Summary: Factoring God into your marriage should start before you say "I do."
An old couple came to a judge seeking a divorce after 80 years of marriage. The judge asked, “Bill, Mary, why in the world are you seeking a divorce at your age? Bill, you’re 98; and Mary, you’re 96. Why in the world are you seeking a divorce now?” The couple looked at each other and then replied to the judge, “Well, your honor, we decided we would do this years ago, but we thought it best to wait until all the kids died off.”
Life is too long to spend it married to the wrong person. So today, I want us to look at what Proverbs says about selecting a good spouse. But before we do, I want to take a moment to address the idea of singleness. Being single is a legitimate life choice. If you are single, you do not need to be “fixed.” Our church is probably unique in that we have a statement in our confession of faith regarding singleness:
We believe that singleness is a gift from God and affirm the fact that it is not always God’s will for a person to be married. We believe that value, purpose, meaning and significance in life doesn’t require that one be married, for fulfillment and purpose is found only and ultimately in our love relationship with God through Christ and our finding contentment in Him. Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 3:14; Matthew 19:11-12; 1 Corinthians 7:1; 7, 32-35; Philippians 4:11-13; 1 Timothy 6:6-8; Hebrews 13:5-6.
Shana Schutte, author of “Betrayed by God? Making Sense of Your Expectations,” wrote this in an article for focus on the Family called, “Intimacy With God: The Way To True Fulfillment”:
“One of my girlfriends was lonely and frustrated that God hadn’t delivered her greatest desire: a husband. Never married and 40, she was tired of praying and waiting and waiting and waiting, but most of all she was convinced that her life was somehow less-than. ‘Being single is not the abundant life!’ she stated emphatically.
I certainly identified with the sometimes heart-wrenching emotions of feeling like the only girl without a date to the prom. I empathized with her loneliness, her cries late at night when only God can hear and her zillion prayers for a man she wasn't even sure exists. But the absence of abundant life?
I have a confession. I really like chick flicks, movies in which Mr. Right meets Miss Right, they fall in love, experience a crisis that rips their relationship apart, then make up with a kiss.
I like these movies because they speak to a place inside me that longs for romantic love. However, I know I will never find total satisfaction even if I could experience the romantic love of the movies because it’s not the highest aspiration of mankind or the zenith of fulfillment. If it were, then a scriptural command to love romantically would be our greatest calling. Instead, it’s to love God most (Matt. 22:37-40). In His love, we can find fulfillment that no human can provide.”
If I don’t find ultimate fulfillment in my relationship with Jesus, I’ll not find it in any human relationship. Only finding satisfaction in my love relationship with Christ enables me to give to another without worrying about them meeting my needs. I won’t manipulate, nag, or bully to get them to meet my needs, but can freely give of myself to them.
“Freely you have received; freely give.” - Matthew 10:8 (NIV)
“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure - pressed down, shaken together, and running over [with no space left for more]. For with the standard of measurement you use [when you do good to others], it will be measured to you in return.” - Luke 6:38 (Amplified)
With that being said, let’s see what Proverbs says about selecting a good spouse. If you are married, consider how to apply what we learn to becoming the spouse you should be.
1. Selecting your spouse.
A. The importance of making a good choice.
“It is a trap to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider one’s vows.” - Proverbs 20:25 (NIV)
Marriage isn’t a contract between two people; it’s a covenant between two people and God.
B. The difficulty in correcting this mistake.
It’s folly to think a mistake in this area can be easily corrected. If you don’t settle for unhappiness, there are only two possibilities:
1) You fight for your marriage.
This is what every couple has to do, but if you’ve made a poor choice in your spouse, the fight will be harder. Instead of fighting together, you’ll be fighting each other. Sadly, after a while, many who stay in such a marriage, simply surrender.
2) You flee from your marriage.