Question: "What should I be looking for in a husband?"
Answer: When a Christian woman is looking for a husband, the primary quality she should be seeking is a man “after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). The most important relationship that any of us have is our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. That relationship comes before every other relationship. If our vertical relationship with the Lord is on a day-by-day grace basis, then our horizontal relationships will reflect that reality. Therefore, a potential husband should be a man who has his focus upon walking in obedience to God's Word and who seeks to live so that his life brings glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
What are some other qualities to look for? The apostle Paul gives us a great source for the qualities we should look for in a husband in 1 Timothy chapter 3. In this passage are the qualifications for an elder / pastor / overseer / deacon in the church body. However, these qualities should grace the lives of any man who walks “after God's heart." The qualities can be paraphrased as follows: This man should be patient and controlled in his demeanor, not filled with pride but of sober mental attitude, able to master his emotions, given to graciousness to others, able to patiently teach, not given to drunkenness or uncontrolled use of any of God's gifts, not prone to violence, not overly focused upon the details of life but focused upon God, not a man who is apt to be a hot-head or be thin-skinned so that he takes offense easily, and one who is grateful for what God has given, rather than envious of what gifts others have received.
In other words, what we have here is the description of a man who is actively engaged in the process of becoming a mature believer. That is the type of man a woman should look for as a potential husband. Yes, physical attraction, similar interests, complementary strengths and weaknesses, a desire for children, etc., are things to consider. These things, though, must take a secondary role to the spiritual qualities a woman should look for in a man. A man whom you can trust, respect, and follow in the path of godliness is of far greater value than a man of good looks, fame, power, or money.
Finally, when "looking" for a husband, we must be of the mindset that is surrendered to God's will in our lives. As we rest in God's provision for us, He will bring into our lives opportunities and tests. Not all things that seem like opportunities are good, and not all tests are bad. It is the choice to rest in God's grace in whatever situation that is at issue. Every woman wants to find her "prince charming," but the reality is that she will probably marry a man with as many flaws as she has. Then, by God's grace, they will spend the rest of their lives together learning how to be a partner to, and servant of, each other. We must enter into the second-most-important relationship of our lives (marriage), not under an emotional cloud, but with eyes open. Our most important relationship, with our Lord and Savior, has to be the focus of our lives.
Question: "What should I be looking for in a wife?"
Answer: The most important personal relationship that a man can have, outside of his spiritual relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, is his relationship with his wife. In the process of looking for a wife, the utmost principle is to look for a woman with a personal faith in Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul tells us not to be "unequally yoked" with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14). Unless a man and woman are in full agreement on this most crucial issue, a godly and fulfilling marriage cannot take place.
However, marrying a fellow believer does not guarantee the full experience of being "equally yoked." The fact that a woman is a Christian does not mean she is necessarily a good match for you spiritually. Does she have the same spiritual goals as you? Does she have the same doctrinal beliefs as you? Does she have the same passion for God as you? The question of what qualities to seek in a potential wife is crucially important. Far too many men marry for emotional or physical attraction alone, and that can be a recipe for failure.
The Lord asked of Israel, "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3). This is the ideal, but the reality is that married couples will not always agree. However, we can agree to disagree within the structure of God's order. Therefore, a clear mental attitude about our expectations and communication one to the other about them is important, and it should take place before marriage, not after. Negotiations are easier before the contract is signed and sealed. We must never marry with the idea that we can change our partner after marriage.
What are some godly qualities a man can look for in a wife? Scripture gives us some principles we can use to create a picture of a woman with wife-potential. She should first be surrendered in her own spiritual relationship with the Lord. The Apostle Paul tells the wife that she is to submit to her husband as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22-24). If a woman is not surrendered to the Lord, she will not be likely to see submission to her husband as necessary to her own spiritual well-being. We cannot fulfill the expectations of anyone else without first allowing God to fill us with Himself. A woman with God at the center of her life is a good candidate for a wife.
The Apostle Paul also gives some quality traits for a woman in his instructions about the qualifications that a leader in the church should have (1 Timothy 3). We find those qualities in 1 Timothy 3:11: “In the same way, their [deacons] wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.” In other words, this is a woman that is not overly proud, knows when to speak and when to be silent, and is able to take her place beside her husband in confidence. She is a woman whose first focus is upon her relationship with the Lord and her own spiritual growth.
The responsibilities of marriage are greater for the husband, for God's order places him as the head of his wife and his family. This headship is modeled after the relationship between Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:25-33). It is a relationship based in love. As Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it, the husband is to love his wife as he does his own body. Therefore, a man's personal spiritual relationship with the LORD is of supreme importance in the success of his marriage and his family. Willing sacrifice, and the strength to choose to be a servant to the betterment of his marriage, are the marks of a maturing spiritual man who honors God. Wisely choosing a wife based upon biblical qualities is important, but of equal importance is a man's own ongoing spiritual growth and his surrender to God's will in his life. A man with his eyes on God and who is seeking to be the man God wants him to be will be able to help his wife be the woman God desires her to be and will be able to build the marriage into the union God, he, and his wife desire it to be.
Recommended Resources: The Ten Commandments of Dating by Young & Adams.