What I’m about to say is going to come off as blasphemous at first. So please read this whole article to get the full context of this statement. If you do, I believe you will better enjoy your Christian singleness and be better situated to find a Christian spouse. Alright, here it goes:
Stop trying to put God first as a way of finding your future spouse.
See? I told you that was going to be irritating. What am I saying? Notice the last part of this sentence, “as a way of finding your future spouse.” Every Christian must always put God first. But I would argue that if you are “putting God first” as a means to something other than God, you are not actually putting God first.
Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21). In other words, whatever is your end goal is what you are truly putting first. Seeking God first to find a spouse is really seeking a spouse first.
God Cannot Be Mocked, So It’s Pointless to “Put God First to Find a Spouse”
As Christians, we believe God is in control. Therefore when we want to be married but we have not found a spouse yet, it’s easy to assume God is mad at us. If God is in control and he has not blessed me with a spouse, he must be angry with me, right? Am I being punished for my past sins? Is that why God has not blessed me with a spouse?
As a result of this thinking, we assume the solution is to please God to increase our chances of being blessed with what we want. It’s kind of like Santa, “He’s making a list, and checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.” This is not how God works.
Since God does indeed want us to put God first, and the Bible does seem to indicate that when you please God he will bless you (Matthew 6:33), it’s logical to assume that if you want God to bless you with a Christian spouse, all you have to do is put God first.
While there’s fragments of truth here, this thinking is definitely not totally biblical. Just because you don’t have what you want does not mean God is mad at you. Likewise, just because you have all the earthly blessings you do want does not mean God is pleased with you. Earthly blessings are not the thermometer of God’s pleasure in us. That type of thinking is rooted in “prosperity gospel” theology.
God’s ultimate gifts always come in the form of himself. When God is pleased with you, you will have a deeper relationship with God. When God is pleased with you, your joy in God will abound. What God wants most of all is to be first in every area of our lives. He wants this for himself and for us. When God is first, he is glorified and we are blessed by his presence.
So when we try to put God first as a way of attaining some other blessing, like a Christian spouse, God sees right through this.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7-8)
We reap what we sow. When we seek to please God, we reap a reward in God.
“Putting God First to Find a Spouse” Is Biblically Backwards
Seeking God first is not a means to end (like finding a spouse). Seeking God first is an end itself. The point of life is God.
I know we all mean well when we say we need to put God first, then our marriage, then our kids, then our friends, then our jobs, and est. But a more biblical way to put it would be to say that we should put God first in our marriage, in our parenting, in our friendships, in our pursuit of a spouse, and est.
God is not just the most important category. God should overwhelm all categories of life. God doesn’t want to be placed in one box, even if it’s our first and most important box. Putting God first in everything is the goal, not just above everything.
So in the context of finding a spouse, you’ll have to work on the motivation of your heart if you hope to avoid trying to manipulate God, which never works anyways.
Therefore, rather than putting God first “to find a Christian spouse,” you should seek to put God first “in” your search for a Christian spouse. Seek God first and use your search for a spouse as a way to glorify God. Don’t use glorifying God as a way to find a spouse. To seek God first to find a Christian spouse would be like marrying a woman for her money, “If I love you will you give me your money?” In the scenario, the man love’s what the woman can give her, not the woman herself. The same is true when we try to love God with the motivation of getting a Christian spouse.
The true blessing of a Christian marriage is that it helps you glorify, serve, and love God better. If you’re asking God for a spouse and your motivation is not rooted in pleasing God, then you’re asking God for a secondary gift. God wants to give you the best. So he often waits to bless us with a spouse until we are ready to use our marriage in service to him rather than using God to serve our future marriage.
Honestly, one of the scariest things is when God finally gives you a Christian spouse even though you want him or her for all the wrong reasons. God will use the pain of this marriage, rather than the joy of a healthy marriage, to draw you to himself and help you put him first.
Odds Are, God Wants You To Be Married. So Put God First and Go For It!
I think one of the reasons the advice to “Put God first to find a Christian spouse” has resonated with so many Christian singles is because many view these two desires as opposing one another.
It’s as though if Christians were to admit they really did want a Christian spouse, it might compromise their other desire to put God first. The problem is when you view having a Christian spouse as a different desire than pleasing God. These two desires should be the same. You should want a Christian spouse to assist your desire to please God.
These two desires never have to oppose one another. Marriage is a blessing from God (just as singleness is). You never have to feel ashamed for having a desire to be married (or single). You can glorify God in your search for a spouse by doing it the right way, for the right reasons, and right alongside God as he leads and directs you.
Having said all that, if you know the desire to find a Christian spouse has become an idol to you, which means it has usurped rather than supported your desire to love God, then you shouldn’t go for it right away.
Repent of making a Christian spouse an idol. Take a break from pursuing a Christian spouse. And once you feel you can seek a spouse with the intent of pleasing God, then go for it. The desire for a Christian spouse only opposes our desire to please God when we want a spouse more than God. But when we want God, and we want a Christian spouse to help us in our service to God, God is happy with this desire. Don’t be ashamed of it. Put God first and go for it!
There are definitely Christians who are called to a life of singleness. But the vast majority is called to marriage. Either way, every one of us is called to glorify God in all that we do. Therefore, for those of you who want to find a Christian spouse, ask yourself “Why?” Is it for selfish reasons? Or is it for God-honoring reasons? Repent of the former and pursue the latter.
In your search for a spouse, do it out of desire to please God. Marriage glorifies the Lord, you want to glorify the Lord, therefore seek to be married not for selfish reasons but for the highest motive possible – to glorify the Lord. You won’t be manipulating God. You’ll be positioning yourself to be blessed with the gift God wants for you – being able to better glorify God through a solid Christian marriage.
In summary: When the glory of God is the intent of our desire to be married, our desire to be married pleases God. Use everything, including your search for a spouse, as a way to glorify God. Don’t try to glorify God so you can get a Christian spouse. Try to get a Christian spouse as another way of glorifying God.