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Beards, brains, and flannel

I caught a snippet of conversation among some girls recently in a store. They were discussing the merits of young men of their acquaintance. It made me remember when I was a young girl and pondered such matters. One of our family's friends had a daughter my age, and when we got together, we had similar conversations. Like the girls I heard last week, my friend and I were particular to young men who would perhaps wield a chainsaw, wear flannel, and have facial hair.

When I met my husband, he was wearing a three-piece suit. But I still liked the way he looked. As I got to know him, I would discover that he met some of my other qualifications, such as wear flannel, sport a beard, and have a brain. 

These things about men which attract us as young ladies seem so important at the time, but once we grow up, we know that there are much more crucial things to consider when thinking about a future husband. If I had to advise a young lady about what to look for in a man, I would suggest she look for a man with a servant's heart.

My husband has a servant's heart, and it was one of the first things I saw in him when I really got to know him. He was kind and generous. He would do anything for you, often being inconvenienced in the process. He didn't look for accolades for what he did; in fact, he would take pains to not be noticed for it. He didn't hesitate when you asked him for help.

When we lived in Regina, Saskatchewan, my husband's work took him all over the province. One winter, he had a client in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, which is about two and a half hours away from Regina. He was on site there in February, around the time of my birthday.

He had promised our three year old daughter prior to going that he would be home in time to make breakfast in bed for me on my birthday. At dinner, the night before my birthday, he was not home. He was also not home when she went to bed. He wasn't home when I went to bed, either. They were finishing up the project, and he would be home as soon as he could.  

The stretch on the Trans Canada Highway between Swift Current and Regina is not like driving two and a half hours in southern Ontario. One can get in his car here where I live and drive a lot longer than that before he leaves behind the urban sprawl. Not so on that trip. It was a deserted highway, in the dead of winter, in Saskatchewan, in the middle of the night. And no, there were no cellphones. He told me later that he had kept the windows rolled down and the radio on because he didn't want to fall asleep at the wheel. But he had promised his little girl he would be home for her mommy's birthday breakfast, and so he was. And all was done without complaint and without fanfare.

There are a lot of things that are of little importance when it comes to a good husband. Whether or not he will wear a beard and own flannel shirts are rather inconsequential matters. What isn't inconsequential is whether or not he will be a servant. Will he struggle to put his family first? Will he struggle to keep his commitments? Will he complain when he does keep them? Will he want to do his acts of righteousness for selfish motives? (Matt. 6:1).

When we were little girls (and maybe not so little) we dreamed up ideal men, but we were not always the best judge of what was best for us, and we often worried about the wrong things. The fact that my husband is a flannel-wearing, beard growing man who is really smart is nice, but honestly, what means more to me is his servant's heart. God always gives us what is good according to his plans, even if it isn't what we think is good. I'm grateful that even though "servant's heart" wasn't on my list of the "ideal" man, it is today. And I'm grateful to God for teaching me that lesson.

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Reader Comments (2)

"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain." I know this was written with women in mind, but I can't help but think there is an application for how women perceive men. All the looks in the world can't make up for lack of character.

November 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPersis

Yes, Persis, I was thinking the exact thing about that verse applying to men, not just women.

November 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKim Shay

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