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I don’t pray for my future husband

by Kellyn Roth |
April 12, 2021

[Note: this is an old blog post. The takes in this post may no longer apply to what the author currently believes and/or the information may be outdated. Please take all that is written here with a grain of salt.]

Hey folks! Good morning! How’s everyone doing?

I’ve had this post in my drafts for forever, and I figure my days of being able to publish it are coming to an end—so why not now? Let’s just do it. 😉

This is something I thought through as a teenager and have stuck to since:

When I’m single, I do not pray for my future husband.

I don’t pray that he’s all right. I don’t pray that he’s following Christ. I don’t pray that he is working his way toward me, that he is growing as a person, that he is doing all I want my future husband to be doing before I meet him …

I try, as best I can, to not even think about my “future husband.”

Why? Because, y’all, he might not exist! He just might not! And I refuse to pray for someone who doesn’t exist, someone imaginary.

I will pray for men in my life, whether or not I view them as a potential future husband.

When I’m dating, I pray fervently for my boyfriend (or even a male friend who might become a boyfriend), both for the potential relationship and for them as a person.

I pray that I will be godly in whatever relationships are brought to me.

I will often pray for the future outcome I want—even though I know, whatever happens, it is God’s will for my life.

But for my future husband, as a specific individual, when I don’t know anyone who might fit that roll? No. I do not pray for that person, and I never will.

Now that I’ve laid out my basic premise, let me go into detail about why I think it’s a bad idea to pray for a future “Someone” as a young lady.

1: It breeds unrealistic expectations.

We’re fallible human beings, and no matter how noble your intentions, some of that lack of reality is going to seep into your prayers – and therefore your thoughts, both aware and unaware.

When we pray for someone, they become a part of our world in a deep way. Bringing that fantasy of a perfect man waiting for you somewhere is not a healthy thing to do!

You’re essentially creating an imaginary “future husband” in your head and putting a legitimate effort into his “upkeep” (spiritually). That’s kind of messed up, don’t you think?

2: It cuts out the potential for singleness in your heart.

Praying for your future husband is like saying, “I don’t believe I could possibly be single.” And the truth is that someone people ARE going to go through life unmarried, whether they like it or not.

Look. I’m a big fan of marriage. I’d very much like to be married myself. However, that doesn’t mean it WILL happen. God is guiding my life in a perfect plan created by Him before the foundation of the earth …

And nowhere in that plan are we owed anything.

God loves us. He knows what’s best for us. But you DO NOT. You do not know what’s best for you.

There’s absolutely no harm in praying for something we want – that’s a big part of our relationship with God! – but praying as if that wish has already been granted and we expect nothing less?

I don’t know the hearts of everyone who prays like this, but personally … it feels presumptuous. We can presume upon God’s love and grace for us, but not upon WHAT that looks like in our lives.

3: It dishonors your ACTUAL (if such exists) future husband.

Essentially, God-approved infidelity? Yay?

*sigh* Look, y’all. I know a thing about creating fantasies and then watching them crumble. I do this even without this whole “pray for your future husband” thing.

You may feel like this is a bit of a big leap, but I don’t.

The fact is that your prayers themselves are not wasted. God is hearing them regardless, and He is taking care of you (and a potential future husband, should such exist) and building a relationship with you because of those prayers.

However … as you pray, I’ll repeat it again: you are human. And prayers are a kind of thought that really seep into our being.

Though it’s probably possible to avoid it, these prayers are going to breed expectations and thoughts about your future husband, and you are going to assign an imaginary existence to him, and you are going to feel a bond to that imaginary existence.

I don’t think this is universal, but I’ve seen how easily it can happen. And, compared to your imagination, how can any real man match up?

But is it ever okay to pray for …?

Well, all this said, I think there are prayers, many prayers, for single women who long for a relationship. However, they are not, “Lord, keep my future husband safe for me and make sure he’s all I want.”

The correct prayers would vary per the individual, but they’d be more like, “Lord, if it is Your will, send a man of Your choosing into my life.” “Help ME be all he NEEDS.” “Give me the strength and wisdom to follow Your guidance in whatever relationships You send my way.” “Keep my thoughts and prayers pure while I wait for Your next step.”

These are all excellent prayers, and there are many like them.

But praying specifically for your “future husband” daily is just going to lead to the issues I outlined above.

It’s really none of my business how you pray, however. That’s 100% between you and God, and He isn’t, from what I’ve heard, too picky.

If you’re continually seeking God on a daily basis, regardless of what you’re seeking Him on, that relationship work is going to go somewhere. He will work on your heart.

However, personally, I do not think it’s helpful to pray for an imaginary future husband.

And, as I noted before, if you’re not coming to God first whenever you DO get in a real relationship with an actual man, that’s a problem, too. Pray for your boyfriends, your boy (space) friends, and all the other men in your life!

Find out what their prayer requests are and actually pray for what THEY need prayer for. Keep the focus off YOU and on the MAN and GOD HIMSELF! So don’t pray, “Please let this guy check off every requirement on my list.” “Please let us start a perfect relationship.” “Please let him be the one.”

Instead, pray, “Lord, help me be a godly influence in his life. Please help him in the areas he needs; please help him grow toward you. Help me be selfless and loving to him, as a friend and then, if it is Your will, as a romantic interest. And help him, because I know he probably has the same doubts and fears I do.”

And so on.

Basically, focus off YOU and YOUR needs — focus on God and the man’s needs.

And I say this as someone who is guilty of the same problems. Oftentimes, when I first meet someone, my prayers are pretty selfish. “Don’t let me find anything horrible out about him.” “Just make it work together, God.” “Isn’t this taking a lot longer than I planned, Lord?” “Why aren’t You telling me what I need right now?!”

Yet that’s not the attitude we should be approaching relationships with. Any kind of relationship, but the romantic ones especially.

Marriage is not about someone fulfilling your needs, giving you hope, fitting a guy like a puzzle piece into the spot in your life that you’ve already prepared for him.

It’s about giving God control of the timing for a relationship that should be lifelong. It’s about selflessly serving—and, of course, finding someone who’s prepared to selflessly serve you in return.

And … there’s a lot more to marriage, of course. But we’ve gotten rather off topic.

In conclusion, I just want to say, you do you …

But as for me, I see no benefits of praying for a potentially nonexistent man—and, in fact, risking creating an imaginary human who does what you want and exists only if your fantasies.




What kind of praying do y’all do (or have done) for a future relationship? I’m curious to hear your perspectives on this topic!

What do you think of my thoughts?

20 Responses

  1. Interesting perspective. I prayed, not daily, but often for my future spouse because I knew God wanted me to. Unlike some, while I often doubted, God had given me peace that I was going to get married, that he was out there and that I needed to pray for him. In fact there were times that God woke me up and impressed on my heart very strongly to pray for my husband right then.

    But I do agree that you shouldn’t pray for him to be this that and the other selfishly. I prayed for his well-being, I prayed for God to grow him as a spiritual leader and I prayed that I would be the wife he needed. In times of doubt I prayed, if he’s out there, please be with him, etc., but ultimately in my heart, I knew he was out there.

    So while I agree that praying selfishly is wrong, I wouldn’t throw out praying for your future spouse completely. But that’s just my perspective ? My suggestion would be, as you said, to pray that you will be what you ought to be. And if Mr. Right is out there, that God will bless and keep him.

    1. That’s interesting! I personally never feel anything concrete from God, so I wouldn’t be able to trust any feelings I had (when, so many times, I’ve thought I knew something only for it to turn out that, once again, I was wrong about the intention!). Still more, I’m a very in-the-moment, grounded-in-reality type, so I imagine that’s another reason why I can’t imagine doing something like that!

  2. This was EXCELLENT, Kellyn! I have been under a deep conviction for years to not pray for “my future husband,” for all the reasons you outlined here. It was so good and refreshing to hear that I’m not the only one! I also appreciate your balanced viewpoint: you’re a fan of marriage, you even hope to be married one day, but you’re not going to dwell on it obsessively or let it govern your entire life. Singleness is not a “waiting game”–it is a good and important calling, and we should live FULLY into that calling regardless of whether or not we eventually get married one day.

    1. I definitely agree! There’s absolutely no use in becoming obsessed with the idea of a relationship as a single woman. The truth is, I don’t know exactly what my future may hold – and the idea of basing my life around this unknown idea is just not something I can do. I hope I can use whatever time I have unmarried wisely!

  3. I loved reading this! I’ve never prayed much for my future husband, and I’m honestly glad I didn’t. It’s not something I feel personally is important for me to do. And, after a conversation with someone I trust very much, I realized that it’s okay to let go of any ideas I had that someday, for sure, I’d marry. Because I’d say it’s very possible I’ll never marry, and that’s okay, because God called me to a career that isn’t so family-friendly. As of yet, He hasn’t called me to be a wife and mama. So I’m focusing on what I do know, not what I don’t.
    Honestly, the few times I tried (when I was younger) to pray for my future husband, it felt odd for me because it was so vague. And I’m not saying that it’s wrong to pray for them, though your points definitely make sense. For some people, maybe it does make sense and isn’t harmful. But it just doesn’t make sense for me, especially now that I’d say there’s a good chance I’ll be a happy single my whole life.
    Thank you for sharing this!
    –Abby Elissa

    1. Yup, that’s probably much me, too! I do feel called to be a wife and mother more than anything, at least in this present time, but that does not mean, when I’m single, I pray for someone who might not exist even though I very much would like at times.

  4. Interesting point of view, Kellyn. However, I think you are coming across as way too harsh for something that seems far more like a personal principle (which is entirely okay) and not at all a directive found in God’s Word. Yes, there can be a danger of unrealistic expectations. But there is also the benefit of not settling for anything less if you are looking for the kind of man God would send. It can cut out the potential of singleness. But it can also be encouraging for single women who want to be married. Just because you and I aren’t sure about marriage doesn’t mean that there are scores of young ladies who want to be married and have to teach themselves to wait with hope instead of dismiss the possibility of marriage out of hand. Also, to say that praying for anyone dishonors them is very incorrect. And to say you can have infidelity to someone you have not married is a dangerous water to tread. Yes, it’s good to remember that someone you might be dating might not one day become your husband and you shouldn’t do something your future husband wouldn’t want you to do- or the boyfriend’s future wife. But thinking that daydreaming about the potential of your future is in anyway infidelity is the kind of thing that might prevent a woman from even going on a date or doing anything that might lead to marriage because if she can be unfaithful with a thought, how much more with a relationship? Finally, if you think it is so terrible to pray for a potentially imaginary person, don’t. But since we are called to pray for all people, there runs a risk in possibly praying for someone who isn’t real in order to try and cover everyone. And I don’t think that risk is in anyway a sin or something God will hold against you at all. So many young ladies pray for their future husbands out of pure hearts, and it grows them in their relationship with God. Let them do so without giving them any hindrance, and if you feel guilty at all to so, then you don’t. It’s as simple as that.

    FYI, ever since I was a child, I have been praying for my future children because someday, when I finally adopt them, I want them to know that no matter what other neglect and grief they have faced, I have loved them from before I ever met them. If a woman wants to be able to tell her future husband the same, let her.

  5. That’s a very interesting perspective. I never prayed for my husband because I trusted God would take care of him without me interfering ;P while I have prayed for a husband to have certain qualifications (aka being bilingual), I also understand that it just may not be what God has in mind for me! But I pray anyways because God says to tell Him the desires of our hearts, so either He’ll change mine if they’re incorrect or He’ll fulfil them. 🙂 that’s my thoughts.

    1. I personally can’t see my way to praying for a future husband in any way, though of course I pray for friends and suchlike, but I think there’s definitely some room for a variety of prayers! And not like any of them would go to waste even if I were under the impression that some of them might be unwise.

  6. This has given me much to think on, Kellyn! I must say, I’ve never thought about many of these things that you’ve brought up, which is good, right? I can’t say I agree with EVERY point you’ve made (also good — we’re two different people! :D), but you’ve definitely made me think.

    I can say that I used to pray daily for a future husband when I was younger . . . and now that I’m a bit older and still single (I’m 25), I have a different perspective on this than 18 year old me did. I realized several years ago I was using this “prayer time” as a God-approved self-pity, woe-is-me, I-want-a-husband-now party, and that is just sinful. I fully agree with you that our prayers shouldn’t be selfish — and I was so afraid of focusing on the real needs of the guys around me (’cause of the whole purity culture thing, you know? To stay pure no friendships with guys, which means you really don’t even know what they need prayer for, anyways, and it’s all much safer that way, right?) — that the only things left to pray were selfish and shallow. But, being older, and prayerfully wiser, I can say that this isn’t the right attitude, and I have several boy (space) friends, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong in praying for them fervently.

    I think it’s a matter of our hearts as girls and what we’re praying and how we’re praying and what our attitudes are. I do think there are tendencies to “Christianize” a lot of sinful attitudes towards guys in general, or a certain guy in particular, using prayer as an excuse. But a person who sincerely desires to pray for a guy who might be out there, with a pure heart and a right attitude? I don’t see anything wrong with that, really.

    One prayer I pray daily is the same as the hymn writer Frances Ridley Havergal’s mother taught her: “Lord, prepare me for all that you are preparing for me.” And I often add something like: “And if that means marriage, then prepare me for it. Prepare him for it, and bring us together in Your perfect timing and way. If that means singleness, let me live every moment for Your glory.”

    1. YES! I absolutely agree with you on a lot of points – friendship between boys/girls, the whole issue with purity culture, the “God-approved whining” … you said a lot of what I was saying! And also that desire to Christianize things … *sigh* I see far too much of it in this life!

  7. I like a lot of what you’re saying but I think it’s equally unhealthy for a woman to pray that God would make her into “everything that he (her future husband) needs”. First of all, God is everything people need, not their spouses or possible spouses. I think that praying a prayer like that might lead someone into thinking she isn’t “enough” unless she’s the perfect wife and married to someone who sees her as such. In reality our worth is found in Christ, not in marriage. Why pray that God would shape your entire life into being the perfect companion for someone that might not even exist? I think it is better to simply pray that God would continue to lead you into maturity according to his will, and bring you into relationship with someone if and when it suits the Lord’s greater work in each of your lives. It’s important to keep in mind that the end goal of life is to love (and be loved by) God, not a spouse.

    1. I agree – as long as you’re single, I think it’s best to avoid praying as if anything specific is 100% going to happen because we can’t and shouldn’t predict that! However, the prayers that I was mentioning in the post that relate to a guy at all were meant to be for a woman who is in a relationship or about to be in one – which I should’ve clarified, but yup, that’s what I meant!

  8. My comment may never be seen but I agree with you a 150%. I have stopped praying for my future husband because I felt in my spirit it was bordering on witchcraft. I was asking God to make this individual into the person I want, when God doesn’t even do that to me, He gives me the choice to conform myself into the image of His Son Jesus Christ with the help of Holy Spirit. I was basically asking God to make my future husband into god for me, idolatry on the highest level. God is our Heavenly Father, He knows what’s best for our lives & it is us to either work with & accept His Perfect Will for our lives or sufger the consequences.

    1. That’s kind of how I feel, too! It was just wishful thinking on my part – I think some people may be able to do it with a pure heart, but I found it mostly was frustrating because no guy was ever going to amount to what I wanted. Plus, how was I to know that such a person even existed? So it just was never something I considered to be worthwhile.

  9. This is exactly what I’ve been going through! I’ve been encouraged to pray for my future spouse and I just find it strange because I have no idea if he exists! Also I heard growing up of people writing letters to their future husband and that also just feels weird.

    1. That feels strange to me, too! I’m now married, and I don’t think I could’ve prayed for him in a way that was effective – let alone written him a letter he wouldn’t have laughed at!

What do you think of my thoughts?

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