Marry the Right Person
We first started to converse one day in the cafeteria lunch line—Bible college students from the same hometown. It was not a star-struck, “love at first sight,” enamored moment, à la Hollywood style, but over the weeks as we became friends, attraction was in action. By the end of the semester, Anne and I were dating. Now the serious vetting could begin, to insure that I would marry the right person!
My criterion was a woman with a heart for God who was willing to follow me anywhere. (At that time I was planning to return to the mission field in Asia where I had just served for two years.) This was a portal through which a potential wife in my world must pass. While for me this was a very narrow and specific criterion, a wider principle should always be in play.
Is the person you are considering as a lifelong partner, a person of vision, and is that vision compatible with yours?
Yes, vision will contain transition over time, but to marry the right person, a common core vision must be in place. Beyond a particular ministry assignment, we are all called to the vision of becoming Christ-like: to be “transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory” 2 Cor. 3:18 This is “Vision 101” and serves as a foundation for all of life’s aspirations, whether in the home, church, or workplace. What you do (assignment specifics and locations) may change over the seasons of a marriage; who you are (the fruits of inner refinement) will always be at the forefront of God’s directives over your life.Who you are, the fruits of inner refinement, will always be at the forefront of God’s directives over your marriage. Click To Tweet
To marry the right person, it is imperative that you discover and weigh in your heart the spiritual history of your person of interest. Is he a person acquainted with restraint? “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint” (Prov. 29:18, ESV). Does she display the self-discipline necessary to turn from lesser pleasures and follow the supreme path of allegiance to Christ? Now is the time to evaluate before you choose; once married, you forfeit that luxury.
I once heard this illustration: when you stand before the entryway into marriage, there is a banner overhead that says, “Whosoever will.” Naturally, we pray, proceed at a moderate pace, get counsel, and pray some more; but on this side of the door, we get to choose whether he or she is the right one to marry. Once over the threshold, we turn and see a banner that reads, “Predestined and foreordained from the foundation of the world.” God knew who your choice would be, and now it’s a covenant pact for life.
In our premarital manual, Vertical Marriage: A Godward Preparation for Life Together, we recommend couples consider fifteen potential caution flags. The need for caution may not necessarily mean that you shouldn’t marry each other, but it may indicate the need to slow down the relationship. Download a free sample (first three chapters) of Vertical Marriage HERE.
- Uneasy gut feeling that something is wrong in our relationship.
- Frequent arguments.
- Jealousy or irrational anger when one of us interacts with someone of the opposite sex.
- Apprehension discussing certain subjects because we are afraid of the reaction.
- Extreme emotional expressions; unpredictable mood swings.
- Controlling behavior—I feel like I’m being manipulated.
- Feeling trapped—not wanting to hurt each other by even suggesting that marriage may not be for us.
- Lack of respect—I’m constantly being criticized and treated with sarcasm.
- Lack of personal responsibility—My fiancé struggles to hold down a job and pay bills.
- Pride—He/she has difficulty admitting when wrong, thus we never fully resolve conflict.
- Dependent on parents for emotional and financial security.
- History of failed dating relationships.
- Addictions—Do either of you struggle with alcohol, drugs, or porn? If you struggled in the past, how long have you been free?
- Selfishness—overly self-centered, always wants their own way, tends towards narcissism.
- Bad habits—Yes, we all have some, but are there any major trouble spots? Are there any pet peeves that drive you crazy?
If one or more of these caution flags is evident in your current dating relationship, bring those concerns to your pastor or a mature married couple that you trust. Covenant marriage is like the union we have with our Bridegroom God. The choice He made on the cross for us, and the choice we make to follow Him, is irrevocable. It’s a one-time, life-time, decision. The “right” one for you is the one you can do pilgrimage with, holding core values of surrender and transformation central to your union, while you envision a God-glorifying life together.