By Patrice Burrell, Crosswalk.com
Desiring to be married is a huge prayer request singles must soberly submit to God. It is important to be spiritually discerning concerning the will of God for our lives as individuals before we can understand it in the context of covenant marriage. If our desire to marry indeed matches God’s plan for us, then we must commit to continuing praying so that we might recognize the timing of God. Knowing it is God’s will for you to marry is different from knowing the right season for dating, courtship, engagement, and, finally, marriage.
As a newly engaged person, I remember knowing I would marry years ago. I also knew then; it wasn’t the right time for me. God allowed me to focus on other aspects of life that have all prepared me for where I am now along my journey.
It is also important to realize marriage is not an escape from being single. If we seek to be married out of thirst and unfulfillment as a single person, then the relationship is already set up for failure. It is never the job of another human being to complete you (sorry, Jerry McGuire fans); only the finished work of Jesus’s shed blood at Calvary can do that.
Once you have received confirmation from God that it is part of His plan for you to marry, then you are ready to approach the question, “How do I know who to marry?” I pray that the four positions offered in this article will help you clarify where exactly you are as a single person along your own journey.
1. Pray for Your Future Spouse
Although this may seem obvious, praying about who to marry does not start once you begin dating. Praying for your future spouse precedes actually meeting that person or entering a committed courtship. We can pray for their spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being long before they ever arrive on the scene. We can pray for the future success of our relationship. And yes, we can pray for spiritual sensitivity to discern after meeting them if they are indeed “the one.”
The Bible tells us in Proverbs 18:22 (NLT), “The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the LORD.” As a woman, this proverb has always intrigued me because no translation of this passage substitutes the word “wife” for “woman.” This suggests that one must already be a wife to be identified as such by their future husband. For us ladies, this means acting like a wife before becoming a wife. One of the things wives are called to do is pray for their husbands. If we can do this as single women with the expectation of becoming married one day, it will already be familiar to us as we continue praying for our spouses.
2. Evaluate How Your Future Marriage Might Impact God’s Kingdom
If we pick a mate solely based on how they can benefit us, it is selfish and reveals our limited understanding of God’s purpose for covenant marriage. Ephesians 5:25-27 (ESV) explains how we are The Bride of Christ: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”
When we really understand God’s design for marriage as a model that should replicate His love for The Body of Christ, then knowing who to marry goes deeper than finding a companion you think has a great physique, lots of wealth, or social notoriety. Your focus shifts to “How can our lives together honor God?”
You begin to ask yourself, “How could we serve God together and have a greater impact for His kingdom?” Likewise, you consider what kind of spiritual legacy you might create for the family you may one day have. Will your marriage reflect God’s glory, or will it look like the world’s often vain, shallow, and self-centered standards? Realizing God’s collective plan for your future union will offer confidence and confirmation concerning your choice of the person you will marry.
3. Consider How You Complement One Another
I believe it is true: opposites attract. I also believe you must share commonalities with your future mate. The blending and balancing of these two facets offer complementation to a potential marriage relationship.
As a couple, you should be able to laugh together, have fun together, and be attracted to one another. But you should also respect one another’s differences. Having a genuine appreciation for the way God has uniquely designed the other individual is necessary when evaluating if someone is the right person for you to marry.
If we do not like a person when they are most authentic, or we cannot be our most authentic self around them, then they are probably not the person we want to marry. Despite quirks and idiosyncrasies, you can still complement each other and receive God’s grace to do life together.
Amos 3:3 (NIV) says, “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” This is a great reminder of how important it is to complement the person you marry. Complementing your spouse does not mean you have to agree about every single thing. You are still two people with two different brains. But it does mean you are able to compromise for the good of the relationship and choose to be compatible in how you complement the other person. Some ways we do this include encouraging, supporting, and loving them unconditionally.
4. Seek Wise Counsel
This may sound harsh, but if you are the only person in your life who believes the person you are considering marrying is the person for you, you may want to rethink your position. It could be that the relationship itself needs more time to develop, so don’t rush into a decision about getting married prematurely. It could also mean love is blind, and you may not be aware you are basing your decision on misinformed emotions rather than the leading of the Holy Spirit.
There should be wise people in your circle of influence you are certain only have your best interest at heart. Maybe all your family and friends will not be convinced that the person you are considering marrying is the right person for you, but if everyone you trust is saying, “I don’t see it,” you might want to pump the brakes for a minute.
God cherishes us as His beloved and only has His best reserved for us. Sometimes as we progress in a relationship, it may be discovered the relationship is not meant to result in marriage. It does not mean any party is right, wrong, good, or bad.
Therefore, we must seek couples counseling and premarital counseling before settling on a mate. This type of platform with a pastor or licensed Christian counselor can help provide insight and perspective from an unbiased party. Disclaimer: make sure you choose a faith-based counselor aligned with biblical principles.
Proverbs 11:14 (NKJV) tells us, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” In Proverbs 24:6 (NKJV), we also find, “For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety.” Here is the bottom line - one sure way to ensure we experience safety with regards to matters of the heart is by accepting the wise counsel of others God has placed in our life to provide that safety.
“How to know who to marry?” is not the easiest question to answer. However, with the right approach and lots of patience, God will let you know. It does not have to be mysterious or a life-long quest. When we surrender our desire to God, He is faithful to reveal His plan. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV).
Championing women to live authentically and pursue God passionately, Patrice Burrell is called to lead others to the grace of God, rooted in the truth of scripture. She is an author, life coach, and worship leader who loves practicing the presence of God through a lifestyle anchored in spiritual disciplines. As a Bible teacher and preacher, she exhorts women to remember their true identity is defined in Christ, not culture. When not serving at her local church with the small groups and singles' ministries, Patrice enjoys visiting local Orlando attractions, reading books while sitting along the beach, and finding unique ways to explore her writing creativity. You can connect with Patrice on her blog, Warrior Woman Blog, on social media in her Facebook community, Warrior Women, and @patriceburrellministries on Facebook and Instagram. Patrice is excited about her new book release, Living My Best Life: Embracing God’s Gift of Living Full and Single. It is a six-session Bible study designed especially for single women. You can also check out her debut book, Warrior Slay, a devotional book on the power of worship and prayer.