HOW TO KNOW WHOM TO MARRY
One of the most difficult area in Christianity is in the area of choosing the life partner. Most Christians who are doing very well in other areas of their Christian lives gets confused when the issue of marriage comes in. They don’t know how to approach the situation. There are many brothers out there who are eligible and qualified to get married but confused on how to go about it. Should they approach that sister that leads solo last Sunday or is it the usher that collects the offering? Some who prefer to seek the help of their Pastors in choosing their life partner, even though this may not be totally wrong but there is a better option. There are cases of engagement that would not last more than six months because at the end of the day the brother is no longer sure if he really wants to settle down with the lady and so they cut it off. Sometimes it is the lady that will say ‘no, i am no longer interested’.
Today there is no much difference between the way Christians chooses whom to marry and the way an unbelievers goes about it. Some goes into parties and they sees an attractive lady and they are already “toasting” her, telling her how much they like and love her and would not mind if they can date. Others get their marital partner when their friends introduced their colleagues in the office, sister, friends and people like that.
Does the Bible has some instructions or guidelines on whom to marry or whom not to marry? What does the Bible says about choosing a life partner? Is there any forbidden things we are not to do? How do i know whom am to marry?. These and many other questions will be answered in this life transforming article as we examine the topic “how to know whom i am to marry”.
WHOM NOT TO MARRY
The Bible in Old Testament talks about marriage so much. It also have the lists of people that intimate relationship should not be considered with at all not to talk of marriage. Some of the forbidden marriages are listed below:
Marriage among blood line.
This was permitted initially when the families on earth were few in numbers and so a man can marry his sister or half sister. We see good examples in Abraham that married Sarah. They were of the same father but different mother. But after the law was promulgated, it becomes an offense to marry people from the same blood line or have physical intimate relationship with them.
Gen 20:11-12 KJV 11 And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife’s sake. 12 And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.
Lev 18:6 KJV None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD.
When you read the chapter down, the lists of people you should never approach in marriage or have intimate relationship is exhausitive.
THEY SHOULD NOT MARRY STRANGERS
Rebekah expressed her view about such marriage
Gen 27:46 KJV And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?
Children of Israel were warned
Deu 7:3-4 KJV 3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. 4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.
Samson was warned of such marriage
Jdg 14:3 KJV Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.
It was his alliance with those women that ended his career. Beware.
Nehemiah was very angry with his men over this matter
Neh 13:23 KJV In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab:
God had already forbid sexual relationship outside marriage when in Ex 20 commanded against adultery. It is here reinforced.
Lev 18:20 KJV Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her.
PRIEST FORBIDDEN MARRYING WHORES
Lev 21:7 KJV They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God.
THEY SHOULD NOT MARRY WIDOW BUT VIRGINS
Lev 21:13-14 KJV 13 And he shall take a wife in her virginity. 14 A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or an harlot, these shall he not take: but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife.
Eze 44:22 KJV Neither shall they take for their wives a widow, nor her that is put away: but they shall take maidens of the seed of the house of Israel, or a widow that had a priest before.
NEW TESTAMENT APPROACH
There are guidelines and guiding principle on making choices. We are not have intimate, close personal relationship with certain groups of people:
EQUAL YOKE WITH UNBELIEVERS FORBIDDEN
2Cor 6:14 KJV Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Paul had been talking about the dissimilarity between the unbelievers and believers and here he gave an outright injunction forbidden unions and relations with unbelievers. There should not be intimate friendship, connections or to participation in their amusements and employments, as to marriage
RELATIONSHIP WITH IMMORALS
1Cor 5:9 KJV I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators
Eph 5:11 KJV And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
2Thess 3:14 KJV And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
The verses above restrain Christians from engaging in intimate relationship with people who are not of the same faith with them, who don’t share the same idea with them and everything call unfruitful work of darkenes which is practised by unbelievers.
They cannot even marry their step mother.
1Cor 5:1 KJV It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
WHOM SHOULD I MARRY?
BIBLICAL MODEL OF MARRIAGE
Isaac was old enough to get married and there are eligible young beautiful ladies in Canaan where they had their camps but his father Abraham had another plan.
Gen 24:2-4 KJV 2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: 3 And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: 4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.
Abraham does not want his son Isaac to marry the ladies in Canaanite. What is wrong with the women there and why will he not want his son to get one of them? The reason is because the people of Canaan has been devoted to slavery through the curse pronounced upon them by Noah in Gen 9: 25
Gen 9:25 KJV And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
It would have been utterly inconsistent as well with prudence as with the design of God to have united the child and heir of the promise with one who was under a curse, though that curse might be considered to be only of a political nature.
They were also idolaters and immoral, they don’t serve the true God. It will be out of order for Abraham to allow his son be intimately involved in what Paul writing to the Corinthians church as unequal yoke with unbelievers. The kindred of Abraham were Shemites, Hebrews, and still retained some knowledge of the true God, and some reverence for him and his will.
So Abraham sent his servants to a peculiar place and that was his place of origin, to his brethren.
Gen 24:4 KJV But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.
He sent him to Mesopotamia, called here Abraham’s country, because it was the place where the family of Haran, his brother, had settled; and where himself had remained a considerable time with his father Terah. In this family, as well as in that of Nahor, the true religion had been in some sort preserved, though afterwards considerably corrupted. It was still better than the Canaanites religion. Even though they still has some superstition yet they still serve thr true God.
Do you know that you as a Christian has brethren? you have a constituency and a sphere of life from whom God expects you to marry from. The word “brethren” in Greek is “adolphous” and it means people of the same family or brotherhood, born from the same womb. Your brethren are fellow believers and this explicitly excluded any unbelievers. The denomination factor is irrelevant, most important thing is whether he or she is a born again. If he or she is not born again, the person is not your brethren. He or she may have good manner, be a good moralist and look better than people in the church but if he or she is not a Christian, forget it. He may look good, speak fine, a true moralist, gentle, composed and well calculated but if he or she is not born again, he is not your brethren. Don’t think you can convert him or her, you are not the Holy Spirit whose job is that to convince people.
The servant proceeded in his journey to Abraha’s place in Mesopotamia, he saddled his donkeys and get the materials needed to transact the marriage. When the servant got there, he made a prayer for guidance. The content of his prayers is here stated.
Gen 24:11-14 KJV 11 And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water. 12 And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham. 13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: 14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.
The prayer of Eliezer
Before anyone will consider marriage, the first thing to do is to seek the face of God concerning whom to marry. God is a good God and even though He has given us our free will yet it will be a high honour if we defer to Him for guidance. He knows the heart of all men. He told Samuel in 1Sam 16:7 that man look at the outward appearance but he look at the heart and you know Solomon said the issues of life emanates from the heart. The Lord Jesus said out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Some fellows look good and great but their hearts are full of deceit and evil. You can’t judge by the supposed well manner and good disposition. Only God knows. the true conditions of the hearts of men.
Eliezer put some conditions to be met by the maiden chosen by God:
The three qualifications, then, in the mind of the venerable domestic for a bride for his master’s son, are a pleasing exterior, a kindly disposition, and the approval of God.
The prayer of guidance is for God to lead you as you seek His face in knowing whom to marry. Eliezer was able to identify with all clarity the woman God has chosen for his master. You too can know the right person without making any mistake.
DO NOT LEAN ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING
The issue of marriage is a delicate thing, don’t trust your ability or wisdom, don’t even rely on the knowledge of friends in choosing a life partner.
Psa 37:4 KJV Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Pro 3:5-6 KJV 5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
The first thing is to have a relationship with God. Ever before the talk about marriage comes, you should have an established way of communication with God whereby He talks with and to you and you can hear Him clearly. I believe God speaks to us in different ways but there would have been an established way that you have been relating to God. You know His voice beyond shadow of doubt. Even if He chooses to speak to you in ‘dream’, ‘intuitive knowledge’, ‘knowing’ or ‘perception’ in your heart, there will be one way or the other of how He relates to you. It is a great discovery for you if you know this because when He is leading you in marriage, it won’t be different from how He has been dealing with you before issues of marriage comes in.
Solomon says he that finds a wife find a good thing and obtain favour from the Lord Prov 18:22. You cannot find a wife outside of God. He must be fully involved in whom you marry. Your purpose in life could be marred or made through marriage. We are not expected to do trial and error like unbeliever. You don’t have to date all the men before you know the right person. If you have been praying, you will know when the right person shows up. God is not the author of confusion.
WE are given the Holy Spirit to help us in life. He knows the mind of God and will be able to reveal th mind of God to you explicitly. He will show you the things to come.
Rom 8:27 KJV And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Is it possible for two men to see ‘vision’ for only one lady? It is possible because one of them or the two of them is operating in the flesh. The lady or the sister has to seek the face of God to know who is saying the truth from the person being led carnally and by infatuation.
Does God has a particular sister for a particular brother and vise versa? I believe God put two people together in marriage but it is not universal that God has destined this particular man to marry this particular woman. Our free will and choices are still available for us and besides that God will lead you to the one He has in mind for you or better still t the one you should marry.
What if the person i ‘feel’ God has led me to decline or totally reject my approach? Will God give me another person or lead me to another person? There are two sides to this, firstly God does not make mistake and lead people in error. It is either you didn’t hear well or you were led by your own mind. Most time we are very anxious. Secondly, if you are very sure of yourself and the lady says no, the best thing to do is to go back to God in prayer for possibly reassurance and for God to speak to the heart of the lady while you patiently wait. This may take time and patience especially if the lady has not been praying about marriage, has some some character defects that need to be taken care of like low self esteem, pride, arrogance and superiority complex. It will be better to wait on God while He works on her.
If a lady ‘receives’ the ‘impression’ to marry a man, should she go and talk to the man? Most culture see it as improper for a lady to make the first move but i think there is nothing wrong in the sister making the first move or possibly encourage the man. Some guys are shy, introverts to the extreme and have low self esteem. To approach a lady may be a big issue even when God is leading them. We read of Ruth in the Bible and it may not be out of order if such example is followed Ruth 3:7.
Seeking the help of spiritual fathers and mothers in the area of marriage is also a good thing. But i object to match-making arrangement where by a particular lady is seen to be fit for a particular brother and the two are made to marry. It does happen but i think the face of God should be sought greatly. You should not marry based on prophecy, word or vision from any man without you confirming it strongly in your heart. The Pastor and the elders are there to guide and not to help choose. Involve them and be open unto them on how you feel towards the whole matter. They have passed through the road, they knows where obstacles are and can offer life savings guidelines.
Christians Are To Marry Only Christians
1Cor 7:39 KJV The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.
Paul here said a Christian should only marry in the Lord. To marry in the Lord means to marry a fellow Christian. You can only marry a Christian.
The Greek word used for the word “will’ here is “ethelo” and it means wishes, desire, prefer or wishes. In order word she can marry whoever she likes so far the person is a Christian.
One of the things that help determine whom to marry is when you get close to those people and begin to talk with them. As a man you must have a purpose in life, i mean your assignment. It is this assignment that your would be wife will be help-meet for. And as a lady you need to ask and know what is the purpose of the man you want to marry. If he does’t have a purpose, your assistance is to no avail. Do you have the same vision and spiritual goal for life?
The intending couple must be of the same mind over certain spiritual and physical issues.
Philippians 2:1-4 gives us this biblical principle when it says, “make my joy complete by being of the same mind.” The Greek word for “same mind” refers to being in agreement. Literally, it refers to thinking the same things. What is his or her view in doctrinal matters and real life issues. This has to be discussed intensively and if there are major contrary issues that cannot be resolved, may be you need to ‘hear’ more to be sure you heard right.
1Pet 3:7 KJV Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
This means that he must know and understand his wife. He needs to study his wife. He should know her weaknesses, attitudes and desires. He should understand and be prepared to care for his bride should her health one day be impacted by disease or physical ailments. It is important to understand that we are genetically related to our parents. He should understand her past culture because it can affect their future relationship. These considerations are also true for a woman considering marriage. She should know her future husband (Titus 2:4-5).
Be careful as you explore your differences and what you have in common. The greater the differences the greater the potential for future conflict. Once again remember that diversity does not lead to unity. This is contrary to the popular view of culture. Diversity and differences lead to conflict, not to unity.
Find out about the blood group. Sometime it is advisable for people with ‘SS’ not to marry each other because the love and desire of now will not be able to contain the challenges that arises with children born with sickle cell anaemia. Of course i believe in miracle and we have seen cases of ‘SS’ turning to ‘AA’, but will you be be able to face it and put your faith all out for it? Think about it, selah. Other health related issues can be discussed and both spiritual and medical solution to them worked out and if it is what your faith is shaking about, then reconsider your stand. Whatever is not of faith is sin.
Knowledge and love
Many people think that the criteria for good marriage is love. So they say marry your friend or whom your love. I think i defer greatly on this. When God instituted the marriage, Adam was already matured and when God brought Eve to him, He did not seek his opinion about it and did not asked him if he love the woman or not. The same thing goes for Eve, her opinion was not sought. I believe they eventually love each other. But love was not the reason why they married. May be you are still doubting that, consider the marriage model we are considering; the marriage between Isaac and Rebecca. When the servant presented his proposal to Rebecca parents, the parents did not ask Rebecca if she love Isaac because she did not even know who Isaac was and have never met him. They only asked her if she will go with the man and she said yes. When she eventually met Isaac, she just followed him into his mother’s tent. Bible says that Isaac loved her.
Love follow commitment and dedication in marriage. We are not told to marry whom we love but to love whom we marry. This is Bible and not philosophy.
Adequate knowledge of what marriage is all about is lacking in many people, they don’t know what marriage is about and have wrong perception of what marriage will bring to their lives. Some think marriage will make them complete, add value to their lives, increase their self esteem, make them happy and acceptable. They even look for their “better half”. The truth is you don’t have a better half. You are complete and she is complete in Christ Jesus. We only complement each other in marriage and not complete each other. If you are looking for who will complete you, you have already acknowledge some deficiency in yourself and someone else with deficiency cannot help you. It is a recipe for disaster for two deficient people to marry.
Marriage is not designed to meet all these. You are already complete in Christ Jesus. It is only in Him that you have completion. The joy of the Lord should be your strength and not the joy of having a spouse. You are already accepted in the beloved so why looking for approbation from man? If you are not happy in yourself before getting married it is unlikely that you will be happy because marriage comes with its own challenges.
Mary and Joseph (Luke 2:1-7) would have had an arranged marriage also. That was common at the time of Christ. Christ never said anything about such marriages. In summary, love is not the barometer for a successful marriage.
Often the “love” that couples feel today for one another is typically lust or physical attraction and a desire for physical contact and sex. Such “love” is a poor barometer for a successful marriage. What is required in marriage is God’s kind of love which is ‘agape’. it is not ‘filia’ or ‘eros’ The agape love is unconditional love. It is what is expected from intending couples. You must have received this love first before you can give it out. You cannot give what you don’t have.
Another major key to knowing whom to marry is their state of spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity is not the ability to speak in tongues, manifest the gifts of Holy Spirit and work in the miraculous. It is also not ability to preach, teach and quote the Bible. Paul gave us insight into what spiritual maturity is all about when he wrote to the Galatians church.
Gal 5:22-23 KJV 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
The ability of a man to walk fully in these fruit of the spirit determine how mature he is. Is your spouse or intended spouse spiritually mature?
Marriage is both spiritual and physical. We have been talking about the spiritual aspects. however, the physical aspect has to do with how you feel about the person, to some extent there should be some ‘butterfly movements’ in your stomach when you see the person whom you are to marry. It is not an indication of love but flowing of emotional joy.
God makes all things beautiful in His time, when the right time comes you will know this is the person you are to marry once you are depending on God. Let God put you and your intending spouse together.
Other areas of compatibility should be looked into and if there are major differences, it can be sorted out during the courtship period.