Rebecca Van Doodewaard, Your Future ‘Other Half:’ It Matters Who You Marry. Geanies House, UK: Christian Focus Publications, 2014. 96 pp. Paperback. $8.99.
Reviewed by Dr. Ryan McGraw
We tend easily to be imbalanced. The subject of marriage is no exception. Some people postpone marriage because they do not want to take responsibility in life. Others view marriage merely as a remedy to sexual temptation, and they fail to prepare spiritually for marriage. Rebecca Van Doodewaard’s recent book provides an alternative. She highlights what women should look for in a godly spouse in relation to every area of married life. Her counsel is wise and timely and desperately needed in our churches.
The author wrote this book as a woman addressing women. However, our young men desperately need her counsel. She provides a godly woman’s perspective on what to look for in a godly husband. He must minister to his wife spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, and relationally. This means that such a man is developing his own personal godliness in all areas. This alone will make him competent to lead a wife. There are no shortcuts here. Young men, a wife is not a concubine designed to fulfill your sexual needs. She is a co-heir of eternal life and the first object of your ministry and service to Christ on this side of glory.
One recurring theme in this book is that it is better to stay single than to marry someone who will not promote your growth in Christ above all things and in all things. This will be hard for some to take, but it reminds us that marriage is the most life-altering relationship that a Christian can enter into. It is one thing if you are married already, but if you still have a choice, then it is better to enter into heaven unhindered and unmarried than to have a spouse that constantly drags you back to earth and away from Christ – even if they profess to know and love Christ.
Some will say that Van Doodewaard sets the bar too high for a future spouse. This is both true and false. If you mean that there are few men who match the picture of personal holiness that she presents, then this is true. If, however, you mean that she has heaped up extra-biblical requirements for what it means to be a godly man, then this is false. He does not need to have perfected the areas listed, but he does need to be growing towards them all.
This book highlights the need in our churches for personal revival. We need men who love and serve Christ in every area of life. If the Lord grants us such men, then we will have an abundance of men who are prepared to be godly husbands. This is all that Van Doodewaard pleads for. Should we not plead with the Lord for it as well? Godly men and women in our churches should trust that if marriage is in God’s plan for them that He is more than able to provide what they need without compromising biblical ideals.
The preceding was published in New Horizons.