What would you think of me if I told you that I met my husband while drunk in Las Vegas and married him that very evening? Crazy, irresponsible, foolish? Would you be surprised if I told you that we soon realized we had nothing in common, fundamentally disagreed on nearly everything important and are now really struggling to make things work? Probably not! My point? It’s not wise to choose to marry a stranger while drunk! But how many of us would willfully let love stir up and awaken to the point of intoxication (Song of Solomon 5:1) before we even knew enough information about a man to truly evaluate his character or our compatibility. How many of us would then decide we want to marry the guy in this loved up drunken stupor, blissfully unaware of his values, goals or views on marriage and children? Isn’t such behaviour as equally crazy, irresponsible and foolish?
So what should we consider before we let love stir up beyond the point of no return, beyond the point where it would be easy to call things off without causing heart break? And if we have let love stir up too much, what questions can we ask to drench ourselves in cold water and sober ourselves up before we potentially make one of the biggest decisions of our lives? Below are a list of suggested questions to get us started:
1. Does he show evidence of a desire to love us self-sacrificially and romantically?
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25)
I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me (Song of Solomon 7:10)
Men have a huge responsibility to love us as Christ loved the church. This is no insignificant task. He might show all the godly character we could hope for but will he love us enough? There is no point even considering marriage with a man who does not really want us and there are many men who will unfortunately pursue a woman whom they are not sure they actually desire, only to end up letting her down.
- Does he show drive and passion to pursue us and marry us or are we the one pushing things forward?
- Is this passion based on knowing a great amount of important information about us or is it superficial?
- Is this drive based on an expectation that is being placed on him or a genuine desire?
- Are we just one in a long line of women he has pursued or does he see us as a rare catch?
- Does he talk about our possible future in concrete terms mentioning a time scale he is working towards?
- Do we see that he shows self-sacrificial love and loyalty to his friends, family and the body of Christ?
- Does he demonstrate care for us now in how he is trying to protect and guard our heart from being potentially hurt by him if things don’t work out?
- Does he respect, value and admire us?
2. Does he show genuine fruits of salvation?
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? …Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; (2 Cor 6:14,17)
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
Is he a genuine born-again believer? There are many, many people who think they are Christians who are not. If he’s not, you know this and you choose to get romantically involved with him, you are disobeying God. To marry an unbeliever is to live a life partnered to a man that does not love your God and will not be spiritually leading your family. Furthermore, your children will have a father who is an unbeliever. So how can you know if he is a true believer? Here are some questions you can consider. Does he:
- Desire to walk in the light (1 John 1:6-7) and hate the world (1 John 2:15)?
- Acknowledge himself to be a sinner whose only hope of forgiveness is Jesus and does he continuously repent of sin (1 John 1:8-10).
- Obey God (1 John 2:3-5) or is he just a hearer of the Word and not a doer?
- Have special love for other Christians and is he passionate about fellowshipping with them (1 John 2:9-11).
- Hold to a basic statement of faith such as the one on this site or does he have unbiblical, heretical theological views?
- Show evidence of spiritual fruit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
Can many others attest to this godly character such as friends, family, colleagues, church family and the lost? What’s his personal testimony?
3. Do we respect him enough to choose to respect him for life?
However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:33)
For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. (Ephesians 5:23)
Just as men are commanded to love their wives, wives are commanded to respect their husbands as their head. For a wife to not respect her husband is to sin against God and thus when it comes to Christian marriage, to agree to marry a man is to agree to respect him.
- Do we admire his character?
- Do we respect how he relates to and handles money, friends, family, stress, challenging decisions, work, leisure time, ministry, faith, devotional times, church, hobbies etc.
- Would we respect him as our leader? Would we choose him for a lifelong boss?
4. Can he provide for his family?
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8).
The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied. (Proverbs 13:4)
If he can’t provide for you and is lazy then he is not ready for marriage. Financial problems are the cause of great anguish in marriages.
- How many jobs has he had?
- Why did he leave them?
- What jobs won’t he do if you were broke?
- How would he provide if you had children?
- How does he manage finances?
- Does he pay for meals/coffees now or does he expect you to pay?
- What does he think about debt and does he have any?
- Does he take his responsibility as provider seriously?
5. Is he able to biblically get married (and are you)?
And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:9)
But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (Matthew 5:32)
There is debate within the church on remarriage. This is an article I would recommend if the guy or you have been married before. It basically states that remarriage is permitted for the faithful partner only when the divorce was on biblical grounds. Outside of those Biblical grounds, to remarry is to commit adultery.
6. Do we understand his life plans and are we willing to support them and be a help to him?
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:18)
A big part of a woman’s role as wife is to be a help to her husband. To decide if we want to be a help to him we need to know what he will expect help with. Of course he won’t fully know this yet but most men will have some sort of idea how they want/expect their lives to be and how they will need help. Some men will especially want a wife who can help them with their ministry responsibilities who will be given to hospitality. Other men may work very long hours at their jobs and need a wife who can help by carrying out all the domestic requirements of a home. He might have some health problems that we are not aware of and will need special care later in life. Are we willing to be a help to him in the way he requires?
7. Do we know how he thinks and makes decisions and are we willing to submit to them?
Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (Ephesians 5:24)
If we like it or not, the word ‘everything’ appears clearly in our above text. Therefore it is very important to figure out if we want to submit to a prospective husband and if we don’t, to not marry him. To decide this, we need to know him well. Does he:
- Seek council or make rash decisions on his own?
- Always seek answers in the Word of God or does he base his decisions on emotion or experience?
- Respect our opinion or treat our opinions dismissively in an aggressive, authoritarian manner?
- Submit to his pastors and elders or is he quick to ignore their opinions?
Does he show consistently godly character that leads to kind, wise decisions we desire to submit to for life?
8. Can we walk in agreement?
Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3)
We will not think exactly the same as the man pursuing us and we need to figure out how significant those differences are to decide if we can in fact walk together for life.
- How many children does he want?
- What are his beliefs about educating and rearing children?
- How do our theological beliefs differ (you could go through this statement of faith together)?
- What does he believe about financially giving?
- What church would you both attend?
- When should a person leave a church?
- How much time should be spent with friends and family?
- What would you do in your leisure time?
- What are his non-negotiables?
- If you had children, would he expect you to stay at home or go to work?
- Does he have a desire to live somewhere else?
- What does he see as his life calling?
- How does he evangelize and when?
- Would he consider working abroad while you stay at home?
- How much time would he expect to spend with you if you were married?
- What are his expectations when it comes to roles in marriage?
Hopefully we have been convinced that it’s not smart to choose to marry someone we know little about while drunk with love and hopefully we are now better equipped to get to know a guy before letting love stir up too far. Let’s pray that we will make good, sober decisions when it comes to deciding to marry a guy or not. Let’s pray that those of us who do get married, will marry wisely and have God glorifying marriages that will be a blessing to our communities, churches and even future generations! [Rowina Seidler]
Note: If you have gone through this list and are concerned that you are being pursued by someone unsuitable, please don’t make a rash decision but rather speak to a trusted church elder about your concerns. If you are already married and have regrets about how you conducted yourself in the past, please don’t worry. God is a God of miracles and can turn the most difficult situations around.