How Do I Find A Suitable Spouse?
Finding a spouse starts with understanding marriage is God’s plan: a man and a woman leave their parents and unite together to become one flesh. For believers, there are biblical principles and practical wisdom that we can follow to guide us in finding that person.
Foundational Understanding: Marriage Is God’s Plan
- God created man as a relational being. He was to have a relationship with God, but also a companion in this world. Therefore, God created women to complement men through a lifelong covenant called marriage. Thus it is by God’s design and will that a man and a woman leave their parents and unite together to become one flesh for one lifetime. Today, this hasn’t changed and marriage should be pursued to fulfill this intimate relationship.
Genesis 2:18, 23-24; Matthew 19:5; Ephesians 5:31
- The Bible assumes and advocates that marriage is the natural, healthy and right path that should be pursued by humans. It doesn’t provided a category for any other type of relationships (singleness, causal dating, romantic interests, sexual partners) that allows for the same type of benefits that marriage does, such as sexual satisfaction or child bearing. The only exception is if a person has the “gift of celibacy”—which means that a person is required to abstain from seeking a spouse, marriage, sex and offspring in order to have a special commitment to serve God in a way that is unaccommodating to leading a family. If you haven’t been given this gift, then you can assume that you are called to marriage to fulfill your natural and God-given desires.
1 Corinthians 7:1-2, 6-9, 37; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; Matthew 19:12
Biblical Principles: Searching For A Spouse
- Every believer should have a desire to fulfill God’s biblical plan for marriage. Although the Bible gives us many verses on how to live out the married life, it doesn’t give us as many details about how to find a spouse. It allows culture and traditions to play a part in this process, but there are two biblical principals that transcend all culture, traditions and time to help guide the process along the way. As believer, we should desire to glorify God in the process and not just in the product.
1 Corinthians 10:31
- Believers should only marry believers. The Bible tells us that believers are not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. A yoke was a wooden crosspiece that was placed around the neck of two equal animals of equal strength, such as oxen, so that they could plow a field in a straight line. If they placed the yoke over two animals who were not equal then they wouldn’t be able to plow in a straight line—thus no work would be done. The Bible uses this illustration to point out that believers are incompatible to be bound together with unbelievers. They are incapable of forming a true union with them.
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; Deuteronomy 22:10; 1 Corinthians 7:39
- Believers should not have sex before marriage (or outside of their marriage). Sex involves the totality of a person (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual), thus sex before marriage damages you to some degree. Every believer has the ability to control their sexual drives and commit them to purity. God doesn’t permit a person to have sex because of love, romance, intimacy or money, but only within a marriage commitment are the enjoyment of these pleasures intended and truly achieved.
1 Corinthians 6:15-20; 7:2; 10:6-13; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Hebrews 13:4; Proverbs 6:24-35
Practical Wisdom, Good Judgment And Common Sense
- Desire to get married and seek a spouse, but don’t be desperate (you don’t have to choose the first person available) and make it the main goal of your life. Understand that your ultimate satisfaction and identity come from your relationship with God and your first and foremost goal is to serve and glorify Him. Focus more on “being” the right person than “finding” the right person.
- Don’t start a relationship with someone who isn’t a believer, because you most likely will fall in love with him/her but they may never become a believer. Don’t date as a way to evangelize. Only start a relationship with those who have a personal testimony of salvation and a changed life that glorifies God—someone with the characteristics of a godly man or a godly woman.
- Only date the opposite sex with the intention of seeing if they are suitable for marriage—a potential marriage partner. This gives purpose and a framework to these types of relationships instead of just being recreational and pointless.
- Set physical, emotional and mental boundaries in your spouse seeking relationships and keep yourself accountable so that you can honor God in the process and guard against sin and pain. We should strive to be pure physically but also in mind and heart.
- Cohabitation—living together and having a sexual relationship without being married is forbidden and to be avoided. It doesn’t matter if you are engaged, trying to save money, or want to make sure you are compatible before you commit to marriage, this type of “habitation relationship” is only to be experienced within the commitment of marriage—meaning you have already pledge not to end the relationship regardless of any problems.
1 Thessalonians 4:3
- Look at a person’s character and not just at their outward appearance. Physical attraction, personality traits and common interests are important aspects in finding a compatible spouse, but don’t be fooled by it—use discernment and look for evidence of good character. There are no perfect people so give enough time to know and look for someone who demonstrates a lifestyle of the necessary relational characteristics: love, honesty, commitment, faithfulness, forgiveness and grace. (Do you have these?)
- Action plan to find a spouse: First, prepare yourself to be the man or woman of God that you are called to be and live by faith (see the lessons on this topic). Second, pray and ask God for guidance and wisdom to make the right decisions. Third, start the process (avoid undue delay) to meet people according to your culture but don’t compromise the biblical principles, common sense or good judgement. Fourth, ask for advice and biblical counsel (others might see character flaws that that you can’t). Fifth, after understanding the meaning, purpose and commitment of marriage wisely make a final decision about who you will marry. Sixth, get married—leave your parents and become one with him/her.
Psalm 37:4; Philippians 4:6-7; James 1:5
- Who created marriage?
- What is the “gift of celibacy”?
- What are two biblical principles we should follow?
- What is some practical wisdom concerning dating?
- What is the action plan to find spouse?