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I have 3 teenage daughters. For years, my wife and I have prayed for Godly spouses for them. But, looking at the young men in the world today, we are beginning to pray more specifically. We’re asking God to provide husbands who are good stewards. Can you give us an idea of what we should look for in a suitor when the time comes?
Dear Praying Mom,
What a great question! Many young people never consider their financial preparedness for marriage and typically start off under great pressure and stress. They find it difficult to understand each other’s perspective on money and suffer many challenges as a result.
Fox 5 Atlanta published an article last month on declining marriage rates. They cite a study that suggests a link between this decline and the lack of financially stable men. Interestingly, they state:
Not being financially stable is a major reason given by 41 percent of never-married adults who would like to get married in the future as to why they have not already done so.
Your prayer is a valid one! And, one that I hope more parents will adopt. In addition, we should pray that our children desire to be good stewards themselves regardless of whether they marry or not. We should model stewardship in our homes and teach them appropriately.
How to Find a Good Steward
There are several things to look for in potential mates. Priorities reveal a lot. How do they use their time? What do they treasure? Are they grateful people or do they feel entitled? Do they have debt? If so, how much? What is their financial philosophy? Have they discussed their credit scores?
We all have a philosophy about money. It’s the compilation of our thoughts, ideas, plans, dreams, concepts, beliefs, and principles that together dictate our actions. God designed us to act upon what we believe. So, if we believe the wrong things about money, we are bound to behave wrongly as well. But, if we believe the right things about God, His plan, and His purpose for marriage and finances, it will change everything--from your credit score to your eternal rewards.
In marriage, philosophies must align with God and each other. A couple needs to speak the same financial language. They need to prioritize the same things. They need to have each other’s back.
Ideally, two people, regardless of their personalities, are bearing the fruit of the Spirit. They live in submission to God, desiring to be conformed into His image. They intentionally live by the Apostle Paul’s directive in Romans 12:2:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
That said, here are some basics for you and your girls to look for in potential mates.
Characteristics of Good Stewards
- Sincere follower of Christ
- Hard worker
- Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
I have counseled many couples on how to align their beliefs about money with God’s Word. This is the beginning point of finding common ground to truly become one. In my own life and marriage, it was 21 years before we realized that we needed a biblical philosophy of money. Once I learned God’s principles of finances, my wife and I were able to find agreement about spending, saving, giving and investing. We developed a unified way to make decisions together, to create a plan and goals, and eventually we started to function as a team, which led us to far greater results and joy in our relationship with God and each other.
This discovery of getting on the same page with God’s principles of stewardship was such an important part of our lives that we wrote a book about it. We share our pain, our mistakes and how God led two very opposite people to become one in the area where we struggled the most. Our book is called, Money Problems, Marriage Solutions. It is helpful for couples considering marriage or for those who, like us, have been married a long time but are struggling to work together on their finances.
A Few Tips
It is wise to be praying now that God will lead your daughters to find a spouse that is a good steward. This will give you and your daughters peace that when the Lord answers this prayer, their financial future will be guided by the truth of God’s Word. In addition, I suggest that you concentrate on helping your girls become good stewards of their resources now. This will give them the ability to identify those that have similar beliefs and behaviors.
- Teach your girls to allocate all of their income into a minimum of four categories: Giving, saving, spending and investing. Our boys learned this by using clear plastic envelopes for everything that came into their hands: gifts for grandparents, birthday money, allowances and income from their jobs. It is a habit that prepared them for adulthood.
- Teach your girls that God owns everything, including them! He redeemed them from sin and darkness in order that would joyfully serve Him and build His kingdom with what He provides. This will help them to view all that they have as a responsibility, not just a blessing.
- Teach your girls that money is not their identity, but a tool to fulfill the purposes of God for their lives. This will help them avoid pride, greed, selfishness, and getting caught up in the world’s traps as they accumulate more money to steward.
- Teach your girls to avoid debt so they are free from its control over their lives, and so they can obey God’s call to allow Him to be their only Master.
When they have understood and practiced these things, they will easily know if the person they are interested in is like-minded.