Three Overlooked (but Essential) Qualities to Look for in a Spouse

3 Overlooked (but Essential) Traits to Look for in a Spouse

The qualities that I hoped for in a partner at age 18 and what I actually got are fairly different.  And I am extremely grateful to God that they are.  (You can read some of what I thought was essential here.)  My husband is amazing, and the qualities that he daily demonstrates to me and our kids are a huge reason that our marriage works!

So without further ado, here they are:

#1.  Kindness

Kindness is a really big deal.  I love the line from About Time when the father is giving a speech about his son on his wedding day and says, “I’d only give one piece of advice to anyone marrying.  We’re all quite similar in the end.  We all get old and tell the same tales too many times, but try and marry someone kind.”  (P.S. If you haven’t seen this movie, I would highly recommend it.  There’s a couple of scenes you may prefer to fast-forward, but it’s one of my all-time favorites!)

My husband is a kind man.  I will quickly admit that he is kinder than I.  He listens to me.  He treats me with respect.  He values my opinion.  He is patient.  He is gracious with our children.  I hope they grow up to be like him.  They will have succeeded greatly.

This world tells you that you should be many things, but if you are looking for an important characteristic in a spouse, seek kindness.

Kindness allows you to grow to be who you are.  It gives you space to make mistakes and loves you when you do.  It speaks gently.  It prefers others.

Are you dating?  How does that person treat others, especially those that he gains nothing from being kind to like waiters, salesmen, other drivers? (ouch!) One day, you will be the “other” person.  If he/she shows no restraint with those that he deems “lesser than”, he will do the same to you.  Maybe not now or in a year’s time, but eventually his true colors will be revealed.  Jesus said that a tree is judged by it’s fruit.  You just can’t pick apples from an orange tree.  This doesn’t mean that he will be perfect, but he should show this fruit of the Spirit most of the time if you want to expect that it will be shown later on in life.

And P.S. It is not difficult to submit to a kind and honorable person.


#2. Fear of the Lord

Maybe you weren’t expecting this one, but it is critical.  My husband cares about what God thinks of his life.  And most importantly, he cares about what God thinks more than he cares about what I think.

There are times in marriage when all the super-gooey feelings of kissy-faced infatuation leave.  When crisis hits and you respond in ways you never imagined.  When life hands you lots of lemons and instead of making lemonade, you throw them at your spouse.  In these moments, you will appreciate having a spouse who fears the Lord.

A spouse who fears the Lord treats you in light of God’s view of you and the price He paid for you, not as you deserve to be treated when you sin and aren’t coping well with reality.  A spouse who fears the Lord makes amends (even when the argument was primarily your fault) simply because it pleases God.  He does it for Jesus first and then for you.

A spouse who fears the Lord does not seek solace in another woman because that would dishonor God. His respect and love for God set the boundaries in his life.

Despite what some women’s books may tell you about keeping yourself in shape for your man, or divorce-proofing your marriage by always being willing to have sex, there will most likely come moments in your marriage when you are either too pregnant, too depressed, or too whatever to accomplish just that.  In those moments, will your man seek satisfaction in someone else or will he stay true to you because it the right thing to do? The thing that Jesus asks of him.

A marriage based on one person becoming the perfect spouse so that the other doesn't wander is a… Click To Tweet

Of course each partner should give of themselves for the other’s sake.  That is the ideal and the ultimate goal, but this is life, and we are not perfect.  We will all make mistakes.  A spouse that fears the Lord will not let those mistakes turn into disasters.


#3.  Sense of Humor

Essential!  Life is rocky sometimes.  If you can’t laugh, you will cry.  And sometimes you will do both.  You might as well be able to do it with each other.

My husband and I laugh daily together.  Why?  Because we truly enjoy each other’s company.  Now, we don’t often have complete conversations while the kids are awake because they are 2 and 4, but we laugh about them too.

We are a team.  Sometimes it’s a well-timed expression.  Sometimes it’s a witty comment.  Sometimes it’s a spontaneous dance party in the living room.  Sometimes it’s seeing the ridiculously painful reality of the moment and choosing to laugh because- well, you just can’t make this stuff up!

Once when we were flying from our home in Cambodia to visit my husband’s parents in New Zealand for Christmas, we discovered en-route that our kids had both caught some kind of virus prior to take off.  To sum up the flight, I was puked on approximately 5 times by our 1 year old.  My husband was puked on by our 3 year old.  (No Pinterest “What to Pack When You Travel Internationally” list could have prepared me for this!!) And when the plane was about to touch down, BOTH of them were throwing up on us AT THE SAME TIME!  It was so ridiculous!  All we could do was look at each other and laugh. (And then cry when we realized that was only the first of our flights.)

The Bible says that a happy heart does good like medicine.  (Proverbs 17:22)  You’re going to need that medicine.  I would suggest that you marry someone who can bring it in large doses!

So there it is, 3 essential (but overlooked) qualities that I hope you find in your spouse (and your spouse finds in you).  And if you don’t plan to marry, may you find it in the community around you.

And Happy Anniversary to my nearest and dearest, my gift from God, my husband Richard!


For more resources on living in wisdom, join me on Pinterest!


  • Kristi Woods April 26, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Love this, Brooke, and I’m nodding my head in agreement. All 3 are sound and do make for a good marriage. In fact, I see a little “print” button up there ^, so I’ll probably click right on it and print a copy for each of my kids. It’s a good resource. Thank you! Visiting via #intentionalTuesday.

    • Brooke April 26, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      Thanks, Kristi! Yes, I hope my kids find this in their spouses one day too (it would be great to have these qualities in a son/daugther in law!) Thanks for reading.

  • Rhiannon April 26, 2016 at 8:26 am

    Those are definitely great qualities that should not be overlooked. Kindness, fear of the Lord and a sense of humor were definitely some of the top things on my “list” when I went to God about my future spouse. He exceeded my expectation. Nice post. #intentionallypursuing

    • Brooke April 26, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      I love it when God does that! Thanks for reading!

  • Betsy de Cruz April 26, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    I love these: 1. Kindness 2. Fear of the Lord 3. Sense of Humor. “Sense of humor” was on my list 20 years ago, and my husband and I have laughed ourselves silly many a time. So much joy.

    However, kindness wasn’t on the list! It should have been. Fortunately, even though I wasn’t looking for that, I have a husband who is kind. So important.

    • Brooke April 26, 2016 at 4:06 pm

      I love that, Betsy. And I love that God gives us what we don’t even know will be SUPER important! Thanks for reading!

  • Ruthie April 26, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    I totally agree with this list!! (And I’ve been married almost 29 years!) Kindness, fearing the Lord, and a sense of humor are my top 3 as well. Looks and feelings fade and simmer, but a dedicated commitment is the ultimate in marriage. I cannot tell you the times that I didn’t like my husband, let alone my ugly inner self. But this year? Year 28? BEST.YEAR.EVER. Hands down. Empty nesting, care-giving, grandparenting and all. Some couples quit way too soon. If only they’d hang in there, they’d experience what true love is really all about.

    Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing on Tuesday Talk – would you mind if I featured this next Tuesday Talk on my blog? I’ll need to copy your cute little pic up there ^^^ that’s what caught my attention about your post! I thought, “Someone has a great sense of humor over here – I’m going to find out who it is!”

    Have a great day – and a long and full marriage!

    • Brooke April 26, 2016 at 5:58 pm

      Thank-you, Ruthie! It’s our 8th anniversary today! I can’t wait for year 28 from the way you describe it!! I love hearing people’s success stories. And I would be honored to be featured. Please let me know if you need anything else. (And I loved that picture too- that couple is so cute!) Thank-you!

  • Leah @ Love and Blues April 27, 2016 at 9:29 am

    I love this 🙂 I agree with all of them, but especially the first, as I used to work in food service. Being polite to everyone is SO important to me. When I have lunch with people who won’t make eye contact with our server, I cringe. Luckily, my husband’s as gregarious as I am when it comes to servers and we tip as much as our budget allows.
    Thanks for this sweet article.

    • Brooke April 27, 2016 at 10:32 am

      Yes! I used to work in food service too and am probably extra sensitive to people’s politeness, but it really can be a measure of how much they do/do not value others. Glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂

  • Rachel Q April 27, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Yes, these are all good and important qualities. All of which I was blessed to find in my spouse. It’s worth waiting for and all good when God is in it! Thanks for sharing these words! (Your neighbor at #TellHisStory)

    • Brooke April 27, 2016 at 10:31 am

      Sooooo worth waiting for. I’m so glad wise Jesus did not let me settle for what I thought would be enough at age 16! Thanks for visiting, neighbor!

  • Sarah Koontz April 27, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Love this list! Shared with all my “tweeps”…aka my twitter followers. Visiting from 3 word Wednesday.

    • Brooke April 27, 2016 at 10:30 am

      Thank-you! And thanks for sharing! 3 Word Wednesday is great!

  • Julie @ Logger's Wife April 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    #3 is a huge factor in my marriage. Thankfully, we have a similar sense of humor. One of my best friends and her husband have very opposite senses of humor. I have no idea what they do with their time! Unfortunately, my husband and I both use humor for a coping skill so things like funerals, serious situations, etc. tend to have us cracking jokes together instead of reminding the other one to behave. lol (visiting from Waiting on Wednesday)

    • Brooke April 27, 2016 at 4:15 pm

      Yes! Laughing with my husband helps us stay sane (well, semi-sane!) Thanks for visiting!

  • Marie April 29, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Ray and I have been married for 44 years. When I see the number it looks like a long time but through it all, and even before it all, kindness, faith, and humor we part of his personality palette. Consider this, every parent should be praying for these in the future spouses of their children.

    I’ll be including this blog in my Friday Faves post.

    Blessings to you and yours!


    • Brooke May 2, 2016 at 11:19 am

      Thanks, Marie! And I love the idea of praying for this in your children’s future spouses. It’s amazing to think they are out there somewhere, growing up as I parent my own children!

  • Sophia April 29, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    These are good traits to look for in a spouse and it looks like you have found them in your husband. That is awesome !

  • Alisa April 29, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    This is great Brooke!! I agree on all 3 of these things. It’s so funny to think back to what I would have wanted in a man at 18- not exactly what o would want now!! We actually sat down with our son who is now 18 (at the time he was 16) and discussed what he wanted in a spouse. I was amazed by his maturity in the response. Thanks for sharing this today. I will definitely be sharing these with my kids as well.

  • Aimee Imbeau May 5, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    I enjoyed your post today and I would have loved to have been able to feature it on Grace and Truth but one of the rules is that the post is linked back to the link-up:( Maybe next time.
    Thanks for linking up last week!

    • Brooke May 6, 2016 at 8:27 am

      Hi Aimee! Thank-you! Oh, bummer, I must have forgotten to put my link up “click here” at the bottom. Thank-you for hosting!

  • Afia October 27, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    I’m getting married soon and just when I needed it, God led me to ur post. God bless you.

    • Brooke Grangard October 28, 2016 at 7:10 am

      Congratulations! Blessings to you and your future spouse!


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