Choosing The Right Marriage Partner
The two most important decisions of a man or woman’s life are usually faced and resolved for better and worse – in adolescence; whether or not to follow Christ and who to marry.
The problem of choosing “the right person” to marry can occasion intense struggle and no little confusion in a young man or woman’s mind.
The question of “the right one” comes particularly strongly to those who do not believe in divorce who want to marry once,
Many young people look at the divorces and unhappy marriages that exist all around them and wonder whether they can expect any better. They observed seemingly mismatched couples and worry about making the wrong choice. They witness abusive relationships and fear becoming victims of a poor choice.
Many youth do make mistake in dating and marriage, and some of their mistakes are tragic. Very often, however, such mistakes are not the result of not find the right person but result from other causes.
Not Being the Right Person
Teens and young adults routinely make the mistake of looking for and praying for the right person to come along while giving little or no attention to being the right person. The young person who is not surrendered to God, who is not obeying the parts of God’s will that have been revealed. Instead of praying and working to become a young man or woman who is ready to make lifetime commitment before God, many frantically look for mate in every date – and so set themselves up for disappointment.
Looking for the Wrong Person
Similarly, some young men and women look for “the right one” without realizing they’re actually for the wrong one. They paint pictures in their minds of what “the right one” will be like. The list often starts with stunning physical beauty, self-confident charm, and impeccable manners, and may also include spiritual and social characteristics.
Having the Wrong Motives
Mistakes in dating and marriages are often the result of unwise even ungodly motives. Even Christian teens and young adults often seek a mate for the wrong reasons.
· Pressure Play. When a couple’s parents keep pushing them to marry, they often marry, or when one partner pressures the other one, they often marry…
· Meet My needs. Many people marry primarily to have their own needs met, rather than to meet the needs of their spouse. These needs may center on self-esteem, sex, emotions, fiancés, or other needs.
· Crisis Pregnancy. An untold number of couple marry each year because of crisis pregnancy. In some rare situations, this is best, but not in the most cases.
· After a Breakup. Often people marry soon after an painful ending relationship.
· Escaping Parents. Some marry because of a bad home life.
Nobody like to be forced into a relationship. Being “set up” for a date, or being continually hounded about one’s romantic life by since overbearing family members and friends can be unsettling, to say the least. And even though a person may want to be married someday, the often awkward process of finding the right person can seem to more bother than it’s worth. Add to that the risk of making a life-altering mistake, and the decision making process can be paralyzing.
In many parts of the world, a single youth do not have a choice about who to marry. Marriages are arranged by the family (usually the father), and brides are treated much family property.
Attitudes toward marriage continue to change. In highly mobile, urbanized cultures where family clans are not the chielf forces and fathers do not reign like kings, the decision-making process of bride and groom selection has shifted to the individual preference of the single people involved, though usually with the desire for family approval. But this has not always meant to the single person has made better decisions.
Single young people are all capable of getting married for the wrong reasons. As young person might enter marriage on the basics of romantics feeling alone or only cold facts.
The bible offers helpful principles that apply to young men and women.
How Can I know Who to Marry (Gen 24)
In order to get a complete picture of how we are to know to marry, we will look to other parts of the Bible as well, and we will organize our find under the following heading:
Old and water do not mix. A mouse and a boa constrictor would not make the best of friends. A person with a paralyzing fear of heights would not e a wise choice as a climbing partner to scale the slopes of Mount Everst. And a follow of Chrisst would not make a good marriage match with a nonbeliever
Why to bother over whether or not my spouse is a believer?
Nothing should be more important to you or to the person you marry than your spiritual well-being. Abraham knew that. He had his servant travel a great distance (over 400 miles) to find a spiritual compatible bride for his son. It was simply that he was protective and controlling father – he knew the lasting significance of marriage. Genesis 24 helps us to understand why. Abraham gave strict orders to his servant “ You will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac” Gen 24: 3-4.
Who are today’s Canaanites? The person you are planning to marry doesn’t go to church that promotes human sacrifices or sexual rituals and doesn’t worship fertility goes. The issue, though, is who or what is that person worshipping. Does the person in whom you have a romantic interest know Jesus Christ as Savior? And that Person living for him? Modern-day Canaanites are not always so obviously pagan. They can appear religious in a positive sense, but being religious is not enough. 2 Cor 6:14-15 states “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers…” If you are a believer the person you marry must be a believer too. Look for a person who knows Christ as Savior, and who gives evidence of spiritual growth.
What could go wrong if I don’t marry someone who is my spiritual equal? The law God gave Moses contained prohibtions against intermarrying with pagans of the surrounding nations. Deut 7:3-4 states “Nor shall you make marriage with them… for they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods.”
Solomon knew better, he misused his kingly prerogatives and married all sorts of foreign wives who served idols. As a result, “when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God.” 1 King 11:4 both Solomon and the whole nation suffered. Don’t allow feelings to lead you to trample on your relationship with the Lord.
It’s not easy to wait for someone else to give you what you desperately long for. Our entire lives seem to be a process of learning to wait in dependence on others. It all begins when we are infants – we want our milk, our blankies, our favourite stuffed… we have to learn again and again that we can’t have everything now. As Christians, we have to learn over and over that we must wait on the Lord, the One who provides all we need, It’s not an easy lesson for any of us, but we must teach our youth this principles. We have to discover that His timing is best, that He has everything under control.
What does the story of Isaac and Rebekah tell us about trusting god to provide? Abraham and his servant Eliezer give us the example to follow Gen 15: 2-6; 24-2-4). Abraham expressed his trust in God’s ability to lead Eliezer to the right woman for his son.
As long as we walk humbly submissively, and obediently, we need not worry that we’ll some miss God’s direction about which way to turn.
Why is God taking so long? You can be sure that any delay you may encounter is for good, not His attempts to torture you. It can seem as if God is leaving you hanging when you want nothing more than to get married and settle down. A young person can begin to panic when he or she hits the senior year of college or age when all of his or her friends are getting married. People can end up looking for a quick fix to their longings for a marriage partner. That needless to say, is extremely dangerous. God wants you to call on Him, walk close to Him, and wait on Him (Ps. 27 13-14)
Why do I need God’s help in choosing a mate?
Deciding to marry can be mind-boggling, life-altering choice, and it has deep and lasting spiritual impact. And most of people don’t realize what we are getting ourselves into. We need God’s help to prepare us for marriage and to help us select the person who will be the best for us (James 1:5).
According to the book of Proverbs, we take a giant step toward being wise when we choose to fear the Lord by showing Him the reverence and honor that is due Him (Prov 1:7; 2:1-11)/
How does the Holy Spirit guide my choices, thinking feelings?
This is a delicate subject simply because we are talking about less-than objective information. Even though the NT contains several examples of how the Holy Spirit can lead through inner impressions (Acts 8:29;11:28; 13:2; 21:11; 1 Cor 14:30), separating our subjective feelings or urges from the voice of the Spirit is not always an easy thing to do. You can be sure that the Spirit would never violate the clear commands of the Bible. The Spirit would never tell you to chose to marry an unbeliever, nor would He lead you to marry for money, nor would He guide you to marry in conflict with the principles of wisdom.
The Holy Spirit will guide you as you study the Bible, and He will give you sensitivity to what is right or wrong about a relationship. The inner prompting of the Spirit will be consistent with the truth and godly wisdom.
How should we pray for God to lead us to a husband or a wife? God is intimately interested in hearing your requests concerning this matter. As you bring your requests before Him and submit yourself to His direction, you can be sure that He will give you nothing but what He wants for you (Ps 37:4; Matt 7:7-12).
Thinking It Over
You need to be sure that the person you choose to marry ha the right qualifications to be your husband or wife. This is doesn’t mean that you should hand out test forms to everyone you date, but it does mean that you should be aware of what traits are desirable in a spouse, and perhaps most important of all – what you except from others should also be evident in your life.
What Character qualities are important for people entering marriage today?
Here are some traits young person looking for marriage should look for in others and develop in himself or herself:
Humility And Willingness To Serve. He or she should be able to live in harmony with others, be willing to associate with people of low position, not be conceited (John 13: 1-7; Rom 12;16). Above all, he or she should be willing to serve you.
Sexual Purity. Sex was designed for marriage. You should be saving yourelf for someone who has been saving himself or herself for you (Rom 13:13 – 14; Heb 13:4).
But what if you or the person you are interested in was sexually active in the past? Have you forfeited the privilege of a happy marriage? NO. You will have to deal with the emotional scars of those previous sexual activities, but gy God’s grace and mercy any person can be completely forgiven an purified by Christ (2 Sam 12:13; 1 Jn 1:9).
Sin never makes lawlessness okay. Our sin only makes us need God’s mercy and forgiveness more desperately.
The problem in your sexual past of your future marriage partner’s sexual past could be deep-seated personality issues. You would be wise to make sure that the past has been properly dealt with and that sinful behaviour patterns have been broken and abandoned. Otherwise, those same character weaknesses will reappear in the future and threaten your marital sexual relationship.
The Young person will be wise to talk over these issues with a youth pastor or a Christian counselor and make sure that the future partner have truly put the past behind and his/her committed to sexual purity.
Devotion To Christ. You should settle for not less than a believer who is spiritually sensitive to the Lord and desires to live for Christ ( 2 Cor 6: 14-18; Eph 4:17 - 5:20; Phil 3:7-16; 1 Jn 2:15-17).
Right Priorities. The one you choose to commit your life to as husband or wife should be NOT be committed to money, pleasure, or popularity (Eccl 2:1-11; 5:8-17; 6:1-12; Matt 6:33; Rom 12:2; 1 Tim 6:10; Heb 13:5)
Right Beliefs. Don’t marry a heretic! You don’t have to agree on every minor issue, but make sure that you agree on the biblical basics of sound doctrine (1 Jn 4: 1-6).
Commitment To The Church. God did not intend the Christian life to be a game of solitaire. He designed the church to meet our needs and for us to serve others. You should agree on this issue with your future mate (Eph 4:1-16; Heb 10: 24-25).
Loving Attitude. This is the most basic characteristic that every believer should posses (Jn 13:35; Gal 5:22; 1 Jn 3:11-20). Don’t marry a complainer! The wisdom of Proverbs warns us that being married to an irritable and contentious person can be torture (Prov 19:13; 21:9-19). Examine your relationship and see how you get along.
Self-Control. Does the potential mate show restraint when angered? Is he or she addicted to alcohol, drugs, food, sex, work, sports, or impulse buying? (Prov 23:20-21; 25:28; Gal 5:22-23; Eph 5:15-18).
Honestly. The writer of Proverbs said that “an honest answer is like a kiss on the lips” (Prov 24:26) If a person truly loves you, he or she will show that affection with honest words.
Beauty Below The Skin. The looks for attractive inner qualities in a man and woman; should we do any less? (1 Sam 16:7; Prov 11:22; 31:13; 1 Pet 3:2-5). Beauty is only skin-deep, but character goes right to the bone. You should find your mate to be physically attractive to you, but that’s not as important as inner attraction.
Responsibility. Don’t marry a selfish, lazy person who lacks the desire or the means to fulfill certain responsibilities.
Good Relationship With Parents. How a person relates to his parents will tell you a lot about his character. God places great value on showing respect and honor for parents (Eph 6:1-3).
Some people may expect perfection while others don’t expect enough. The problem with any kind of list (like the one above) is that we can make impossible demands on another person. Certainly the basic spiritual and character qualities should be there, but we cannot expect a person to be perfect.
Some sounds principles:
Look In The Appropriate Place. To find a compatible, spiritual wife, Abraham sent Eliezer to the logical place – his hometown (Gen 24: 3-4, 10). Eliezer didn’t go into a pagan Canaanite village to look for a wife for Isaac, just as it wouldn’t make sense for us to go to a Buddhist shrine, an atheist’s club, a Satanist church, or a singles bar to find a person who loves the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ask The Lord For Help. Elizier prayed about the marriage he was arranging (Gen 24:12) and he saw the Lord lead.
Don’t Base Your Decision On One “Sign.” Even though you may believe the sign is from the Lord, don’t throw out wisdom.
Practical Items to consider today
Study The Family. How a person gets along with parents and brothers and sisters will tell you volumes about this character. A son who “mistreats his father and chases away his mother is a son who causes shame and bring reproach” (Prov 19:26). A person who honors his father and mother (Eph 6:2-3) enjoys the favour of the Lord. Such a person shows the kind of character that you should want in a mate. How do his or her parents relate to one another? You can be sure that their example has left a deep impression on your future mate. Don’t forget to study your own family life and your parents’ marriage example. What you’ve observed may or may not be the type of marriage God want you to imitate.
Don’t Rush. Make sure you know yourself and the other person well enough to be certain that you are right for each other and ready for a lifetime relationship. (Prov 19:2; 29:20). Love at first sight is a myth. The only thing you can catch at first sight is a superficial attraction or a cold. Love takes times to grow and develop.
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© 2008 Christian Youth Counseling Ministry.