This is a question asked by many singles as they ponder marriage. It is also a question asked by many who are married, feeling overwhelmed by the challenge and wondering if they made the right decision.
A decision of great magnitude requires great consideration. Jesus made this clear to the multitudes that followed Him: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26) This is the essence of being joined to Christ. He must become the transcendent object of love among all of our relationships.
His instruction is to “count the cost” before deciding. He uses two parables. One: Before you build a tower be sure you have access to all the materials you will need to complete it. Two: Before going to war consider your military resources, measured against those of your enemy.
A covenant pledge to Christ is not to be entered into lightly. In like manner, choosing to spend the rest of our earthly days in a marriage covenant with one person, requires a skillful and wise decision-making process.
Are you ready to count the cost of what it takes to build a marriage over decades? Are you ready to consider whether you have the strength to stand against the army of darkness that will come against your marriage union?
Most of us are familiar with the invitation to receive Christ, given at evangelistic crusades. Sadly, only two to four percent of those who profess Christ in such settings, are still persevering in the faith five years later. Listen to these words of a famous evangelist who preached the gospel in the American colonies during the Great Awakening: “There are so many stony ground hearers, who receive the Word with joy, that I have determined to suspend my judgment till I know the tree by its fruits. That makes me so cautious now, which I was not thirty years ago, of dubbing converts too soon. I love now to wait a little, and see if people bring forth fruit.” (George Whitfield)
I advise singles who think they have found their marriage partner to first evaluate their significant other’s history in God. Is the fruit of the Spirit evident? How have they navigated seasons of transition? Have they come up from the wilderness leaning on their beloved? (Song 8:5) Have they walked with Christ and are they rooted and built up in him, established in the faith? (Colossians 2:7)
Your life in Christ is the ultimate qualifier for your married life. Granted, I don’t always “feel” qualified, much less prepared, to run hard after God every day. Nor do I rely on “feeling” like a great husband to determine whether I choose to act like one. But if we count the cost on the front end of every day and nurture the “Yes Lord” on the inside, His grace will be sufficient.
Those who work out their salvation with fear and trembling will have a strong source from which to work out their marital issues. (Philippians.2:12) Together, your source in God will be the source in your marriage.