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Saturday, March 20, 2010

How Do You Find a Godly Spouse?

There are plenty of online companies who will help you find a spouse nowadays. I have done several weddings with couples matched from these companies. (One of the couples knew each other through high school and "discovered" each other through one of these services.) I believe these companies appeal to people because they claim to have matched the couples through values which they have in common.

Truthfully, I wished I had thought of matching couples this way. Think about it. You present a "normal" scenario where couples praise the company for matching them. You tell prospective couples that they will be "matched" by a scientific method. It seems abnormal to not be matched with the person they tell you that you are matched with. You either have to deny that you believe in the company which should have kept you from trying the company in the first place or you go along with it and are magically matched with this person.

Still, there is a beauty in this. For centuries people have been "matched" by their parents and lived with their spouses in complete harmony. Children trusted that their parents would do the right thing for them. They did not want to disappoint their parents and set out to be successful. Most of these marriages succeeded. They had such fulfillment that these matched couples set out to match their own children in exactly the same way.

However, being matched by your parents is not normal for most of the world. My advice here comes from years of working with single adults. I have been through so many marriages and divorces that I have lost count. Some have made excellent decisions and their marriages are doing well. Others didn't do so well. They are either miserable, separated or divorced. This advice is as much my own observations as following principles.

Look in the right place. Go to church if you want a Christian spouse. I know it is possible to find a Christian in a bar. I know it is possible to find a person who will become a committed Christian in a bar. I also know it is possible to find a scoundrel at church. However, I will take the odds. I have sat with many a grieving woman who worries about the spiritual condition of her husband. He won't come to church. They may have a great physical and emotional relationship but they have no spiritual relationship. She cannot relate to him spiritually and that has become more important to her as she has matured.

If you want to marry a man, date a man; if you want to marry a boy, date a boy. A man is someone who will treat a woman with respect. He honors her. He is taking his responsibility of spiritual leadership before he meets his spouse. He guards his heart. He looks to the Lord for fulfillment in his life. He works at his work and plays at his play and doesn't get the two mixed up. A boy does get the two mixed up. He goes with the flow. He does not take spiritual matters seriously. He seeks to win you through extravagant gifts rather than extravagant commitment. He may be exciting but he is still a boy. Remember, if you date a boy, you will still have a boy after you get married. He will expect you to mother him. Get ready to call him to get him up for work. Get ready to take care of his bills and give him an allowance which he cannot exceed.

Look beyond the body to the heart or you might get a black widow. Some guys never look beyond the body. A woman who uses her body to attract men will continue to "enjoy" their looks after she is married. She will dress provocatively and flirt with other men. While I am no proponent of jealousy, I know that no husband really enjoys other men looking at his wife in "that" way. Remember, if she enjoys those looks of other men too much, she will likely take up with one of them on the side.

Pray together while you date. I know this is radical but prayer reveals a person's heart. It is the most intimate spiritual action we can take with another person. You can be assured that he or she will be reluctant to pray together after marriage if there is a reluctancy before marriage. In fact, the best way I know to deepen the relationship between a husband and wife is for them to pray each day together.

Take a careful look at how finances are handled. You will marry their debt regardless of what you think you can do. I don't even care if you have a pre-nuptual agreement concerning debt. You cannot separate your finances completely once you are married. You may think that you can. For example, you can say that he needs to make his own car payment but how will he get to work if his car is repossessed? Bad financial decisions must be fixed before the marriage should take place.

Look at how he or she treats his or her biological family. These relationships give some indication what a marriage is expected to be. Look at what goes on in the other person's family. It is unlikely that you will know how to handle a person who comes from a family who has a system of volatile arguments when your family always sat down and talked through conflicts calmly.

Look at how the person you date shows love. You can expect less of what you are getting after marriage if it comes only to win your heart. There is no need to continue this action once your heart is won. Your date should enjoy the things he or she is doing without expecting a reciprocal gift from you. Long walks and talks should have enjoyment within themselves. Dinners together are to enjoy both the meal and the company. Run, don't walk, away from someone who expects something more afterwards. This person is treating you like a prostitute.

You need to have some measure of intellectual commonality. Though possible, it is very unlikely that a nuclear physicist will have much in common with a motorcycle mechanic. Each may have a similar i.q. but the interest of their intellect will be too divergent for many significant intellectual discussions.

Remember, that you could be married if you wanted to be. The only reason that you are not married is because you have standards. Every single person I know could be married in a couple of months is he or she would simply lower the standards. There will always be someone who will marry you. Don't make the mistake of thinking that you life is meaningless if you never get married. Believe me, I have seen more miserable people who have regretted the persons they married than miserable people who have regretted the ones they didn't marry.

Lastly, depend upon God. I know this may seem trite but sometimes it is forgotten. You want what He wants. He wants what is best for you.

Genesis 2:24 (ESV)
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife and they shall become one flesh.

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