Have you ever wanted something so badly that you went after it without really thinking about what the result would be if it was NOT in the will of God for you? I have, and let me tell you, it doesn’t end well.
This thought kind of reminds me of that Garth Brooks song, Unanswered Prayers. Sometimes we pray so hard that God will give us what we are asking for, without giving a thought to what much better thing that He may have in store for us if we wait.
I see people doing this quite a bit in regard to relationships. As a matter of fact, I know of a woman right now who is struggling in her marriage because she didn’t wait long enough to make absolutely certain that the man and the marriage were God’s perfect plan for her life.
You may be wondering how in the world we are supposed to know the will of God in our lives and our relationships. After all, He doesn’t normally give us a detailed itinerary with every detail mapped out for us. But, He has given us His word, and there is not one issue of life that He has left unaddressed in it. The answers for all of our questions are found in its pages. Not only has He given us His written Word, but He has given us His Spirit to dwell in us and to lead us in every situation. He also allows us, even longs for us to come to Him in prayer, speaking to Him about the deepest concerns of this life.
So, knowing this, let’s look at a few passages of His Word. Lets see what He has to say about His will for our relationships. Shall we?
The very first thing that we should look for in a mate is a strong faith in God. We know that it is never God’s will for us to marry an unbeliever. There is no wiggle room here. There is no gray area. A person is either a believer, or they are not. There is no ‘in between’. If you are in a relationship with an unbeliever, do not marry that person. There is no doubt that it would not be God’s will for you. Second Corinthians 6:14 say’s, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?”
The person that you choose to spend the rest of your life with should inspire you to grow ever closer to your heavenly Father, and you should do the same for them. This does not happen if you are married to an unbeliever. An unbelieving spouse can, and usually does draw you away from the Lord. Of course, there are sometimes exceptions. But don’t bet your eternity on it!
If you are already married and your spouse is not a believer, do not divorce him/her! God does not want you to break your vow. You and your spouse are now ‘one flesh’. Honor God by honoring your vow. God will honor you as you consistently live out your faith for your unbelieving spouse to see. God will use you to draw your spouse to Him! Be careful to be faithful to God and practice what you preach! When unbelievers see us living hypocritical lives it pushes them away from God and not toward Him!
Once you have chosen a believing mate, there are some qualities that you should look for and some that you should stay away from. Proverbs has a lot to say about both. Most of these verses are speaking about wives, but it applies to husbands too! “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, you know?!”
Fist, we will discuss the kind of qualities you should find in the person you plan to marry. Proverbs 19:14 says that a prudent wife is from the Lord. The word prudent means ‘to act with or show thought for the future’. You are looking for someone who thinks before they act. He/she should consider all the options before making a decision. He/she should pray and ask God for wisdom, and then wait for His answer before jumping into anything, especially important decisions or commitments.
Next, according to Proverbs 31:10 and 12:4, we should be looking for someone virtuous. So what does that look like, anyway? Having virtue is having or showing high moral standards. This is someone who consistently does the right thing. They do the right thing even when it isn’t easy or convenient. This is the person who, when they find something valuable that doesn’t belong to them, they turn it in to authorities or give it back to the rightful owner. They never keep it quiet and keep it for themselves.
Now, we will discuss the characteristics that we want to watch out for. If you consistently see the following characteristics in a person, run, don’t walk in the opposite direction. This is not the one God wants for you to marry!
These characteristics are warned about in the book of Proverbs.
Proverbs 12:4 warns about the person who causes you to feel ashamed. There are times when we all feel ashamed, but if the shame you feel is caused by someone other than yourself, it’s pretty safe to say that you need to get away from that person and stay away. If the shame that you feel is because of your own actions, well then, take it to Jesus. Talk to Him about what you have done. Ask for strength to avoid repeating that action or behavior, receive His forgiveness and move on! Jesus said it best when He said, “I don’t condemn you. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11)
Proverbs 19:13 tells us to avoid a quarrelsome mate. Jesus gives us peace! We can’t live in that peace if we are always bickering with our spouse! If you are with a person who knit picks and grows mountains out of molehills, then for crying out loud, quit quarreling and keep searching! He/she is not the one!
Proverbs has a lot to say about the foolish person. After reading in Proverbs for only a few minutes, you will have no doubt what God thinks about foolishness! I will give a few examples of what foolishness looks like;
Pro 14:7 Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.
Pro 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
Pro 14:16 One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.
Pro 18:2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
Pro 20:3 It is an honour for a man to keep from fighting, but the foolish are ever at war.
Pro 28:26 He whose faith is in himself is foolish; but everyone walking wisely will be kept safe.
Pro 29:11 A foolish man lets out all his wrath, but a wise man keeps it back quietly
Do you see anything like this in the one you are dating? If so, end.it.now. It will not work out well for you if you don’t!
You will find almost as much about laziness written in the book of Proverbs. The scriptures speak for themselves…
Pro 19:15 If you are lazy and sleep your time away, you will starve.
Pro 26:15 The lazy person buries his hand in the dish, but he’s too tired to bring it to his mouth again.
Pro 24:30 I went by the field belonging to a lazy man, by a vineyard belonging to a senseless person.
Pro 24:31 There it was, overgrown with thistles, the ground covered with thorns, its stone wall collapsed.
Pro 24:32 As I observed, I thought about it; I watched, and learned a lesson:
Pro 24:33 “A little sleep! A little slumber! A little folding of my hands to rest!”
Pro 24:34 Then your poverty will come upon you like a robber, your need like an armed bandit.
Basically, if you marry someone like this, either you will be broke and hungry for the rest of your life, or you will have to take care of both of you while he/she sits back and snoozes through life. Either way, this is not going to be the fairytale that you’ve always dreamed of. Walk away.
You also need to steer clear of those who have trouble with the truth. If your mate isn’t honest, no matter if it’s those little white lies or great big fat whoppers, you can’t trust them. Who wants to spend the rest of their life with someone they can’t trust?! God doesn’t tolerate liars and you don’t have to either!(Proverbs 6:16-19)
The last thing on the list is self control (just my list… I’m sure God’s list is a little more detailed. For that, you’ll need to read His best seller. You can find one in any book store!).
Proverbs 25:28 has this to say about someone who lacks self control, “Like a city with breached walls is a man without self-control.”
Do you know why cities had walls built around them? The walls were for protection. If a person doesn’t have self control they get into all kinds of messes, and you’ll be dragged in with them! Don’t go! God has much better plans for you!
Everything you need to know about what to look for in a spouse, you can find in God’s word. But before you start looking for these qualities (both good and bad) in someone else, take a good long look at yourself. What do you see. Are YOU the kind of person that God would want one of His own to marry? If you can’t say, “yes” to that question, then before you try to find some one to love, ask for God’s help in making yourself the kind of person that He would be proud to fix one of His own children up with!