I have been single for a number of years and have experienced several times of thinking and wondering if this is "the one." I have had ups and downs and tearful nights and joyful highs. I've cried, begged, and pleaded and strutted my stuff with my latest how-to's and know-how's! I have had my heart broken and broken a few. Been there?
Some of my best advice which you should get in any Singles and Marriage Preparation course is to study to show yourself approved by God with what His requirements are, because for the real Christian, there are Three people involved in the marriage covenant.
You need to know that people aren't the answers to your problems, you must be secure in your relationship with God and yourself first. Only then can you work toward a meaningful relationship with another person. You must have a solid foundation in yourself to be able to walk and work with someone else. And yes, I said "work," because life involves work, in fact it is a work!
We are co-laborers with God in His work and we humans from the beginning were given the assignment before the Fall to guard and tend the Garden of Life. The assignment hasn't changed, the work is just harder now because we have to work also to overcome the dominion of sin. But through Jesus, we can do it, because of what He did through the work of the Cross.
Added to the assignment of keeping and tending our planet, we are also reconciliators and ambassadors to the lost for God's Kingdom. We have an added assignment now in the earth.
God intended from the beginning of creation for us to have mates and this is such a sensitive area and it sometimes seems so little is done to help others. Because it has been hard for me to understand, I told God that when I did in a way that I knew to be secure and of Him, that I would share it.
There is much that could be shared on, but right now I want to list at least twelve things that are like a test, so to speak, or qualifiers for a healthy and true marriage relationship in the Lord. If we are unequally yoked and invite sin into our lives, we only invite the spirit of death and destruction. God hates divorce, so these admonitions are important and should be well meditated upon before entering into a binding covenant lifetime relationship in God.
2. The Physical Test - Do you like their looks, their habits? Of course this is important and often the first thing that attracts people. But for a relationship to work and prosper, the relationship must go far beyond this. The best mate may not have the most winning looks but be a person who will be good to you. If you are astounded by their looks, you need to ask yourself, Will this person be this "cute" 10, 20, 30 years from now? Can you still love this person if their favorite feature is gone? What if there were a damaging accident or injury or illness? Would this affect your love for that person? For many, it would. Remember also, there are two sides to this! Would the other person care about you if something happened? Does the other person care for and tend their appearance? This will be a factor in how they look 20 -30 years from now.
3. Personal Compatibility - Can you get along with them on a daily personal basis? This is very important. We can fall "in love" with an image of someone, but can we really get along with them personally? Is spending time together fun and satisfying? When life is dull, and maybe hard, and money is tight, can you still enjoy each other? Do you still work to lift each other up in the stressful times? Can you handle the other person's sadness and temper?
4. Friends - Do their friends respect you? The will give you a lot of clues into the mind of the person. If your potential's friends do not treat you with respect, that can be a clue as to how seriously they interpret this relationship to be. If your mate-to-be demands that their friends respect you, or hangs around with people who value and respect relationships, this is a good sign. The opposite would of course be a disastrous sign.
5. Provision - Can the person you want to be with provide in the ways you need them to provide? This goes beyond just money, even though how a person handles money with you is important. You may need affection in a certain type of way, positive words, lifestyle and encouragement moral support for good direction. You can't lean on the other person to do all these things for you, but do they exhibit enough caring and provision type ability that you feel you can be all you were meant to be and hold on to it? Do they just want to take from you? Are you able to give in these areas as well and receive? Do they want to give this to you? Are they moody and manipulative with it? We look to mates to provide a lot and our expectations should be reasonable. A good sign this is from God is that you will bring out the best in each other and have the desire to keep on trying even when times get rough.
6. Spiritual Leadership/Following (male/female) - Can you lead/follow this personal comfortably in the areas of Spiritual life? If you are a man, is this woman easy to lead in Spiritual things? Or does she fight you? If you are a woman, can you respect his authority and leadership in Spiritual things? Will you obey and follow his lead? Are you comfortable together in relationships with others in the House of God, with leadership and socially? Do you respect your potential spouse's abilities and spirituality?
7. Lifestyle and Works - As mentioned earlier, life is a work. It involves work. Is this person's choice of lifestyle one you can live with and support? A lot of people fall in love with a rock star or a doctor or an athlete. But do you find the hours and possibly limited social life and commitments something you can live with in the long term? Do you have your own life or do you depend on the other person for it? Can you find joy in your day without the other person in it? Can you admire the other's individuality? Can you handle the admiration of others toward your mate-to-be? Can they handle yours? Is there a controlling or excessively jealous spirit, or is there one that is supportive of all you can be? (Yikes! Scary, isn't it?)
8. Family Respect - Some families are hard to get along with, and some will work to control or damage your relationship through ignorance or evil intents, but is there a respect for your family life together insisted upon? Blood is thicker than water, meaning family relationships have powerful influences. If you are both Christians, do you both ascribe to the values of the true Body of Christ?
9. Parenting Potential - Do you share the same basic values? Is parenting as important to you as to them? Do you both want children? If you are blending a family, is there respect for the other's needs and responsibilities? How could this added responsibility of children affect your relationship? Are holidays and celebrations important to both of you? Is there a willing spirit of sacrifice for the needs of the others?
10. The Zing - This is something that you sometimes get when you first meet the person (usually based on common spirit), or sometimes later when the person grows on you, but is there something you recognize as very special about this person that will motivate you positively for efforts? Is there something about this person that makes you want to go the step beyond for improvements in your life as well as theirs? Is there that "zing" that makes you WANT to sacrifice and go beyond yourself? This is that secret spice to life! But it can also be misleading. Use the sound mind God gave you. If you can't, it may be a lying wonder sent for your destruction.
11. Supernatural Leading and Signs - This is where so many get confused. Do you see the Hand of God at work in this relationship? Often in dating one will and the other won't. Or what can be a sign to one is not for the other. You must be sure in your own soul of your decision in this. A good relationship could have warfare against it by the enemy because of the testimony you can bring. Do you both share the same will of God? In other words, do you agree on basic Biblical principles? The blessing of God will show in supernatural ways, but most particularly in shared covenant blessings. Material and physical signs are not necessarily the best indicator of God's will when it comes to a marriage relationship. Godly counsel is. Certain things coming together can be a sign if the other criteria mentioned here are lining up. God has a way of breaking down walls that man in all his efforts cannot. Can you pray for the perfect will of God and accept the outcome?
12. Warfare and Temptations - Everyone faces these. Can your mate-to-be handle them? Can you? There are the seen challenges, and there is always still the unforseen. A marriage can be made in Heaven but people can transgress. We must remember that people have a will. God forces no one. You can't pray your will upon someone. I know a lady once whose family and fiance all worked together to force her into marrying him and while they had fun times, she always had a doubt if that marriage was really from God. Other things they should have tested and shared were missing. Do you have a good communication between you? Do you both feel satisfied in that area? Do both you and your partner-to-be exercise a good degree of self control on issues that are important? When obstacles come, or temptations, do you handle that in the best possible way? Do you want to? Are you both willing to listen to other person's opinion during these times and discuss it? Every marriage will be tested and be shaken. We are in the world. The right glues hold it together.
I could also bring up "Can you live with the past?" In some ways, this too, is important but if you are a Christian, there is so much God can and will do to help you redeem your pasts so you can live your future in Him. It takes commitment on both your parts to embrace the will of God and hold on to it. You need to be reasonable concerning the track record of the other person, but being willing to be and become all that God wants you to be will make a great difference with all your relationships, including the one with yourself and God first. It is at this point where He will supernaturally come in. Plant and build on a good foundation and be happy and fulfilled! It will be worth the wait and the test.
© 1999 - Pam Clark Ministries