Do you spend time praying for your future spouse? What are some of the traits you ask God for in a spouse? Strong leader? Gentle spirit? A specific profession? Good parenting potential? Ministry partner?
I can remember asking God for a husband that knew what God had called him to do and would not change direction – even for me. In other words, someone who knew the work God had for him and would not let me talk him out of it. Boy, did God ever answer my prayer on that one! Many times has Eric made decisions for PreEngaged which took me out of my comfort zone (we have previously established how I feel about change on this blog ~smile~), but I would be more uncomfortable if I had the ability to talk him out of following God’s will for our family and our work as a couple to bless others.
Rich Christian Heritage
So, is it important to you that your future spouse have a rich spiritual heritage? Do you desire a man or woman who has been raised in a God-fearing home, has enjoyed the benefit of years of Biblical instruction, and who has been covered in prayer since he or she was a small child? There are some who find this trait incredibly appealing – and, perhaps, even a must-have.
If you are praying for a spouse who has been spiritually “well bred,” also pray for someone whose heart is regenerated by the Holy Spirit and is seeking to follow Christ daily. Going to a Christian college, I found out firsthand that a child can be raised in an amazing, godly environment and still not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Young adults who have been raised in a Christian environment can fool the public (and themselves) into believing they are walking with Christ. They know the right words to use, acceptable body language, and they likely know enough Scripture to talk a good talk.
Because of this, it is important to take time to know someone well before beginning a committed relationship with him or her. Hang out in groups, spend time with his or her family (if possible), notice how he or she reacts in different situations, and look for the Fruit of the Spirit in his or her life. When it is clear that he or she is living for the Lord, you may want to consider taking the relationship deeper.
One specific joy associated with marrying a man or woman with a rich spiritual heritage is the quality in-laws you are likely to gain. Obtaining good in-laws is a blessing. And how comforting it is to know that your spouse has been prayed over by his or her parents for many years! Children of committed believers have also had great examples to follow, have probably seen miracles take place, and have learned a lot of lessons about following Christ along the way. Are these influences important to you?
I struggled with whether or not to blog on this topic because I did not want to send the message that believers who were not raised in godly homes are any less of a “catch” than those who were dedicated to Christ as children. Ultimately, what matters is that the person you marry is born again, running the race for Christ with you and at the same pace as you (Hebrews 12:1-2) and that you are committed to raising your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
Have you ever considered the benefits of marrying a new believer? Here are a few to consider:
- New believers often carry exuberance and passion older believers may not show as readily.
- You can be instrumental in helping a new believer grow by helping him or her better understand the Scriptures.
- God can use your family to break negative patterns from past generations (e.g., by the grace of God our family’s tradition of ruining our lives with drugs and alcohol ends with me, by the grace of God the pattern of women falling into sexual sin stops here, etc.).
- God may even use you and your sweetheart to reach your future in-laws for Christ.
I also want to make it clear that I do not recommend a couple get married until both people show spiritual maturity. While you may be instrumental in helping your spouse learn more about God’s Word, you will still want a partner. If you marry a brand new believer, you may feel like you are constantly discipling him or her. And though this may not bother you at first, the day will come when you need your spouse to encourage you with Scripture and wisdom. You will weary of continuously ministering with little encouragement in return. Eric knows far more about the Bible than I do, and I love that I can come to him with my questions. However, he still needs me to remind him of God’s promises and to pray for him as well.
God Will Lead You
If you are dating someone who was not raised by godly parents, but who is clearly living for the Lord, ask God for His guidance in your relationship. Don’t consider his or her past an automatic deal breaker. God may have something special for the two of you to do together, but be willing to walk away from the relationship if the Holy Spirit leads you to do so. If you diligently seek Him, He will guide you (Hebrews 11:6; John 15:7)!
If you are not in a relationship yet, ask God for what He desires for your spouse. Ask Him to mold your desires to meet His. He can change our hearts to want what He wants for us. ~smile~ And it is okay to ask God to make it clear to you when you have met that special someone He has set aside for you. He may not tell you in a single moment, but He will likely make it clear over time. Keep praying for your future spouse and for your future children and their spouses. Does it not excite you to think that someone out there may be praying for you right now? ~smile~
How important is it to you that your future spouse comes from a strong, Christian family?