There’s nothing wrong with imagining the qualities we want in our future spouse, but we need to make sure we’re the prize we expect our mate to be. That’s why I think it’s a good idea to occasionally do an internal inventory and see whether we’re in a good place to be married.
If we did so, we might be surprised at what we find, both good and bad. So if you’re single, here are five questions to ponder as you examine your marriageability:
1. Do I find contentment in every situation?
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Philippians 4:12, NIV).
Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians while he was in jail — again. If Paul can find contentment in jail, what excuse do we have to be discontented while single?
If we expect marriage to fill the void in our lives, not only will we be let down, but we will also put unfair pressure on our future spouse. Conversely, learning to be content in the Lord will one day help us through the rough patches in our marriages. Furthermore, spouses are meant to be helpmates and encouragers. That’s difficult when we’ve made of habit of drowning in discontentment.
2. Do I keep my friends close and my good friends closer?
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17, NIV)
To reach this world full of hurting people, we need to be open to a wide range of friendships. Recall that although Jesus could have ministered alone, He chose to do so in the company of friends.
Our friends have a huge influence on us, good and bad. Take a good look at your closest friends. These people should be keeping you accountable, encouraging your relationship with the Lord, lifting you up in prayer, sharpening, challenging and exhorting you.
If they aren’t, you have a problem. This means they aren’t encouraging you to become the man or woman God intends you to be, and if you marry one day, you’ll discover the deficit as your spouse gets to know you.
3. Who controls my finances?
“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender” (Proverbs 22:7, ESV).
It’s easy to expect to marry someone who is financially solid without trying to be that person yourself. But financial problems can cripple a marriage, so you want to do your part now to build a solid financial foundation for your marriage.
In a world of “buy now, pay later” (or never), it’s easier than ever to find yourself steeped in debt. Learning to be a wise steward of money is a critical trait of someone who’s serious about being a good partner. It’s not only honoring to God, but to your future spouse as well.
4. Am I keeping my clothes on?
“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (Hebrews 13:4, ESV).
Oh yes, I did just go there. All the watering down this topic has undergone in the Christian community saddens me. We are to flee from sexual temptation (1 Corinthians 6:18), yet so often, instead of running, we stick around and search for loopholes.
Simply stated, if you are having sex or any type of sexual relations with someone other than your spouse, you shouldn’t be. So stop it. It’s not going to kill you to abstain until you’re married.
I know, I know — the world has convinced you that you’re entitled to do what you want with your body. You’re not. This is a command from the Lord we need to obey, and it’s a gift to your spouse you won’t ever regret giving.
5. Have I kept my eyes on the real prize?
“[L]et us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith . . .” (Hebrews 12:1-2, ESV).
If you think bagging yourself a spouse is the end game, the Bible says otherwise. The real prize is Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:14), and we’re to fix our eyes on Him while we run this race we call life. Sometimes searching for that perfect person clouds our judgment in this area.
Your relationship with Christ must always supersede any and all earthly relationships. If He isn’t number one now, it’s only going to be harder to put Him there when you get married.
Your relationship with the Lord is what changes you from the inside out. And whether single or married, Christ is the one who best prepares us for marriage. Ask Him for help and be teachable as He makes you into the man or woman He’s called you to be. Then, regardless of whether you ever marry, you’ll exhibit the traits that matter to Him, which is the point anyway.
Julie Hall is an author whose first Christian young adult novel, Life After: Huntress, will be released as a hard copy and e-book this November. It is the first book in the Life After Trilogy, published through Deep River Books. You can follow her blog at JulieHallAuthor.com.