LETTERS TO MY SON: can you trust this woman with your heart?

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.


The heart of her husband trusts in her and he will have no lack of gain.


Her husband can trust her and she will greatly enrich his life.


Proverbs 31:11

Dear Matt,

On July 15th, 1978, your dad and I stood in front of our friends and family to pledge the rest of our lives to each other. We made grand promises to be faithful, to love, and to honor forever.

While he held my hands in his, I felt just the slightest tremor go through your dad’s body. As if a moment of undeniable fear shook the length of who he was. And then he squeezed both my hands, fastened a joy-filled grin on his face, and held on tight.

And for the last 34 years he’s been hanging on tight, opening up his life to me, choosing to love me every day no matter what.

He trusts me.

I trust him.

We both trust God.


Someday you will stand in front of an invited group of your friends and family to pledge the rest of your life to a woman. But before you make those promises, you must be absolutely certain that you have found a woman you can trust.

And by that I mean a woman in whom you can wisely place your confidence because you know she has your best interests at heart, and because you know she believes the best in you and will handle your heart with the greatest of care.

And so, knowing your penchant for lists, I’ve come up with…


#1 Take a long time to get to know her.

Just as a man presents his best self to a woman as he’s dating her, so a woman knows how to hide her less-than-lovely parts in order to attract the attention of a man. And yet, as I’ve said before, the purpose of dating is find out what a person is really like and then ask yourself the question, Can I live with that? Can I thrive with her?

That takes time. Lots of time. You’re going to need to see her when she’s tired, when she’s discouraged, when she’s stressed, when she’s mad.

When she’s not perfect.

Because nobody is, my son. And so you’re going to need to take an honest look at her flaws and at your capacity to love her just the way she is.

And you’re going to need to be realistic about her capacity to love you just the way you are- and to even like you when she sees those flaws.

 #2 Listen to your fears.

The Hebrew word, a, translated trust here, “expresses that sense of well- being and security which results from having something or someone in whom to place confidence.” [1]

You need to be honest with yourself about how you feel in her presence. Can you trust her with your failures? Will she accept you as a man who is learning and growing, one who is being redeemed daily but who has not yet arrived? Does she get that?

Or is she “helping” God to fix what she doesn’t like about you? Making sure you know when you did wrong, what you should have done instead, what she surely would have done if she’d been in your shoes.

That will wear a man down faster than the worst kind of enemy.

Because, my dear son, every man needs and craves respect. And acceptance. And hope.

If you’re getting that nagging sense that you cannot trust her to think the best of you, listen to that fear because its not going to go away. 

#3 Look at her long-term relationships.

Do her friends blossom in her presence? Does she put people close to her at ease? Or do you get the sense that everyone around her is being ultra careful not to push her buttons or disappoint her?

How about her dad? Is she sassy or respectful?

What about her annoying little sister? Is she kind and considerate or rude and edgy?

#4 Observe her attitude towards others.

Watch especially closely how she responds to those in authority over her. Does she resent her boss? Is she always second-guessing people? Correcting them? Scolding?

The Scriptures unapologetically teach the loving authority of a husband over his wife. Has she learned how to do that when she doesn’t agree? 

#5 List what she likes about you.

I know, I know, I know, this point sounds egotistical. But the truth is, you need to marry someone who really likes you. A lot. And you need to know why she likes you. You need to know specifics; character qualities she notices, accomplishments she admires, strengths she observes.

While you are still dating you need to know what it is she sees in you and if she is able and willing to put herself out there to tell you.


Matt, it is no small thing to trust a woman. May God give you the wisdom and insight to see clearly.

And may He gift you with a woman who is so filled up with God that she can’t help but spill joy and hope and help onto you every day of your life.

From my heart,


Women, mothers, friends, girls, guys- do you have something to add?

Remember, we’re not talking perfection here, just that sense that a man’s heart is safe with such a woman.

I’d love to hear your take on this!







[1] Harris, R. L., Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., & Waltke, B. K. (1999). Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (101). Chicago: Moody Press.