April 26, 2018

Singles: If You’re Looking for a Mate, Make Sure They Have This

Gary Thomas — 

Single men and women, if your checklist for a potential spouse doesn’t include one very special ingredient, you’re selling yourself short. I don’t see this trait on a lot of “desirability” lists, but Biblically speaking, I think it’s pretty important.

Look for a valiant mate.

When Saul was chosen as Israel’s first king, he was more than a little sheepish. In fact, when Samuel proclaimed him to be the next ruler, they found him “hiding among the baggage” (1 Samuel 10:22).

In spite of this obvious lack of courage, Samuel exalted him, the people shouted “Long live the king!” and Saul then made a very wise choice: “Saul went to his home in Gibeah, accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched” (1 Samuel 10:26).

Saul wasn’t as brave as one might hope a leader to be, but at least he was smart enough to surround himself by valiant men “whose hearts God had touched.”

Why is King Saul’s move relevant to your choice of a future marriage partner?

Here’s the shocker: you are called “royalty” by Scripture.  That’s how you should think of yourself in Christ: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, so that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Revelation 5:10 speaks of those Jesus died to save: “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

Revelation 22:5 tells us that God’s followers “will reign for ever and ever.”

To know who you are in Christ is to recognize your royalty. That gives your life a certain purpose and responsibility and it means you need to surround yourself with “valiant” people whose hearts have been touched by God, beginning with your spouse.

A strong king or queen, on his or her own, absent valiant people, is a limited monarch and a vulnerable one. God created you to make an impact, to have influence, to spread his reign. We should see ourselves as vice-regents in terms of royalty, commissioned by the King of Kings to seek first His kingdom above all else.

So, in light of this, find a valiant spouse.

Valiant means someone who is bold, daring, and who shows great determination. This trait, for a ruler, is vastly more important than feelings or appearance. Saul didn’t care if someone was ugly; he wanted to know if they were bold, courageous and a good fighter.

As you’re evaluating someone, ask yourself:

Is this a person who attempts great things for God and/or someone who would support me in my desire to attempt great things for God?

Is this a person who is bold enough to speak up for God when others might laugh?

Is this a person who is daring enough to defend me in front of others, including from his/her own family if need be?

Is this a person courageous enough to confront me when needed?

Is this a person audacious enough to believe that God might use us as a couple?

Of all the things to look for in a future spouse, value valiance. If you want to be successful in your call to rule in God’s Kingdom, a valiant partner is a highly desirable trait.

Married couples, let’s help the singles out here in the comments section. If you can think of how having a valiant spouse has been a blessing to you, please share what happened and why you feel so blessed to be married to such a spouse in the comments section below.

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17 responses to Singles: If You’re Looking for a Mate, Make Sure They Have This

  1. Inspiring thoughts. Thank you.

  2. My husband portrayed qualities such as honesty and integrity and following God but now after 37 years I found out he has been hiding his sexual sins and I am devastated

  3. This is the right word “being valiant” thank you for sharing this… I will likewise share it with my single friends and fiancé

  4. Great word Gary! I have been married to my wife for 36 years – and she has been valiant from day one in believing that God wants to use us to further His Kingdom. Ever since we moved into our current neighborhood 30 years ago, we sensed God saying this was our mission field. We felt Him leading us to live out what it really means to “love your neighbors as yourself.” We have done many things in response, but one, in particular, has been to have a monthly supper club where we invite all our neighbors in for a potluck dinner. We have regularly had from 10 to 40 people in our home on Supper Club night – and my wife is valiant in her housewarming for each and every neighbor who steps through our doors. Together we have encouraged each other and taught our children that life is more than about just us. Living missionally for the King together has deepened our love for each other year after year. Very thankful for my valiant wife!

    • I love the supper club idea very much. I have thought about grilling out front and inviting anyone who passed by for a burger or hotdog.

    • What great ideas from you and your wife. Praying for what God started. He does carry it to completion. Excited to know the outcome.

  5. PS: We are getting close to our 33rd anniversary. : )

  6. My husband was not a valiant person by nature when we married. I believe it was a ‘dormant’ trait in him that needed to be called forth by God. As God called it forth, my husband responded with courage, taking vital steps at critical points in our marriage and family that gave me hope that my he was becoming valiant. This was a key in holding our marriage together when things got difficult. When he stepped into uncomfortable valiant boots, God ushered in great strength to build this trait in him. A word that emerged at one particular time when I saw him be a warrior on behalf of one of our young adult sons, was ‘stalwart’. I didn’t even know what this word meant until someone who was praying for us used it. and I believe it was a God-inspired word. Means much the same as valiant: willing to fight for someone you love. It took bravery each time my husband stepped into warrior shoes to overcome his natural passivity. God provides what we don’t have when we lean into the courage of Jesus to do hard things.

  7. Waiting for the comments from married couples….

  8. I never used this term – rather I asked that God bring me a man that believed in HIM and exercised his faith in his life (after all I had waited nearly a half a century .. in God’s time, right…he had lots to work on me before he brought someone to me!). But, after reading this .. my husband is valiant! I love it….plan to share with my single female friends. I hope my husband would think of me as “valiant” as well!

  9. Great encouragement and I love the word, valiant! I would have never thought to say my husband is valiant until you defined it.

    From the moment we first started dating he led the relationship, asking me to fast for God’s wisdom in seeking His will for us. That impressed me and compelled me to follow his lead. When he proposed to me he shared how his parents had divorced on his 18th birthday, something he never saw coming. It broke him at the time and birthed a conviction that divorce would not be an option when he got married. I knew when I said yes to his invitation to become his wife, that it would be a lifelong commitment no matter what trials we faced. I loved his strength and courage to proclaim this at the outset.

    It would be helpful for the singles to know that I had been dating my husband’s friend for two years. A guy whom I wouldn’t label as valiant at the time. If anything he was the opposite. What I didn’t know was that my husband always liked me, but wouldn’t pursue me because of my relationship with his friend. Once we broke up, my husband immediately called for our first date. He was assertive from the get-go, and it was so refreshing to me after being in a relationship with one who wasn’t assertive in the way God intended. He was stifling!

    I continue to this day (after 38 years of marriage) to tell my husband how grateful I am for his pursuit of me and more importantly for his pursuit of God.

  10. My dear husband could not find the courage to fight and work hard when troubles came. We both lost. I pray that one day he will become valiant as he is set free. It will not save our marriage now. If you are not married, this is a good word.

    • And a sober warning to singles: troubles WILL come. You don’t know what kind of troubles, but you can be sure that some kind of trouble will assail you during many different seasons of marriage. Without a valiant spouse, you will find yourself, like Tina, forced to fight alone. And that gets very lonely in a marriage.

      • Amen. There’s the world’s definition of valiant and there’s God’s. A mate who upholds God’s standards and shuns the world’s is one to pursue.

  11. I would add one more to the evaluation list:

    Is this a person who is honest enough with himself to know his weaknesses and surround himself with other valiant people? “Saul went to his home in Gibeah, accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched” (1 Samuel 10:26).

  12. This is true. We look for this trait even though we usually do not intentionally list it. It is an indispensable trait in a partner in this day and age of we will stand the wiles of the devil.

    Thanks for articulating this Gary, always blessed by your blog.

  13. In the workplace, we look for workers who are humble, hungry, and people smart. Stands to reason to look for this in a potential spouse.