There is so much talk in the media about failed marriages, infidelity and violence. It’s nothing new. We have heard it so much that it has almost become the new normal. The situation is so dire that people have become discouraged and lost hope that successful marriages actually do exist.
However, this simply is not true, I want to encourage everyone that there is hope for a successful marriage because marriage is part of God’s purpose for man and woman. Marriage is a gift from God, and he takes pride in bringing two people together (Proverbs 18:22, Proverbs 19:14). When God created Marriage, he didn’t intend for it to come with an escape route (divorce). Jesus stated in Mark 10:9 that ‘What God has joined together; man must not separate’. This was in response to the Pharisees when they asked about divorce.
In order to have a marriage that will last forever and receive God’s blessing, it is important to have him at the center of your life and relationship. It is also important to follow his guidance in choosing the one he would join you with. To ensure that you have a God centered and fulfilling marriage, you need to pursue it with God given wisdom and direction. I am glad that he has given us some of the key nuggets/golden truths in his word, so that we know how to pursue and prepare for a Godly marriage.
There are some things we need to look out for when choosing a life partner, some are more obvious than others but God will guide us and open our eyes as we lean on him. This is a list of things I compiled of what to look out for when choosing a husband/wife. If you notice that your partner displays some of these characteristics, then you may need to seriously rethink your relationship because until a person overcomes these struggles, they would not be a fit partner for you. Just remember that in all things, you should be prayerful and let God guide you. Also remember that Jesus died to free us from sin and strongholds, so if a person accepts him then he would be set free (John 8:35-36). However, it is only God that saves, you cannot save someone but you can love them from afar and constantly pray for them.
1. Submission to pride/ego – ‘Submit therefore to God resist the devil and he will flee from you’ (James 4:7). It is very important to know who the man you want to be with is submitted to. Is he submitted to God or his pride/ego? Who the person you want to enter a relationship with is submitted to determines his values and lifestyle. It is also very important as a Christian lady because we are meant to submit to our husbands, as they are the head of the household (Ephesians 5:22). If a man were submitted to his ego, he would not be able to love you the way God wants him to. For example, he might find it hard to apologize when he has wronged you, sometimes even when he is being corrected by God. His pride my get in the way of making important decisions that affect the family.
There is a huge difference between someone who has confidence in who he is in Christ and someone who is prideful. It is very easy to see when a man is submitted to God, a biblical example is Joseph, when he found out Mary was pregnant he was going to leave her quietly. You can only imagine the shock finding out your fiancé is pregnant and the baby is not yours. However, when God sent His angels to stop him from making that decision, he obediently followed God’s command (Matthew 1:18-20). This is an example of a man that laid down his pride and submitted to God. Someone who is submitted to God lives for Him and obeys His commands.
2. Addiction – ‘Wine is a mocker, strong drinks a brawler and whosoever is led astray by it is not wise’ (Proverbs 20:1) Although this verse relates to alcohol, anything that has a stronghold over you or you are surrendered to, is an addiction. So sex, drugs, alcohol etc, can be an addiction. A person who is addicted to alcohol or any substance, does not have control over his or her body when under the influence, this can potentially put the people around them in danger. There are a lot of stories of men who come back home drunk and angry and beat their wives or children. It is sad because most times, the victim knows that he would not normally be violent when not under the influence. The bible says we should be sober – minded and watchful, your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). The devil is seeking the next union to break, the next person to tear down, so a person needs to be alert and make sure he/she is in the right state of mind at all times.
3. Unfaithfulness – ‘Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous’ (Hebrews 13:4). If a guy is not faithful to you when you are dating/courting, don’t marry him with the hopes that he would change. Cheating is a bit deeper than we see it; it is the fruit of greed and lust. These things need to be dealt with on their own. A guy that does not value you enough to stay faithful when you are dating would not all of a sudden change when you get married.
So what if he only cheats once? Well I think you would still need to take a break before you get back together. Many times in relationships, a person gets hurt by his/her partner and they get back together without really trying to solve the real issue. It leads to a buildup of unresolved issues and unforgiveness. Breaking up a relationship to figure out the reason behind the cheating/ situation and really seeking God’s wisdom and direction on what to do next would save a lot of hurt. While getting back together just immediately or never discussing it will most likely lead to the issue repeating itself. Please read my post on cheating for more insight on this topic – http://www.datingwithgodliness.com/blog/is-cheating-okay.
4. Loving the world – ‘Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world’ (1 John 2:15-16). It takes great wisdom to know that the things of the world i.e. fame, luxury, wealth, passes away. Besides you cannot serve God and serve these things. A marriage is built on trust amongst other things; you should want to be with someone you can trust with everything, including your finances. A person, who has the lust of the eyes, would want to buy everything he/she sees not because they are important but to keep up with a certain lifestyle or just because others have it. The lust of the eyes is the fruit of discontentment, covetousness and greed. This attitude leads a lot of people to financial struggles and causes problems in marriages. A very wise person once said, ‘if you allow money to lead you, it would lead you astray’. Instead let God lead you because there is a blessing that comes from God and that blessing is permanent. If you allow God to lead you, he would lead you to success and that success will be permanent. Most importantly he would bless you to be a blessing to others.
This list is by no means exhaustive, there are so many things to consider when choosing a life partner but I know God will always guide us as we seek His will and wisdom. It does not hurt to love someone from afar and pray for them or get them help they need (in the case of addictions). However choosing to marry or date a person when you have noticed these things is dangerous because you have accepted the person and it is harder to change these things, especially in marriage.
I pray God leads each and every one of us to make the right decisions.