(Editor's Note: This article first appeared in the June 2022 print edition of The Stand.)
Single Christians face many fears and doubts when seeking the Lord’s will about whom to marry. After all, Christians desire to honor God above all in every decision of their lives, especially one as important as choosing a spouse. And there should be a certain amount of sobriety when it comes to taking this step. Marriage is an institution crafted by God Himself as a means of fulfilling His will and demonstrating His glory. It should be handled seriously and with care.
However, many of the fears and doubts surrounding this decision are unnecessary. Young Christians who want to step in line with the will of God are often paralyzed by the idea that they could pursue the wrong person. They are terrified that they could miss the one single person out there that God specifically chose for them – their divinely appointed soulmate. It seems at times to be a one-in-a-million shot at choosing Mr. or Ms. Right.
But is it?
Single Christian, it is time to stop searching the skies for a heavenly neon arrow pointing out God’s chosen one for you to marry, and instead ask yourself these three questions.
1. How is my relationship with God?
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot (Romans 8:7, NKJV).
You must start here. If your relationship with God has grown cold, distant, or lacking in any way, how can you expect to have the judgment necessary to choose a spouse, much less to be a godly spouse yourself?
When our relationship with God is not what it should be, our hearts and minds become numb to His will. Our desires change from godly to worldly.
How can you remedy a relationship with God that has become unhealthy? Well, Christian, you need to do the same thing today as you did when you first found salvation in Christ – repent and believe. Wrestle with the Word of God in prayer. Apply every shred of truth in your Bible to your life. Do this, and you will find that the Holy Spirit within you is quick to renew the closeness between you and God.
You don’t have to wait until you are a perfect Christian before you pursue marriage. (You’ll never be perfect this side of eternity.) But you should be making steady strides in your walk with God.
If the idea of setting your relationship with God in order before you pursue marriage makes you balk, then that’s a clear sign you should not be seeking marriage at this point.
But if you see that you are making spiritual progress and there is someone in your life with whom you are interested in building a relationship, ask yourself question 2.
2. How is his or her relationship with God?
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm (Proverbs 13:20, NKJV).
Again, I cannot stress enough that you should not be searching for a perfect Christian spouse. That person does not exist. But the above passage from Proverbs lays it out in simple terms: Does this person demonstrate wisdom or foolishness?
Ladies, you can see by the way he lives his life what he loves. If he wastes all his time and money on the things of this world, then his heart may not be bound to God. If he can only speak harshly of others in the church, then he may not love the bride of Christ. If every word out of his mouth is empty and idle, then his mind may not be on heavenly things.
Guys, is she a conduit of God’s grace to you now, or does she instead tend to distract from the pursuit of righteousness? Will she be a helpful, godly companion in your life as you follow Christ, or will she drag her feet and dig her heels in, unwilling to follow as she ought to? If she is the latter, this is either not the time or the girl to marry.
You may now be interested in someone who is clearly following God at a halfhearted pace. It would not be a good idea to try to “disciple” this person into the one you should marry. You aren’t the Holy Spirit, and you cannot transform someone else in that way. Instead, pray about your interest, your motives. Be a good friend and a godly influence. If it is God’s will for you two to marry, He will make it clear.
3. Would pursuing marriage with this person be a sin?
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14, NKJV).
If a Christian spouse who is spiritually sluggish will slow you down in your pursuit of God, then a non-Christian spouse will nearly stop you altogether. It is clear from the passage above that this kind of relationship is displeasing to God, so marriage to a non-Christian is not permitted and is sinful.
But a relationship can be sinful in other ways too. Pursuing someone with the wrong intentions may cause you to idolize that person. You could grow discontent with the life God has ordained for you and believe that marrying this person would fulfill you in ways that He can’t.
Pray. Read the Word. Listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Are there any warning signs or indications that pursuing this particular person would be a sin? If not, then you are free to pursue marriage.
Yes, if God wills for you to get married, He has already ordained someone to be your spouse. But don’t forget that He works His will through everyday means. If there is someone in your life with whom you want to build a romantic relationship, and you are both walking with the Lord, and it would not be a sin to pursue them, go for it.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22, NKJV).
God is glorified by godly marriages, and He is not stingy, withholding good things from His children. Don’t wait for the writing in the clouds or the Bible verse that tells you exactly who to marry. Follow Christ as closely as you can, seek a faithful spouse who is doing the same, and get married.