If there’s one thing we know about dating from Scripture, it’s that Christians should marry other Christians. So when we meet someone who knows and loves God, how do we figure out if they possess characteristics that make them marriable — not just in general, but for us personally?
I wrote last week about how differences in dating relationships can be positive. We are all sinners, and no one is absolutely perfect. We have to learn to deal with differences gracefully. But how different is too different?
I was recently on the fence about whether or not I wanted to enter an exclusive dating relationship with a man who was pursuing me. I knew he took dating seriously and dated with the intention of marriage. We spent a lot of time talking and went out on several dates, but I was still unsure.
When it came time to make a decision and I didn’t have an answer, I asked him this question: “What do you picture your household being like when you’re married?” His answer was a revealing one. (Keep in mind there is an appropriate time to ask this question, and that is when there is mutual interest and after the other person has made their intentions clear.)
If the ultimate goal of dating is marriage, then we should at least have an idea of what kind of marriage we desire when we begin dating. If someone we’re dating does not share that vision, it might be a good sign to pursue a different relationship.
I thought about how I would answer my question before I asked him, and I had to find out if his answer coincided with mine. Unfortunately, his did not. He mentioned none of the things that are crucial for me in marriage.
I realized through that experience that my vision defines the characteristics I’m looking for in a husband. And that vision I have for marriage should set my guidelines in dating as I attempt to discern the character of each man who pursues me.
I know I desire a home filled first and foremost with the peace and love of God, followed closely by joy and laughter. I want it to be continually filled with the praises and worship of God. I want my home to be a haven for those who need rest, guidance or simply a friend. I want a marriage and home atmosphere where imperfection might be obvious, yet shines with evidence of the Holy Spirit at work.
In order to make this vision a reality, my potential spouse should be a spiritual leader and a man in pursuit of holiness and goodness. He should be someone who can lead children by example in the Lord and not just by authority. The right man will be humble and hospitable so people feel welcome in our home and not as though they’ll be judged for sharing their struggles.
Once we know what we desire in marriage, we should strive to date people who not only share our vision but display the characteristics needed to fulfill it.