There are a lot of different ideas out there about dating and how to find someone to spend your life with. Many of you aren’t ready to think about the whole marriage thing. You may feel like it’s far off and that you have plenty of time to find “the one.” Others of you might think about it all the time. Marriage is something you desire so strongly that whenever you meet someone of the opposite sex, your first thought is whether or not they are marriage material. Wherever you are on the spectrum, I would love to challenge you to read on and think about how you will make your choice. You might be thinking, “Choice?! Isn’t love something that just happens?” You meet this girl or guy and just automatically know she or he is the one. Having just gone through the process of meeting someone, dating, and getting married, I’ve learned that it isn’t that easy and if you just depend on your feelings, you could get yourself into a messy situation.
The Importance of Marriage
“You can’t expect your marriage to be strong if you don’t have a strong view of marriage.”
Throughout high school and college, I thought a lot about marriage and who I would want to spend the rest of my life with. I always expected it to look like the movies, where you meet this guy, fall madly in love, and live happily ever after. There’s some truth to this, but there’s a lot that movies leave out. For example, you can’t just follow that strong feeling. And you can’t just spend your life waiting for those feelings to happen so you’ll know it’s right. You also can’t expect to have a good marriage if you are not willing to work at it. And you can’t expect your marriage to be strong if you don’t have a strong view of marriage.
One of the biggest things I have learned from marriage is that it’s a huge deal. It affects your entire life. From what you are going to eat and when you will get up, to what dreams you will or won’t pursue and what kind of person you will become. That guy or girl you marry will affect you more than anyone else in your life, for better or for worse. Up until my wedding, I never really thought about that…or maybe I couldn’t see the reality of it. Now my biggest piece of advice for those I love who are single is to choose wisely and don’t settle for less.
How do you choose wisely? By asking the right questions to yourself, to trusted family and friends, and especially to the Lord. Now, before you say this doesn’t apply to you because you “aren’t looking to get married any time soon,” you’re “just into dating,” I would say you should be asking yourself these questions even before you think about spending time with someone that you see potential in.
What To Look For
(Questions to ask yourself about him or her):
- Does this person acknowledge God as Lord and the best friend of his or her life? Is this person molded by God or molded by the people around him or her? Is he or she really committed to knowing God and what God wants, or is his or her spirituality just for you?
- Does this person have a teachable spirit? Is this person quick to learn from situations, or does he or get mad easily and blame things on other people? Is this person willing to listen to criticism and the opinions of others? How does this person respond to you when you do or say something he or she doesn’t like?
- Do you feel the Lord is giving you the “okay”? Have you prayed about it? Seriously? Are you willing to not pursue this relationship if you felt the Lord was telling you “no”?
- What are the people around you saying? Do your closest friends and family think this person is worth pursuing?
- Does he or she cause you to sin? Would you be compromising on your standards by pursing a relationship with him or her? Have you seen any red flags-sin or baggage that needs to be dealt with that shouldn’t be carried into a relationship (i.e. lust, anger, bitterness toward God)?
- Do you have similar life goals, dreams, and ideals? (Not that they have to be exactly the same, but have you made sure that neither of you are compromising what God has already told you to do?)
- How does this person treat other people (especially his or her family)?
- Is this person someone you would want to be influenced by? A person that you would want to wake up beside every morning? Someone you could be committed to working through their faults with? Someone you would trust to make some of life’s biggest decisions with?
- Have you put in the time to know if this person is who he or she says he or she is-consistently?
- Are you ready? Have you spent enough time with this person to know that your decision isn’t based on emotions? Is your heart prepared for a relationship? Do you fit these criteria?
There are often major differences between couples who have sought the Lord moved forward in a relationship wisely and couples who have carelessly jumped in and asked questions later.”
I know this may sound like a lot, and the truth is no one is perfect. But there are often major differences between couples who have sought the Lord moved forward in a relationship wisely and couples who have carelessly jumped in and asked questions later. I am blessed by my husband daily. He calms me down when I am feeling crazy. He speaks truth in my life when I need to hear it. When we get frustrated with each other he is quick to forgive and quick to say he is sorry. In all things I know he is on my team. The times I can see what a great guy he is the most are when I’m around a guy that is not at all like him. I am often surprised by harsh, abrasive, demanding men because I am not used to them. The reality of what life could have been like if I had married someone with an anger problem, or a problem connecting, or a struggle with lust leaves me feeling relieved and thankful. Life would be much more difficult if I had dated and married a man that wasn’t striving after God.
You Reap What You Sow
I mean this in a good way. If you take the time now to choose wisely and guard yourself from relationships that aren’t built on love and honesty, and aren’t helping you grow in your relationship with the Lord, you will reap the benefits in marriage. You will save yourself a lot of heartache and keep from giving yourself away emotionally, physically, and spiritually.