A real man is not too embarrassed to worship God with all his heart and let everyone see it. So what if he cannot sing like one of the “Three Tenors” or even the latest teen idol? If it is obvious that his heart is in it when he sings, let him bellow all he wants! David, a warrior-king, surely a man’s man in every sense of that phrase, wrote unabashedly emotional songs to God, prayed to him night and day, and worshipped so fervently he embarrassed his wife, 2 Sam 6:16ff. Don’t let yourself get caught in her trap, and ultimate curse. If your present boyfriend cannot even make himself mutter loud enough for you to hear right next to him, and makes it obvious that the assembly of the Lord’s people bores him to death, particularly if he claims to be a Christian, do you really need another reason to question staying in that relationship? Training your children to love God is hard enough without having to fight the example of the other parent.
A real man takes care of his family, no matter what that involves. What is your fellow’s record at home? Does he willingly do the chores his parents have given him, or do they have to nag? Does he balk at particularly dirty jobs and even refuse to do them? I do not mean complain once in awhile—that should be allowed. But there may come times when your husband has to get out there and do things for the family which are pretty disgusting. I can remember a time when all of the plumbing in the house was totally plugged up and my man had to go outside at ten o’clock at night, dig up the top to the septic tank, then lean down into that nasty, smelly hole with a long stick and manually unplug the drainpipes. He never balked at changing diapers or cleaning up after a sick child. He has even held my head while I was sick. If your guy is too finicky for such things, he is a weakling! Real men are strong enough to do what has to be done. Mine has dug ditches in a driving rainstorm to keep our house from washing away, and dug a well in a cold January rain despite a 102 degree fever because we had had no running water in the house for a month and could not afford a professional.
Third, real men are not selfish. Does your boyfriend ever do what you want, or are you always stuck with his choices in entertainment and activities? (On the reverse, do the two of you only do what you want? A real man has opinions of his own and is not run by his woman.) Does he go out of his way for you? Does he act like a gentleman, dropping you off under the covered entry and then running through the rain himself? …offering you his coat when you are cold? …carrying heavy things for you? Or does he just treat you like one of the boys and let you fend for yourself? And most important, has he ever hit you? Does he constantly criticize you, and ridicule you, even in front of others? Does he order you around and act jealous every time another man even looks at you? Does he get angry and yell, then blame his explosion on you? Drop everything right now and leave as fast as you can. A husband is supposed to nourish and cherish his wife, and treat her as well as he treats himself, Eph 5:25ff. He is kind and considerate, and looks out for his wife’s best interests, whether they are in his best interests or not. That is God’s description of a real man.
Every marriage will have its ups and downs, dealing with hardships and sorrows along the way: financial problems, health problems, family problems. Look at him now. How does he deal with mishaps? With upsetting circumstances? With aggravating people? Does he whine? Does he crack under stress? Is he volatile, even frightening? Can you tolerate even being around him when he is not happy or does he make everyone miserable? Whom does he rely on? Whom does he go to for advice and comfort? Is it even possible to comfort him, or is he inconsolable? It’s one thing to comfort the man you love in a crisis. It’s another to put up with an immature, irresponsible man with no self-control, and even need protection from him because he has hit a rough spot in the road and cannot deal with it like an adult.
A real man keeps his word. If your boyfriend has gone back on any promises to you or anyone else, what makes you think he will honor the vow, “For better or for worse, till death do us part?”
Last, but certainly not least, is he romantic? If he is already your fiancé and you are not hearing, “I love you,” even once a week, you will find yourself starved for it in ten years, and even wondering if it is true any longer. Every relationship needs the grease of affection to handle the natural frictions of living together. I hear those three magic words no less than half a dozen times a day, sometimes limited only by the number of times he can call and still give his employer a full days’ work. Along with love notes and wildflowers, hand-picked on the way home from work, and more hand-holding than a couple of teenagers, I have no doubt that this man would give his life for me without a moment’s thought, “as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for it,” Eph 5:25. Will you have that kind of assurance?
So don’t go out there looking for a cute one, a popular one, or a rich one. When it comes down to real life—not some fairy tale fantasy—none of that makes a difference. In fact, if that is all you go by, you probably won’t live happily ever after. I lucked out and got a guy who gets better looking as the years go by, but even if you don’t, you can still be like me and be happier as the days go by, instead of more and more miserable because you made a rotten choice based on shallow, fleeting values. Be careful. This is one of the most important decisions of your life. Whom you marry will affect you as a Christian, and your ultimate destiny, more than any other decision you will make.
So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Gen 2:21-24