When you are looking for a life partner to be your spouse, there are questions you need to consider. The following are two questions posed to us at Marriage Missions:
“Did God create one life partner for one person? …What if you miss him or her and marry the wrong one?”
Finding a Marital Life Partner
Your question is quite difficult to answer because who knows the mind of God —except God Himself? But I can give you my prayerful, educated opinion. I truly believe that God created us to marry one life partner (until death parts us). But I don’t necessarily think there is only one husband or wife out there that is the only one for us.
I think God draws men and women together but ultimately He gives us the choice. When we lack wisdom, the Bible tells us to ask for it and God will give it to us generously (James 1:5). I believe this also pertains to who we decide to marry. If we truly want what is best for us in who we marry, we need to ask God for wisdom. And then it’s important to pursue looking for the answer He will provide. We’re told in the Bible in James chapter 1, we need to make sure that when we ask we believe without doubting His answer —believing in His loving care.
The problem we often have is we think that God wants to give us what makes us immediately happy. But God wants more for us than mere happiness. Author Al Janssen gives us a good insight into this faulty way of thinking. He says:
“Happiness and self-fulfillment are natural by-products of marriage as God intend —not the primary purpose for marriage. The first marriage (with Adam and Eve) was at least as much about relating to God as it was about relating to each other.”
The Living Picture We Display
We seem to get the idea that marriage is all about us and our love and not about how it pertains to anyone else. That’s so untrue! “Marriage is a covenant relationship that God wants to use for His glory to give the world a glimpse of what He is like” (Al Janssen). It’s a living picture displayed through a husband and wife of God’s love for His church the Bride.
Marriage is also “a tool and a test to deepen your love, trust, and obedience for Jesus Christ. Marriage is not about you. It’s about God —reflecting the love and character of Christ in all we do” (Emerson Eggerichs). That’s why it’s so important to “consider the cost” of the sacrifice God intends for us to live out for the rest of our lives before the wedding. Because once we marry —once we make that solemn vow before God, He intends for us to follow through with that which we promised.
As it says in the Bible, “This is what the Lord commands: When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge he must not break his word but must do everything he said“ (Numbers 30:1-2). And that’s why it’s so important for us to pray in earnest that we will marry the one who will help us to live out our vows to the fullest.
Our Spouse — Our Life Partner
When we find someone who “seems” like they would be the best spouse for us, we may pray. But all too often deep down, we already have our mind made up that this would be God’s choice for us. That is because that person “seems” to be the one who would be the best spouse for us. God doesn’t always see things our way.
What immediately looks good to us —the one we’re certain God would approve of (because they “appear” to be the best for us) may not actually be the best choice for our lives in the long term. That’s why we need to earnestly seek true wisdom from God. It’s important to live in close relationship with God so we know when God is speaking to us.
The Bible says:
“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires. But those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (Romans 8:5)
We need to be patient in deciding who to marry. We really look at whether they would be the best spiritual partner for us as well as life partner. When we marry God intends for us to be joined with them spiritually for the rest of our lives. And if they don’t live out that, which God values as being important, that could forever greatly affect our lives. It also affects our future children and so many others in very negative ways.
We want to be careful with whom we promise to spend the rest of our lives. Will that person be committed to help you live out your lives together to the glory of God so others are affected in a positive way because of your union?
Here’s something to consider from author and speaker, David Ferguson:
“Maybe God created us with a duality of neediness —both an intimate relationship with God and with meaningful others (like our spouse). Why did God do that? It is possible that God has given us humans horizontal relationships to serve as a context in which we live out that, which we claim to know and believe about God. Maybe the beautiful part of what marriage is all about is to challenge us in an environment of accountability. We are to live out that, which we claim to know and believe about God.”
Someone once said, “The point of life is not to focus on the blessings of life, but to be a part of God’s bigger story.” And being a part of God’s bigger story may not involve marrying the one who looks the most obvious to us. It may be like when God chose David to be king. Everyone else overlooked him and didn’t even start to consider him. His brothers looked like more obvious ones to choose than David. But God saw what was deep within David’s heart. It beat for Him. That is why David is described as “a man after God’s own heart.”
Choosing a Life Partner as a Spouse
When it comes down to choosing a spouse, I’d much rather choose someone who is a “man after God’s own heart” than someone who appears to look good on the outside but really isn’t the one to team up with.
I think there may be several choices in this world of individuals that could make a really good spouse for us. I don’t necessarily believe there is only one person in the world for us to choose. The timing of meeting them, the person they are when we meet them, and where we are in our own maturity and the circumstances currently happening in our lives will all play into whether someone would be the best choice to be our spouse for that time in our lives. Continually asking God for wisdom when we meet someone will eventually help us to know whether we should pursue getting to know them better as a potential spouse.
But I also believe that at the moment we make the vow to “love, honor, and cherish them, forsaking all others, until we’re parted by death” as we pronounce in the marriage ceremony, it then becomes a sacred covenant. This is not only between us and our spouse —but also with God Himself. And that isn’t something to be taken lightly.
Our Life Partner
At that moment, they become our life partner —whether it was God’s first choice for us or not. At that moment we need to apply the Bible verse to our life that says, “…forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus“ (Philippians 3:13-14).
God has a purpose for us to marry. If He didn’t He never would have created marriage in the first place. And part of the reason to marry is to display what it is to “live a life of love.” (God talks about this in the Bible in Ephesians chapter 4.) Another part is to show others the miracles He can do through those who are yielded to His ways. And another part is to display what true, promise-keeping love looks like. God is a promise-keeper and His children are commanded to do no less.
You asked if I believe that God created one life partner for one person. My answer is no.
What If You Marry the Wrong One?
You also asked, “What if you miss that person and marry the ‘wrong one’? I think something author and speaker Zig Ziglar said makes a lot of sense on this issue when talking to someone who thought maybe they HAD married the wrong person when he said,
“I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person. But I do know that many people have a lot of wrong ideas about marriage and what it takes to make that marriage happy successful. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s possible that you did marry the wrong person. However if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having marriage the right person after all.
On the other hand, if you marry the right person, and treat that person wrong, you certainly will have ended up marrying the wrong person. I also know that it is far more important to be the right kind of person than it is to marry the right person. In short, whether you married the right or wrong person is primarily up to you.”
Be a Promise Keeper
I know like that seems like a long answer to simply say, when you marry, even the wrong person then becomes the “right person” because you’ve committed your life to be their team-mate for the rest of your lives. You make a vow to each other before God and WITH God. Your vow from that day forward is to be “promise keepers.”
You need to really be very PRAYERFUL AND CAREFUL on your wedding day to marry someone who is committed to both God and to you. Someone once said this prayer which is so true, “Lord, help me to find a spouse who loves Thee, because then I know in my heart they will love me.”
I hope all of what I said gives you some serious food for thought. Not everyone is “called” be married. The apostle Paul talks about that and challenges those who aren’t married to realize that marriage WILL bring trouble. And it will. But marriage is also wonderful when you find the right person who is as committed to making it work to the glory of God as you are.
Marriage Can Be Wonderful
As Bill Hybels, in his wonderful book, Fit to Be Tied says (which I thoroughly agree with):
“Marriage can be wonderful. It can be deeply satisfying and mutually fulfilling. But if it becomes that, it is because both partners have paid a very high price over many years to make it that way. They will have died to selfishness a thousand times. They will have had countless difficult conversations. Plus, they will have endured sleepless nights and strained days. They will have prayed hundreds of prayers for wisdom and patience and courage and understanding. They will have said, ‘I’m sorry’ too many times to remember. And they will have been stretched to the breaking point often enough to have learned that, unless Christ is at the center of both of their lives, the odds for achieving marital satisfaction are very, very low.”
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this article.
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