Do You Really Want To Get Married?

“I enjoy reading your Pastor’s Corner. I appreciate your wisdom and insight. Could you write something about marriage? Such an article would be helpful to many singles like me.” Someone, probably a member of NLF, wrote me this note. The request prompted me to write today’s corner.

Needless to say, it is not a Christian duty to get married. Jesus never married. Neither did the Apostle Paul. In fact, Paul encourages us to stay single, if possible, because those who are unmarried are able to devote their full time to the service of the Lord (1 Corinthians 7). So don’t feel obligated to get married. I know of some people who got married not because they wanted to but because they felt pressure to, and they ended up being unhappy and miserable.

However, if you do desire to get married, you need to know what qualities you want in your future spouse. They should be concrete and practical. Sometimes people are too vague about what they want. A woman might say that she wants a man who is warm and understanding. When I hear that, I wonder if what they really want is not a good husband but a good father. Some men say that they want a woman who accepts them as they are. I wonder if what they really want is not a wife but a mother. The qualities you want in your future spouse must be definite and concrete.

The qualities you’re looking for should not be too great in number. And the number of these should decrease as you get older. You need to be realistic, and understand that the pool of marriage partners shrinks as you get older.

However, you must set certain absolute requirements and not marry someone who does not fulfill these. I know of some people who got panicky when they got older and married someone hastily, even when that partner did not meet their minimum requirements. In many cases, they later regretted their decision and felt they would have been better off had they stayed single.

Before my daughter Christine got married, I had 3 minimum requirements for my future son-in-law. He had to be a Christian. He had to be able to support his family financially. And he had to have good interpersonal skills. Peter, now her husband, met all three requirements. So I gave him permission to date her.

You should pray for your marriage partner. And when someone appears who has qualities you decided in advance to be essential for marriage, consider it an answer to your prayer and marry the person. Many have lost a chance to get married because they hesitated or refused to marry someone God sent. Although the person has qualities they deemed essential for marriage, they begin to see shortcomings. A happy marriage is made, not given. If your spouse has the essential qualities you want, you can make your life happy together with God’s help. Don’t hesitate when the right person shows up. It requires guts to get married.

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