By Michelle S. Lazurek, Crosswalk.com
When we first get into a relationship, we spend time getting to know that person, understanding their likes and dislikes as well as their preferences and aversions. As feelings grow, however, it is a good time for each person to ask themselves, "Is this person the one I'm supposed to marry?" Although the couple may have similar likes and dislikes, find each other attractive, and even have similar goals for their lives, those may not be the best reasons to marry someone. People often lead with their hearts (or minds) when it comes to marriage. Yet, Jeremiah 17:9 says, "the heart is deceitfully wicked, who can know it?" Although we may value romance or warm feelings when it comes to marriage, that's not a firm foundation to build your marriage upon.
Here are six ways to know when to marry someone:
1. When they feel called by God.
While feelings are important to adhere to, especially if emotions such as frequent anger or rage are occurring in your relationship, feelings are not facts. Throughout the Bible, God often calls certain people to marry the other. He had a specific purpose for this couple to further the work of the Kingdom. This is the first way couples should view their marriage: An act pursuing their calling to further the work of the Kingdom. Feelings are what help us sustain a relationship. Calling is what gets you out of bed in the morning. Marriages go through ebbs and flows, highs and lows. If both agree that you are called to marry each other, it will help you remain in the relationship even in its most difficult moments. This will help you persevere during difficult times and rejoice during encouraging times.
2. When they prompt you to become a better person.
When you are with your partner, how do they make you feel? Do you feel encouraged? Beaten down? Self-conscious? Although there will be times when you have arguments and conversations where you feel attacked or blamed, this should not be the most common feeling you feel in a healthy relationship. Although no person is perfect, do your best to pair yourself with someone as healthy as possible. Go to counseling and work out some of your initial issues if you feel this person is the one with whom you want to spend the rest of your life. It is essential to be on the same page with expectations, values, and your basic view of each other. The person God has you with should make you want to be a better person. Do you want to study the Bible more, pray more just to be with them, or engage in meaningful conversation? Your future spouse should be someone who makes you feel good about yourself and challenges you not only to be good but to be great.
3. When they are yoked to you in Christ.
Paul warns couples not to become yoked together with unbelievers. This is because you will find the differences in your theological views and religious values will become a sticking point in your marriage very quickly if you're both not on the same page about their place in your marriage. Regular church attendance, reading the Word, and prayer are just the basics of a growing spiritual life. If one person is growing and the other is not, it will be tempting for the one stunted in their growth to try to sabotage the other and pull them down with them. This is not healthy for either party in the marriage. But if you both are anchored to God and put him in his rightful place at the center of your marriage, you will grow as people and as Christians even when the feelings fade away.
4. When they view their marriage as an act of worship.
Just as in any area of their lives, couples should view their marriage as an act of worship. Therefore, they should view it as a relationship where they are challenged to be the best version of themselves. So often, people view their marriage as something for themselves, but it can also be an outward example of how Christ views the church. As couples love each other well, they demonstrate how well Christ loves us. They became the tangible hands and feet of Christ when they demonstrate acts of the fruit of the Spirit, generosity, and love to each other. This speaks volumes both to other believers who may be struggling in their marriages and to unbelievers who have never heard of Christ before or, worse, have a negative view of Christ because of personal experiences.
5. When they put your first.
A partner who is selfish at the beginning of their relationship may also be selfish at the end. Although you want someone who wants to grow and change in their life, you have to accept the fact that you cannot change anyone but yourself. You cannot control your partner, nor can you control the outcome of your marriage. You can only choose to change yourself and grow as a person. However, you want to yoke yourself with someone who also wants to change. Someone who puts you first in the relationship rather than themselves will be more likely to do so as you progress in your marriage. A marriage that's others-centered is ultimately one of the most successful relationships you can have.
6. They are aware of (and can regulate) their emotions.
A partner who is aware of and can regulate their emotions successfully will likely be able to do so in a long-term partnership. Men, especially, can have difficulty expressing their emotions. This can be from what they were taught as a child or their own preconceived notions about what a man is supposed to do in difficult situations. Not only does he needs to be aware of their own emotions, but they also need to know what to do when their partner is expressing her emotions. Their tendency cannot be to run away or stop the emotion but rather express it and address it in healthy ways.
Furthermore, women need to know the proper time to express emotions. Emotional outbursts can demonstrate a lack of self-control or an unawareness of the issues causing the feelings. For example, if she is angry at her spouse, it is not appropriate to demonstrate that anger in a public area. She can wait privately to discuss her issues with him in private; you can be assured she is someone who'll be able to demonstrate this in your marriage as well.
Couples need to be on the same page regarding the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with. This applies to not only their values and worldview but also their priority on God and his place in your marriage. When the person you are considering marrying brings out the best in you and you want to be a better version of yourself because of them, they might just be the person God has for you. Make your future marriage a priority by going to counseling and working out issues and unprocessed experiences before you marry. Your marriage – and ultimately your life—will be better because of it.
Michelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.