Choosing a spouse or a marriage mate is one of the most critical decisions you'll make in your adult life and for obvious reasons; except you're the type that believes that marriage is not a do or die affair so if it doesn't work out you can always get out through a divorce.
But if you believe in the divine institution of marriage and believe that marriage is for "better for worse" for the rest of your life and realize that it's not just about your happiness but likely also about the happiness and the lifestyle of some innocent unborn children, then you'll understand how important it is that you make the right decision of who to marry.
Since marriage is a divine institution I know how important it is for Christian singles to seek the face of God when choosing a life partner, so the guidelines below includes bible based advice to help Christian singles seeking a marriage mate to find a mate that God approves.
Guidelines are what they are; guidelines. They are given to help you make the right decision. They're not a guarantee for a happy marriage but they will give you a good chance at it.
1. Wait till you're mature enough: Research has shown that people who marry in their teens are 2-3 times more likely to divorce than people who marry in their twenties and above. Some life experiences make me believe that age doesn't have so much to do with how someone behaves. I mean a person of 20 is not necessarily going to be more mature in actions than someone of 15. However, there are some important life lessons that will help a marriage that only comes with time and time means a bit older. Additionally I can tell you from a personal experience that the person you're crazy about as a teen and think you can't do without may be the last person on your list of someone you think you can marry when you're some years older.
Does that mean there's a right age for marriage? Not necessarily. When to marry is a personal decision but the thing is are you mature enough in attitude to be able to cope well with living with and caring for someone you're intimate with? Marriage means living with a different character for the rest of your life. You need a high level of tolerance, understanding, communication skills and patience. And then you need finance especially if you will be the husband. Can you handle the expenses of another person? If you say yes to these, then you're ready.
For more on when to marry see the following articles:
2. Make sure when choosing a spouse the person isn't too different from who you are: It's a proven fact that people with similar backgrounds especially those with similar values, interests and goals are more suited as marriage partners.
This doesn't mean you must be completely alike in behavior, interests and even goals. In fact it helps the relationship if you have some difference because then there will be more to talk about and more to learn from each other.
3. Romantic Love between you two is a must: Marriage is tough for those in love then think about what will happen to a couple that isn't in love. You don't have to crazily be in love but you both do have to honestly love each other - care deeply about each other. And with the commitment to do what it takes to make it work and grow in love.
4. Choose a spouse you trust: A relationship without trust is bound to fail.
5. Consider cultural barriers seriously: Before choosing a spouse from a totally different culture in the case of intermarriage make sure the cultural differences are something that you can cope with. A culture that strongly opposes intermarriage is likely to result in social stigma even against the children you'll have. And that will not be fair on them.
6. Watch out for some marriage danger signs from an intending spouse: There are certain attitudes a person possesses that makes it difficult to live happily with them. Some of them are someone that thinks he or she is always right and someone that would rather take on a fault or just casually say sorry just to avoid having to talk about any issue or admit that a problem exists.
7. Show me your parents and family and I'll tell you who you are: Usually the environment a person grows up in affect his or her character especially his or her ideas about marriage and family. So is he or she from a broken home? Then why did the parents break up? Are they still married? Then how do they relate with each other?
8. How is his or her relationship with the parents and siblings? Study the family: How a person relates with his or her parents speaks volume of his or her character.
9. Learn from the best: Have your parents been happily married? Then think about what has kept them together happily for many years now. Ask them if you're not sure. And put the tips to good use. Experience is always the best teacher.
10. Consider your parents opinion when choosing a spouse: It's your life so the decision of who to marry should completely be yours. However, like the adage that says 'what an elder sees when sitting down a child cannot see it standing up'; your parents are more experienced than you and if they object to your choice of a spouse it may be for good reasons. And even though their reason(s) are not valid, don't be rude and ignore them. You're about starting a new life, it's important you start it in peace. Do your best to keep every relative happy especially your parents. Make great effort to get their approval not only to create peace but because it's your duty as a child to show honor to your parents; Ephesians 6:2a.
11. Can he take care of a family and is she ready for marriage: Marriage comes with a lot of responsibilities and for the husband that includes having the finance to at least take care of his family's basic needs. When choosing who to be your husband his financial capabilities and his attitude with money are issues you must consider seriously. First you need to make sure what he earns can cater for you and the family you'll start likely months after your wedding; and also that he's responsible with his income. Does he have a stable job? How much does he earn? How does he spend what he earns? What is his attitude about spending and savings?
You shouldn't be sentimental when judging a man's financial state and his attitude toward fulfilling certain responsibilities. You won't live on promises. This isn't about finding a rich husband. This is about whether or not he can take care of you and the family you'll start. And this is something that is also important to our heavenly father too. In 1 Timothy 5:8 it says (quote from New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures):
Certainly if anyone does not provide for those who are his own, and especially for those who are members of his household, he has disowned the faith and is worse than a person without faith.
If you're the man looking for a wife, then you need to consider whether or not she's actually ready for marital life. Does she manage money well? Is she submissive? How does she relate with kids? What's her opinion of the role of a wife? ETC.
12. Choose a Believer: Oil and water do not mix. The bible encourages Christians to marry only in the Lord. Abraham insisted and made the effort to make sure his son married a Godly woman. And for good reasons too. As earlier said God is an important part of a marriage and must be included in the marriage. In fact he is the only third party the bible encourages you to welcome in a marriage because he has the best guidelines for making a marriage successful.
So if you think love is the ultimate and you choose to marry someone you can't see eye to eye on anything relating to God because you think you're too in love to let go, then the hard reality will hit you after being married. Having a mate you can't go to Worship with, a mate you can't come back and discuss together how great the service was, a mate you can't hold hands with and pray together. In fact if you're a serious Christian marrying a non-believer will be the beginning of the unhappiness in your marriage. Spiritual compatibility is very essential. And the biggest issue with marrying a non-believer is if he or she is not worshipping God then who are they worshipping? A person that believes in nothing falls for anything. And what will he or she teach your kids?
Usually Christians who have their eye on a non-believer for a mate always think they can be converted. And some have actually converted and doing well and it's possible that person will too. However usually when someone is pressured to choose a faith and not done out of a personal conviction, they're likely to stop after getting married to you; some even just don't stop but insist you do too. Or they become inactive giving the slightest excuse for not attending Christian gatherings, morning devotions etc.
And then there's the issue of a Christian marrying a Muslim. Two religions with very different views about Jesus Christ and God almighty and what he requires of us. How will you cope? At the end of the day spouses in such situations don't really believe in anything for sure anymore because they'll have to support the two different beliefs, or be forced to convert. And then there is the question of what do you teach the children? Will the father or mother take them to Church today and the other to Mosque the next day? With such strong difference in the two religion, the children will be left confused. And remember 'train up a child in the way he should go so that when he grows up he will not depart from it'.
Trust that there's a reason God asked Christians to marry only in the Lord and respect his guidelines for marriage even though doing that could mean waiting longer to get married. Remember it's not about getting married it's about staying happily married. You can increase your chances of finding Mr. or Mrs. Right by creating single searching for a spouse profile here on NigerianWeddingsGuide.com.
And if you're a man you can create single male looking for a wife profile too and clearly state all you want from an intending wife. And those compatible with you will contact you.
For more Bible guidelines for Christian Singles see the different Bible verses about marriage
13. You can't be selfish when choosing a spouse: Don't be selfish when making a choice of a spouse. It's not just about you. You have to think too of the kids you'll eventually have and how your decision today of who to marry will affect them. So be practical instead of being sentimental about choosing a spouse believing that 'love is all that matters, as long as you have it everything will work out'.
14. Don't ask for perfection: Don't bulge on major issues but do allow room for character growth.
15. Don't settle out of desperation: Don't go for a quick fix out of your longing to get married. If you do that you may be longing to get out after just a short time of being married.
16. Courtship is important: Courtship has a role to play in the success of a marriage. Court before getting married even if it's for few months. It allows you to know each other well enough in other to decide finally if you want to go ahead and marry the person or not.
17. Confirm sexual compatibility: Most times people underestimate how important sexual compatibility and sexual satisfaction is in marriage. I'm not saying have sex before marriage to determine if he or she can deliver or satisfy you or if the man's manhood is the right size for you. I'm simply saying be open to discussing sex before marriage.
Even a Christian husband and wife have a duty to provide each other sexual satisfaction. See 1 Corinthians 7:5.
For more help on sex in marriage see these articles:
18. After you choose someone to marry give it your all: Decide you want to get married, find someone who is compatible with you, submit yourself to the decision you've made and focus on making your marriage work. No matter how compatible you are with your spouse, there will be problems just like there is with all other marriages. When problems arise resolve them as quickly and as maturely as possible. Don't start to wonder if you made the right decision and whether you would have been better off with this person or that. Make the commitment to make your marriage work after choosing a spouse.
Finally choosing a spouse is something you must apply wisdom in, be practical and be patient. Marriage isn't a small commitment and so it shouldn't be taken lightly. The response to "I Do" in a wedding ceremony represents a man and a woman's willingness to enter into a special relationship and they promise their love and devotion to each other for a lifetime.
For more help on choosing the right spouse take a marriage compatibility test.
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