"Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD." - Proverbs 18:22
Now there are two ways that we can find something: we can search for it until we find what we are looking for, or, we can go about our way , and come across something as we travel along. I understand that in this verse, the latter is meant. We come across a wife, or as Abraham's servant put it, when he was going to Isaac's relatives to "find" a wife for him, "Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of His mercy and His truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren. (Genesis 24:27) Might each Christian be able to say, "I being in the way, the LORD led me to __________, to be the One for me to marry."
What is this "way" that we need to be in, so we can "stumble" upon the One of God's choosing for us? The advice I want to give is only really practical for those who are in the Way - the Christian way of life in Christ. (Acts 9:2; 16:7; 18:25,26; 19:9,23; 22:4; 24:14,22)
"The integrity of the upright shall guide them..." "The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way...", or more to the point, "Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way..." - Proverbs 11:3,5 ;13:6 In these verses we see a principle that I want to expand on in our consideration of "How Do I Know Who is the One?" The principle is this: the righteousness of the upright serves as a wall on their right-hand and on their left-hand, so that their path is narrowed until they "find" the "One" on their life path. To recycle the Lord's words, "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life [a wife], and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:14) We want to give you 6 decisions you can make that can serve as "integrity " choices, that will "direct" your way, and "keep" you in the way to finding[coming across] a wife.
- "I will only marry a [growing] Christian." Not only does this fulfill the command given to widowed people to marry "only in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 7:39), but delivers you from the problems of 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, where we are specifically told, "Be ye NOT unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness...etc." Marriage is a yoke of sorts that should be between similar "animals". The OT forbid the plowing with an ox and an ass together (Deut. 22:10), and you can't expect your marriage to produce any good if you are "mismatched." And this narrows your path, by eliminating billions and billions of wrong choices! :) Also, if you only consider growing Christians, you will be delivered from being held back in your life and ministry by a carnal person (1 Cor. 3). Without this commitment we will have an incomplete marriage -for there will be no basis for complete union of body, soul, and spirit.
- A second decision to be made is that I will relate any marriage decision to God's purpose for my life. Each of us should find out what God's goal and purpose for our life is, and then consider marriage as the complement to help us accomplish that in our lives.(Colossians 1:28,29) Without clearly defined life goals, we have little basis to make such an important decision, and we will be frustrated in not being able to reach or aim for our goals after marriage.
- Next, we need to commit that we will not "defraud" anyone at any time in our acquaintance, or getting to know them (1 Thess. 4:6). To defraud someone is to cheat them, to arouse in them desires or wishes that cannot be righteously fulfilled. We should be chaste in our relationships - treating fellow Christians as brothers, or sisters, with all modesty and chastity. We don't want to stir up that which only marriage should satisfy - whether it be our own vessel (our body), or some else's. (1 Cor. 7:1-5,9; 1 Thess. 4:1-7) This helps avoid guilt and blame (and self-condemnation), and a future source of many petty arguments after marriage. [And maintains a clear conscience! :) ]
- For a fourth decision, we should be committed to both of us having harmony at home with our parents before marriage. (Numbers 14:18) Without this we will tend to have conflict transference in our marriages. For a guy tends to treat his wife as he respects his mother, and a gal tends to respond to her husband as she does to her father. That can make for a scary marriage! We need to have those problems resolved before marriage, so that it will have the greatest chance to prosper and succeed.
- We tend to be impatient with God and our circumstances. But correct timing is important in marriage (Genesis 29:20), and failure to be willing to wait on the Lord can bring tension and worry-stress into marriage, as impatience is a sign of self-love or immaturity. It can't wait to get, but love can always wait to give! Proper timing would include,
- Both sets of parents consenting to the marriage;
- Being financially prepared to handle marriage, and
- Having completed our basic education(whether through high-school or college).
- Finally, we should not set our heart on marriage, but willingly give up the right to God, for Him to answer as He sees fit. We yield up our right to God. This produces the GOAL of undistracted concentration on Christ and His work, and allows us to receive the essential training and experience for service to Christ, and the development in our lives that IS necessary for a successful and mature marriage. It allows us to be "in the way" where we may "find a wife". (1 Cor. 7:32; Matt. 6:33; Lam. 3:24-40)
The result of these 6 decisions will be God's fulfillment of our DEEPEST NEEDS! (1 Cor.7:36) For God will bring into your life the ONE, if HE knows you will be happier and more effective for Him by being married to this person. We can also see these "narrowing" of the path decisions as six questions:
- Are they a Christian?
- What is my life goal?
- Do I have self-control?
- Do I have harmony at home?
- Is it God's proper timing?
- What is [or are] my spiritual gift[s]?
We ask these six questions, because we have already asked, "Do we want God's will for our lives, and the results that that will bring?" May God bless the readers of these words with the grace to heed the Lord, and glorify Him in their lives and marriages! :D