Okay, first let me make it clear that I am not saying you can’t have a happy life if you choose to remain single but I assume you’re reading this article because you believe you were meant to tread life with a partner. Whether that is true or not, I leave with you to seek God’s counsel on the matter, but I would like you to consider this when deciding:
An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord.But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—and his interests are divided. (1 Corinthians 7:32-33) But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. […] But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this. (1 Corinthians 7:9,28)
While marriage is clearly not a bad thing, that last verse was more a warning than an invitation. It leads to the conclusion that marriage might not be the smarter, more practical choice between the two. But if your calling is indeed marriage then the most important decision would be choosing who to marry. It’s your lifetime of happiness (or misery) that hangs in the balance. So let me be upfront with you with this advice. Pick a Christian. Let me tell you why.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
1. A Christian will see you as a blessing, a wonderful gift that is NEW every morning. We often hear that after the honeymoon stage, romance runs dry and the once burning passion begins to fade. Many, especially those who experienced the pains of former break-ups, will see this as a deterrent to wanting to make a lifetime commitment to someone. The Christian perspective doesn’t view the world this way. Rain or shine, energised or tired, excited or bored; the fleeting mood of the day will not in any way thwart the way he or she sees you—a wonderful gift from God that he/she never deserved and should always be thankful for. The Christian believes that God never makes mistakes, and if you are from God, you will never cease to be her/his Mr/Ms Right, regardless of your day-to-day situations.
Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:24-25)
2. A Christian knows what it means to lead and to submit—to give and take. There is no arguing with a Christian about who should be who. He/she knows his/her role when she enters into marriage. A Christian man will lead not to abuse or boss you around but in the same way God leads his people. Therefore, his leadership standards are very high. It means he is patient, loving and understanding. He will give you enough room for you to learn and grow and to play your own role. At the same time, he will be just, firm and strong. When it comes to the big ticket decision items especially, you will be able to rely on him. He is a good leader because he is first a follower and a servant of Christ. On the other hand, a Christian woman knows how to submit. It doesn’t mean she’s a push-over or is weak. It means she will respect you and your authority as God’s anointed leader of the marriage and your future family. She will support you, which doesn’t mean she will not have any say on things. Instead, she will argue with reason that she gains from studying God’s Word, and if need be, she will lovingly correct you towards what she knows is right in accordance to the Bible. She will not play tag-of-war with you about whom final authority belongs to. She will treat you as her king with faith that you do things out of your love and care for her.
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
3. You will unlikely have problems competing with your in-laws for attention. A Christian knows, regardless of cultural background, how serious marriage is and how God designed it to be. He/she knows the principles of leave and cleave (that means leaving the parents to cleave to the spouse PERMANENTLY). He/she knows that when he/she vows to a life of being with you, he/she transfers all his/her loyalty to you and the family you are about to form. While it does not mean he/she will cease to respect and honour both sets of your parents, it surely will make you feel more secure knowing where to stand when it comes to his/her priorities. When you are not insecure, it will always be easier for you to give to and love your own in-laws more.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, (Proverbs 31:30) […] but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)
4. You don’t have to worry about getting old, fat or bald, having wrinkles or being less attractive than when you first met. A Christian will always have high standards for living. But his/her standards is not the same as of this world. He/she will not take it against you if, years into the marriage, you no longer look like a super model as when the first time you two ever went out for a date. He/she will see you beyond that. He/she looks forward to seeing you become a more beautiful person in God’s eyes, not in men’s eyes. And as you grow together, he/she will celebrate and will be grateful for the person he/she will see you become as you let him/her influence you in following Christ.
In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:6)
5. No decision will be too bad and regrettable in your marriage as long as you go through it together. Your Christian spouse will know how to pray and if he/she loves you, he/she will teach you how to. Decisions, especially major ones, will not be made without lifting them unto God and consulting his Word. With that, even if consequences do not necessarily reflect your expectations or personal desires, you will believe that it is still the best and that, in the bigger scheme of things, all things work together for good. If you are not convinced, your spouse is sure to be. And with that, despair will always be far from your home. He/she will always be optimistic and will always believe God is in control, so that nothing can go wrong that God can’t get you through with or that God doesn’t intend for your good and his glory. You may go through the strongest storms together but he/she will keep bringing you sunshine until you, yourself, understand where he/she gets all her hopes from.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
6. A Christian won’t hold grudge against you. With him/her, forgiveness is not a very complicated idea. Pride won’t get the better of him/her when it comes to facing your shortcomings or your faults because he/she knows how imperfect and awful he/she is as a person. A Christian cannot be one without realising and having had to admit to him/herself how helpless a sinner he/she is and how desperately prone to sin all of us, humans, are. He/she is not self-righteous, instead is poor in spirit. With a self-image like that, he/she will find it relatively easier to forgive you for your sins as he/she knows he/she needs much more forgiveness from God for every day of his/her imperfect life. With him/her, past dramas are easily forgotten and readily replaced by new and better memories.
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6) I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
7. A Christian isn’t perfect but each day, he/she strives to be better and will never lose hope for oneself and for you. No depressed moments, no suicidal tendencies, no emotional baggage is too heavy for him/her or too serious to last a long time enough to break him/her or your marriage. Your Christian spouse walks with Christ, and thus is his work-in-progress. He/she might have had a dark past or might experience phases of personal dilemma or may have a bad habit that annoys you which he/she struggles to overcome, but with Jesus in his/her life, he/she will overcome those in time. You will be blessed to witness how God transforms his/her life right before your very eyes. The good thing is, no matter how many times he/she falls, he/she keeps trying because he/she believes in his/her ability to succeed and overcome, with strength which is not his/her own but God’s.
For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. (1 Corinthians 7:14a)
8. You will be sanctified through your Christian spouse. If you are not a Christian, it will be unlikely that you will look at this reason as a factor in choosing who to marry. But if you think of what you are signing up for in a marriage contract, an entire lifetime is at stake. So it will always be practical to be assured that you will be lead to a better rather than a worse version of yourself through living a life with your spouse. To be sanctified means to be set apart for God. Whether it is your original intention for marrying or not, that simply means you will be looked upon by the eyes of God in a special way because he will see you as one flesh with his child. God will set you apart THROUGH your spouse. If you share a life with someone who walks in the light, it is close to impossible that you will not be able to enjoy that light in your own life as well. Think about marrying an heir—there is nothing in your blood that makes you worthy of the inheritance, but by virtue of marriage you become eligible for ownership of that wealth. Think of how much more the kingdom of God is worth than any material inheritance this world can offer. Marry a Christian and you are one step closer to being co-heir with him/her.
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
9. Your future children will be considered blessed. Christians lead, teach and discipline their children in accordance with the word of God. Nothing can teach better than examples shown to them and there is no doubt your Christian spouse will be someone you can rely on when it comes to this. You may even be more blessed if your spouse is involved in Sunday School or Youth Group Ministries, for he/she will already be experienced and trained when it comes to dealing with kids. He/she would know what it takes to raise kids who fear and love the Lord. They will value high moral standards and will seek a life of peace that pleases the Lord. Extra perks: Christian kids will be exposed to the bible and to other kids in Kids’ Church so they are more likely to become more sociable and comfortable with studying texts and understanding ideas than other kids their age.
“I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel. (Malachi 2:16)
10. A Christian will not see separation, divorce or annulment as an option when the going gets tough. Unless you commit adultery (Matthew 19:9) or you insist on rejecting his/her Christian faith and decide to leave him/her (1 Corinthians 7:12-15), your Christian spouse will never think of giving up on your marriage. He/she will fight for you and continue to believe and pray for you no matter what happens. Even if the opposite has already become societal norm, he/she will never leave you and will honour the vows the two of you made as something sacred. Because to a Christian, that’s what it is and always will be—a sacred covenant with God. It follows that he/she will stick with you through thick and thin. And when he/she promises you “in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, ’til death do us part”, he/she knows how to keep them (asking God’s help to fulfil them). So with a Christian spouse, you can be sure that NOTHING, except the God who also gave, can take him/her away from you.
If you are not a Christian and you have been searching or waiting for your perfect partner, I hope you consider these things and that I somehow managed to give you a glimpse of how wonderful it is to be in a Christian marriage. My prayer is that God teaches you to come to him to ask him for your life partner instead of looking elsewhere or trusting anything else (i.e. signs, compatibility test, feng shui, fortune-telling, destiny, your own skills, etc.) when making that choice.
If you are a Christian reading this, pray with me that we do not disappoint the spouses we now have or are yet to have, with the great expectations set by the claims of this article. May we always live as the Godly spouses our Lord intends us to be, through his unfaltering strength and guidance.
Featured Photo taken from www.huffingtonpost.com