by Brian C Thomas
What does the Bible say about choosing a mate (husband or wife)? Without a doubt, it is the Lord’s will for anyone that desires a mate to have one. After God created Adam, He made the statement: “… It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18 KJV). Since God felt that it was not good for man to be alone, He wants to bring a mate to those who will ask Him and have the patience to wait for His choice. That is the key, having the patience to wait for His choice. Notice that I did not say the individual’s choice but His (God’s) choice. Society today is buckling and crumbling under the weight of bad relationships. We’ve all heard the numbers, divorce rate is at 50% outside and inside of the Church. Many boyfriend/girlfriend relationships end with them hating each other while carrying baggage from the failed romance into their futures. So that leads to the question, why are people having such a hard time choosing the right mate? In this message, we will look at some basic Biblical principles that, if followed, will bring this avalanche of failed marriages to a halt.
Preparation for Marriage
Many of us know single people who are constantly out looking for a mate, and they are miserable because God has not sent them one yet. Although they have prayed and prayed, yet still they have no one to call their own. Many become tired of waiting and choose to settle. What or who are they settling for? They are settling for Satan’s so-called solution instead of seeking God for the patience to wait for the one whom He would send. If these people would look to Jesus for complete fulfillment and seek to please Him, rather than being so concerned about a mate, soon they would find the right one crossing their path. Looking for a man or woman to just keep them from being lonely or just to fill their needs or to be a father or mother to their children should not be the only reasons for desiring a mate. They also need to be concerned about what kind of husband or wife they would be for a mate. These single people are still much in the flesh if they just want their own needs met. They should ask the Lord to fill them with His love and peace. Being single is an important time to prepare us for marriage. It can also be a time to experience a closer communion with God. As we seek God to cleanse us of the world and help us become the kind of wife or husband that would bless someone, we will soon find that we are not lonely. I once knew a young lady who was determined to never be single. Even though she was in relationships that were bad for her, she would do all should could to hold on to that guy until she found a new one. One day she came to me for advice. She was asking about my thoughts concerning a man that she was interested in. I asked her, “aren’t you still with someone now?” Her reply, “yes, but I do not want to let him go until I am sure I have found someone else”. My response was, “what’s wrong with being single?” and of course she looked at me as if I was crazy. Needless to say, she did not like my advice which was to take some time living single and stop looking to men to give her fulfillment in life. Her attitude towards relationships was not fair to the guys that she was getting involved with, nor was it fair to herself. As a single person, first, the Lord would begin using us to bless others; then we will find we are content in Him. Eventually, in God’s plan and timing, He will bless us with a wonderful mate so that both lives can be a witness for Him. I believe if a marriage cannot glorify the Lord, then it would be better to remain alone. Being single is not the worst thing in life. There are worse things than being alone. One of these is to be out of God’s will by compromising and marrying someone who does not feel the same way we do about the Lord. If we look at the apostle Paul, he was a single man and look at how he brought so many to Christ and how he had complete fulfillment in Christ. No, I am not encouraging people to remain single forever but simply making the point that true happiness can be attained even while single.
A Major Choice
Marriage is the second major choice we make in our lives. The first major choice is accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. As the second major choice, we should never enter into it without much prayer. Rushing into a marriage to end loneliness or for any other reason is almost guaranteed to be disastrous and have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences. Without a doubt, the MOST important decision that we will ever make in life is to accept Jesus Christ as Lord as Savior. Only by Him is eternal life gained. This is more than just a one-time decision, it is choosing to daily follow Christ and live according to His commandments.
Many people choose to allow their emotions to dictate their decisions in life. When we do this, we become very vulnerable to the tricks of Satan. He is the master of deception and uses emotional highs and lows to affect us when it comes to choosing a mate. Of course, his plan is to always lead us astray. It takes diligent prayer to bring this area under submission so that Satan does not take advantage of it and ultimately destroy our lives from a marriage standpoint. Many are living with misery and regret due to falling for the devil’s tricks and choosing a man or woman over the Lord.
This is not just something that occurs in our present age. There are examples of it all throughout the Bible. King Solomon allowed his attraction to pagan women to take them as wives and lead him into idolatry. Samson spent the final days of his life in humiliation after losing his eyes to the enemy because of a woman, Delilah. And King David suffered many tragedies in his life which resulted from his passion for another man’s wife, Bathsheba.
Emotion in and of itself is not a bad thing. But emotions handled carelessly become very dangerous. Just as a butcher’s knife in the hand of a chef is a great tool for cooking, that same knife in the hand of a madman can be a tool for murder. We must never base our decisions for a mate on emotions. Strong emotion is not necessarily a sign of love. The true definition of love is “God is love” (1 John 4:7-8). Therefore, when God is not in the relationship, it is in no way true love. I have witnessed many people express their “love” for a person who willingly lives a life contrary to the word of God. And when the relationship goes south, they seem puzzled as to what went wrong. What should be obvious is that the relationship failed because true love (God) was not present. The world’s standard for marriage is built on “what the other person can do for me”, but I want to challenge people to instead start thinking “what can I do for him or her”. When we follow the world’s standard, divorce often occurs when the other person fails to keep his/her end of the bargain leaving the other spouse feeling “short-changed” and no longer seeing the benefit in staying. But God’s love is unconditional. He loves despite our short-comings. His love is the perfect example of love as it does not require receiving anything in return, is patient, forgiving, and sacrificing.
The Greatest Gift
The Apostle Paul called love the greatest gift in 1 Corinthians 13:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
We should always establish a marriage relationship based on character rather than emotion. Emotions come and go – you can ask anyone who has been married for even a small amount of time and they will likely tell you that the “wedding bliss” emotion fluctuates throughout the marriage. Every day is not sunny. But your mate’s character keeps the bond growing stronger and stronger. The emotions of mankind are never a reliable gauge upon which to establish a marriage relationship. Instead, we must be certain that the relationship is within God’s will. We can easily know this by looking to the Holy Spirit for guidance. That Spirit will always guide you to marry for character which does not fluctuate, as opposed to emotion. I repeatedly see Christians choose to get involved with individuals that frequent night clubs, indulge in fornication, use profanity, etc. I can just about guarantee that a relationship with someone possessing those characteristics will go downhill quickly. But Christians try to hang on to those relationships because of an emotion. As the master deceiver, Satan has the power to give us feelings and emotions for someone of his choice. His classic technique is to start whispering to you that you no longer love your spouse because the emotion is gone. He convinces you that you are living a lie and stirs up “feelings/emotions” for another. Often an affair or second marriage follows and you think everything is great as you ride the emotional high of “love”. But as the emotion fades, tension often follows and before too long, that relationship is headed for the dumps as well. Until we seek the Lord for our decisions, this cycle will likely continue to repeat itself.
I have never liked the term “falling in love”. Falling is something that is accidental or something that results from carelessness. But because God is love, love is never something that we just stumble into. The world may fall into relationships but a Christian should never blindly “fall” into anything. Love is more than just falling for someone. Certainly, the Lord gives us a wonderful emotional feeling for the one we are to marry. However, this “feeling” without God’s direction can be disastrous as Satan can tamper with our emotions and feelings.
The Christian Marriage
All Christian marriages should be led by the direction of the Holy Spirit. Just as God is 100% committed to us, we must be totally committed to our spouse. Yes, God will allow us to experience the pleasurable emotion for the mate that He chooses. And we can know that it is the person that God chooses when the emotion lines up perfectly with his/her character. When the two are out of sync, it is without a doubt the deception of Satan. God knows what is best for us and we should always trust Him. As He is in control of all things, He knows what our future holds. God cannot fail and therefore, any marriage built on Him is guaranteed to succeed. Women or men who allow emotions to dictate their lives will never be victorious Christians. Emotions must always follow, never lead.
If you are in a marriage and the love has disappeared, it can be saved and restored simply by asking God to restore the love that was once there. Sexual relationships can also be healed by praying for a desire for one’s mate. Prayer is a mighty weapon and should be used to break the bonds of Satan. God has the power to heal any marriage and will do so for all who submit to Him. His love is unconditional and will never fade, as does the love of the world. Just look at the “stars” of Hollywood. Most are in and out of marriages constantly because they are not looking to God for true love.
For those of you who are single and desperately seeking marriage, be aware of God’s Word to choose a mate who is also a believer, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14
Many wonderful people are suffering daily because they chose an unsaved person to be their spouse. Some did not have Christ when they made their marriage decision, but they have since found the Lord. If you are in that category, continue to seek God’s grace and love to win your mates for Jesus. It is always God’s desire to bring the lost spouse to Him. Testimony after testimony has been given as to how mighty miracles of deliverance and salvation have taken place when people patiently endured years of suffering in order to bring their mates to the Lord. Then there are those who know the Lord and therefore have the light, but find themselves drawn toward the darkness of an unsaved person. If you are one of those people, pray to God that the desires of your flesh do not continue to lead you away from God.
God placed great emphasis on marriage between a man and a woman as a foreshadow of the spiritual union with Him. Your earthly marriage should always be treated with honor, respect, and sacredness. Even when times get tough, continue to honor your union just as Christ honors His sacrifice with us when we stumble and fall. He continues to show love and forgiveness. Seek the Holy Spirit when selecting a spouse and remember what your marriage represents. When we fail to view our marriage as the sacred union which it is, we are exhibiting behavior that is symbolic with taking Christ for granted or rejecting Him altogether. Therefore always honor marriage as it represents your union with Christ. With the same eagerness and anticipation that we enjoy for our earthly wedding day, we look to the soon heavenly marriage with our Lord. Until then, we pray Blessings to the great nation of Israel, the Peace of Jerusalem and to the only wise God, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.