Practical Christianity: Whom Shall I Marry?

The question was asked, “What does the Bible say about whom I should marry?”

Behind the question was a genuine desire for guidance to know “when” to marry, and “if” it’s the right person to marry. The desire to have a boy or girlfriend is quite natural, but unfortunately our natural desires can lead us away from what the Lord may have in mind for us. God placed natural love in our hearts, but since sin entered into the world our natural hearts cannot be trusted. The Bible says, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Prov 28:26, KJV).

For most young people today the whole issue of relationships is confusing. There no longer seem to be any standards and very few are concerned with moral purity. This article is designed to help you give serious thought to some of these issues.

Lessons can be learned from Genesis 24, the story of Rebekah and the servant. Rebekah was very good-looking and there was no moral stain on her character, but the man was more concerned with her character than her countenance. The things for which he asked the Lord in his prayer were really a test of her character.

His simple request for a drink of water revealed certain characteristics: she was generous, industrious, kind, and hospitable. When the question was asked of her, “Wilt thou go with this man?” her response was positive: “I will.” The climax of the story was that Rebekah became Isaac’s wife and he loved her.

Remember, get to know the person first, pray about it, and if you feel your spiritual interests and personalities are drawn together in friendship, as well as physical attraction, only then should you think about asking that person to become your partner in life.

Is it wise to start a relationship at the young age of 14 or 15? Generally, it is not wise to start a relationship at a young age. When you are young it is more important to get to know other young people in a group setting, and not be tied down to one person. You must remember that you will change a lot in the next few years.

How long should you know a person before you begin a relationship?

Before beginning a relationship you should get to know a person as much as possible. Physical attraction, although important, is not sufficient to develop a relationship. Starting a relationship will depend on your age and experience of life when you meet. If you are in your 20s and have had opportunity to interact with a number of young people, you may have gained the maturity and life experience to develop a clear idea of what is desired in a partner, and whether you could actually form a long-term relationship with that person. If you are much younger, remember that your personality is still changing. The person in whom you are interested is also changing, and the person might well be unsuitable as a lifelong partner.

Limits on Relationships

If you are a young Christian and keeping company with another Christian, there are Scriptural boundaries for your relationship. Going out with another person is a time of treating him or her with special attention. This will include some measure of physical contact. But remember that there is a world of difference between showing affection and inciting passion.  Some young men can be so aggressive that their girlfriends always have to say “No.” Some girls dress and act in a sexually provocative way and are being thoughtless and unkind to their boyfriends. True love is giving and not getting; it is thinking of the one you love before yourself.

In our 21st century culture, people have full sexual relationships with a person they hardly know at all. This is against what God commands and what He knows is best for our health and happiness. We must not let God’s standard be changed by the prevailing culture or by emotional pressure to be like everyone else. Take seriously the Bible’s warning about indulgence in premarital sexual relationships (1Cor 6:13-20). The results of sexual sin may affect you physically, and they will definitely affect you emotionally as well as spiritually. Satan, who has long experience with human nature, will lay careful and well-organized plans to trip you up and ruin your young life. It is necessary to listen to the voice of God in your youth, lest you join with those who are weeping over their folly, having refused to listen to instruction and who failed to obey the voice of their teachers (Prov 5:12-13).

It is important to establish limits in your physical contact so that you do not put yourself in a situation where you are tempted to do things against God’s will. Don’t see how near the edge you can get; avoid places and situations where you know the temptation will be greater, such as being alone together in a home.

God has designed the physical relationship within the bounds of marriage to be a blessing. Before marriage, spend time developing your relationship spiritually and socially. This will actually enrich the physical and emotional sides of love in your subsequent marriage. Following God’s principles for building a healthy relationship will bring joy and satisfaction.

– To be continued