Loading

About Us - Publications - Broadcasts - Audio & Video - Contact Us - Home

- Publications -

Rainbow Divider

Chapter 2

Choosing a Mate

Choosing a mate is one of life’s most important decisions. Although man still suffers from hardness of heart resulting in separation and divorce it should not be so. God intended for marriage to be permanent because it is a type of our eternal union to Christ. For this reason enlightened people should be careful and deliberate in choosing a lifetime mate. Christians should prayerfully choose their mates in the fear of God and the light of the holy scriptures.

Although our desire here is to deal with our subject from the standpoint of the scriptures, I believe every reader will find helpful information in their quest for truth. Some of the subject matter though not necessarily spelled out in the scriptures will be found to contain sound basic wisdom profitable to all who desire success in marriage.

HOW TO CHOOSE A MATE

First we need to realize that marriage is a union of two people. This union is not just physical but also spiritual and mental. In order for two lives to be fused into one there have to be plus factors or compatible qualities to effect such a union.

Although sex is vitally important in marriage it takes more than just sex for marriage to succeed. Too many marriages are the result of romantic delusion motivated by desire for the opposite sex, while the participants are ignorant of or blindly ignore many important factors. In addition to a harmonious sex life there must be enough plus factors that result in compatibility. Without compatibility it is most difficult for marriage to succeed in today’s world.

The Bible teaches that the two shall become one flesh and he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. I Cor. 6:16-17. Just going before a minister or public official and making marriage vows does not make two people one. Even when there is reasonable compatibility there is still a great need for adjustment by both parties. It takes an understanding and condescending spirit for this adjustment to be effected. Paul said those who marry would have trouble in the flesh. I Cor. 7:28.

There are no two people exactly alike. Although their personalities may be similar they are still two unique and different human beings. It is at these points of difference that friction begins. This is where the oil of the Holy Spirit enables a couple to work out their differences and truly become one.

MOST BASIC NEED

For this reason the first great basic need for all who desire marriage is to be a truly born again Christian. I emphasize “born again Christian” because there are so many church members that are mere professing Christians. Of all the virtues that are needed for a couple to make a go of marriage in today’s world, the grace of God through union with Jesus Christ is the greatest.

Until God has given us a new heart, our wills are hard and unyielding. This is the hardness of heart that Jesus spoke of that made divorce a necessity to begin with. Matt. 19:8. This new heart, resulting from the new birth, is beautifully described in Ezekiel 36:26. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”

UNEQUAL YOKE

The Bible strictly forbids the marriage of a Christian to an unbeliever. This also includes marriage to a professing Christian that has not been born again. In spite of his or her profession they are still an unbeliever until they truly believe in Christ and experience the new birth. II Corinthians 6:14 says, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” Read also I Corinthians 6:15-17 and I Corinthians 7:39.

OLD TESTAMENT TYPE

This truth is also borne out in type and shadow in the Old Testament. Abraham’s choice of a wife for Isaac is a good example. “And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: And I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.” Genesis 24:2-4.

The daughters of the Canaanites among whom Abraham dwelled at that time are a type of the unbeliever. Their ways, culture, nationality and religion were different from Abraham’s. A daughter from among his kindred is a type of the true believer. This is why Abraham strictly forbade his servant, a type of the Holy Spirit, to take a wife from among the Canaanites. This same principle is repeated in the lives of Esau and Jacob. Genesis 28:1-9.

The fact that a spiritual relationship is first necessary is confirmed by the bridegroom in speaking to his bride in Song of Solomon 4:10. “How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!” He first calls her his sister then his spouse. This is also repeated in Chapter 5, verse 1.

NEW TESTAMENT CONFIRMS

The Apostle Paul likewise confirms this principle in the New Testament. “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?” I Cor. 9:5. It will be noted again that the relationship as sister (spiritual) is placed before the relationship as wife.

The consequence of yoking up with strange flesh or marrying an unbeliever is vividly brought out in the life of Solomon. I Kings 11:1-11. As in Solomon’s case we are subject to the influence of those we yoke up with. We are prone to take on their ways, their habits, and their beliefs.

People who are instructed in the Word of God are either deceived or overcome by their lusts when they ignore the plain teachings of God’s Word and marry an unbeliever.

Those with an unsavory past such as drinking, gambling, sexual immorality, dope addiction and perhaps several broken marriages are always a very poor risk for marriage. We know that when a sinner comes to the Lord and is truly born again, he is a new creature, old things are passed away and all things become new. II Corinthians 5:17. Because God can miraculously change a life, I would not rule out marriage for a person with such a past. However, I would certainly take a long prayerful look before taking such a step in spite of the fact the person might show strong evidence of being a Christian.

Strange as it may seem such people as described above often have a strong appeal to the opposite sex. Many morally clean girls and young men have made shipwreck of their lives because they blindly entered into marriage with such people. Often times such people temporarily reform and sincerely promise to live a different life. But reformation is not regeneration. I have personally observed this time and again. Christians need to be very careful when someone interested in them suddenly reforms and starts attending church.

OTHER FACTORS

The fact that two people are Christians and even belong to the same local church doesn’t necessarily mean they are suitable for marriage. It is true, to believe and understand alike in the matter of church and doctrine is an important factor and should be considered by those contemplating marriage.

Divergent views in religion can become a source of argument and division. Children born into such a family and torn between loyalty to both parents often become embittered and reject all religion. To be united in the faith is certainly a plus factor and enhances a marriage.

SOCIAL AND CULTURAL

A third factor, education, could be added here, but since education is so related to society and culture I don’t think it is necessary. Compatibility in this area is good for all who contemplate marriage. I would say this is even more necessary where people are not Christians.

For people to get along they must be able to communicate. They must have things in common they can talk about and share together. The
greater the difference in our culture and society the more difficult it is to communicate. An educated and refined person would find an ignorant, uneducated type person dull and uninteresting. Perchance such a marriage should take place the ignorant, uneducated type person might feel ill at ease, inferior and out of place. Even among Christians such a marriage would likely be a mismatch.

COUNTRY VERSUS CITY

A country boy or girl who loves the rural way of life where they can dig in the soil and enjoy the quietness of the countryside should never marry one who loves the city. Likewise the city dweller who loves the din, the excitement and the bright lights of the city would be bored to death in the country.

NATIONALITY

Persons of different nationality are greatly handicapped in marriage. Their loyalties are often divided, their customs different and their way of life completely foreign to each other. There are many difficulties to overcome in such a marriage. They could be religion, language, dress, culture, food and the prospect of living in a strange land among strange people.

Even citizens of the same country with decidedly different national origins are handicapped in marriage. It is usually best that they marry their own kind. Where people with different national origins have been assimilated into the general society of a nation this is not so much of a factor. However, there must still be numerous other plus factors for such a couple to be compatible.

SECTIONAL

Even though our country (United States) is more cosmopolitan today than ever before, sectionalism can still be a factor in marriage. It is still surprising how many people insist that their part of the country, their state and their town is the best. Although this in itself is not so much of a factor today, couples contemplating marriage should be sure that their native way of life isn’t a negative factor that might hinder their marriage.

RACIAL

Realizing this is a sensitive issue with many people today, I hesitate to deal with the subject because I do not want to hurt anyone.

However, I believe those desiring truth will receive it in the spirit in which it is given. Acts 17:26 says, “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation:”

The spirit of the age today is to destroy all distinction of race, nationality, sex, religion and government. The idea is to make man one in every sense of the word. It is the same spirit that inspired men to build the original Babylon. Genesis 11:1-9. It is the spirit of Anti-Christ. But since this question is dealt with rather extensively in other publications, I will only discuss the racial aspect of the subject here.

It will be noted from Gen. 11 and Acts 17 that God is the one who scattered men abroad, made nations of them and appointed the bounds of their habitation. Though made of one blood God has given men different languages and physical appearances, such as stature, features, and color of skin. In addition to this he has placed them in certain parts of the world and appointed the bounds of their habitation. Certainly God had a purpose in making distinct races and nations.

God is a God of divine order, not chaos and indistinct uncertainty. Even the children of Israel, made up of twelve tribes, were appointed specific places of residence and service. It is the greed and selfishness of man in violation of this great principle that has caused most of the wars the world has experienced. It is the violation of this principle that has brought so much tragedy into the lives of human beings. Violation of this principle is disrespect for God’s laws which are given for the good of all mankind.

Generally speaking when we cross national or racial lines we invite trouble. This is especially true in the matter of marriage. The greater the difference in the national or racial makeup the less prospect of success in marriage. We have enough problems without crossing national and racial barriers in the matter of marriage. Such marriages are held in contempt by society and children from such a union often suffer great reproach and persecution. Although we are one in Christ we are still living in a world filled with prejudice, hatred and pride.

Though there are exceptions of interracial marriages in the Bible where little comment pro or con is made, I believe the overwhelming weight of evidence is against such marriages. Such was the case with Solomon and Israel as a whole.

“In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab: And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews’ language, but according to the language of each people. And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?” Nehemiah 13:23-27.

DIVINE ORDER

Although this has already been referred to above I feel there is a need for further consideration of divine order with regard to the man’s and the woman’s place in the marriage union. Unless a couple have been properly taught and understand this truth it could be a source of trouble and division in their marriage. Since the spirit of the age is so hard at work to destroy God’s divine order in this area also it is necessary to consider a few scriptures. I Cor. 11:3 “But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is man; and the head of Christ is God.”

The head of the man is Christ, the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Man as the head of the woman should take his place of responsibility as leader, provider, husband and father. To fail to do this throws the burden of responsibility on the woman who God’s word declares is the weaker vessel. This also makes her head over the man in direct violation of God’s divine order. When this happens the mother has to take the place of the father over the children.

I Peter 3:7 says, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

It is also the responsibility of the man to provide for his family. If a man hasn’t been consistent in working and holding a job before marriage it is not likely that he will be a good provider after marriage. He is a poor risk and a girl is foolish to think he will change later on. I Timothy 5:8 says, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

Woman’s place in subjection to her husband is just as important as it is for the man to take his place as head.

Eph. 5:22-25 says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it:” Read also I Peter 3:1-6.

Regardless of what woman’s lib or anybody else says, the woman was made to be a help meet for the man. Generally speaking, cooking, sewing, housekeeping, and rearing children is the woman’s normal lot in this life. It is her feminine nature to do these things and thus relieve her husband to make the livelihood.

I believe obedience to this order is obedience to God. To disregard or try to change it is defiance of God’s laws given for our own good. Any couple thinking of marriage should believe in and desire to obey these principles.

PERSONALITY

As we continue our study of the various factors that govern and regulate compatibility in marriage we need to consider the subject of personality. Personality is simply the varied manifestation or expression of the person. This includes conduct, intelligence, conversation and many intangible qualities too numerous to mention here. But for the sake of example we will mention a few that I trust will be helpful.

Some people like a quiet simple life and are content to stay at home most of the time, puttering around in a garden, reading a book or working on a hobby. Some are the very opposite from this. They want to be on the go, where the crowd is, having fun and living it up.

Some people are more or less quiet and withdrawn while others are talkative and forward. Some are always serious and sober-minded while others are humorous and witty. Some are conservative in the matter of dress and money while others are flashy dressers and liberal spenders. Some like hobbies and sports and some don’t. Still others are temperamental, jealous, proud and critical minded.

Persons living on the negative side of life in temperament and attitude can be very difficult and hard to get along with. As a rule they are not very good prospects for marriage.

These are simply a few of the things that make a person what he or she is. Although some of these personality traits can be and have been overcome, in marriage it is best if a couple can communicate on the same level and do things together that they both enjoy. For this reason couples should come to know each other well before considering marriage.

Where too many minus factors exist there can be little compatibility, without which marriage cannot succeed. Without compatibility there is no basis for marriage. To blindly ignore these factors and deceive yourself into thinking love and romance is sufficient is folly.

The faults, habits and virtues of a human being are often the result of a lifelong environment. He is not easily changed. After so long a time there is no change. When people marry they marry the whole person with all of his ways, good and bad.

A CHRISTIAN

A Christian seeking a mate needs to realize that in spite of all the things that are written here he still is incapable of choosing a wife or husband. We could take all of these minus and plus factors and feed them into a computer and still receive the wrong answer when it comes to choosing a mate.

These things are common sense factors that we cannot afford to ignore but there are so many complex qualities about a human being until we must have God to lead us. In the strictest sense it is not up to us to choose a mate. Like Abraham who sent his servant after a bride for Isaac, God knows our needs better than we do. If he can’t provide for us in the matter of a wife or husband then he can’t save us from our sins.

Only God knows our needs and our weakness as well as our virtues and who is a proper mate for us. It is my belief that our great sovereign God has made special provision for his elect. He knows who needs a wife and who needs a husband. And he knows exactly the kind of wife or husband we need. Nothing is left to chance. We can trust him in the matter.

The one he provides may not be according to our ideal of a husband or wife. Truth of the matter is our ideal may not be what we need. Prayer and patience to wait on the Lord are greatly needed by the Christian that would trust God to make the choice for him.

This waiting is sometimes much longer than we would like. One of the hardest things in the world to surrender is our wills in the matter of the opposite sex. As stated elsewhere the sex drive in a normal human being is a powerful adversary to deal with. Much prayer with a desire to please God is an absolute essential.

The fact that God will provide doesn’t mean we are to sit back and wait for a husband or wife to be delivered to us by parcel post. Neither should we advertise for one through the matrimonial bureau.

As a general rule people will marry their own kind or one from the society they are a part of. One desiring a Christian husband or wife or one with certain good qualities should have fellowship with that type people. Although it doesn’t always happen it is usually through this means that people are brought together.

Always they should be careful and deliberate in who they go with. In one sense every person you go with is a potential candidate for marriage. For this reason it is dangerous to get too involved before you know the person very well. It is morally wrong to lead anyone to think you are serious before you have had sufficient time to really know them. Playing with people’s emotions just because you can is wrong. A string of broken hearts by some Lothario or sex kitten is no badge of honor.

Those desiring a husband or wife should be honest and frank with each other. Above all things, they should agree to be just friends until they come to know and appreciate each other. If the feeling is not mutual it is a one sided affair with one of the parties likely to be hurt. An affair of this type should be broken off before it goes too far.

LOVE OR DELUSION

Love at first sight is usually a romantic delusion. When people are suddenly and powerfully attracted to each other they may be the victim of seducing spirits. I Tim. 4:1. And there are times when a vacuum created by loneliness, a desire to love and be loved, is seemingly filled when some magnetic personality walks into your life. This powerful attraction could be caused by any number of factors with sex appeal often times at the center.

This is always a dangerous situation that can lead a couple into illicit sex or a wrong marriage. These sudden torrid love affairs are not love but infatuation which usually, if given time, will blow over. Of course the principals involved in such an affair are positive they have at last found their one and only. Determined restraint and sufficient time to come to know the person is very essential.

True love is not a sudden mystical magnetic force that overpowers two people in their desire for each other. Such affairs can turn into despicable disgust in a matter of days, weeks, or months. Even though sudden attraction might in time develop into true love it is usually physical attraction or the personality of the person to begin with. And often the person we see to begin with turns out to be altogether different after we come to know them.

Conjugal love must be based upon honor and respect for each other. This is why sufficient time to come to know each other is so very important. Although the physical attraction and sex are very important, this is no basis for marriage. There must be common interests and understanding that enables two people to communicate plus honor and respect for each other. Love is not some mystical force that suddenly hits you like a thunderbolt.

Love for God likewise comes as a result of knowledge or faith that brings us into union with him through Jesus Christ. We love him because of who he is in the matter of his divine character and his love for us. It is not just some senseless mystical force but rather a love born out of honor and respect for one we have learned about through a knowledge of the truth.

This same principle applies to man and woman contemplating marriage. You don’t marry an ideal, you marry a human being compassed about with infirmity like yourself. If we are wise we will know something about the person we are about to yoke up with for life.

If a man or woman desiring marriage will carefully and prayerfully observe these principles they need not make a mistake. God’s word says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” James 1:5-7.

God wants to give us wisdom in all matters pertaining to this life. Surely this is true of marriage which is one of life’s most important decisions. It is my belief we can have rest and assurance born of genuine faith when we are led of God.

Return to Library of Articles