He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD. ~ Proverbs 18:22
I have received news over the years of marriages gone wrong.
My heart aches at this common occurrence among believers. I know that I am not immune, nor can any of us “win” immunity in this matter as displayed in the myriad of reality television shows. However, we can take steps to safeguard our marriage both before and after we say, “I do”.
Years of miscommunication, escalating interpersonal conflict, relational wounds, bitterness, neglect, abuse, infidelity, sexual addiction (i.e. pornography) are just a few of those things which contribute to a distressed marriage that many times when left unresolved leads to separation, divorce and grave emotional/spiritual scars in both wives, husbands and children.
For those who are married please make time to work on your relationship. Don’t go another day without making those changes (you know what they are). If you are stuck, get help from your pastor or a godly Christian counselor. My wife and I have invested time with both pastors and counselors over the years to seek wisdom at critical times in our own marriage. This has been invaluable.
For those who are single do your homework on dating and marriage. Practice the 80/20 principle. Focus 80% of your time on becoming the right one and 20% on finding the right one. Often times we get it the other way around. Start now. Be selective in who you date and don’t compromise!
Consider these 10 checkpoints below as a template in dating/courting toward marriage:
Checkpoint #1 – I’m walking with the Lord. My partner is walking with the Lord.
– Walking in the Spirit is important because if we are not walking in the Spirit but in the flesh then we could misunderstand God’s voice with our fleshly desires. How is the fruit of the Spirit exhibited in my life? (Gal. 5:22).
Checkpoint #2 – Our relationship is characterized by sexual purity and a growing friendship.
– The key issue here is determining what my friendship with this person is built on or centered around? (Heb. 13:4)
Checkpoint #3 – We are BOTH equally and mutually attracted to each other and are interested in moving toward marriage.
– Sometimes guys will like someone and the girl (or visa versa) will not really feel the same way but the guy reads into things/feelings that are really not there. It is important to objectively verify if your feelings are truly mutual or if it’s a one way street.
Checkpoint #4 – We have spent an agreed amount of time praying together about the Lord’s will for our relationship.
– Prayer is missing from many relationships. Only through pray do we demonstrate dependence on God rather than our own flesh/self. Not only is it important to pray as an individual but to pray as a couple.
Checkpoint #5 – After much prayer and seeking the face of God we have a full inner peace in pursuing marriage together.
– This is so vital. Every person has some kind of fear about a relationship. It is essential to work through any and every fear that you or your partner may have. Take each concern one-by-one before the Lord so that the potential fears can be turned into faith. If there are some major fears related to issues of character, faith, family etc… then it might be a sign to wait and pray longer until you both have that full peace of God. (Phil. 4:5-6)
Checkpoint #6 – Our closet friends/mentors/confidants see God’s hand in our relationship and are generally supportive of us moving toward marriage.
– You cannot please people. There will always be the skeptic and the critic. However, your inner circle of trusted friends (those who know you best) can offer some great perspective and wisdom. Be sure to listen. What general themes are you hearing? (Prov. 2:20-21; Prov. 12:15)
Checkpoint #7 – Our parents are a 100%+ supportive of our relationship and will accept my partner as their own if we were to get married.
– I personally am a stickler on this one. I would not have married my wife unless both our families gave their 110% approval. This was true for me because 1) both our families are mature, growing believers, 2) in an intercultural relationship (Caucasian, Chinese-American) it would be more difficult and would need all the support from our families. (Prov. 1:8)
Checkpoint #8 – I am at peace about my potential partner’s financial situation as we have discussed any of outstanding debts one or both of us will bring to our marriage.
– ‘Money talks’ as the saying goes. In today’s world so many young people have huge student loans or credit card debts or other financial obligations. It is important to be really open about them on the front end of the relationship.
Checkpoint #9 – I am at peace about my potential partner’s views concerning the role of a wife and husband, parenting styles and how we would disciple/discipline our children.
– More often than not you and your partner grew up in homes that functioned differently. We tend to parent for example, as our parents parented us. It is good to think through and talk about these things.
Checkpoint #10 – Sum total: Of the checkpoints above how many have some red flags coming to your mind? What will need to take place to completely eliminate those red flags?
~ Dr. Scott