I'm 24 and have been actively seeking a Christian woman for quite some time now. Not only have I been seeking, but I have been failing.
Everywhere I go, I try to be proactive in meeting a godly woman, but how am I supposed decipher between the godly women from the ungodly women?
Sometimes I'll find myself outside church wanting to strike up a conversation with a beautiful woman, but I don't want it to lead somewhere, get interested in her and develop feelings just to find out she's not a believer. It's almost as if I have to meet a woman at church or some type of church-held event, because then the chances of her being a believer are 100 times greater.
Thanks for your question. First, I commend you for being deliberate about dating only believers in Christ. I've written this before, but it seems I can't write it often enough. Godly marriage can only be undertaken by growing Christians who are relying on Christ. The Bible is clear that believers are only to marry other believers.
In 1 Corinthians 7:39, Paul instructs that marriages of believers are to be "only in the Lord" — that is, only to other Christians. Also, Ephesians 5:22-33, the fullest explanation we have in the Bible of what a godly, biblical marriage is, makes clear that what God calls us to in marriage — to bring God glory by intentionally reflecting the way Christ has loved the church and the way the church responds to the leadership of Christ — can only be carried out by people who are themselves in Christ.
As for finding a potential wife who is a believer, there are some really helpful steps to take. It's not entirely clear from your question whether you've already done this, but in case you haven't, find a good, biblical church and really get plugged in. In your question, you mention being at church, but it's unclear how involved you are.
If your church has membership — which it should — join formally. Make it a priority to be at every service. If the church has small groups or other discipleship opportunities, take advantage of those things. Get to know people, and just as importantly, be transparent and let people get to know you. Look for ways to serve others. Be involved in the church's ministries.
Why am I encouraging you to do these things? First, and most important, it's for your spiritual good. All Christians need to hear and read God's Word regularly, and we need other believers around us to build us up, hold us accountable, help us examine ourselves to make sure we are in Christ, and help us grow spiritually. Second, and more to your question, it will put you in a better position to find a woman who clearly loves Jesus and whom you might pursue as a potential wife. The more you build your life around serving God and His people in the church, the more you will be able to see who the women are in your church who have the same priorities. You'll also see how they interact with people and how they serve in ministry.
Remember, you're not looking for the most physically attractive woman from across the room; you're looking for consistent evidence of faithfulness and godly womanhood as defined by Scripture (see 1 Peter 3, Proverbs 31, Titus 2). Though as finite human beings we can never know with absolute certainty whether another person is truly a believer, the consistent choices and priorities in a person's life pretty reliably tell us a tremendous amount about what is in his or her heart. A woman who is consistently involved in and under the teaching of the type of church I have in mind is about as safe a bet as it gets in a fallen world.
And there's even more! (This is starting to sound like an infomercial.) As you get to know more mature Christians and are discipled, there will be people in your life who are able to teach you about godly marriage and help you discern how to approach it. They can also vouch for potential spouses to you and vouch for you to others when and if that becomes helpful. As you serve in the church and minister to others, you will be around other godly single people — not a bad thing — and you will learn skills and characteristics that, among other things, will serve you well in marriage.
So, do you have to find a potential spouse through involvement in a local church? No, of course the Lord can and does work in many other ways, but the Lord has given us the church as the source of true fellowship of many sorts among His people, so it's obviously a wonderful place to start.
I will pray for the Lord to give you wisdom and peace as you continue to pray and look for a godly wife.
For His glory,
Copyright 2014 Scott Croft. All rights reserved.