We have all seen too many marriages go bad, often with horrendous damage of all kinds to the couples involved, their families and succeeding generations. Perhaps you are a victim in one way or another of a marriage that has been severely damaged or destroyed. As a married or divorced person you may be wondering ”What happened to my marriage? What do I do now?”
With so many twisted ideas about marriage these days, if you are an unmarried person, you may be confused and fearful about finding and choosing a lifelong marriage partner. If so, the following observations and principles are especially for you. Using these guidelines could save you and many others from years of heartache, regret and tragedy.
Marriage can be a taste of heaven on earth, Eph. 5:22-33. Marriage can be a taste of hell on earth, Mal. 2:14-16. Do you want a match made in heaven or a match made in hell?
Beware: Who you think of as Mr. or Ms. “Right” may be Mr. or Ms. “Wrong”! Marrying the wrong person can mess you up for a lifetime.
Why you want to get married is as important than who you marry. If you are to be married, God will give you the desire, not the obsession, to be married.
What is your motive? Is it because I want to be happy, no longer be lonely, have sex, get the man/get the woman? Or is it: “Is marriage what the Lord wants for me?” And “If I am to marry, I want to be married in obedience to the Lord.” Remember, if you are not happy being single, you won’t be happy being married. Don’t yield to the pressure of others for you to be married.
Ladies: You don’t need a “Superman”! Men: You don’t need a “Wonder Woman”! And don’t worry about the Lord wanting you to marry someone you don’t like.
Being “in love” is not a good enough reason to marry someone. A lot of people think they are “in love” when they are only infatuated. “They are so wonderful.” “It feels so right.” “They are the one for me.” Really?
Infatuation is unreasoning and foolish passion or attraction. Romance is about imagination, idealism, emotions, and adventure. Romance is often pure fantasy. Infatuation is blind. True love sees clearly. Infatuation in a marriage relationship only lasts for about 12-18 months. If your relationship is built on infatuation or romance, it won’t last and could be very destructive to both of you.
Some characteristics of infatuation:
- Focuses on better traits and overlooks flaws/red flags
- Experiences extreme energy, euphoria, mood swings
- “I must have them!”
- Opposition from others increases passion for them
- Emotional dependency, separation anxiety
- Re-ordering of priorities to “fit” your relationship
- Extreme empathy, “I would die for you!”
- Obsessive thoughts about the other person
- Intense sexual desire, extreme possessiveness
- No objectivity regarding your relationship
POTENTIAL MARRIAGE PARTNER TEST:
- Are they a true follower of Jesus Christ?
- Are they full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom?
- Do they lift me up or pull me down?
- Who are their parents and family members?
- What blessings and curses do you discern in their lives?
- Are they honest?
- Are they humble?
- Are they prayerful?
- Do they seek to resolve conflicts in a healthy way?
- Are they good workers?
- Who are their friends?
- Do they communicate well?
- Are they peaceful, not angry [one “strike” (act of physical abuse) and they are out!]?
- Do they have joy and a good sense of humor?
- Would I want them to be the mother/father of my children?
- How do they handle stress?
- How do they handle money?
- Are they physically attractive to me?
- Are they sexually immoral?
- Do they have a criminal record?
Is there any hope of discovering such a person for me? Is there even such a person on earth that would pass this test? Do they have to be perfect in every way before I consider them to be a possible marriage partner? No! No one is perfect except the Lord. All of us need to learn, personally develop and grow in the grace of God. But anyone you, as a believer in Jesus Christ, would consider as a potential marriage partner needs to at least meet most of these basic standards. Good character is far more important than outward appearance, personality, gifts, abilities, position or wealth.
If the person you are considering for marriage is not someone who could be your lifelong partner in following and serving Jesus Christ, then they are not the one for you! And just because they are a “Christian” doesn’t mean they are the right one for you. You need to know what their God-given calling is—as far as that can be understood now. If your callings are too different, it is best not to marry them even if they are strong followers of Jesus Christ.
True friendship is far more important than high energy romance. A good relationship is something you make, not something you find. A primary key to any good relationship is humility. Humility is not thinking less of you, but thinking less about you, and more about others. A good marriage, or any good relationship, is made on earth with a lot of help from heaven.
By the way, sexual intimacy is only acceptable within a committed, Christ-honoring marriage relationship between a man and a woman, Gen. 1:27-28a; 2:18-24. It is very important to repent of any past and present sexual sins. Using premarital sex or living together intimately with someone you are not married to will only damage any future marriage relationship.
Desperation to find a mate is not healthy. Do not put seeking a mate as your first priority. Put seeking the Kingdom of God as your first priority, Matthew 6:33! And in the process of doing that, if you are to marry, God will bring you to the right one to walk with you in loving and serving Jesus Christ! You may meet (or have already met) this one at church, work, school, through family or friends, or online. Be alert, be careful and be wise. And know that God wants His very best for you! Check out I Cor. 7:7, 27-28, 32-33 when you can. These verses give you and me many principles for married life, single life, and for remarriage.
Some final principles to remember…
- Investigation is better than infatuation.
- Reason is better than romance.
- Character is more important than “charisma”.
- Purpose is more important than passion.
And never marry for mercy! If you marry because you feel sorry for them, or they feel sorry for you, you will both be sorry. Never enter into a “missionary” marriage! “All they need is me. I can change them!” NO YOU CAN’T! Only the Lord Himself can do that.
If you need to break up with someone, do it honestly, graciously and firmly. Don’t continue your bad relationship just because you don’t want to hurt the other person. If it’s over, let it be over. Repent of any wrongdoing. Forgive and ask for forgiveness if necessary. Repent of any anger or bitterness. Pray God’s best for the other person. Learn from your experience and move on in what the Lord has for you.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”—Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV
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