How to Find a Wife/Husband, Part I

Title: How to Find a Wife/Husband, Part I

Text: Proverbs 18:22

Time: August 28, 2008

I’ve already taught on determining whether or not you’ve got the gift of singleness, but assuming that you don’t have that gift — now what? Well, if you don’t have the gift of singleness or celibacy then that means you will he hopefully getting married at some point in the future. But how does one go about getting married? It’s not such an easy task as it sounds. It’s a lot easier to remain single if you have the gift of celibacy than it is going about the task of finding a wife or husband in order to get married if you don’t have the gift. How shall a Christian single person go about finding a wife, if you are a man, or finding a husband, if you are a woman? There is a big difference between how a Christian should go about finding a spouse from the way a non-Christian goes about finding a spouse! A Christian single person must go about it in a godly way, acting within the will of God. A typical non-Christian single person usually goes about it in any way he or she feels like it without any boundaries, standards or rules to follow. But the point on which both the Christian and non-Christian single person agrees is that they both must do something in order to find their spouse. They can’t just sit there and expect their husband or wife to appear and solve the problem. They have to do something in order to successfully marry. So in this sense, Proverbs 18:22 speaks to both the Christian and the non-Christian single person: “He who finds a wife (or husband) finds a good thing and receives favor from the Lord.” Another passage from the wisdom of Proverbs is 31:10, which says something very similar: “A wife (or husband) of noble character, who can find?” In both verses we see the concept of finding. “He who finds a wife finds a good thing,” and “A wife of noble character who can find?” Find and finding are very important words because they bring out the understanding that singles will be finding their spouses, not just waiting for their spouses to find them. Now in respect to men and women, there is a difference between the way a man finds a woman and the way a woman finds a man – or at least there should be. Today in the modern, contemporary, secular world that distinction is often blurred. Today, there are woman who are just as aggressive at contacting men as men used to be at contacting women. Today, there are women who call the man first, ask the man out first, pick the man up, pay the man’s way, etc. — well, you get the picture. Now women may appropriately do some or all of these things at some place in a relationship, but the point is today more and more woman are acting more and more like men in their dating habits. While it is true that both the man and the woman must go about the task of finding their spouse, still there are differences – or should be difference – in how they go about it. I’d like to look at God’s Word, the Bible, and outline some important truths in how Christian singles should go about finding their spouse.

First, finding a spouse implies seeking after one or looking for one. Proverbs 19:22, “He who find a wife finds a good thing, and finds favor from the Lord.” Now it is mathematically possible to find something by pure chance without actually looking for it, but usually, typically, if you find something it was because you were looking for something. Again, it is theoretically possible to find something and not even be looking for it, but again, normally, usually, it is after we are searching for something that we find it. It’s the same with finding a husband or wife for marriage. There are stories of a men or a women not even looking, not even seeking, and they just run into their future spouse and end up married and happy ever after. Yes, that can happen, it does happen, but not usually, and if you wait for that to happen you probably won’t get married, ever. The fact is, and the Bible supports this – in order to find a spouse, you must seek a spouse at least in some way. You have to be looking in some sense. Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” So finding implies seeking, not just in finding a spouse but in almost everything else as well. Now sometimes I run into someone who knows a thing or two about the Bible who says, “Well, I’m just going to pray and that’s all, because after all, God can put two people together supernaturally. What about Isaac and Rebecca?” It’s interesting that Isaac and Rebecca are used as an example of supposed inactivity on their parts in finding spouses. If I read the story correctly in Genesis, great effort was made on Isaac’s part to find him a wife. Granted, Isaac himself didn’t make the arrangements, but his father Abraham did, by sending his servant to a far away land to get Isaac a bride. So far from inactivity and passivity, great effort and expense was made to find Isaac a bride. Not as much effort on the part of Rebecca to find a husband, yes, but again, that’s the normal and natural pattern – the man must seek more aggressively to find his wife than the wife seeking her husband. That’s the God-ordained order that also has a biological basis too, but we won’t get into that now. The truth is, any Christian single person who thinks that they can find themselves a spouse without searching, looking, seeking in some form or fashion is greatly mistaken. The verse above, when it states, “He who find a wife,” also implies that the person is searching. If a person is unwilling to search, he or she will probably not find a spouse. The days of arranged marriages and matchmakers are over for the most part. Yes, they still exist in some remote parts of some Middle-Eastern countries, but in most modern, industrialized nations, single people must seek and find their own spouse today. So if you want to find someone to marry, be prepared to do some seeking. “Seek and you shall find.”

Second, there are good ways and bad ways and many ways in between to go about seeking a spouse. Proverbs 31:1, “A wife of noble character who can find.” Like I said before, there is a difference between the way a Christian single person and a non-Christian single person will go about seeking a spouse for marriage – or there should be a difference! Sadly, many times, Christians simply follow along in the same old path as the non-Christians in their attempts to find a husband or wife. Not every approach to finding a spouse is right, godly and appropriate. In fact, there are plenty of ways to go about searching for a spouse that are totally inappropriate for any committed, even if these ways are popular and widely used in non-Christian circles. For example, to hang out at places that emphasize the use of alcohol and drinking isn’t really proper for Christian singles. Alcohol impairs judgment, it lowers inhibition, and it clouds the mind to the point where a person is more likely to speak and act under the power of emotions rather than clear thinking. It can lead to shameful and regretful behavior. It isn’t a scene that Christian singles want to make a habit of joining. Now I’m aware that within the secular singles’ world, the bar scene is a very popular place to meet people, but the question is what kind of people will you meet at the bar? A Christian is supposed to be seeking to find another Christian, not just anybody. That’s what the Apostle Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 7:39, “A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.” A Christian single person is looking for another Christian single person, not just another single person. “She is free to marry anyone, but he must belong to the Lord.” The Apostle Paul teaches elsewhere, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness,” 2 Corinthians 6:14. So the approaches we take to find a spouse are important because they can be good or bad, appropriate or inappropriate. Another inappropriate approach in seeking and finding a marriage partner is to overemphasize physical appearance and sexual attraction. Many of these methods are entirely inappropriate for Christians. Any method that compromises the Christian teachings of the Bible is wrong. Also, Christians must remember to “seek first the kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well,” Matthew 6:33. The priority agenda for the Christian single is to do the will of God in life, and in the course of following God’s general will he will be open to the leading of God in the area of dating and seeking a marriage partner in appropriate ways.

Third, the best way to seek and find a spouse is to meet and get to know many different people. Ecclesiastes 11:6, “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that or whether both will do equally well.” The wisdom literature of the Old Testament, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, etc. supplies us with some sound principals that apply to seeking and finding a spouse for marriage. The above passage talks about planting seeds in different places because you never know in which place it will grow. Applied to seeking and finding a life partner, the same principle applies. It’s important in seeking a wife or husband to go different places that are appropriate and meet many different persons along the way. Just like the passage says, “for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that or whether both will do equally well.” The worst thing to do is to sit at home and feel lonely about the fact that you wish you could find the right person and get married. Staying home and feeling depressed is the absolute worst thing to do. But the answer is not to get out and go to some worldly singles place where the chances of meeting a committed godly Christian are slim to none. The real answer is to get out of the house by all means, but get out and go to places where there is a good chance of meeting people like yourself and especially Christian singles of the opposite sex who might be wanting to get to know someone themselves. But even in this, the approach should be to get to know a person not to determine whether they are or aren’t your future spouse. There are good, honest, sincere Christians who can’t relax and who seem to be uptight about getting married. They haven’t learned to enjoy meeting a variety of persons of the opposite sex, many of whom might not be a perfect match for them, but who are interesting nonetheless in getting to know. Getting to know different persons is important in finding out who God might be motivating you to seek. During the process of getting to know many different people there are qualities and characteristics that we discover we like or admire in people. We find out what we like and dislike about certain people. We find out which personalities blend better with our own. We also find out about ourselves as we interact with different people. So an important part in seeking God’s life partner that will lead eventually to marriage is to get out and meet a lot of different people, because this process will increase the chances we will recognize the qualities of that “someone special” when we meet him or her.

It is important also to remember that we must not become preoccupied in finding a spouse, because after all God has a plan and purpose for our lives that include a lot more than marriage. There may be times in life when seemingly the biggest thing of all is to get married – and the sooner the better. But to be obsessive or preoccupied with finding a husband or wife can really interfere with what other things God is calling us to do in life. For example, presumably God has called a man into a career or work field. To do well in any field means dedicating oneself to it, so there is this that should occupy a large part of our time, energy and effort. The same could be said for the woman. Then there is church and faith activities. There is more to life than work, which is the whole point of Sunday, the day of rest. Church attendance and weekly Bible studies or prayer meetings or other activities should be a regular part of a healthy Christian’s life. Who knows, a Christian single might meet their future spouse at such an activity? There are recreational and free-time activities to stay healthy both physically and mentally. There is furthering one’s education and reading to stay sharp intellectually. There are many, many more areas to life other than seeking a marriage mate. Participating in these other activities is just as important as pursuing marriage because if all you do is pursue relationships than when you are in a relationship you won’t really have anything to talk about, because if all you do is pursue relationships that’s all you’ll be able to talk about. You will be a one-dimensional person instead of an interesting multi-dimensional person. It’s very important to cultivate many different interests upon which you can draw to make interaction with other persons interesting. It’s also important to not become discouraged if you are not meeting the right kinds of persons right away. The verse in Ecclesiastes talked about the farmer planting seed here and there and not knowing which will grow into something, whether one or the other seed or both. Well, that’s important to remember as you go here and there meeting different persons, talking, interacting, sharing your life and getting to know different people. You never know who you’ll run into, who you’ll meet, or who you’ll find on your journey. But the important thing is to enjoy the journey, enjoy learning about different kinds of people, their opinions, perspectives, styles, etc. It takes time but eventually, in God’s will, you’ll meet someone who you’ll want to get to know better. And who knows? It may be the start of a long-term relationship that may even lead to marriage.

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