He Must be a Godly Man

I’m not sure at what age I expected to be talking to my children about getting married, but it certainly wasn’t 3. I was still teaching my son the proper uses of a crayon when he made known his desire to marry a girl from church. Having daughters of my own, my first reaction was to protect this young lady from a would-be suitor, even if he is my own son.

But how?

After all, the desire for a wife is a good thing. Wives are a gift from God, and at least he was considering a young lady from church rather than someone he met at the (monkey) bars. How could I find the balance between protecting her while providing guidance to him? I needed to find some biblical principles.

Principles are broad truths that can be applied to a variety of situations.

One benefit of parenting by principles (rather than by rules) is that it keeps things simple. A single principle (obey/honor your parents) can be applied any time we tell our children to do something. Instead of making endless rules for them to remember (you can’t touch the blinds, the door handle, the books, the oven, etc.), we can simply say, “Don’t touch,” and if they don’t obey, we remind them of the principle, “obey/honor your parents”.

The second benefit of developing principles is that it prevents me from creating arbitrary rules. When the principles are based on biblical truths, they aren’t based on my personal preferences.

 So, when my son announced his matrimonial goals, these are the requirements I gave him:


1.) He must be a godly man, and 2.) He must ask her father.


He is 5 now, and his plans are unchanged. Neither are the requirements. However, what has changed is that my second child, a 2 year old blonde-haired beauty has acquired her own set of suitors in the nursery. My requirements for them are the same.


1.) He must be a godly man, and 2.) He must ask her father.


In one fell swoop, I have been able to stay their marital advances for at least another 16 years by using the word “man”. I knelt down recently and told a toddler, “Sorry bud, she’s looking for a godly man, and you’re just a boy.” (That line will probably provide more personal satisfaction when I’m saying it to a teenager.) The “man” part of this requirement is easy. While there are many adult children, the masculine desire for autonomy coupled with a few hormones and the trials of living in a fallen world should be enough to make any boy into a man, eventually.

The hard part is being “godly”. Since God is perfect, and we will never be perfect (this side of heaven), how will they know if the standard for marriage has been met?

Well, since, I’m the one who threw down the proverbial gauntlet, it’s only fair that I provide some answers. Besides, it’s my responsibility as a Father to help train my son for godliness and to help my daughters recognize it. More than that, it’s my responsibility to model it.


These are the biblical principles that I’ve given my son in his pursuit of godliness:

1.) A godly man Worships.

2.) A godly man Works.

3.) A godly man Wars.

4.) A godly man Wins.


Over the next 4 weeks, I will unpack each of these principles, and, I pray that you will be challenged and encouraged as we strive together for godliness.

Note: While these posts will be written from the perspective of a father raising children, everyone can benefit from learning more about these character traits. Women also worship, work, war, and win, though often in different ways, and everyone is called to godliness.

-Jason Stiles




photo credit: Diana Stiles


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