Choosing a Companion
Choosing a Companion
How is a young man to know when he has found the right girl for his bride? How does a young woman choose the one with whom to spend the remainder of her life? God Himself, who understands better than any other the importance of choosing the right companion, has promised, “I will always guide you and satisfy you with good things” (Isaiah 58:11).
Prayer and an honest look at what the Bible has to say about marriage has saved many a young person from making an unhappy choice. In this lesson we will discover the importance of considering the other person’s attitudes toward life, and his or her traits and patterns of behavior. Valuable lessons will also be learned from marriages, which are built on divine principles, and those, which are not. God knows who is “right” for each of His children, and will not fail to direct those who sincerely want His will in this important decision.
Importance of the Choice
The choice of the person who is to be your partner for life is extremely important. Why? There are several reasons.
First, it is important because of the influence your partner will have on your life. The person you marry will help shape your life. He or she may turn the course of your life either toward righteousness and heaven or toward sin and hell. The daily influence of your companion will either help you reach your goal of eternal happiness or will tend to pull you away from God who is the only source of true joy. The choice of your life companion will make it either easier or harder for you to love, serve, and obey God.
Secondly, this choice is important because it is for life. Christians don’t get married with the idea that they can always get a divorce if they can’t get along together. If you have a bicycle or a car that you don’t like, you can sell it and get another one. But you can’t do that with a wife or husband. The Bible teaches that marriage is for life.
Romans 7:2. A married woman, for example, is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives; but if he dies, then she is free from the law that bound her to him.
Mark 10:9. Man must not separate, then, what God has joined together.
Nor is there any such thing as trial marriage for Christians; that is, living together for a while to see how they get along before actually getting married. According to God’s standards this is wrong immoral.
Since the choice of your companion for life is so important, it should not be made hurriedly. Fortunately, God’s Word gives us some basic principles to follow in making the choice so that the marriage will be happy.
God’s Willingness to Lead
If you are a child of God, you may be sure that your Father wants you to have the companion who will be the best for you.
God made Eve to be just the companion that Adam needed. God knows you and your need too. He knows you better than you know yourself and knows exactly the person that would make the best partner for you. He loves you and wants to help you.
So, before the choice is made, be sure to ask God to lead you very definitely to the person of His choice. Pray about it and be willing to follow the leading of the Lord. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should pray to God, who will give it to him” (James 1:5).
How God Leads
How does God let a person know whom he should marry? God usually leads His children in this matter through a combination of ways. A Christian should look for God’s leading in all of these ways.
First, one who chooses a life partner should be sure that it is according to the principles found in the Bible. A second consideration is this: Do the personal qualities of the couple make them suited for each other? Thirdly, circumstances should work together to make the marriage possible. There
should be mutual love and acceptance of each other. And finally, there should be an assurance of God’s will.
First and most important is the way in which God leads you through His Word. In the Bible He gives you some rules to follow. You can be sure that His leading will not be contrary to His Word. Two of these rules for Christians are to (1) marry a Christian and (2) be sure you agree.
Marry a Christian
Those who have already formed their homes have moral obligations to their companions, Christian or non-Christian. But if you are single and a Christian you can be sure that God does not want you to marry an unbeliever.
2 Corinthians 6:14. Do not try to work together as equals with unbelievers, for it cannot be done. How can right and wrong be partners? How can light and darkness live together?
We read in the Bible about two promising young men who made the mistake of marrying wives who didn’t believe in God. They were Samson and Solomon. Samson was attracted to a young woman who was not of his religion. His parents advised him to marry one of his own people, but he would not listen to them. His first marriage was a terrible failure from the very start. But still he would not follow God’s standards. His second serious involvement with an unbeliever led to personal tragedy and death. King Solomon, too, was led away from God by an unbeliever, Pharaoh’s daughter (1 Kings 3:1). And from this crucial mistake he was led to take many heathen wives and to support idolatry, a move that brought God’s judgment upon his kingdom (1 Kings 11:1-11).
So, be careful in your friendships. There is always an attraction between sexes. Don’t let this lead you into courtship with an unsaved person. Choose your close friends among Christians. Don’t let Satan sidetrack you from God’s will and ruin your life by getting you bound in marriage to an unbeliever.
Be Sure You Agree
While it is important to marry a Christian, there are also other things to consider. The Bible teaches that you can’t have a happy home unless you agree on certain things.
Disagreements over religion can make a home very unhappy. You and your companion should agree on the place that God will have in your life, how you will serve Him, what church you will attend, and what religious training you will give your children. Doctrinal differences sometimes divide a home. For each to go to a different church is a poor way to start a home.
No two persons will agree perfectly on everything; you shouldn’t expect that. But husband and wife should agree on basic principles.
Do you and the person that you hope to marry agree on Bible standards for your home? how to discipline children? the responsibilities of husband and wife? how to handle your money? If not, be careful. You may be headed for trouble.
These lessons will help you have a happier home, as both of you study God’s instructions and agree on the standards He gives you in His Word.
What are the qualities that you would like to find in the person you marry? Some young men say: “the girl I marry must be beautiful, talented, and educated. She must come from an important and well-to-do family.”
Some of these things may be desirable, but none of them guarantees a successful marriage. In fact, a young lady who is beautiful may be proud and vain because of her beauty. She may even use her beauty to attract men after she is married.
A girl from a wealthy family may expect her young husband, who is just getting started in his work, to provide many things he cannot afford.
Beauty, education, and a good social position can be assets, but there are other more important qualities such as character, similar interests, good habits, and good health.
What kind of person do you want to live with all the rest of your life pleasant or complaining? Friendly or quarrelsome? Patient or easily upset? Kind or domineering? Generous or selfish? Trustful or suspicious?
Are you looking for someone with a good reputation or a questionable one? Always honest or someone who would deceive you? Hard-working or lazy? Persevering or easily discouraged? Dependable or undependable?
Character is formed and developed all through childhood. So the home of the person you are interested in may give you an idea of what he is like. The popular sayings are often true: “Like father-like son.” “Like mother-like daughter.” The child often follows the example of his father or mother.
However, God’s grace can always help a Christian change his ways even though he has had very poor home training. And there are some people from wonderful homes who have refused to follow their parents’ good example. So, the home may help you to look out for certain qualities, but don’t base your judgment of the person’s character entirely on the family that he comes from.
Habits are hard to break. If a person has habits that annoy you now, don’t think that things will be better after you are married. Remember the saying, “Never marry a man to reform him.” Don’t think that you will be able to make your husband or wife over into your own patterns of behavior.
True love will make husband and wife try to adjust to each other and overlook things that aren’t really important. And in things that are important they should help one another. But don’t go blindly into marriage without even thinking what kind of habits your companion has. They can show you a great deal about his or her character and about what you can expect in the future.
Is he or she clean or dirty? Courteous or sometimes insulting? Careful of appearance or slovenly? Does he or she talk all the time or listen with interest to what others have to say? Take responsibilities to God and the church seriously? How does he or she treat his or her brothers, sisters, and parents?
Similar Interests and Personalities
Would you like to live all your life with someone who is not the least interested in those things that are most important to you? Husbands and wives who are interested in the same things have much more in common and are likely to have a happier home.
Sometimes opposite characteristics are good if they complement each other. For example, someone who talks a lot might be happier with a quiet person who is a good listener. An idealistic, creative, but impractical person needs the balance of someone who is practical.
However, if husband and wife are of extremely different temperaments or personalities, they may have a hard time getting along with each other. If a young man is ambitious, hardworking, and active, he probably would not have much patience with a slow, unintelligent, lazy wife.
Eve was created to be a help suitable for Adam. God wants your companion to be suited for you, cut out for you. You should be enough alike that you will get along well together, and different enough so that you will have a well-balanced home.
Good health is important not only to the happiness of the home but also for the sake of the children. You want your children to be healthy and strong, not handicapped by inherited physical or mental illness. Many countries require a medical examination and health certificate before marriage. This is to protect you and your children.
This doesn’t mean that a person has to have perfect health. Some persons with physical handicaps have learned to overcome them and are good husbands, wives, and parents. Good health is not the most important quality to look for, but it should be considered. Ask yourself, will she be a good mother for my children? Will he be a good father for my children? Of course, a man should expect to marry a girl who has reached the proper age and physical development for marriage.
We have mentioned that God often leads through circumstances. We see this illustrated in
several beautiful love stories in the Bible.
Ruth left family and home in order to serve the one true God. She went to glean grain in the harvest fields of Bethlehem and “happened” to go to the field of Boaz. God had led her. Boaz met her and could see in her all the qualities that he would want in a wife. There were some obstacles to their marriage, but God worked everything out. Everyone cooperated and they were able to get married.
One of the circumstances that God used to lead Ruth was the advice of older, more experienced people. She respected the advice of Naomi and acted accordingly. God often uses the advice of parents, pastors, and older Christians to help young people know His will.
The romance of Isaac and Rebecca was very different from that of Boaz and Ruth. They didn’t see each other before Rebecca arrived for the wedding. Abraham had sent his servant to look for a wife for his son Isaac. The servant prayed for God to lead him, and you may be sure that Abraham
and Isaac were praying the same thing.
God answered prayer and brought Rebecca right to the place where the servant was praying. As he got acquainted with her and her family, the servant could see that Rebecca had the very qualities that would make her a good wife for Isaac. The whole family knew that God was leading and agreed to let Rebecca marry Isaac. They asked her if she wanted to go with the servant and become Isaac’s wife. She agreed and made the long journey to his home. They loved each other and had a happy marriage.
In those homes where the parents make the choice and the arrangements for the wedding, they should pray and ask God to lead them. The same God who worked through circumstances and brought Isaac and Rebecca together still answers prayer today.
Mutual Love and Acceptance
No marriage can be happy without true love between husband and wife. Mutual love gives two persons a sense of belonging to each other. It makes them want to please each other, helping them make whatever adjustments are necessary. Love binds them together more strongly than anything else can.
Love is much more than sex or physical attraction. True love includes respect, honor, appreciation, and consideration for each other. Don’t mistake mere physical attraction for love. If you are not sure of your feeling, pray about it. Talk with your parents or older Christians about it.
What if the marriage is arranged by the families, like that of Rebecca and Isaac? There can’t be any deep mutual love before there is an opportunity to know each other. But at least both should be willing to accept each other before they marry. Love can be cultivated, and must be cultivated. God, who is the source of all true love, will give you love for the person He wants you to marry, and He will give that person love for you.
Genesis 24:58, 67. So they called Rebecca and asked, “Do you want to go with this man?” “Yes,” she answered . . . Then Isaac brought Rebecca into the tent that his mother Sarah had lived in, and she became his wife. Isaac loved Rebecca.
Of course, we are talking about marrying according to God’s standards. If you are a Christian, you should not accept someone who is not a Christian even if you do feel attracted to each other.
If you are considering marrying a certain person, check your feelings by the list you made. Is this what you feel? Does the person seem to feel the same toward you? Pray that you will not be deceived by an attraction that is not true love. Ask God for His guidance in this important time in your life.
Assurance of God’s Will
God’s leading doesn’t usually come through a special revelation, but rather through the combination of ways that we have mentioned: Bible standards, the right qualities, circumstances, mutual love and acceptance, and the assurance of God’s will.
This assurance may come as a feeling of peace about the matter when you pray about it, a deep belief that it is God’s will. This shouldn’t be one-sided; both the man and the woman should pray about it and have this assurance.
God’s leading may be over a period of time. The assurance may come before or after He has led in the other ways. Or it may come sooner to one than to another. Don’t be in too much of a hurry. Test your feeling by the other ways that God uses to lead you.
Don’t worry if you don’t find anyone who has all the personal qualities that you are looking for. You may lack a few of the points on the other person’s list too. Whoever has to make the choice should look for the qualities that are most important for a happy Christian home. And in the meantime, you should be cultivating these same qualities in your character.
May God bless you and lead you in the ways that He sees best to the person of His choice for you.