What if you do your best, but you still marry the wrong person? Will God stop you from making a big mistake or will he just let you choose a bad partner?
According to the Bible, God is sovereign, but he has still given human’s free choice to reap both good and bad consequences. Rather than think that God will overrule our choices if we pick a bad partner, it’s best to think of God as informing our choices but letting us still make the choices we want. Yes, the final outcomes are in God’s hands (Ephesians 1:11, Proverbs 16:1, 33); but rather than control our choices, he tells us how to make good choices and then lets us reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7-8, Proverbs 16:3)
So how will God lead you to choose the right partner? Here are 6 things to consider.
1. Examine the Reasons Why You Like the Types of People You Like
Many times we think we just like what we like for no real reason at all. We say things like, “That’s just how God made me” or “I can’t help it, I just like troubled souls.” But behind these preferences in relationships, there are usually reasons. Some of these reasons are healthy and some of these reasons are unhealthy.
For example, if your parents neglected spending time with you as a child, this can shape what you desire in someone. You might be attracted to people who ignore you now but still say they like you because this is how you were raised to experience love.
Make sure there is a healthy value system filtering your relationship choices. Pray Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”
2. Don’t Give People Time Who Don’t Possess the Minimum Biblical Requirements to Be in a Relationship with You
Many Christians wish that they were free to choose anyone the wanted rather than those who possess the right biblical standards. While in some ways it is harder for Christians to find someone to date because most of the world is off the table because they don’t meet the biblical requirements, this is also an advantage.
This is good because you are not looking for just anyone to date and marry. You are looking for “the right partner” to date and marry one day. So you actually want ways to eliminate people from your choices.
Likewise, one of the easiest ways to miss the right person is to be with the wrong person. Many Christians complain about not finding biblical options but they are spending all their time and energy on unbiblical options.
For these reasons and many more, one of the best things you can do to find the right person is by not giving someone any of your time, attention, or mental energy if they do not at least meet the minimum biblical requirements. What is the bare minimum someone needs to possess for a Christian to date them? There are 3 things:
- First, Christians are called to only be yoked with other Christians (2 Corinthians 6:14).
- Second, true Christians will be bearing the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
- Third, Christians are called to fulfill the biblical roles for a husband and wife in marriage (Ephesians 5:21-33, 1 Peter 3:1-7).
Therefore, if someone is not a Christian or not bearing fruit or not prepared to be a husband or wife in marriage, don’t waste any time on them. Don’t dabble. Don’t hope and wait. Move on.
Likewise, do give people time if they meet those minimum biblical requirements but they lack those extra qualities you want in a partner. Be close-minded towards people who lack the biblical recruitments and be openminded towards people who lack your personal requirements.
For more on this, you can read my article: What Are the Biblical Requirements for Marriage?
3. Value Ongoing Growth Over Current Maturity
Now, many people take the advice I just gave in Point 2 and go too far. Instead of looking for someone with the minimum biblical requirements, they start looking for someone with the maximum biblical things a perfect Christian would have.
Yes, true Christians are supposed to be followers of Jesus. But only Jesus is perfect. So rather than looking for someone who has everything you could ever want in a godly partner, look for someone who is moving forward with the Lord. Someone who is moving forward with the Lord will eventually pass the person who is more mature now but is complacent in their walk with God.
It’s okay if someone has problems as long as they are working on them, repenting, and truly walking with God (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8).
4. Value Conflict Resolution Skills Over No Conflict
If you can have a conflict, work it out, and truly let it go and move on together, that is huge! Most relationships end as soon as there is a disagreement. The best partner for you is not one who never disagrees with you, never gets offended, or never offends you. Sometimes we need to be disagreed with. Sometimes we need someone to be offended so we can become aware of some issue we have.
Every relationship needs something fierce now and then to keep it alive. I’m not saying we should look for drama. But when two people care about each other, feelings are bound to get hurt. The only way two imperfect people can never offend each other is if they just don’t care about each other that much. When we are invested and we care, that’s when feelings get hurt. It comes with the territory. So it’s crucial you partner up with someone who can work through problems with you.
Proverbs 19:11 states, “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”
5. Start Traveling in Life the Way You Would Want to Travel When You Have a Partner
It’s a trap to dream about how much better your life will be once you get married. Why? Because the dreaming about what will be prevents you from making steps towards that dream. Rather than thinking you will do this or that in marriage, start working towards those things right now.
And oftentimes, as you do this, that’s when you meet the person God wants you with. You start traveling and somewhere along the journey your paths cross and you continue the journey together. But if you never start the journey, your paths will never cross.
While Paul’s partnership with Timothy was a different kind than the one we are talking about here, the principle of how their partnership was formed does relate. Paul was traveling and doing ministry as he met Timothy (Acts 16:1-3). The same thing happened to him as he was traveling and met Priscilla and Aquilla (Acts 18:1-3). If he waited to have partners before he started his ministry journey, he never would have started.
The same is true for the Christian marriage partnership. Start traveling and God will link you up with the right person at the right time.
6. Choose Someone Who Wants to Choose You Too
Never chase someone. Never wait for “that one” and only that one. Of course it will take some effort to pursue the woman you want or invite the man you desire. Of course you will need to wait on God for “the one.”
But when you are choosing a partner, you will know they are right for you because they will want to choose you too (1 Corinthians 7:36, Song of Solomon 1:15-16).