How to choose your husband or wife is one of the essential questions many people ask themselves.  If you are a believer in Christ and are considering looking for a spouse or are engaged, this article is for you. The person you marry is one of the determining factors in who you become and your happiness in life, that is why the Bible has a lot to say on this question.

I have five essential questions that you have got to answer for yourself. Each question deals with the subject of how to choose your husband or wife.  No one can answer these for you.  But I can assure you that if you will take this outline and consider it deeply, it will profoundly affect your decision about the person you are to marry or not marry.

The first question is:

  1. Am I willing to follow the Word of God or am I going to follow Hollywood as I select a marriage partner?

If you want a rock-solid marriage you have to build your marriage on the rock. How to choose a husband or wife begins for Christians on deciding to follow God.   As a believer in Jesus,  you need to build your life on the Rock Christ Jesus and not on the sinking sands of modern culture and thinking.  Following Hollywood’s ideas of dating and marriage is building your life on the sinking sands.  However, if you follow the Word of God, if you hear the sayings of Jesus and do them, you will build your life as a wise person and your home and marriage will survive the storms of life.  The wisdom of how to choose your husband and wife comes from these words of Jesus:

Matthew 7:24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.”

You can be easily influenced in a wrong way just by living in the culture you live in.  Believe it or not most of us have been influenced by the popular culture.  Hollywood influences American culture in a very powerful way as it relates to this subject of dating and marriage. Here are some things to consider:

  • How many love songs have you heard in your life? Probably thousands!
  • How many tv programs have you watched dealing with dating and marriage? Hundreds!
  • How many movies have you seen that promote Hollywood’s ideas rather than God’s ideas? Lots!

Hollywood’s idea of how to choose your husband or wife is to allow emotion alone to be the supreme factor in this decision of who you marry. Hollywood’s process is that you “fall in love.”  When you find that person, something will just snap and you will just know. How do I choose a husband or wife?  It’s the way they walk or look or talk.  A brief look or gesture may be enough. You may not know their name, or their character, but you are in love.

In Sleepless in Seattle, all Tom Hanks needs is his little boy to get on the radio and tell the nation the sad story of his father’s life, and Meg Ryan knows she is in love with this man.  When they finally meet up on top of the empire state building, all it takes is two strangers looking at each other and they are in love.

While it makes a wonderful romantic comedy, the chances of a marriage like that working out in real life are highly improbable.  So, let’s call it what it is.  It’s a lie. It is ridiculous. That is not how to choose your husband or wife.

According to our pop culture’s concept of love, you can sing, “Hello I love you will you tell me your name?” with a straight face. You know it’s love because you have ooey gooey feelings and electrical pulses all over your body. Unfortunately, your IQ drops about thirty points when you fall in love. I mean love makes you crazy. You do things you would have never done. It’s all so emotional…it’s got to be real because you feel it.  Yet, isn’t this the way that the culture says you find love?  You meet someone, you fall in love, and then you put your hopes dreams and life in a feeling.

Love is a decision that one makes, not how you feel. I am not saying that feelings never accompany love.  But love based just on feelings will lead you to making a mistake.  The greatest love ever demonstrated was Christ love for us on the cross.   We know that was about His decision to obey not his feelings.

If you follow the Word and not your feelings, you will be so much better prepared to make a solid decision under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

The second question is…

2.  Is this person a a true believer in Christ?

As a pastor, I have asked people when they start dating someone if they are a believer. More than not, they will say, yes, he goes to such and such a church. Or, their family is religious. Or he believes in God.  I am not asking that question. The question is are they a true believer in Jesus? I don’t mean did they once say a prayer.  I don’t mean to the acknowledge a higher power up there somewhere. The question is Have they been born again.  This is a critical concept in how to choose your husband or wife.

A born-again believer doesn’t act like the world. He will be easy to spot by the fruit that he bears. The scripture plainly says, 2 Corinthians 6:14  “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”  A Christian is not supposed to marry someone who is an unbeliever.  I do my very best as a pastor not to perform a marriage like that because it against the word.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this person ever read the bible?
  • Do they go to church?
  • Do they listen to godly music?
  • Do they pray?
  • Do they talk about their relationship with God?
  • Here is the big one…have they repented of their sin? Is there life changed?

I am not saying they have to be perfect in all aspects. Here is a great diagnostic question to ask on the first date:  How has your life changed because you have become a believer? If they don’t have an answer, maybe it’s time not to continue on dating that person.  Don’t even go on a date with someone who isn’t a Christian. Here is why? You may fall in love with them.   Be cautious!  Put God’s Word first. Feeling in love is not enough of a reason to violate the commandment of God.  Even if your feelings are tied up in the other person, if you feel in love, if that person isn’t a real Christian you don’t want to marry them.

If you do, one of three things will happen.

  • Your faith will be marginalized. In order to please that spouse, you will have to push things off to the side that if you married a believer you wouldn’t have to. Things like participation in church activities, missions, tithing, small groups, bible study, prayer. You will have to marginalize your faith to please them.
  • The second scenario is that your spouse who is not a believer will have to marginalize what they think is important in life in order to please you. They may end up resenting the fact that you can’t go or won’t go to certain types of events and places. They may resent the fact that you go to church or spend time with other believers.
  • The marriage may break up because of it. Some people think, it could never happen.  Don’t believe it.  It does happen.

Well, couldn’t it be that I win them to Christ? I know some people who got married and later the unbeliever became a Christian and it’s all okay now.  That is not wisdom and the Bible addresses this in  1 Corinthians 7:16   For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?” The truth is you do not know if they will come to faith in Christ.

Who wants that kind of marriage? A marriage where values clash, where there is stress over moral issues, and where the one who is supposed to encourage your faith, actually discourages your faith.

Make sure they are really a born-again believer! That doesn’t mean you a guaranteed a perfect life. But it is a good foundation, a good to place to start.

3.   What do those who are closest to me say?

Proverbs 15:22 “Without counsel, plans go awry,  But in the multitude of counselors they are established.”

 I am not saying that as an adult you need your mom and dad’s permission for everything in life. But sometimes listening to your parents can save you a lot of grief.  Sometimes, listening to a pastor or other mature believer can really help you.  God gave us two ears and one mouth. That means we are to listen. If every around you is objecting to the relationship, maybe they can see something that you are blind to or just refuse to see.

Sometimes it is just that the timing is wrong. That is one of the great problems in our world today. Our culture promotes boyfriends and girlfriends in sixth and seventh grades.  They aren’t ready for that.  Don’t be in a hurry!  There are going to be plenty of opportunities.

In fact, prepare yourself to be a good husband or wife by getting all the education you can.  It makes life easier when money is not quite so tight.   Children and raising a family are expensive. Those who rush into it often struggle financially.  So prepare yourself by listening to Godly counsel.

How to choose your husband or wife is a daunting task.

So why take it on alone? And whatever you do, don’t go looking just for someone to agree with you.  There will always be someone who will see it your way.  Listen to the other side, pray about it, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you.

4.  Have I looked close enough to see the real person?

I read some time ago that a panel of women debated on who they thought was the perfect man. You’d have thought it might be famous actor or wealthy tycoon.  But the final conclusion of this panel was that the Perfect Man was actually Mr. Potato Head.  Their reasoning: He’s tan.  He’s cute. He knows the importance of accessorizing.  And if he looks at another girl, you can rearrange his face.

In all seriousness, don’t be deceived by good looks. Don’t be deceived by the handsome smile, or the sexy body. Get to know the real person.  I knew my wife Jureen very well before we got married. We dated each other for three years. This year we celebrate 40 years of marriage.

I could give a questionnaire a mile long:

  • What kind of a worker are they?
  • Are they honest?
  • Do they lie?
  • Are they flirtatious with others?
  • Are they addicted to something?
  • Do they break the law?
  • Are they moody?
  • Are they happy?
  • Are they a chronic griper?
  • Can they cook?
  • Do they leave the dishes in the sink for weeks?
  • Do they have a clean room?

There is a little poem I memorized years ago

Don’t kiss your gal by the backyard gate

Love is blind, but the neighbors aint.

That is a silly poem.  But it brings out a powerful truth!  Love is blind BEFORE you get married.  After you get married, the blinders come off.  How to choose your husband or wife includes inspecting the fruit they have produced in life. Someone may say, “Well I don’t want to judge.”  This is not about being a critical ugly judge and making a list of someone’s faults to berate them.  This is about seeing if the person is who you think they are. Matthew 7:16a  “You will know them by their fruits.”

There is no such thing as buyer’s remorse in marriage. You can’t take them back to Wal Mart and get your money back.  You can’t trade them in for a new model.  You are making a covenant between God you and your spouse.

For better or worse.

For richer or poorer

In sickness and health

Till death do you part.

Go into marriage eyes wide open.

Can I give you some reasons that do not mean you have to get married?  Many have gotten married because of the following reasons when really they shouldn’t have.

  • Just because a person is pregnant by someone doesn’t mean they should get married.
  • Just because you have lived together doesn’t mean you should get married.
  • Just because you have been intimate doesn’t mean you should get married.

By the way, living together is wrong according to the Bible.  Sexual relations are reserved for those who legally get married.

5.  Is my judgment being clouded by sex?

If you are having sex before you are married, you are allowing yourself to be swayed by the current culture and your own desires.  And it will cloud your decision.

Let me illustrate how deceptive the world’s definition of “love” can be.  Picture a young couple who has been dating for a few weeks.  It isn’t long before this young man tells his girlfriend how much he loves her and how difficult it is to keep his hands off her.  Pressing her to engage in a physical relationship, he explains that he “loves her so much” he can no longer restrain himself.  The truth is, any young woman who hears that line should realize that the young man doesn’t love her too much… he loves her too little.  Actually, he’s not thinking about her. He’s only thinking about himself.  He would never rob innocence and purity from one he truly loves.  His insistence on a physical relationship only proves one thing: he loves himself much more than he loves her.

Sex can cloud the waters to the degree that you can’t think straight.  People take this way too lightly in our culture.  But the Word of God takes it as something very serious.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.  Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Sex produces a bond between two people. It is a strong bond. That is why God said to reserve it for marriage. I have also heard this in my time as pastor:  “Well, we were going to get married anyway pastor. We just got overcome by our passions and flesh.”  Well, okay, get married then. But don’t live in a perpetual state of sinning against your own body.

There are consequences to premarital sex. Understand that when you have sex before marriage, the amount of trust you have in the person after marriage is less.  And the amount of trust they have in you is less, because if they will be immoral with you, doesn’t it seem possible that could be immoral with others.

It’s time we get back to bible standards. Sometimes you need to cool things down!  Stop and evaluate your life.

The question of how to choose a husband or wife is not an easy one. But the Word of God give us all the direction we need.  My prayer for you is that you would find the man or woman God wants you to marry. If you have questions about your life or need prayer, please leave a comment. God bless you!