Some Scriptural Guidelines for Young People in Choosing a Mate

By Ron Daly

God intends for marriage to be a completely fulfilling and permanent relationship. “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matt. 19:5-6).

Choosing a mate is the single most crucial and important decision that one will make, except for becoming a Christian. Therefore, it is not to be taken lightly, nor is one to “set sail” onto the often murky waters of marriage without much mature contemplation and prayer to God, and counsel with those of much experience, knowledge, and wisdom. There are legitimate questions which one should ask himself and a prospective mate before, long before, “I do” is said in the matrimonial ceremony, and some of the questions are:

Does he or she believe in God? Regardless of how much they say that they believe in me, do they believe in deity? No matter how much I believe in them, do they believe in God, and are they prepared to do the best they can to obey the will of God? If not, you will be marrying a fool (Psa. 14:1), and you will be marrying someone who cannot please God (Heb. 11:6). Is this what you want? Can you be spiritually stable in such a set of circumstances? Can your mate really give you the genuine spiritual encouragement that you need in such a situation?

Has the person been married before? Did the previous mate die? If so, according to God’s word he is “free from the law” that bound him to the mate and may marry another (Rom. 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:39). Has the person been involved in a divorce? If so, did he “put away” his mate because the mate committed the sin of fornication? If so, according to the word of the Lord the person may marry again, but if not, or if the person is the one who was divorced because of fornication which he committed, he has no scriptural right to contract another marriage (Matt. 19:9; Mk. 10:11-12; Lk. 16:18). Young friend, regardless of the emotional attraction you think you have for the person, if he has no right to marry you, it is not worth putting your soul in eternal peril!

Is the person a member of the Lord’s church and faithful? Just being a member of Jesus’ spiritual body may not be sufficient. Is the person faithful? Will he go to worship with you? Not, will he see to it that a way is made available for you to get to worship, but will he go by your side? If not, you will not be marrying a Christian, and this is definitely not the wise thing to do (1 Cor. 9:5). A person who is a member of the body of Christ, but not faithful in study, attendance, teaching, and living will not be an asset, but a detriment. God commands us to “continue growing in grace and knowledge” (2 Pet. 3:18). Do you really want or need someone who cannot assist you in accomplishing your growth in the Lord?

Are you choosing the person as a potential mate because he looks good, or because he is good? One is much better off marrying a person who looks like he has been “run over by a Mac truck,” but is thoughtful, gentle, and godly, than to marry someone who is “regal and stately in appearance,” but who engages in verbal and physical brutality, and has no respect for God, you, and your feelings. Physical beauty will only last as long as “Father Time” is merciful. Even the most adorable will eventually lose the luster of youth, but “the hidden man of the heart, the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Pet. 3:3-6). Get someone who loves you for you without placing too much emphasis on outward, fleeting beauty.

How is the person treating you during the period of courtship? Is he attempting to get you to cast aside your virginity for a few moments of sinful sexual pleasure? Has he attempted to force you into sexual activity? Have you found the person to be completely loyal to you during the courtship, or has he played the field with many women? Has she played many men? Does he attempt to engage in petting during dates? Does he seek to put his hands in places that are to be kept private until you are married? If so, how can you be sure that he can be trusted after marriage?

Is he willing to work and support a family? Does he have a mature sense of responsibility? Is he qualified to assume the role of a husband, the leader of the family? Does he manage his money well? Does he “hop from job to job”? Is he steady in his employment? Have his parents spoiled him in giving him everything that he wants, or have they taught him to earn a living (1 Tim. 5:8; Eph. 4:28)? ct

Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 15, p. 11
August 4, 1994