Calvary Road Baptist Church

“SUGGESTIONS FOR CHOOSING YOUR CHILDREN’S FATHER”

Being the father of a young woman, I have known for many years that girls begin to plan and dream about marriage about the same time they get their first doll to play with. And with all but the most hardened young women, there is a connection in the mind and heart of every girl between marriage and motherhood, and between the onset of womanhood and motherhood. To most females, this is all tied together in a single bundle. Why it is, then, that young women do not make a connection between young men and fatherhood, I do not pretend to know. My guess is that it is part of the awful legacy of feminism, which is responsible for so much that is wrong with our culture. I do know this from observation: Most young women, when considering a young man, simply do not look in that young man for the ingredients that will make for a good father. If they think to the future, they generally consider what kind of husband a man will be, not what kind of father the man may turn out to be. Do girls and young women think successful fatherhood is guaranteed? Do they think raising children is automatic, or the sole province of women? Do they presume that success or failure in a child’s life is not closely linked to the performance of that child’s father? Or do they think that fatherhood is something that just naturally works out when the need arises, that being a good dad amounts to little more than loving and spending time with the kids? I wonder how many little girls grow up playing with dolls, imagining that their precious little babies will grow up to be tweakers, or that their lovable daughters will someday take their clothes off for more men than just their one husband for life, or that their baby boy will grow up to be a sneak who dishonors his father by drinking liquor and having sex with women he is not married to?

Some years back, a wonderful pastor and I were lamenting the tragedy of girls getting pregnant and having children out of wedlock, kids having kids. However, just as devastating as kids having kids is the problem of kids thinking babies can be properly raised without a father, or that the right father is not extremely important to the successful rearing of both boys and girls. Let me tell you something: You simply do not usually see a wonderful godly father getting it right when raising his son. Girls do not successfully raise boys to be men, and a man is not a father just because he successfully sires children. Young ladies, as the men in our church prepare for the Man Retreat beginning tomorrow, know that my thoughts, efforts, and prayers when ministering to those men will also be with and for you. Therefore, please consider some advice from an old pastor who wants you to be happy, who wants you to marry and have children some day, but who knows that the man you marry plays a very big role in both your happiness and your success as a mother.

Let this old pastor give you some recommendations, all to be understood within the context of a Christian woman who would never give a second thought to the advances of any man who has not seen himself a sinner in the eyes of God, condemned and helpless in his sins, and has embraced Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as his own personal savior:

First, RECOMMENDATIONS RELATED TO HIS QUALIFICATIONS

Have you ever thought about what qualifies some fellow to become not only your husband, but the father of your children? Plenty of very handsome and well-to-do athletes have completely ruined the lives of their children, and destroyed their marriages. Therefore, it takes something more than being a great date to be a great mate. Looks, money, and athletic ability do not make for a good dad.

First, please consider the young man’s Christian character. Is he a character who claims to be a Christian, or is he a man who displays Christian character in the life he leads? Pat Simmons told me that she had very clear requirements in her mind before she ever met Ken Simmons concerning what kind of man she would give any consideration to marrying. You know, she had absolutely the right approach. Your life is too important to be wasted with some scoundrel who claims he is a Christian but does not live a transformed life, does not commune with the living God on a daily basis (which is to say he has a daily devotional life of Bible reading and prayer), and does not rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Young ladies, the man you give any consideration to should already have settled in his mind the great issues of the Word of God, the reliability of the Bible, the deity and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the functional hierarchy that God built into marriage, and the responsibility of the man of the house to provide for his own, and that any man who does not provide for his own is worse than an infidel, First Timothy 5.8. You simply do not want to find out after you have been found by and consented to marry your children’s father that you picked someone so unmanly that his value system is warped and in need of the kind of firm correction meted out by the Apostle Paul in Second Thessalonians 3.10-14:

10     For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

11     For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.

12     Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

13     But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

14     And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

Only say yes to a man who is so ashamed of his own misconduct that things such as these will never be an issue with him once you are married to him, since a man with these problems has issues that go to the very root of his manhood.

Next, please consider his potential as a father. Sometimes the mistake is made of thinking that a man who loves children will be a good father. To be sure, I have not much use for men who do not love children, though affection for children is not sufficient to guarantee a man will be a good father. Samuel was a great man of God, but not a good father. King David was not a good father. I know wonderful Christian men who were not very good fathers. Several well-known men of God in the 19th and early 20th centuries lost their sons to drunkenness, and there are others who lost their children to other kinds of immorality. It is one thing to be a good Christian. It is another thing to be a good Christian husband. It is still another thing to be a good Christian father. Good fathers must certainly be good examples, since so much of manliness is caught rather than taught, but good Christian fathers should also be vocal men, talking men, verbal men, and not men whose mouths are always shut. Leading by example is good, but the instruction of a father is better. The Proverbs of Solomon were given so men might communicate “the words of understanding” to their children, especially to their sons. A good father is supposed to be not only opinionated, but vocal about his opinions. And in First Thessalonians 2.10-11, the Apostle pointed out to young Christians that a father should not only be holy, just, and unblameable in his conduct, but that he should also exhort, and comfort, and charge children, so they will grow up and walk worthy of God. You cannot exhort, comfort, and charge children without speaking to them, again and again. In short, young lady, does that fellow who has his eye on you take not only the time to set a good example for others, but is he also willing to look into a youngster’s eye and say the things that need to be said to help him? If a young man is unaccustomed to dealing with children in this way as an integral part of growing into manhood, it is unlikely that he will do what is necessary with his own children. Far too many fathers spend time watching television or working in the garage when their children need to not only see a good example, but also hear words of instruction and correction.

Third, please consider his exhibition of wisdom and humility. A wise man knows that he knows not, so you can teach him. A teachable spirit is a mark of humility, which is the kind of man God gives grace to. You see, there is little hope for a fool, and there is no grace for the proud, James 4.6 and First Peter 5.5. What kind of young man is he? No young man can know all there is to know about anything. Is this young man open to correction? Is he capable of learning instruction? How about when he is rebuked? Sharp rebukes make strong Christians, but some young men are so thin-skinned that needed rebukes crumble them, they are so fragile. Is the young man you would wonder about marrying so that he might be the father of your children tender enough to be a father, or is he brittle? Or, which is just as bad, is he indifferent and lackadaisical, and does not care enough to invest his time and attention into young lives? These are a few considerations of a young man’s qualifications that I would advise for every Christian woman who would be diligent concerning the future father of her children. Check him out, and listen to the opinions of others who also check him out.

Next, RECOMMENDATIONS RELATED TO HIS COURTSHIP

My opinion is that young men who think they understand women are fools. As well, young men who know how to get their way with women are manipulative. Additionally, I would not recommend to any young woman a young man who does not seek the counsel of his pastor concerning who he should marry and how he should go about winning her favor, because I am not persuaded God gives that kind of judgment to young men in isolation, but that such wisdom resides in the counsel of aged men and pastors to pass on to those young men who have the wisdom to seek counsel. Several considerations for you young ladies:

First, who leads now will lead then. God’s plan for the family unit is adult male leadership. How, then, is the pattern of adult male leadership established by any young man who pursues a young woman, following her lead instead of leading her before marriage, in the hopes that she will follow his lead after marriage? It simply does not make sense. I know weak young men will justify themselves by saying, “I have no plans to be a dictator in my marriage.” Sounds good, but does that approach reflect what God’s Word actually teaches? If you lead him before marriage, you will lead him after marriage, and you cannot lead a man to lead you. If he leads he will lead. If he is not leading he will not lead.

Next, ask yourself how slickness is acquired. I could not think of a better term to use. Is it important to you that a young man be smooth and polished in his dealings with you? If so, ask yourself how a young man becomes smooth and polished in his dealings with women, except by a great deal of practice. Is that good? Are you comfortable considering a young man who has had a great deal of experience interacting with women, and has in that way developed a smoothness and a polish that is impressive? I once had a young woman discussing some issues with me and one of our men in my office who was extremely comfortable and relaxed with me. I wondered how this young woman came to be so very confident and utterly relaxed in the presence of older men she did not know. What I suspected about her turned out to be true. My experience has convinced me since that discussion that certain kinds of experience and comfort in special settings does not speak well of a person. A woman would do well to be very leery of any man who is really that comfortable with women, since it may mean there have been a great many women. Is that okay with you?

Third, open your eyes and perform an honest critique of the man. Before you will know someone well enough to marry, you must know that person well enough to know his strengths and weaknesses. Organized or disorganized? Neat or messy? A detail person or a big picture type? Slovenly or diligent? Teachable or stubborn? Smart enough to lead you or so stupid as to frustrate you? Eager to learn or complacent in his relative ignorance? Does he handle money well, or does money burn a hole in his pocket? Will he be fat in a few years, or will he be lean in a few years? Is he a planner, or does he get caught unawares? Is he so inconsiderate of others that he habitually shows up late, or does he consider others enough to show up on time or early? Does he have a critical spirit, or is he generous and kind? Is he goal oriented or process oriented? If you cannot see the things about him that you know will challenge you in the future, you simply do not know him well enough to marry. How about baggage? Does he have baggage you will have to deal with for years? Do you have baggage he will have to deal with for years? There is no rule that says you are wrong for not wanting to marry someone you are fond of but who drags a lot of baggage into the relationship. Marriage is difficult enough to intentionally begin life with a man who already has baggage.

Fourth, what he talks about now and what he will talk about when he is married. Does this man ever discuss spiritual issues? Does this man ever pray? Is this man ever concerned for the lost . . . enough to do something about it? If an Ibrahim ag Mohamed came to our church, would this fellow talk about that wonderful servant of God over dinner after having met him at a missions conference? What kind of man pretends to be a Christian, yet he is not excited enough about the things of God to talk about them? You do not want as the father of your children a man who is not excited enough about the things of God to talk about them with his kids. What is not exciting to the father of your kids can hardly be expected to excite your kids.

Third, RECOMMENDATIONS RELATED TO HIS RELATIONSHIPS

The worst kind of indication of a man’s relationship with a woman is when they spend their time away from everyone else. Two people off in a corner, or away from their loved ones, are two people in lust and not two people in love. When you love someone you want to share that person with your other loved ones. As well, since our lives are not ever lived in isolation from others, consider the young man’s relationships with other people:

First, his relationships with his own family members. Anyone who does not recognize that when you marry you marry family does not understand marriage very well at all. How does this young man treat his father and mother? How does he treat his siblings? How does he treat his extended family? Is honoring them high on his list of priorities? If a young man cares nothing about honoring his mother and his father, what kind of relationship do you think he is capable of cultivating with you? At the same time, is he spiritually strong enough to do right even when his unsaved family members disapprove?

Next, his relationships with your family members. Any man who marries you joins with your family, whether he likes it or not. Before you marry him, you need to discover how he will get along with your family. He does not always have to agree with them, but he needs to be spiritual enough to get along with them, to treat them with courtesy and respect, and possessed with an earnest desire not to sever you from those you have known and loved your whole life. My wife had what I thought was an unhealthy relationship with her aunt. Her aunt was a militant feminist who tried to poison Pam’s attitude toward me early on in our marriage. However, instead of being a nitwit and trying to separate Pam from her aunt, I accompanied her every time she went to see her aunt. Eventually her aunt stopped her shenanigans and we ended up getting along fine. These things you need to know about a man before you marry him. Do not marry some silly fool whose idea of manliness is to destroy your relationship with your loved ones.

Third, his relationships with his friends. What kinds of friends does the man you are considering cultivate? Are they mature? Are they spiritual? Are they thinking men, or is their friendship based on boy toys like cars or guns or computers? You can tell a great deal about a man by the friends surrounding him. Thinking men have thinking friends. Godly men have both godly and unsaved friends, but only the Christian friends are allowed to exercise undue influence over him. I can promise that you will become very weary of the man whose friends lead him by the nose, and who is not his own man. Evaluating a young man’s friends is very important, since flunkies and failures tend to hang out with each other, immature men tend to hang out with each other, and those who have a future tend to spend time with others who are going places or with those who will mentor them.

Fourth, his relationships with your friends. Of course, the kinds of friends you surround yourself with tells a great deal about you. As well, recognize that many men do not like a woman’s friends, and are so jealous and insecure that they see their task as coming between a woman and her friends. I think no woman should tolerate that, since who your friends are is a part of who you are. Again, it is the difference between lust and love. When a man loves a woman he thinks so highly of her that he is pleased for her to be a blessing to many, while lust is greedy and covetous and insists on keeping a woman to himself.

May I suggest that the way a man gets along with others is just as important as the way he gets along with you? Why so? A man will pretend with a woman he wants, so that his true feelings are not always visible to her. However, most men are not so clever in their dealings with others, so that how a man treats others is a reflection of who he really is and how he will eventually treat his wife. Of course, if his own father was cowardly and unfaithful with women, give serious thought to the possibility that he, too, will think manliness means treating women poorly.

Finally, SOME PROFOUNDLY IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS

So far, I have given you many personal opinions based upon observations over the years. Let me now take you more directly to God’s Word to lay before you some considerations:

First, is this man humble? The Bible declares in two different places that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.[1] Dare you risk the father of your children being a man who God resists? How can you ascertain whether a man is humble, truly humble? Two suggestions: First, make sure you know this man for a long enough time that you can see for yourself that he is humble. Second, ask those you know who are humble if he is humble. Do not ask anyone to gossip, but to answer a direct question: Is he humble? If he is not humble, he should not be considered as the future father of your children.

Next, is this man forgiving? How can a woman tolerate a man who is not forgiving? What kind of man is so wicked that he will not forgive? Only a man who has not experienced the forgiveness of God himself, since Ephesians 4.32 reads, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Here is an important insight into forgiveness. If a person throws into your face a matter for which you have previously asked forgiveness and been granted forgiveness, then that person is a foreigner to God’s grace of forgiveness. Forgiveness is not the same as forgetting, but the one leads to the other over time.

Third, is this man teachable? What hope is there for a man who already knows so much that he cannot be taught anything? How proud a man must be, or ignorant, who does not recognize his great and profound need to learn, and thus to be taught? It is one thing to have the mind of a twenty year old when you are twenty years old, but that same mind in one who is forty years old is unbearable. And for what reason? He is unteachable.

Fourth, is this man stubborn? This is hardheaded. This is the fool who will not consider additional information after having arrived at a hasty decision. This is a person who is concerned more about having the final say than he is concerned about making the right decision. Girls, stubbornness is with God as iniquity and idolatry.[2] How can a woman envision herself with a man who cannot listen to reason, and who will not deal properly with his children, because he is stubborn?

Fifth, is this man sacrificing? Girls, are you really interested in marrying a man who spends extra money to buy himself toys, instead of buying toys for his children? Are you really interested in marrying a man who sends you out to work instead of getting a second job for himself? It is one thing for mom to work when the kids get older, but it is a travesty for a man to insist that you perform the tasks of motherhood and housekeeper in addition to working outside the home. As well, it is just plain nasty for a man to think he makes a better mom for the kids than you, so that it is acceptable for him to stay home while you work. Excuse me, but Ephesians 5.25 shows us that a husband’s love should be sacrificial, the way Christ’s love is. Thus, the person who sacrifices for the sake of the children should be the father first. After all, especially in the early years of childhood, it is far better for the children to be with their mothers than with their fathers. A father shows real love for his children, not by staying home and playing with them, but by demonstrating sacrificing love that goes out and works a job to provide for the family. Any man who is not willing to sacrifice for his loved ones is not marriage material. He is too selfish.

Sixth, is this man godly? Is he spiritual? Does he have a devotional life? Is he a consistent church goer and tither? Does he actually have a ministry? Is there credible evidence from the priorities of his life that he really is a man of God, because he places service to God before personal pleasure and others?

Is this man ready to marry? There are guys who have a great deal of potential, but they simply are not yet ready. They are personable young Christian men, but are not yet adult enough to take on the burdens of marriage. These guys tend to want to marry women to mother them, to look after them, to do for them instead of being the responsible family leader. They like having the final say, but they want the heavy lifting to be done by their wives. Such men do not mature well after they marry. They need to do their growing up before they get married. You do not need that kind of a needy man.

Too many young women go shopping for a husband, and when they find a guy who will do what they want, they are happy to be married to such a fellow. The Word of God lays it out somewhat differently than that. In the Bible we see that wives are described by God as fit helpers of their husbands.

Thus, the way a young woman should approach this matter of marriage is in this fashion: Live for God and be the best Christian you can be, by God’s grace. If a godly man comes into your life and looks your way for someone to help him serve God, then look back and commit the matter to the Lord in prayer. However, unless some man is already serving the one true and living God, my advice to you is not to give him a second look. Your man should be a man who is a leader, and who wants you to follow him. If he is following God and you are willing to follow him as he follows God, then he is worth your serious consideration. After all, it is your children’s father you are looking for. Amen? These are just some of the things I will have on my mind and heart when I minister to the men and boys who attend the Man Retreat.



[1] James 4.6; 1 Peter 5.5

[2] 1 Samuel 15.23



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