By Scott Wiginton
“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord” (Prov. 18:22). We know from the Bible that marriage is a blessed union, established by God with the marriage of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). It is therefore scriptural, and natural, for a young man to seek out a woman who would become his wife. Aside from the decision to surrender one’s life to Christ, choosing the person to be your mate for the rest of your earthly life is probably the most important decision a Christian can make. This is evident for two main reasons: it will deeply affect a man’s life on earth, and it will most certainly affect a man’s ability to have eternal life in heaven.
A Worthy Woman
The ways that a wife can affect the everyday life of a man are extremely obvious. People in the world who have no concern for spiritual matters still seek out a wife that will make their life a pleasant one. A man of God is advised to do the same. “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who shames him is as rottenness in his bones” (Prov. 12:4). Solomon points out the value of a good wife to a husband. She is priceless. Giving her up would be like a king renouncing the throne and giving up his crown. “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels” (Prov. 31:10). The rest of that chapter describes a worthy woman: she does good and not evil, she is industrious and keeps the affairs of the household in order, she is compassionate and generous, and she knows the teachings of the Lord. Who is better qualified to fit that description than a Christian girl? Christians are commanded to overcome evil with good works (Rom. 12:21). Christians are not slothful, but labor so that they might have something to share with those in need (Eph. 4:29). Christians are to preach the word and teach the ways of God to their children (2 Tim. 4:2; Deut. 4:9). The Christian wife is commanded to fulfill these attributes and duties (Titus 2:3-5; 1 Tim. 3:11; 5:13,14; 1 Pet. 3:1-6). Again, who can live up to this pattern better than one who walks in the ways of Christ?
God also warns man of the potential strife that can result in marrying an ungodly woman. We already saw in Proverbs 12:4 that “she who shames him [her husband] is as rottenness in his bones.” ” When someone does not use the Lord’s will as his standard for living, there is really no telling what he will do or say. Any sense of morality is purely subjective to such people. In their minds, one person’s ethics are as good as another person’s. It is not hard to see how a wife who thinks this way can bring shame to her Christian husband. “The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands” (Prov. 14:1). Anyone who ignores the warning of God is guilty of foolishness. A divided house is doomed for destruction (Lk. 11:17). Proverbs explains three times how undesirable it is to live with a contentious and vexing woman (21:9,19; 25:24). Such is not a trait of the Christian woman. The Scriptures make it clear that a good, prudent wife is a blessing from the Lord, not the world (Prov. 19:14). Therefore, it would be wise to look for a wife who walks with the Lord.
Although it is possible for a young man to marry a girl who is not a Christian and still have a peaceful life on earth, it is not a very likely prospect. Even less likely is the prospect of this unbelieving mate helping him reach the ultimate goal of heaven. “Do not be deceived: `Bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor. 15:33). Is there any company more intimate or influential on our lives than our spouses? If a Christian marries “bad company,” can he escape her evil influence when such a huge portion of his life is spent with her? Of course, this corruption of good morals would not likely be a sudden change, but a gradual one. The unbelieving wife exerts more influence over her husband as the years go by: convincing him that he does not really need to go to every single worship service, constantly questioning why he gives money to the church when they really need it, perhaps encouraging him to engage in various sorts of sin that seem perfectly OK to the world, encouraging him to let the kids stay home from church if they do not really want to go, and steering him away from the fellowship with his brethren that every Christian so desperately needs.
I Want to Marry a Christian Girl .. .
On the other hand, a righteous wife who fears God can be just as strong of a positive influence on our spiritual lives. She can encourage and teach through her example, she helps to raise and teach the family in the ways of the Lord, and she can help us find the error in our ways when we sin. A loving Christian wife would do all that she could to help her husband get to heaven. Why then are there those who still consider marriage with a woman of the world? Here are some common “reasons:”
(1) She is not a Christian, but she is basically a good person. It is good that a Christian man is attracted to someone who is morally good. However, if her reasons for living that way are not because of Christ, there is nothing to stop her from simply changing her way of thinking. As was mentioned before, any sense of moral standard created by man is completely subjective. What was considered wrong one day may be considered perfectly acceptable in a few years. Also, take into consideration how difficult it would be to raise children in the ways of God in such a marriage. They see Daddy going to church and doing certain things because he believes that God wants him to do it. They also see Mommy, who does not go to church and does basically what she wants. Which is an easier path to choose in the mind of a child? Won’t Mommy and Daddy seem like hypocrites if they cannot agree: on what the children should be allowed to do? Think of the constant turmoil and heartache such a relationship would cause.
(2) I can teach her about Christ after we are married. I have seen many cases where that is exactly what happened. My own parents are such an example. It is fortunate that such happy “endings” came from these marriages. However, if you were to keep a tally of all of the marriages between Christians and unbelievers, the large majority of them have ended with the Christian falling away from the faith. Our eternal soul is not something we should gamble with, especially on such poor odds. Would it not be better to teach her about Christ and try to convince her to obey before a permanent commitment is made? There are several issues about the home that couples try to agree on before they are married. Wouldn’t it be easier to reach such an agreement when both parties are trying to mold the home as a Christian home? Do not be put in the situation where there will always be arguments about issues that could easily be avoided if both husband and wife are Christians.
(3) I am a strong enough Christian to resist any bad influence that she might be. This is probably one that is not often said aloud, but is believed by some young men. That may just be true. You may be able to resist the daily temptations to fall away from Christ. However, keep in mind what is at stake your soul. Are you willing to bet your life, your eternal life, on it? Remember that King Solomon, a man who was blessed from God with the wisdom to rule his kingdom, fell prey to the evil influences of his foreign wives (1 Kgs. 11:1-13). He began to worship the foreign gods and idols of his wives and even built high places for their worship. This is the same man who had built the temple of Jehovah! “For it came about when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God” (v. 4). Can we keep our hearts wholly devoted to God with a worldly wife when even wise Solomon could not? I would rather not even take the chance.
(4) She is religiousa member of the (fill in the blank) church. Again, it is good that a young man is attracted to a woman who believes in God and his values. However, wouldn’t it be rough on a marriage if every Sunday morning the couple left in separate cars to go to separate places (or if one did not go anywhere)? How will this look to the children when they come into the picture? Will it not be more difficult to teach them the truths of the Bible? “He who is not with me is against me” (Matt. 12:30). As with the point #1 above, a wife that does not believe in Christ or who practices and teaches error is against Christ. Can that sort of a person be a good influence? Is it a good idea to marry such a person?
(5) I am in love with her. Here is where the emotional part of this issue comes into play. How often have apostasies in the church been justified by some sort of emotional argument? The problem is that such reasoning might help justify what we are doing in our minds, but it will not matter when we are ultimately judged by the word of God. Such an argument will not convince God to change his will, for he has already stated it in the Scriptures. That is where we need to find our justification for our practices.
So you may love this girl. Do you love God as well? Which one comes first in your life? “If anyone comes to me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Lk. 14:26). God must absolutely be first in our lives in order to be pleasing to him. Your first concern should be spiritual matters, not the physical.
Perhaps there is something to be said, then, for young men to date Christian girls to find a mate. Oftentimes we hear the argument, “There are no girls my age at my congregation.” Parents might even try to take this into consideration when they decide where they will live and worship. Even still, efforts can be made to find Christian women in the local area. Try visiting some congregations that are not too far from the one you attend. A little effort is not asking much for such a serious matter.
I have been resolved for some time now. I do want to marry a Christian girl. The reason is because I have a simple goal: I want to be with God in heaven. I want my kids to be with God in heaven. I want my wife to be with God in heaven. And knowing that such a goal is possible with a good Christian wife, makes life on this earth a more pleasant thing.
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 6 p. 19-20
March 16, 1995