Here are 3 tips to help you answer the question, “How compatible do I need to be with someone to date them and then possibly marry them one day?”
1. You Need to Be Very Compatible Spiritually and Compatible Enough in Practical Ways to Enjoy One Another
There’s a big difference between being spiritually compatible and compatibility in practical ways. The Bible says a lot about our spiritual compatibility with others and very little about our practical compatibility with others. That alone should be an important guide for us. You should be equally yoked spiritually (2 Corinthians 6:14), you should generally see eye to eye on important theological topics, you should generally agree on what type of church to attend, and so on.
If you’ve been a longtime subscriber to AGW Ministries, you know I’ve talked about the 3-tier system when it comes to biblical differences. So I won’t go into that again, but you can click here to learn more about theological differences in dating and marriage.
As I said though, the Bible doesn’t talk too much about being compatible in practical ways. Generally speaking God has made his church different on purpose. Different races, two different genders, different gifts, different roles, different languages, different interests, and so on.
With that said, one general biblical principle that is key when it comes to marriage is the truth that marriage is a biblical option and not a biblical command. In other words, no one should ever feel forced to marry. It is only for those who truly want to be married. That same is true when it comes to individual relationships. You don’t have to marry anyone.
So a simple test is to ask yourself, “Would I enjoy my life more with or without this person?” As 1 Corinthians 7:36 states, “. . . let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin.”
2. In Dating Your Clarity on Your Compatibility with this Person Can Be Hazy, But Before Marriage You Should Have All Your Questions Answered About Compatibility
One big mistake many Christian singles make is that they start asking questions about marriage before getting answers about dating. Like most things in life, there is a process to figuring out God’s will for your future marriage and that process usually involves the dating season.
The courtship mentality causes people to only date someone they think God is telling them to marry. I find that unhelpful and causes people to never date because it puts too much pressure on a relationship too early on. People get stuck never talking to the opposite sex and never dating anyone when they refuse to get to know anyone until they know they are compatible enough to marry. I believe the dating process should be used to figure this out.
So you should know enough about your compatibility with someone for the specific step forward you are taking. If you want to take a step forward in dating, you don’t need to know the same amount of information that you will need to know to take a step forward towards marriage.
The wisdom found in Proverbs 3:5-6, for example, doesn’t always occur all at once. Through a season of trusting God, he will make your path straight as you walk down that path in dependence on him.
3. You Should Be Compatible Enough to Thrive Together and Incompatible Enough to Respectfully Challenge One Another
While most people are purely focused on whether or not they are compatible enough with someone, oftentimes we start to undervalue the ways in which we are not compatible with other people. When it comes to relationships, the healthiest connections are not always the ones that are the easiest. We often grow the most when we walk along side of those people that respect us but also challenge us in the ways that we need.
I’m not saying that you should marry someone you are not compatible with at all. Again, spiritually you should be very compatible and practically you should be compatible enough to do life joyfully with each other and accomplish God’s will in your life. You don’t need to marry someone with the exact same calling as you. You just need to not marry someone who would prevent you from fulfilling your calling. But we must also leave room for the healthy disagreements and pushback that is often needed.
None of us know everything. We all have blind spots. And it is healthy to make sacrifices for someone you love. Thus a complete capability is not what is needed to date or marry someone. You should be compatible enough to thrive together but also have enough individuality to cause growth in one another. For as Proverbs 27:17 (NIV) states, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
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