Marring a man of God: a letter to my daughter (part 3)


This is part three of a three part series where Ed Sanderlin shares a letter to his daughter on marriage. Read part one here, and part two here



It is not unloving or selfish to pray for a future husband that has a godly heritage and legacy. Can you imagine marrying a man whose greatest struggles have been to be godlier? Alas, we have moved into an age where the greatest struggle people have is to recover from the circumstances of a life without God. We die licking our wounds. Life is spent retracing and reliving our old patterns that have worn deep grooves in our past. They have become besetting sins. In fact, the past decisions, in some ways, become our future grievances.

Would it not be the delight of life to wed a man whose past is his adorning graces, not his hidden turpitudes?

It is not unloving or selfish to dream of a man of God who has lived a righteous life from his earliest memories – a man whose greatest struggles in life have been to deny ungodliness and to live righteously in this present age (Titus 2.12).

It is not unloving or selfish to desire to marry a man who has had all the pearls of wisdom not only embedded in his heart from godly parents, but one who has also seen his parents live out the very truths that they have told him. Would it not be a magnificent wonder for you to have a father and mother-in-law that will encourage their beloved son in his marriage to you; to be a daughter-in-law in a godly legacy that will carry the next generation to a lost world. This is God’s ideal way. It should not be the exception. If this is not true, then it is we who have decided to live less than His ideal.

It is not unloving or selfish to aim to marry a ministry mate above a mate who needs ministry. I am not saying that your potential mate needs to be perfect – good grief! You know better than that. I’m saying marry a man with the prospect that he will compliment your ministry. Once you are married, then, let him become your ministry – nourish and support him that his overflow will enhance the Kingdom of God. There will be mutual edification that supports a greater endeavor for the glory of God. Your lives together will double the impact in this world for Christ. He will be your helpmeet in furthering the gospel and serving Christ. You both are swept away in the things of God and then you notice that you are next to one another. He will pick you up when you are down and you likewise.

Your passion must be for Christ first, and then your passion for one another will be the outcome. Happiness is not what one seeks in marriage. The fruit of a right relationship with God is the joy in your relationship with your husband.

It is not unloving or selfish to long for a man who instead carries in him a multitude of the glories of God, a mind for mission and an untethered, unencumbered life that gives him an unburdened ability to spend his life with you in a journey pursuing and furthering the gospel. Know what is his calling from the Lord. Know what is his passion for life and where he is headed.

If it were wrong to desire a man of godly bearing and heritage, then God would not have put on show in Scripture such portraits of godly men for a woman to long. Read all of Proverbs and observe the godly man. God would not have told us about the strength of Joseph, nor displayed the faith of Abraham, nor have told us about the courage of Daniel. He told us about Moses, Joshua and Gideon, about Jonathan, Elijah and the union of Aquila and Priscilla as well. Why did God reveal to us the wonder of godly men in the Bible if it were not for aspiration? Aspire to be the strength behind, beneath and beside a man who is intensely identified with the mind of God. Join a man who has been empowered and penetrated by the presence of God. Pray for the ideal and hope for the man who has been a faithful servant of Christ. Desire a man who has been a Christian longer than he has not been a Christian. Seek the man who knows what it means to deny his sinful desires and has suffered for His sake. Stand firm for the man who has been rewarded by God for keeping purity for God’s glory. Why not long for the mate who has been waiting for God and who toils for His kingdom. Wait on this man and then serve the Lord with him. Wait for a man who has waited for you and has not given himself to any other woman as you have not given yourself to any other man. God has retained such a man for you. He is there.

Live your life that you would be a woman of God, so adorned with of mind of Christ that a man like Joseph would walk to ends of the earth to find you.

OKAY, moving on…

How about a brief excursion in the aspect of SEX now? We’ve talked about the sexual aspect of a relationship many times.

Here is the BOTTOM LINEYou are sexually compatible with any male! What more can be said about sexual compatibility?

You have yet to really be sexually pursued. Be ready. Be anchored and don’t be swooned away. Guard your emotions. Be strong in the Lord. Recognize what is happening in you.

The sexual criteria for discerning a mate should be at the bottom of the list. Set aside the initial drawing for sex. A woman who has her head on right with God can see clearly beyond the “sex only” draw for a relationship. Don’t get me wrong, we are sexual beings and it is a great gift from God, but sex is sex. A marriage that is built on sex is no marriage. Sex will get old in two weeks if that is the end goal. The focus of marriage is to display the glory of God and to build a godly posterity.

The day may come when you can’t have sex. What if either of you were to be in an accident or sex was no longer a gratifying exercise. Think of Joni Eareckson What if you were scarred or debilitated, even paralyzed? More simply, what if you were separated for a period of time? If this man is more attracted to you for your physical assets, then what will you have when you grow older and the enhancements of youth dissolve with the advancements of age?

If sex or physical attraction is his draw (or even a pivotal factor), then your marriage is at considerable risk. Imagine a marriage without sex. Would your marriage remain? Would it remain strong? Whatever is left without sex is your marriage.

What are some worrying signs that might indicate that your relationship is more sensual than spiritual? Be watchful now to observe his modesty. Notice if he expects sexual gratis from you. How does he dress around you – how about in public? Does he use his words to stir you emotionally? Does he use conversational tactics with you to maneuver into a physical relationship? Does he maneuver or manipulate your circumstances to be alone? Does he make statements or clichés that have secondary meanings? Are you more sexually aroused with him than you are spiritually challenged? What do his eyes tell you? Is he protecting you from intimacy beyond your level of commitment? What is your purpose and goal just prior to being with him? Are their determinative physical limits that you both have set? If you “went too far” with him, would you be embarrassed or would he feel betrayed – would he be surprised or satisfied and encouraged? Do his friends hint at any eagerness on his part to be with you? Has he talked with your friends to hint that you should be a little more aggressive with him? Be alert to these things and run from him if you suspect his motives are not pure.

Be sure that what draws you to a person is what draws you to God. The inverse is true as well. If your lives are not independently related to God, then they will not be generative to one another.

Take your time; know the mind and heart of God. Know the heart and mind of the guy. Know his history and recognize what you must bear with him. Determine that the struggles you have with the one you will marry will be the struggles that further the gospel, not the struggles that sputter in sins past follies.

Let me connect the dots of what I’ve been saying in a sentence or two. Just how willing are you to enter into a marriage with another person who suffers more greatly with the residual ramifications of past sins than with a person who has walked with God and suffers little from the remorse of a sinful past? Do not volunteer to inherit the valley of liabilities in the life of another person when you can share in the delights of a man that is rich with the blessings of God and who has lived before Him in anticipation for a woman of God. Look for a man who is so caught up in the things of God that he must stop to consider if you are a hindrance or help in his pursuit of God.


I could go on forever. I don’t really have an impact statement that will hit a home run for you. You must walk by faith in this matter. You must hear the call of God and protect your nearness to Him. Be in pursuit of His pleasure and fight for holiness of life. Wait on Him. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you t