Number One Red Flag For Men

Number One Red Flag For Men

Recently, I listened to a man give red flags for men concerning women. According to him, the number one red flag that men should be aware of is a woman who doesn’t have a good relationship with her father or has an absent father due to divorce. I can agree with him on this one. No, it doesn’t mean that every woman who doesn’t have a good relationship with her father can’t have a great marriage but hear me out.

My mom and dad fought all of my growing up years. I was close to my mom and distant from my dad. She shared all of the things with me that made her angry about my dad, so I grew up almost despising him. I got married when I was 22 years old. We fought a lot. I was far from being a loving and submissive wife to my husband. I would see other women who were loving and submissive to their husbands and think they just had a better husband.

It wasn’t until I read Debi Pearl’s book Created to Be His Help Meet that my eyes were opened. I then had to go about learning to be a loving and submissive wife and it wasn’t easy. It sure didn’t come naturally to me.

Let’s say a man has two choices for a woman to marry. One was raised with a godly mother who lovingly submitted to her husband, and this young woman has a close and loving relationship with her father. The other choice was like me. The woman even felt bitterness towards her father. Which one do you think this man should choose? Of course, he should choose the one who was modeled a godly marriage. Everything we are taught and modeled as children comes much easier for us as adults. If we were trained/modeled to be submissive, then it’s more natural to do this in marriage. If we were trained/modeled to be contentious/quarrelsome, then it’s more natural to be like this in marriage.

Just as women are told to look how a potential husband treats his mother, it’s wise for men to see how a potential wife treats her father, if she has one. If she has no relationship with her father or a poor one and is filled with bitterness towards him, it’s a huge red flag; for we are warned by God that “bitterness defiles many” (Hebrews 12:15).

We are told in God’s Word to raise up our children in the way they should go. Parents who raise their children modeling to them a godly marriage are giving their children a much easier time when they grow up in their own marriage. I watch the Duggars’ and the Bates’ daughters and I can see that it’s easier for them than it was for me since they were all modeled great and godly marriages by their parents. It’s doing your children a HUGE favor to train them up in the way they should go, yes, even concerning a marriage relationship. It’s a lot more difficult to train ourselves as adults but yes, it can be done through Christ’s power working mightily within us!

I am not writing this post to discourage all of you who weren’t close to your fathers or even had no father in your life at all since single motherhood and divorce are rampant and ever growing in our culture. It’s just to help you understand that it will most likely be more difficult to be a loving and submissive wife to your husband or future husband, but it CAN be done because with Christ ALL things are possible!

Find healing by learning who you are in Christ. Read Romans 6 and 8 over and over again until you believe what Christ accomplished on the cross for you. Understand that once you believe, you are a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). Don’t hold ANY bitterness towards your father. Be in God’s Word daily, too, since His Word is what will transform you (Romans 12:1, 2).

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:10-12

34 thoughts on “Number One Red Flag For Men

  1. Amen so true. Raising kids right and modeling a godly marriage is so huge for them. Teaching our daughters how to submit to authority, telling her that her future husband will be in authority over her, showing her good homemaking skills. Raising our sons to be men and not passive, having godly leadership and hard work ethics to be a good provider. So crucial for kids to have a good example.

  2. My mother was of the discontent quarrelsome type. My father never did anything right in her eyes and she complained constantly. My father was very passive and I couldn’t understand why he never took up for himself. I admired that he was a mostly loving and gentle man. But he looked weak to me. I definitely carried all of this into marriage. I was the “strong and in charge” one.

    THANKFULLY, as you describe, WE CAN OVERCOME THIS! At first I had to consciously practice deference to my husband. And softening my tone. And just saying nothing at all sometimes!

    Over time…months…now years, it has become second nature. Every once in awhile I slip up and literally hear myself sounding ugly and I check it right away!

    It was by God’s grace and my committed decision to live in HIS WILL that I have been able to do this. It’s never too late!

    1. This is basically my story. Thankfully I didn’t marry a passive man who was willing to take the kind of stuff that’s been passed through my maternal line! Dana, thanks for sharing.

  3. This is why I read this blog faithfully, and I am convicted daily.

    My girls have a wonderful father, who is a blessing to me as my husband. I’m so thankful, BUT when Lori says the feminist mindset is prevalent and the roots grow deep, I feel it in my own heart.

    It’s not out of a contentious spirit, I dislike conflict, but when anxiety strikes, I find myself doubting my husband’s ability to lead in certain areas. I see raising our children as my “job” (my mother worked my whole childhood, and for a time, was the main breadwinner salary-wise even though my father was more educated), so when it comes to their needs, opportunities, success, etc.,

    I feel it’s my responsibility to take over. I use the “my husband works long hours to provide, I’ll take the emotional responsibility (leadership) off his plate in this/that area” justification.

    My biggest concern is how they’ll remember our interactions-we actually have a very solid marriage, but I know they’ll remember Mommy’s tone, and while it feels like my arguments are for their best because “I know best since it’s my job”, my delivery needs a ton of work! While I’m very thankful to be a SAHM and teaching them the value of money, there are other areas of submission that

    I must improve on.

    Keep on teaching us Lori, I know I really need it!

    1. I agree with you. Growing up, my father was the passive one and my mother the more domineering of the two. Now, my husband is definitely not the passive type and during the early years of our marriage I struggled greatly with this as I had never been taught to submit, and my own mother would encourage me to stand up for myself. I certainly resented my husband’s strong-willed personality early on. But after learning and practising the beauty of submission I am ever so thankful that my husband is a natural born leader and that he isn’t the passive husband or father! And I can see what a powerful effect this has on our children as they definitely respect their father; you can see it in the way they respond to him. I pray this will lead to happy and healthy marriages in the future for my children.

  4. This is very true. I would say also to look at the relationship between the girl’s mother and father. For example, in my situation, my mother was 100% in charge of the house. So I didn’t have a bad relationship with my father, but that was because he simply had nothing to do with our home or how I was raised. He never tried to exert any authority over me. If he had, perhaps there would have been tension – I don’t know. But since my mother was 100% in charge, I simply didn’t consult with my father about any decisions. From the outside, it might have looked like I was in a good situation as regards to the red flag of “how a girl treats her father,” but in reality it just had the veneer of healthiness because I had little to do with my dad. In my case, looking at the relationship between my mom and my dad (rather than my relationship with my dad) would have been the red flag.

    And, while one can change, it’s INCREDIBLY hard to do, and one has to want to do it. And one’s default is, too often, the bad pattern with which one was raised. Men should definitely pay attention to red flags.

  5. My parents fought a lot during my childhood, and it sounds similar to how you described your childhood, Lori. My dad has no patience and a bad temper (not a good combination), and my mother constantly complained about him and his faults. I used to wish they would divorce because I thought maybe they would each be happier that way, although now I appreciate the fact that they temained married. However, that being said, they have a miserable marriage. My dad is not blameless by any means, but I often wonder how different their marriage and lives could be if my mother would learn to be a true help meet to him. Because of their bad example of marriage, for a long time I did not want to get married because I just assumed that’s how all marriages are. I also was promiscuous for several years before I met my husband, which is the biggest regret of my life. My mother was not encouraging at all in this area- in fact she laughed at me when I told her at age 17 that I wanted to wait until marriage. She told me that sex before marriage wasn’t a big deal as long as we loved each other. I have a rocky relationship with my parents right now and looking back on it, I realized it’s because I’ve been angry at my mom all these years for her horrible advice, and the impact this had on the decisions I made about guys and sex.

    My husband and I have been married for a little over three years now and it has not been easy, because of my upbringing and bad past experiences. I was not prepared to be a godly wife at all. God has truly blessed me with a man who is patient, kind, and loves the Lord. He is a better husband than I could have ever imagined, and I know don’t deserve his love. I have so much to learn about what it means to be a godly, submissive wife and mother, and I often get discouraged. I find myself getting caught up in feelings of anger, bitterness, and resentment toward my parents for the difficult childhood I had. They did a great job at taking care of me and my siblings physically, but emotionally and spiritually, and in terms of how to live as happy, confident, independent adults, they taught us nothing. I have three siblings and all of us are struggling in our own ways: two with divorce, and one with anger and bitterness issues, like myself. As someone commented earlier, it is an ugly thing, and I realize that if I don’t get a handle on it, it will destroy my family just as it destroyed my parent’s family. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated! And thanks for your faithfulness in posting this blog each day, Lori. I look forward each day to reading and learning from you!

  6. I was very blessed my parents had a great marriage. We saw two adults who loved each other and cherished their relationship. My Mum ran the household and we knew Dad was her back-up. Most decisions were made by him, especially the weighty ones. They never argued in front of us either, they would go to their bedroom and shut the door to talk serious. I really feel if more parents could model this for their kids they would in turn have decent marriages. Parents today are so self absorbed and can be incredibly hateful toward one another. Respect for each other is out the door these days.

    I work with disadvantaged kids now that my kids are older. I can tell you that the girls without fathers and boys without fathers have a really distorted look on what family relationships are supposed to be like. Our foster care systems are overloaded and taxed! We need solid Christian parents to step up and help with these lost kids. The world is suffering greatly because these kids don’t know what a family or relationships are supposed to be like.

    Spot on post, Lori.

  7. This is so true. As a bride to be and thereafter a newlywed, I got so much advice on how to have a happy marriage from so many people, some of it unsolicited and most of it contradictory depending on who gave it, and quite frankly in the excitement of the celebration and novelty of married life, I forgot almost all of it, but one piece of advice from my mother’s elder sister (who’s been married longer than my mom) stood out and was indelibly imprinted on my mind, so much so that I have never forgotten it and it has never steered me wrong. My aunt said to me, “you have watched your father and mother’s marriage all your life, as have the rest of us. You know what kind of wife your mother is. If you strive to always treat your husband the way my sister treats your father; you will undoubtedly be a successful wife and you will have a happy marriage.” I can sincerely say that my husband loves my father and mother dearly because of the work they put into their marriage because it’s a blessing to his marriage.

  8. WOW!!! I’m so glad my husband of twenty happy years did not see my absent father “Red Flag” as a reason to toss me when we first met!
    My father suffered from mental illness and was also an alcoholic. He kicked my mom and I out of the house when I was a baby. I was never able to have a relationship with my Father because he was not mentally stable enough for me to safely have a relationship with him. I did have two wonderful father figure role models in my life, my grandfather and uncle. They displayed what it was like to be Godly leaders in their family. My grandmother and aunt displayed wonderfully what is was to be a Godly wife to a husband by honoring my grandfather and uncle in every aspect. My mother never bad mouthed my dad. I knew the truth about him but my mom told me the truth about him with love.
    I think a better way to put this “Red Flag” would be if the woman had no Godly male role model in her life.
    I know you said there are exceptions to women with this red flag. But just wanted to share my Red Flag story and say I am the exception.

    1. Many women seem to misunderstand this post and what I am trying to teach. Most of us have wounds from our childhood, some are worse than others like being fatherless. I am teaching them that they can overcome these wounds! What can be wrong with this? Many women are much too easily offended, take everything personally, and fail to see the larger picture.

      1. Lori, I totally understand your post. I do however disagree that this is the number one red flag for men. This is such a broad subject because there are so many red flags you can’t possibly put them in #1and so on rank. If you feel there should be a number one ranked red flag, it should be what is her relationship with her Heavenly Father. Even though I have the no father red flag it was not a red flag for my husband, because it was obvious the awesome relationship I had with my Heavenly Father that radiated through me in my actions and lifestyle that he knew I would be a excellent Godly, submissive wife.

        1. Oh absolutely, Lori was just saying what guys are saving about the number one red flag. A woman can’t help how she was raised but statistics do show the difference unfortunately. Its so awesome that you turned out well. God has to be number one in marriage and a woman who is really following what God’s word says is a catch.

        2. Excellent comment, Tamara.
          Some “man’s” #1 red flag, without knowing the source, shouldn’t be the final authority on the matter. I went on to YouTube, typed in red flags for marriage, found the first Christian message I could, opened it to find 8 red flags that pertain to both men and women regarding character & work ethic.
          It was a great blog article, but no woman should be dismissed due to her parents’ interactions, which is completely out of her control.
          If a woman gives her life to the Lord, walks in truth, and seeks to end the cycle and works diligently to follow Biblical mandates for women, a godly man will see her diligence, realize what she’s overcome, and benefit from her strength and submission to the Lord.

        3. I think this is a good red flag to look out for, for BOTH genders. Men raised without fathers, especially dead beat dads, abusive dads or if they in any way resent their dad honestly either one of their parents can affect theor characters in major ways. They themselves can be abusive, loud, overly controlling, and certainly not someone I would want to submit to.

  9. Great post, and it is very important to note a woman’s attitude towards her father, if he was Godly. Very rarely are there Godly men in charge of homes, and so women learn to seize control, and they don’t easily relinquish it in marriage.

    I would add a 2nd Red Flag, nearly as important, if not more so than a woman’s relationship with her father.

    If she is to be married, does she believe in birth control. If she does, marrying her will likely be a disaster, as she will constantly fight for control. If a woman thinks she should control how many children she should have, there are few other areas she won’t fight for control in as well.

    Almost universally, you’ll find a woman who is willing to have as many children as God gives her in marriage, has a lot of faith, and is a wonderful and loving woman. It doesn’t matter how pretty or how she flatters with her words, if she won’t obey God in the most central area of marriage, she is dangerous to pursue for marriage. If all men agreed that women ought to have as many children as possible in marriage, women would jump to do it. The problem is our nation is full of men who are selfish, inconsiderate libertines, who adore their sexual pleasures without responsibility than they adore the precious blessings that God creates in children. The former destroys individuals, the latter brings peace and prosperity long term.

    1. That’s true. I know young men who are having a hard time finding a godly wife who wants to put raising children over their careers. Even most Christian woman are feminist these days!

    2. Unfortunately, most men, even Christian men of today believe in birth control. Most of the men I know do not want a lot of children either. Birth control has destroyed what God created sex for. I believe that most Christian married couples are in sin when they have sex because it is approached from a mindset of no responsibility, just pure fun because of birth control. Their mindsets have cheapened what God made sex for. If married couples approached sex with the mindset of God husbands may no longer feel sexually deprived and wives would no longer feel resentment when having sex with their husband.

    3. I agree with you 100% about birth control, but one point of contention:
      “…a woman’s attitude towards her father, if he was Godly.”
      That qualifier is incorrect. The commandment is not, ‘Honor thy Father and Mother IF…’ It’s just honor thy father and mother. Full stop. Adding a qualifier creates an excuse for everyone in the world who just doesn’t feel like following God’s commandments. ‘Well he wasn’t a godly man, so that doesn’t apply to me.’ Learning how to forgive and to honor even when the person with the God-given authority falls short is an extremely important aspect of womanly submission. If she disqualifies her father’s authority because he wasn’t ‘godly’ in her opinion, you can be darn sure she’ll do the same to you when it suits her.

  10. I love this post. I may even add that women who don’t have a relationship with a father figure fit into this category of red flag. My father died before I can remember. I grew up in a single-parent household and admired my mother to some extent. She would say she was doing the work of a mother and a father and I would quip that we should celebrate her on Father’s Day as well as Mother’s Day. Despite the well-meaning behind these interactions it mirrors the homosexual agenda by minimizing the role of the father. Could my mother do the job of both? Then I would have said yes but now I say no. No. It was not her job or her place to be a father and it took away from her important role as a mother. I have struggled greatly in being a godly and submissive wife. I’m grateful my husband picked me. I am CERTAIN he could have found an easier marriage with a different woman. I was a red flag.

    I appreciate the encouragement that change is possible.

    1. The best thing a single mother can do is to try the best she can to involve strong, godly male figures into her children’s lives like uncles, grandfathers, coaches, godly men at church, etc. Children do need strong, godly male figures in their lives!

  11. Good Heavens, I’m glad I’m not married to many of the commenters here. “I’m glad my husband isn’t passive and stands up to me…” REALLY??? Have you considered it shouldn’t be incumbent on him to stick up to you? That is craziness. I didnt receive this wonderful advice before getting married and chose poorly. I did try to stand my ground with my wife for a while, but a man cannot out debate a woman. She has won the battles, but lost the war. I stopped engaging, discussing, arguing, etc. And checked out from marriage. I might throw a jab now and then, but for the most part I hated life and being married. I wish I had a do over button to pick again. You really need to check your attitudes and deeply ponder if your combativenes is submission. It wont take long to come to that conclusion if you are honest with yourself.

  12. My mom divorced my dad because he was abusive in every possible way. At first I found it hard to trust any males in my life (I don’t mean boyfriends, just men in general). Then, a friend introduced me a a lovely, hardworking man. He was so different! We were friends for a long time before I realised that I loved him. And I actually proposed to him! We have now been married for 25 years, and have 2 beautiful children. I still have issues steming from the abuse, but my husband helps me through it. My mom couldn’t deal with the devastating losses she suffered, and took her own life. So although I had a terrible childhood and was abused by my “dad” (and I use that term loosely), and even his “friends “, I love my husband deeply. I never saw my dad again, though I heard later that he was charged with rape. I even didn’t go to his funeral.

    1. I am sorry you were so badly mistreated by your earthly father. I hope you’ve been able to turn to your heavenly Father. It is great you found and married a good man! I don’t think this post should be taken as saying you’re a pariah; maybe consider it in the light of what you’d tell your kids about choosing a spouse. Experiences like yours can produce deep wounds, and it is good to be aware of that.

    2. I am so sorry you went through that abuse and so sorry your mother went through that abuse. She ABSOLUTELY did the right thing by leaving him and anyone who tells you that God would look down on your mom leaving your father for that reason, does not know God.

  13. I think a lot of women are getting defensive because they are taking this too literally… Everybody has red flags. A red flag doesnt necessarily mean avoid at all cost, it can just mean to be cautious. To really, really think about it before jumping in to marriage. Having no good ans godly model for marriage IS a red flag! Both my husband and I didn’t have good models for marriage. My mom ruled (and still does) the house with an iron fist. I love my dad and have a good relationship with him, but I have lost respect for him in some sense because he does not rule his own house. My husband grew up without a father and has a bad relationship with his mother because of it. As a result, our marriage can tend to have a lot of problems. We love each other, but it’s very difficult to stick with God ordained roles because of our pasts. But like Lori said, with Jesus all things are possible… Even overcoming terrible examples for marriage. It’s a process, and it’s not easy, but it’s so worth it!

  14. There are three things that I can say that my father taught me: the Lord’s Prayer, how to sit when wearing a dress/skirt, and to never stack a book or anything else on top of the Bible. I honour him in that I still follow all of these rules to this day.

    Growing up my father loved cracking jokes, he was physically strong and could walk for miles, he was afraid of nothing and I always felt “safe” around him though we lived in dangerous KCMO. When I was in second grade, he told me and my siblings that he could walk on walls! We begged him to show us but he never did. Despite having never seen my father walk on walls, I went to school and legit got into an argument because this kid told me that my dad couldn’t walk on walls. When I look back at these memories, I smile.

    Another thing about my dad is that he was a serial cheater. I have two half-sisters, one who is just three months younger than me, the other is turning 9, due to my father’s infidelity. My mother suffered a stroke and didn’t even know it until years later because my dad would yell at her for hours almost daily for any and everything. The only time he was happy was when he was high (cannabis). He was also very jealous.

    When I was 8 I saw my father push my mother so hard that she fell flat on her back. When I was 11 years old I saw my father swing at my mom. When I was 15, my father walked out on us for good, on my autistic brother’s 16th birthday. He told my brother that he was going to get his cake and never came back. That same year, he got remarried on his birthday and I haven’t seen him since.

    I say this not to make anybody feel sorry for me, and certainly not to make anybody hate my father, but to encourage women who have had GOOD REASON to shame their fathers, that they can STILL obey God by honouring their dads.

    I have since forgiven my father and even called him last year for Father’s Day and plan to do the same this year. As Christians, we are called to forgive 70 x 7! I love my father, and I hope one day that he repents and put his trust in Jesus Christ (he is religious but not saved).

    Cry out to God, women. Ask Him to teach you how to forgive your fathers. Don’t let your bad example by your father cause you to mistreat your husband.

    Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. (Colossians 3:12,13 KJV)

  15. Both my husband and myself were raised in broken homes. Both of our parents had multiple marriages and divorces after the first divorce. We married anyway and over the years learned together how to make a successful home and marriage. Yes, it would have been easier if we had had role models of a good marriage in our families. We modeled ourselves after grandparents and our vision of what we did not want our marriage or our children’s childhood to be. There are still hard things. The broken relationships of our parents’ generations became very stark after a recent severe illness and quick death of a family member who died too young. Seeing this only confirmed our belief that we need to stick together through thick and thin in order to ensure that our children will not have to deal with the same issues. Don’t discount the children of divorce. We truly cherish and value family life and relationships despite a troubled, difficult childhool.

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