He who finds a wife finds a good thing
And obtains favor from the Lord. (Prov 18:22)
From this opening passage, we know that it is a good thing to get married. We also know that such a union pleases God. The tough part is the process of finding and waiting that causes a lot of confusion.
In this article, we’ll try to address some of the common questions and issues that Christian singles often come across, and perhaps dispel some misconceptions about the process of making this big decision.
HOW DO I KNOW IF HE/SHE IS THE ONE?
Before we answer this question, it is important that we realize that God has laid down some basic guidelines for us in His word. God established marriage for us so that we may build each other up in our faith and raise godly children.
Through marriage, we are also able to better understand our relationship with God, and take closer steps towards Him each day. That’s why it is so important to marry in the Lord.
When we get to the appropriate time to think about marriage, we have to start off with these larger principles and constantly keep them in prayer as we seek out God’s help. Are we putting God as our first priority when we are looking for our spouse?
God’s intention for married couples is for them to have a companion to help them in their faith journey, for He knows two are always better than one (Eccl 4:9), and since His intention for marriage is good, the best thing we can do is ask for His favor and guidance.
He also looks for our motivation when we are choosing our spouse. He wants to see that we are choosing our spouse based on these Christ-centered principles and keeping our hearts open for His direction.
At the same time, we have to constantly grow in our faith and pursue our relationship with God. Before we can find a good spouse, we have to work on our own spiritual maturity.
God gives us free will to choose whom our heart is inclined towards, as long as we make the decision to put our faith and His principles as the foundation of our marriage, than we can have His assurance and blessing.
That is why it is important that we establish a close and intimate relationship with God first, so that we are attuned to His guidance. If we often seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance, it will work within our hearts and confirm our choice.
This is more important than always asking “Is he/she the one??The further we are from God, the harder it is and the more confusing it will be for us to find the answer to this question.
So it is not very beneficial to us to find out if a certain person is predetermined by God to be our spouse. What is important is that we put faith in God and make responsible decisions based on the principles He has given us through the Bible.
If we approach God faithfully and prayerfully, He will move our hearts with His Spirit to recognize that this brother or sister is a suitable person to continue our faith journey together.
WHAT ABOUT RELYING ON SIGNS?
A very important criterion when we look for signs from God is that we have to have much faith and be open to God’s guidance.
There have been cases where brothers and sisters pray very hard and are simple minded in their reliance on God and were blessed with a wonderful marriage. But the emphasis here is not so much the signs or revelation from God, but their simple faith and trust in Him.
The Lord very clearly showed Abraham’s servant that Rebekah was to be the woman he would bring home for Isaac, and this revelation was God’s blessing because Abraham chose to find a wife for his son who had the same faith and was not a gentile.
It was a simple process because it was based on a simple motivation—to marry in the Lord and to keep the faith within the household. When we seek the Lord and search for Him with all our heart, He will always be found by us (Jer 29:13), and this promise extends to every facet of our lives.
Unfortunately, many people are afraid to make choices or they don’t want to be responsible for their decisions. They expect God to tell them the answer by showing them signs and visions about which person they are going to marry. The intention is already off course.
We have missed the point if we have a lot of expectations and criteria in our hearts about who to marry, and then proceed to ask God for a sign that directs us to the person that meets those qualities, because that is not the purpose of signs.
We should not be fixated on specific revelations or divine intervention. This is not a prescribed method of God’s approval. Under special circumstances, God might encourage a couple with a sign or a dream, but that sign or dream should confirm with everything else.
If our intentions are skewed; indirectly, by relying on these signs, we are giving ourselves the false comfort that our choice is protected by God’s larger will to put two particular people together—self-validating our decision.
What’s worse than reading the signs wrong and having the wrong motivation is to discover, some time into the marriage, that this was not what we bargained for. More often than not, disillusioned husbands and wives would blame God for making the mistake; forgetting that they were also present at the wedding ceremony, and they also made the choice to say, “I do.?/p>
The Bible never teaches us to expect signs from heaven. What it does teach us is to love God and love others; desiring justice, mercy, and humility. These are some of the principles to go by.
WHAT AM I LOOKING FOR?
God made us in a way that man and woman are attracted to each other, and most people don’t go into marriage on a purely intellectual decision. If we based our choice mainly on attraction, then we may risk being sidetracked.
People have the tendency to look at superficial things—Is she pretty? Is he successful? Is she slim? Does he have a sense of humor? This is natural, but as we get to know a person more, we will discover things attractive about the person that is beyond appearance.
But if we are not able to look past the outward appearance to get to know someone for the invisible qualities they possess, than we have to re-evaluate our values, because what we are looking for is not the complete picture of love.
That is not to say that it is wrong to appreciate someone’s beauty or success, but if physical appearance is the foremost priority in our decision, over and above our relationship with God, then we have to go back to the biblical principles.
In some ways, our choice is a reflection of our values and our relationship with God—what we think is important in life and what is important to God.
It’s more also important to look deeper and understand a person’s relationship with God, with others, and potentially with us.
Here are some constructive questions to ask ourselves when we are considering someone for a spouse:
Does this person make an effort to draw close to God and to grow spiritually?
How is his/her relationship with others? With you?
Can I accept this person for who he/she is?
Do I share his/her goals and priorities in life?
What does he/she do with his/her time when he/she is alone?
How does he/she handle money?
How does he/she handle his/her body?
Making the right choice goes back to whether or not the person you are considering will bring you closer to God, and whether or not you are able to glorify God together in your marriage.
We all want to marry someone who looks good on the outside but, deep down, we have to get past the look and focus on the person’s relationship and character with God.
These are things that we should consider, and if we are really in tune with God, then we are able to make good choices.
Keep in mind that marriage is something that we have to work at on a daily basis, whether it is during the get-to-know-you process or after marriage, and how we communicate is just as important as how often we correspond.
Marriage is not often happily-ever-after right from the wedding day. It’s something that we all have to invest prayer, time, and sacrifice to make it work.
Even if our spouse-to-be is a very spiritual person, he/she will also face trials and low-ebbs in their faith. As long as both parties are committed to see each other through difficult times, then the relationship will grow deeper with time.
This is a very important command that God wants us to follow—that we should avoid sexual immorality before and after we enter into marriage (1 Cor 6:9).
God has mentioned many times that we should keep ourselves pure because He will judge the fornicators and the adulterers (Heb 13:4).
Surprisingly, keeping pure has a lot to do with how far we truly get to know someone and how clear we know that he/she is the one.
When we engage in a lot of physical contact, our minds are not thinking clear because we are focused on the pleasures of the flesh. If we are constantly pulled towards these desires, it’s hard for us to make rational judgments because we are focused on the pleasure and not on God.
Your body doesn’t know that you aren’t married and it won’t tell you that you should stop. It will only tell you what feels good and, when it feels good, it doesn’t remember that it is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19).
On the other hand, when we make the commitment to keep pure and keep away from physical closeness, we are exercising self-control. The Bible encourages us to be renewed in the spirit of our mind because this is true holiness (Eph 4:23, 24).
It’s nice to see that some couples buy each other purity rings to constantly remind themselves that they have made a commitment before God to keep holy and without a hint of impurity.
The Perfect Timing
There is a time for everything, and this is a very important element when we are considering marriage. Otherwise, if one side is ready but the other party is not, things often end with much heartache.
I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the does of the field,
Do not sir up nor awaken love
Until it pleases. (SS 2:7)
If we are not ready for marriage, we should not get involved with someone because we are curious about dating or what it would be like to be in a relationship. Our heart is our wellspring of our spirituality—if we give this up too early, we will find ourselves in regret.
It is important that we pray that God show us the right timing to know that both parties are ready and spiritually mature. This requires a lot of patience on our part, as well as wisdom from God. This would be a good time to practice waiting on the Lord.
The lack of patience is often replaced by pangs of worry and anxiety. Just like the case of purity, if we are filled with restlessness about our future marriage, it is hard for God to comfort and to lead us.
The Lord Jesus told us that even the grass of the field finds assurance in the Lord. How much more would we, being His special and chosen ones, find assurance in something that He instituted and deemed good? (Mt 6:25-31)
By waiting in patience for His timing, we are expressing our faithfulness and trust to the Lord.
When the timing is right, we will realize how smoothly things fall into place. When the timing is right, falling in love is a most beautiful experience.
There are going to be moments of fears and doubts—even at the altar. But God does tell us that He doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of love and of a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7). Having fears is very normal, but we need to overcome those fears by casting our anxieties onto our Lord Jesus.
As long as we keep going back to Him, God will give us the strength and assurance we need to know His will for our marriage.