How can I know I’m making the right decision?
Now I’m waiting for the absolute go-ahead from God, an unwavering assurance that he is the one for me. Not that I don’t feel like I want to marry him or that God hasn’t led me toward him, I just need something else from God.
My biggest concerns are that I’m afraid of making the wrong decision (I hate making decisions in all areas of life) and I just want to make sure God wants me to move forward. I’m afraid of making the wrong decision since I’ve never liked commitment to any decision I can’t undo.
I really just want God to make this decision for me, because then I feel I could trust it. But I’m not sure what His approval would look like, and maybe I already have it.
Thank you for writing. The desire for supernatural assurance that we should do this or that, especially in matters with life-long implications, seems to be a recurring theme among singles. But it’s an age-old impulse (see Gideon). I’ve been thinking and praying about your email and your questions a lot. Through it all, the overarching theme that keeps coming to my mind and heart is that the ability to make decisions is a necessary mark of maturity. This is the area of growth and prayer I believe you should make a priority.
Scripture gives us examples to follow. The Proverbs 31 woman is decisive. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she considers a field and buys it. Sarah is put forth as our model in her similar attire of a gentle and quiet spirit; she hoped in God and because she did, she was able to “do good and … not fear anything that is frightening” (1 Peter 3:4-6). I love that Scripture acknowledges that there are frightening things in the world! But paralysis and inaction are not an option for the mature woman of God.
How can you know God’s will? The answer is the same in this situation as in every situation: by reading His Word. He has revealed His will to us:
- “This is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). For most believers, the avenue for this sanctification is marriage.
- “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:3-5).
- “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).
- “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer … with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
My encouragement to you as you wrestle with this and other decisions in your life, is that you read and study God’s Word more. He has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3).
So that brings you to the question of whom should you marry? The Bible is clear:
- he must be a believer,
- who is able to provide for his own family (this implies, too, that you are able to live within the provision he supplies),
- who is growing in Christlikeness (sanctification), and
- is able and willing to embrace the qualifications set forth for a husband (Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, 1 Peter 3:7)
Are you ready and willing to leave the provision of your father and mother and cling to this man and form a new family, with a new identity, apart from them? When we marry, our allegiances and loyalties must shift from our families to our husband. This is something we don’t often stop to ponder in the excitement of falling in love and planning a wedding. He really must be a man you are eager, by God’s grace, to respect and honor and submit to, even when he’s not respectable or honorable.
So this decision about whom to marry is as much about him (discerning if he is a wise choice) as it is about you: Are you mature enough to begin making decisions and living by them once made, being a woman of your word, even to your own hurt (Psalm 15:4b)?
I would encourage you to read A.W. Tozer’s Knowledge of the Holy. Whenever I’ve been discouraged or fearful or anxious lately, I’ve been comforted and emboldened by shifting my gaze from my circumstances and focusing on God’s character. It’s so orienting to be reminded regularly of God’s sovereignty and His unchanging goodness and power to do all His holy will (Job 42:2). You cannot thwart His plans. That is glorious news! But also, you will be held responsible for your decisions (Romans 14:12, Hebrews 4:13). We all will. That is why we need to abide in Christ by reading His Word, praying, being in faithful communion with fellow believers, partaking of the means of grace in baptism and the Lord’s supper — all these things help us be good stewards of the opportunities God gives us so that we may be responsible in a way that honors and glorifies Him.
I also recommend Kevin DeYoung’s little book, Just Do Something. It’s very helpful in thinking about making decisions.
One final thought: It is the man’s job to woo you and persuade you to marry him, to convince you that he is up to the challenge of being your husband and the father of your children, to earn your respect. Is he trying to do this? Is he working hard to show that he will be a good provider? Is he displaying the marks of a man growing in faithful stewardship and maturity in Christ? Or is all the decision on you? Have you sent the message that he must not propose till you tell him you are ready to say yes? (Maybe not in so many words, but implied?) If so, and I’m not assuming this is the case, but if it is, that’s not leadership on his part. If this is the case, and you’re controlling the situation, you should step back to give him the room to lead. Then decide: Will he be the one you joyfully follow?
God wants us to be responsible, faithful stewards who bear fruit. But we can’t do this in our own strength (John 15:4-5). We must rest in God (Matthew 11:29). Pray for His peace and trust Him to give you wisdom (John 14:27, James 1:5). He is faithful.
Copyright 2014 Candice Watters. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Candice Watters is a wife, mom, and Bible teacher. She is the author of Get Married: What Women Can Do to Help it Happen, co-founder with her husband, Steve, of Boundless.org and co-author of Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies. They have four children and blog at FamilyMaking.com.