“Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
We will begin our examination of the fruits of the spirit by considering the character quality of love.
Read Mark 12:28-31.
It is very important for a wife to know that her husband loves her, as well.
A woman needs to hear a man’s love expressed to her in words and see it evidenced in his actions. Watch for words and actions that specifically communicate love to you when you are being courted by a man. If he expects them from you but does not give them to you in return, he is using you to build his ego rather than valuing you as a person.
Read Proverbs 31:28-29.
· Does he praise you when you do something well?
· Is he proud of you?
How does he show it?
The tone your husband sets in the home with his words to you will influence your children greatly. If he praises you, your children will follow his example. If he demeans you, so will the rest of the family. The words of a truly loving man will build you up, both privately and before other people.
This is not just referring to a man who does not trust you around other men, though that can certainly be one aspect of jealousy. What a woman more easily misses, however, is the danger of marrying a man who is jealous of her abilities or accomplishments, or of the attention she gets because of them. If he is prone to subtle put-downs (often disguised as “humor”) about your areas of strength or giftedness instead of praising you for them, or if he shows a total lack of interest in the things you do well, he may be revealing feelings of jealousy. This type of jealousy, or an extreme lack of trust in you around other men, are issues that you should talk through—either can seriously cripple a relationship.
Read Ephesians 5:25-28.
In this passage, the apostle Paul gives men an example of love that he calls them to imitate.
The godly bask in the light;
the morally upright experience joy. (Psalm 97:11)
Joy is an emotion that God himself experiences, and that He desires for us to experience, as well. Read Zephaniah 3:17.
Not every man is prone to shouting when he feels joyful (though some will), but a man who is in proper relationship with God will experience the emotion of joy as a sense of well-being in his spirit and a delight in his God.
Read John 15:10-11.
· Does he find joy in you?
How does he show that?
· Does he find joy in the things he anticipates or hopes for?
What are they?
· Does he live a righteous life that God will bless?
· Does he find joy in promoting peace?
When have you seen this?
· Does he find joy in speaking appropriately?
What evidence do you see of this?
· Does he find joy in justice or fairness?
Is he fair in his actions and judgments?
· Does he find joy in things that please the physical senses?
What does he appreciate?
· Does he find joy in pleasant friends?
· Does he tend to withdraw from happy people and favor the company of complainers (or whiners)?
· Does he have a cheerful face?
Do his eyes “smile” when his mouth smiles?
· Does he complain much of the time, or is he more likely to find things to be happy about?
Does he often lead conversations to his complaints?
· Does he make other people happy?
How often does he laugh?
Does he make you happy?
· Is being with him good for your emotional health?
Why or why not?
· Knowing that emotions significantly affect physical health, what ultimate effect would living with him be likely to have on your physical health?
According to Scripture, joy is not an option for a Christian—it is a requirement.
Joy is common at holiday festivities, in an assembly with other believers, and with acquaintances who have something to celebrate. But did the last two surprise you? We may not always feel a surface happiness when circumstances in our lives are painful or disappointing, but even in our sufferings we can experience a deep, stabilizing joy in our relationship with God.
Read Job 6:10.
Read Philippians 3:1.
Be sure you see at least some evidence of joy in a man before you consider marrying him. This is a quality that will usually grow over time as a man gets to know God better and learns to trust Him more, but you should be able to detect at least the beginnings of it now. A man who rarely experiences joy will drain away your own joy over the course of time.