God loves marriage. It was His design from the very beginning and marriage was not simply created for the purposes of pro-creation. God hates divorce and it is His intention that you marry the right person so that you may have a fruitful partnership in His Kingdom. If you are already married, read this article and evaluate how you and your spouse measure up to God’s standard.
If your spouse is not a Christian, pray into these areas and trust God to save them and work in the areas mentioned below.
Marriage is sowing ground where you sow your patience, love, enthusiasm and watch it multiply in those around you who celebrate your presence. Eyes require a view. Ears require sound. The mind requires thoughts. Aloneness creates vulnerability God knew it. “And the Lord said, it is not good that the man should be alone” Gen 2:18.
God Will Never Give You A Gift That Will Replace HIM
A mate is not designed to produce your joy. The presence of God creates your joy. “In Thy presence is fullness of joy”” Psalm 16:11. Your mate is a gift from God to you. That gift is intended to protect your focus, reduce distractions and create a climate of protection.
Focus often creates blindness. When you are looking North, you cannot see South. Someone else is needed for your protection, so, God provides the gift of a mate. Unfortunately, some who qualify for our attention are often unqualified to receive our heart.
Points to consider:
- Think Twice If You Do Not Possess A Passionate Desire To Give To Them. The proof of love is the desire to give. Jesus explained it. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…” John 3:16. Too often, marriage becomes an exchange. Exchange is the evidence of business, not love. You should desire to give time, God’s gift to you.
- Think Twice If They Do Not Possess A Passionate Desire To Give Back To You. I am not referring to expensive gifts, money or clothes. A listening ear, flexibility, patience and the willingness to be corrected are gifts.
- Think Twice If Your Personal Achievements Do Not Create Excitement In Them. When good things happen, who is the first person you desire to phone? Pay attention to that. Celebration is a compass. Those you love to celebrate with are clues to the puzzle of your life. When uncommon love exists, uncommon celebration is normal. Uncommon love does not compete with the success of another. It tastes and savours and enjoys the pleasure of another.
- Think Twice If They Have Not Been Captivated By What Has Captivated You. Several years ago, a lady excited me, yet the relationship struggled. Something simply could not seem to ‘catch fire.’ She did not enjoy sitting with me when I wrote my books. She enjoyed play far more than the presence of the Holy Spirit. A minister explained gently to me, “Mike, she simply has not been captivated by what has captivated you.” It is not enough for your mate to be captivated by you; they must be stirred by the same thing that stirs you. I often speak at women’s conferences, I always emphasise that you cannot know a man by studying him. You know a man by studying his focus.
- Think Twice If You Have Lost Your Desire To Impress Them. I watched a wife wave good-bye to her husband one morning. She was at the front door waving. Missing buttons on her gown, breakfast stains and hair in rollers – she was everything a man wants to forget. I understood why he was so excited about driving off to work…where someone would greet him at the door with a bright smile, pressed clothes and perfume. You are a walking message to those you love. Would you fly on a plane with seats broken, egg on the tie of the pilot, missing buttons and torn seats? Of course not. You would think, “That’s visible damage. What else has not been corrected in the engine?” Something is wrong when you no longer desire to present your best to your mate. I was so impressed one day when I saw a friend’s wife set the table with fine china for her husband. She explained to me, “The most special person in my life is my husband. He is the king of this house.”
- Think Twice If They Never Ask Quality Questions Concerning Your Greatest Dreams And Goals. Questions reveal desire. Questions reveal humility.
- Think Twice If They Ignore Worthy Counsel From Qualified Mentors In Their Life. Who are their heroes? You become like those you admire. You adapt the habits of those you envy. Who is their dominant mentor? At whose feet do they sit consistently? If they rebel against the counsel of their pastor, they are living undisciplined, uncovered and unadvised. Tragedy is scheduled.
- Think Twice If They Have Not Yet Impressed Their Pastor. I was attracted to a lady and inquired about her to the pastor and his wife. They exchanged glances and said quietly, “She has come a long way.” I understand preacher talk. That simply said, she is a long way from where she should really be.
- Think Twice If You Do Not See Continuous Improvement In The Relationship. Improvement is revealed by the decrease of conflict. Conflict occurs through opposite goals, philosophies or beliefs. Bonding should increase unity and brings a decrease in contention and strife. Strife is the evidence of opposite belief systems.
- Think Twice If They Show Little Remorse Concerning Their Past Mistakes And Sins. Repentant people are not arrogant. Repentant people do not blame others for their decisions. Memories of mistakes should produce sorrow and heartache. When regret is not expressed the offence usually occurs again. Some people never repent for the past mistakes. Why? They have not tasted the painful consequences of their rebellion. They do not possess a true fear of God. They believe they are beyond judgement. It is futile to pursue a relationship with someone who does not possess an obvious fear of God. Uncorrected conduct becomes repeated conduct. The fear of God keeps a mate faithful. Beauty will not. Your beauty does not make another woman ugly. Beauty cannot guarantee faithfulness, the fear of God keeps us faithful. It saddens me to watch some mentors of women teach the art of manipulation, intimidation and deception to deceive the men they are pursuing. You’ll never respect anyone you are capable of deceiving.
- Think Twice If They Enjoy The Climate And Atmosphere Of Rebels. I met a very striking lady who was a brilliant conversationalist, classy, elegant, knowledgeable. Something did not seem quite right, but I ignored it. One day she exclaimed excitedly, “Oh, I just love working with homosexuals. I would rather work around homosexuals than anyone.” She was unoffended by sin. Obviously, God loves every one of us regardless of our sin. However, anything that grieves the heart of God should grieve us. If you insist on dating someone comfortable with rebellious, stubborn, arrogant, God-despising people…you will be heartbroken.
- Think Twice If The Atmosphere Of Unbelievers Excites Them. I once heard the wife of a preacher say, “I just love to go to the shows in Las Vegas. I enjoy Tom Jones and the atmosphere so much. He excites me!” Was I shocked over their divorce later? Of course not. The atmosphere of the ungodly excited her flesh and she fed it. I love the presence of God. I crave His Voice. I am ecstatic over His Word. My favourite atmosphere is not a curse-saturated, filthy-joking, beer-drinking crowd. My favourite atmosphere is the House of God with hands uplifted, loving and worshipping the One who created me. You have no future with someone who fuels their passion in the atmosphere of the ungodly.
- Think Twice If They Have An Obsession To Attract The Attention Of The Opposite Sex. Some women are unhappy unless every man in the room gravitates around her as the ‘centre of attention.’ I have known men who cannot pass by a mirror without being mesmerised by their perceived beauty.
- Think Twice If Breaking The Law Is Exciting To Them. When I see a radar detector on the dash of a car, I recognise that I am in the presence of someone who despises restraint, sneers at the law and wants the world to know it.
- Think Twice If They Show Little Respect For The Agenda And Schedule Of Others. I dated a lady for a long time. One night, I waited 45 minutes in the restaurant for her. She finally showed up and explained, “Well, I met some friends that I have not seen in a long time and just simply forgot the time. Sorry!” I replied, “I understand. I have been waiting 45 minutes. I regret that the presence of others made you forget about me. I am sure God has someone else exciting for your future.” It was over. Your respect for the schedule of others reveals much about you.
- Think Twice When It Is Obvious That You Will Never Become Their Focus And Assignment. They may enjoy you, laugh with you and like you. They may even be trustworthy as a confidante. But, a spouse is a different matter. When God brings you a spouse, that person becomes your Assignment. The wife of a young preacher was agitated and frustrated. As we drove home from a crusade late one night, she looked at me with great exasperation and said, “I must find out what my Assignment is!” I replied gently, “He is there beside you. God calls him your husband. He is your Assignment. You are his Assignment.” Many marriages of ministers are fragmented today. Good men and women of God are often in miserable marriages. Publicly, their life looks glamorous, but they despise their marriage because they have ceased to view the other as their true Assignment.
- Think Twice When They Embrace An Accusation Against You Before They Have Heard Your Side Of The Matter. Loyalties will be identified and exposed eventually. The weakness of a very important relationship was exposed to me. Late one night, my telephone rang. The young lady tore into me like a hurricane. Not once did she ask me if the details of a situation were accurate. She never assumed that those around her might be lying or misinformed. It was absurd. What did I realise? Truth was not her focus. My opinion was unimportant. It was a heartbreaking revelation, but I realised that others could lie about me and my explanation would never be valued nor believed.
- Think Twice If They Have Not Exited Previous Relationships Peaceably. Many thrive on strife. They will destroy anything they cannot own or control. Peace bores them. Silence nauseates them. Warfare is their fuel. They will speak any words necessary to find the boundary lines around them. It’ll be impossible to have an enjoyable marriage.
- Think Twice If Their Parents Have Contempt For You Or Your Assignment In Life. The bloodline is more powerful than anyone can imagine. It is spiritual thing. It is a spirit connection. God arranged it Himself. So, you may marry a rebel who even despises his parents, but when crisis comes, he will reach back to the bloodline for affirmation. If you marry someone whose parents look condescendingly upon you because of your lack of education, social class or finances, remember that they will be the third party always speaking into the heart of your spouse.
- Think Twice If They Refuse To Sit Consistently Under The Mentorship Of A Spiritual Leader. Changes will not occur without mentors or uncommon pains. Unwillingness to sit under the mentorship of a man of God is a devastating revelation of potential failure.
- Think Twice If Pebble Problems Unleash Mountains Of Anger In Them. I will never forget it as long as I live: while sitting with several people in a restaurant, the waiter forgot to bring lime for the water glass of the lady I was dating. She was furious. In fact, not only did she look angry at the waiter, but she decided that his incompetence would become the focus of the evening conversation. She could not differentiate between things that were important and things that were trivial.
- Think Twice If They Refuse To Find A Job. It Is A Sin Not To Work. I would never allow my daughter to marry a man unwilling to earn his living. Money is a reward for solving problems. If you never have any money, you are probably refusing to solve the problems nearest you. You often hear of a millionaire marrying a waitress Why? He observed her work habits. At 3am, she was there bringing pancakes to truck drivers with a smile on her face. It was one of the secrets of Solomon. He only hired happy people. It is important to marry someone happy before you enter their life. “...If any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all… And if any man obey not our word by this epistle...have no company with him...” 2 Thess 3:10-14.
- Think Twice If Their Own Dreams Are Not Big Enough To Motivate Them. If they can sleep all day, watch television all night and refuse to produce anything significant with their life - you better think twice before pouring your life into them. Every person should have a dream big enough to get him out of bed in the morning.
- Think Twice If They Are Uncomfortable In The Presence Of God. You can date a man who is handsome and brings you flowers– but if he hates the presence of God, there is no hope of greatness ever being birthed within him. The man you see will never be more than what he is today. Preachers will become his rivals. He will become intimidated by your church attendance. Unsaved men are often intimidated by believing men because they know in their heart that a man who walks with God has something they lack.
- Think Twice If They Feel Inferior To You. True, everyone is superior to others in some way. But, it is important that those who walk beside you feel confident, qualified and called of God to be your mate.
- Think Twice If They Do Not Long To Understand And Pleasure You. Uncommon love longs to pleasure another. Uncommon love seeks every opportunity to communicate itself. What do you enjoy? Where do you want to go for vacation? What’s your favourite flower? Your spouse should long to know.
- Think Twice If Continuous Strife Exists Between Them And Their Parents. Honouring our parents was the first commandment with a promise. Those who celebrate the authority over their life ultimately succeed.
- Think Twice If They Treat The Favour Of Others With Ingratitude. Countless times, I have paid for meals at restaurants and never received a single thanks for it. I dated a lady for many months without receiving a thank you for anything I purchased or did for her during that year. Her explanation, “I simply wasn’t taught to say the word ‘Thanks.’ I will show it in other ways.” Absurd.
- Think Twice If They Do Not Hunger To Know The Voice Of God. Obedience is the secret of every successful person. If a man or a woman disdains The Voice of Truth and Wisdom (The Bible) – they will birth a parade of tragedies and catastrophes. Their decisions will create losses. Their weakness will flourish. Unlawful desire will rage like an inferno. Such a marriage is a path to spiritual suicide.
- Think Twice If You Are Not Excited About Introducing Them To Those You Love. When you are truly in love, that’s all you want to talk about. Are you ashamed? Be truthful with yourself...
- Think Twice If They Show Little Respect For The Battles You Have Won Throughout Your Lifetime. Have you mastered prejudice, fear or poverty? When someone loves you, they admire your achievements.
- Think Twice If Conversation With Them Has Become Burdensome. I have been with some who left me frazzled, exhausted and I did not know why. Right people energise you. Wrong people exhaust you. True love will motivate you.
- Think Twice If They Make The Major Decisions Of Their Life Without Pursuing Your Feedback. I was stunned one night when a lady I had dated for some time suddenly said, “I quit my job. I’m going to Bible School tomorrow.” She had been considering leaving her career for nine months and going to Bible School. She never told me. It was obvious – my feedback was unimportant.
- Think Twice If Your Time Spent With Them Always Ends With Guilt Or Disappointment. Withdrawal from any relationship occurs if guilt, fear or a sense of entrapment emerges.
- Think Twice If People Of Excellence Do Not Surround Them. Study the kinds of people that your potential mate finds enjoyable. That is a clue to their life and your future with them.
- Think Twice If They Are Unwilling To Follow Your Personal Advice And Counsel. A Godly wife is The Prophetess in the bosom of her husband. A husband should be a Well of Wisdom for his wife.
- Think Twice If You Do Not Admire And Respect The Mentor At Whose Feet They Sit. Their mentor is feeding either strength or a weakness. If you opposed their mentor, a happy marriage is impossible.
- Think Twice If You Only Enjoy Them During Your Moments Of Weakness Instead Of Your Moments Of Strength. One woman explained to me. “I don’t really want to be with him. I feel very vulnerable around him. But, I am often lonely. So, when I get so lonely I can’t stand it – I accept his invitation for a date.” Some relationships exist because of mutual weakness, rather than mutual goals.
- Think Twice If They Continuously Give You Counsel Contrary To The Word Of God. The Word of God is Truth. It withstands any test. It destroys wrong desire within you. It unleashes your faith. It produces hope. It purifies your mind. It is the master key to all success on earth. Your reaction to God’s Word determines God’s reaction to His own children. (Hosea 4:6) God will become their enemy if they continue to defy His Word. It would be tragic to bond with someone God has no fellowship with.
- Think Twice If Their Presence Does Not Motivate You To A Higher Level Of Excellence. You already possess weaknesses. You do not require anyone to feed them. Anyone can pull you down. That is why God gives you a spouse to lift you up.
- Think Twice If You Cannot Trust Them With The Knowledge Of Your Greatest Weakness. Each of us contains weaknesses that embarrass us. We despise them. It may be anger, fear or lust. Your mate is there to strengthen you, not weaken you. If you believe it is necessary to hide your weakness instead of share it, you may have the wrong mate.
- Think Twice If You Cannot Trust Them With Your Finances. This narrows down the field considerably, doesn’t it! Do not bond your life with someone too immature to handle the importance of financial responsibility. One young man explained to me, “I do not want my fiancée to know anything about my money or she will spend it. As soon as she discovers I have extra money, she persuades me to run up my credit cards.”
- Think Twice If You Cannot Trust Them With Your Most Painful Memories. Every person is running from a painful memory. Millionaires often share that their days of poverty have motivated them. Their painful memories have driven them to uncommon achievement. Some explain a father who beat them mercilessly. It left them marked forever. Memories are keys to understanding each other.
- Think Twice If You Cannot Trust Them With Your Greatest Fears Or Secrets. Fear often limits us. It should motivate us to change. It may be the fear of flying, or the dark. It may be a fear of dying with disease. Whatever it is – think twice if their love is not strong enough to destroy fear. “Perfect love casteth out fear:” 1 John 4:18.
- Think Twice If You Cannot Trust Them Around Your Friends. Flirtation is deadly. The death of many marriages begins with flirtation. It is not harmless. Ever.
- Think Twice If You Cannot Trust Them In Your Absence. Jealousy is a cruel dictator and tyrant. It is often unfounded and produced by a painful memory of disloyalty or betrayal. I have seen many marriages unravel because of a deep sense of distrust. Note the signals.
- Think Twice If You Cannot Trust Them To Pursue God Without Your Constant Encouragement. Several years ago, I met an exciting woman. She was one of the most articulate, vibrant and lovable humans I had ever known. I tried hard to push the relationship to marriage. But, it was this key that opened my understanding - she only attended church because of my persistent nagging. Without the authority of God in her life, any hope of happy marriage with her was a mere fantasy.
Choose wisely; trust God
Bring your potential mate into God’s Presence with you. Talk to God together. Truth will emerge in His Presence that cannot emerge anywhere else. Interrogation will never produce what His Presence will. Time will expose what a thousand investigators could never produce.
Define your present relationships honestly and clearly. If you persist in an unwholesome relationship, painful consequences will teach you. Never lean to your own understanding. Lean to the heart of God. Ask the Holy Spirit what He sees in those near you. He always will reveal truth to the seeker.
Recognition Of The Mate God approves for you will bring years of joy, enthusiasm and fulfilment.
By Mike Murdock