One of the big questions that came up this last Sunday morning during a junior-senior girls small group discussion that I was a part of was…”Does God have one specific person picked out for you to marry, or should we just be focused on the type of person that God wants us to marry?” What a provocative question for teenagers to already be thinking about and discussing. I was so proud of the way my girls handled and answered the question…and how the adult leaders listened and offered biblical counsel to the girls. Here’s my two cents on the question…
So does God have a specific person picked out who we’re supposed to find and marry, or does He want us to marry a specific type of person spelled out in Scripture? In other words…am I looking for my soul-mate or are there many who will fit into our marriage qualifications?
Well, first I have to admit that I believe in an all-sovereign, an all-ruling, an all-reigning, an all-controlling, and an all-planning God. And by that you might be thinking…”so Chip does believe in a one person soul-mate that God has designed just for us!” Well, not so fast. It’s not quite that easy. On one hand, I believe the person who thinks that there is just one specifically special person for everyone will experience a lot of fear in pre-marriage relationships. I think they will constantly be sizing up their boyfriend/girlfriend as to what they feel God is telling them to do, if God really brought them together, etc. The burden can ultimately be left up to feelings, emotions, mysticism, etc. But at the same time, there can be some rest in this just knowing that God is ultimately in total control and that He does have a plan.
Honestly, I think its better to look at all this as “what is the type of person laid out in Scripture that I am called to marry?” I think that first of all because of Scripture: “A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.” Hold up! Isn’t that just for widows? While the situation is specifically for widows, it seems to be a good, general truth for all people. Why would a widow’s choice of person for remarriage have any different biblical requirements than someone getting married their first time. Read that passage again! Paul literally says that a single person can marry WHOEVER THEY WANT…only in the Lord. We serve a loving God who gives us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). I believe that our all-sovereign God loves us enough to put His holy desires in our hearts, they become our desires, and therefore we love to do His will. So literally, we are to marry whoever we want as long as we are living in Christ, as long as they are living in Christ, and as long as the relationship is glorifying Christ. So I believe that singles should look at future marital relationships like an Armenian – that the choice is all up to us. But once we’re married we are Calvinists – the choice we made was made ultimately because of God’s eternal plan. In other words: you made the choice, suck it up, deal with it, and make the absolutely most of your marriage.
Singles, like you, I am working hard to judge every date and every dating relationship through the biblical lenses of Scripture. My desire is to have a wife that reflects Ruth, Ephesians 5, 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Peter 3, etc. Don’t ever just judge whether or not to go to the next level in the relationship based on what you THINK God wants, but also, always test it with Scripture. I don’t know about you, but I”m tired of dating books, dating conversations, and dating principles. I don’t just want a date, but I want a mate: a WIFE FOR LIFE! So I enjoy reading books on marriage and Bible passages on marriage so that I know the proper expectations, perspective, and requirements that I am supposed to have in choosing a wife.
God allows us to marry whomever we wish. We, they, and the relationship must be glorifying to Christ. And in the end…it was all God’s plan to begin with. And we can say for the rest of our lives… “I married my soul-mate!”