father. She has a healthier conscience and is therefore more resistant to falling into sin, and when she does fall, she does not stumble badly. She may have a failed relationship or two under her belt, and perhaps an experimental one-night stand, but no drug addictions, tattoos, double-digit notch counts, or abortions.
With her traditional upbringing, she never saw the need to repent and be born again because she was never fully oriented towards sin. If she slips, a period of confession and prayer may be all she needs to get back on track. She will not appear particularly religious because she is mostly living by morals instilled in her since childhood.
Because the Christian faith in the United States has become so badly corrupted, I would not classify women raised in Christian households as traditional unless it is clear that her family home is an extension of the church, void of worldly entertainments and influences, with a father that acts as a firm patriarch. Most traditional women you encounter will have immigrant parents, usually Muslim. Young Armenian women, for example, don’t have much of a church or prayer life, but they were raised with enough morals centered around family that they are closer to God than nominally Christian American women.
The marriage potential of women from traditional families is quite good, but beware that they may not want to learn new ways of worship and their faith may not deepen, so what you see is what you get. It is also the case that if you marry a traditional woman, you are marrying the family. If her family is pleasant then this will be an asset when raising children.
2. Pre-repentant women
If a woman wasn’t born in a traditional God-fearing family, she will likely be far from God. Starting at a young age, she became addicted to the pleasures of this world and will attempt daily to re-create paradise on earth to be “happy” instead of preparing for the Paradise of the next life. Any faith she does possess will be New Age in nature, centered around yoga and “oneness” with the universe.
Even though a woman like this may not be necessarily evil, she is serving the will of Satan by not directly worshipping her Creator or following her God-given conscience. A close examination of her past will reveal innumerable sins that have not been sacramentally confessed, and when it comes to men, she will try to find one who makes her feel good through temporal emotions and material benefits instead of one who can help assure the salvation of her soul.
A pre-repentant woman is especially dangerous because since puberty she learned to maximize her sexuality to lure a man of status. In effect, she’s a hypnotist of men who match her degraded spiritual state. She will badly deceive many men into thinking she’s a good life partner when in actuality she is merely a good sex partner. (Nearly all of the women I had relations with prior to coming to Lord Jesus Christ were in this category.)
We are taught by Saint Paul not to get yoked with non-Christians, so I would not consider marrying a pre-repentant woman. There is absolutely no guarantee she will ever take up the faith and unless she has the rarity of a soft heart, chances are she will continue to fall and take you down with her. If I meet a woman in this category, I would gently share the Gospel with her or give her the Jordanville prayer book to get her on the right track.
3. Post-repentant women
When a woman is truly repentant, she re-orients her mind and body away from sin. Within a short amount of time, her entire life changes, from her beliefs to her behavior. Repentance is so transformative that her face may even begin to look different. No longer does she dress immodestly, attack men with feminist talking points, or fornicate. It will be obvious when a woman repents because she is no longer who she used to be.
A repentant woman is likely to have a heavy suitcase of past sins that the man she marries will have to forgive and accept. While a woman who has multiple tattoos and has slept with 25 or more men is justified by God upon repentance, not every man will be able to stomach her past. Allow the man who can accept her past to marry her, and if that man isn’t you then let her go so that she may continue her search for a husband. If God intends her to marry then she will marry.
It is critical for you to discern true repentance from a woman who is simply trying a new dating strategy. Some women, when they get older, realize that they cannot hook a man through sexuality, so they put on a veneer of false modesty and grace without any internal change to the soul. Other women, in a rush to beat their biological clock, will simply lower their standards and temporarily pretend to be more pleasant than they really are.
True repentance involves a full turning away from the old self. When a repentant woman discusses her past, you should sense a mournful attitude of how she used to live, followed soon by a clear and unambiguous declaration of Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. You must be able to discern a woman who is attempting to please God and one who is simply trying a new tactic to receive a worldly benefit, and the only way you can properly do that is if your own faith is genuine and strong.
If you can accept the past of a post-repentant woman, her suitability for marriage is high since she has made a decision of her free will to pursue Lord Jesus Christ. In some respects, her potential may be higher than the traditional woman since she has already danced with the devil and therefore will be more inclined to say no to temptation in the future.
I am a post-repentant man. Even though my parents were immigrants of traditional backgrounds, they raised me in a purely secular manner. My adult life up to middle age was completely wasted on sin and excesses of the flesh. If you’ve been following me for some time then you have witnessed that repentance is total and all-encompassing. The harder someone has fallen, the more manifest their repentance will be, and I am no exception.
Once you understand the three spiritual states of women, you can make better decisions about whether to pursue a courtship or not (if you’re a woman looking for a husband, these states also apply to men). If a woman is pre-repentant, give her a sermon and the name of a suitable Orthodox Church. Ignore how her beauty or personality make you feel, because I don’t need to tell you the consequences of choosing the wrong woman for marriage. Otherwise, proceed with God’s help. Approach your wife selection with spiritual eyes to make the decision that God knows is best for you.
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