Most girls have either in their possession, or stored away somewhere special, a list of what their ideal man would look like. He has to be tall, handsome, similarly matched to you in spiritual and mental levels, and love you even on the days that you look like a train wreck Am I right? Yet when you ask guys what they would like in a future bride, they throw out the phrases "A Godly woman," or "Someone I could take home to my mom." Which leaves us girls scratching our heads in wonder of what that even means. What does future bride material even look like these days? Let's take a stab at trying to unravel this mystery.
Step 1: Why do you even want to know? Do you want to know what future bride material looks like so you can change your ways and be incredibly attractive to guys? Or, do you want to know so you can work to be the best you can be for your husband? In the words of Elizabeth Botkin, "Do you want to know because you want to help a man? Or because we want to catch one?" To want to get married is a good want - one put in your heart by God. Yet some girls think that the man she's going to marry is going to be the answers to all her problems. Unfortunately, although it would be pretty wonderful, your future husband is not going to ensure that you are never lonely, always feel pretty, and won't ever feel sad again. Why? Because that is what God does for us. And if you go into a marriage expecting that is what a guy is going to do for your life, I really am pitying that poor, poor guy.
Step two: Don't act out of character.
Let's say you bring a wonderful, Godly man home for dinner one night. You, of course, put on your best face for him. Your wanting to let him see how great your family is and how absolutely wonderful you are. So you hug your siblings and pick up after dinner, and laugh at all your brother's corny jokes. It's so picture perfect. Until the brother whose comedic routine you usually ridicule calls you out, saying, "Boy, you should bring this guy over more often. You NEVER usually treat us this way." Ouch. Learn from this mistake. You should be working on becoming a girl after God's own heart because God loves you. Not because it'll look good when a guy comes over. Help your parents out around the house because your love them. Not because you love the idea of how impressed a guy would be. Goof around with your siblings, and don't tear them down because you value your vocation as their sister - NOT because you can't wait to show off your siblings skills to then next guy who comes along. In the end it boils down to this: If you didn't end up getting married, would a solid and love-based relationship with your family be that bad of a thing to have? Hint, the answer is no.
Step Three: Who are you REALLY trying to impress?
Are you going to morning Mass because you are hoping to catch a great marriage prospect's eye on the way up to Communion? Or are you going because you love the amazing things God has done for you already? You also have to look at the effects this facade is going to have on your future marriage. Is putting on a mask in efforts to catch a great husband really going to benefit your relationship? What's going to happen when the mask strings fall off and he's left with a girl who is completely different than the one he thought you were? Solve the problem before it occurs by just not putting on a mask. Your future husband is going to be much more blessed by a girl who is genuinely trying to pursue God with her whole heart, despite her flaws, than a "perfect" girl putting on a show.
Step Four: Working on your side of the deal
While our lists go on and on about how a guy must look, talk, act, pray, think, and walk, we also make sure to include that he must love and value us, even when we don't care about our appearance and walk around all day in sweats. Hold the phone...what? Talk about unfair - for the guy! If such a wonderful guy walked in the room, tall dark and handsome and lookin' for a bride, would he even take a second glance at you? Perhaps we would do ourselves justice if we would stop worrying about what a great guy this future groom of ours must be and start looking at our own heart and trying to get all of our own stuff in order. The point is that we don't really want to guy that we probably deserve. We always will want better, so we should focus on improving our own lives instead of mapping out what he should be doing. We're human, which (thanks Adam and Eve!) also means we are sinners. We're not naturally wonderful and desirable. We can be pretty rotten, actually. If we're doing the right things for the wrong reasons, it's like pasting modest clothes on a barbie doll and hoping that guy won't see past our facade and get down on one knee.
To sum it all up: As young women, we shouldn't be trying to live such a life that would make us incredibly desirable by our future husband. What we should be doing is living a life that is "worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Col. 1:10).