THE DATING GAME
He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.
When I was in college, meeting my future wife was always on the forefront of my mind. I knew myself well enough to know that “it was not good for the man [Jeff] to be alone” (Gen 2:18). I wanted to find a good and godly woman to spend my life with. About a year after college, I met Debbie Canon in the single’s department at Champion Forest Baptist Church. Wow, was she a looker or what!? We had our first date on May 10, 1985. We quickly fell in love and were married on March 15, 1986. Recently, we celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary! (It’s not too late to send a gift!)
My desire as a young man to find a wife is not unlike most. While some are given the gift of singlehood, most want to be married some day. And one of the most basic keys to a good marriage is found in making a good choice. We have all heard the statement, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” Correspondingly, it is very hard to make a good and satisfying marriage out of an ill-advised, unwise choice for a life partner.
So what are some of the factors single people need to take into account if they want to be wise in choosing a mate?
1. The God Factor – Is this person you are interested in truly a born-again Christian? Is this person growing in the Lord and passionately in love with Jesus? If not, move along. Don’t even date those who are not growing Christians. God’s Word is clear. A believer is not to marry an unbeliever. 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 emphatically states, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial [Satan], or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” Do yourself a huge favor and obey this command.
2. The Time Factor – Give yourself sufficient time to get to know this person. Let those who love you also get to know this person … and give you honest feedback as to compatibility. The old saying is true, “Love is blind … but marriage is a real eye-opener.” Let those who have your best interests at heart help you clearly see the full picture in this all-important decision.
3. The Emotional Health Factor – Is this person emotionally healthy enough to get married? Listen, we all have emotional baggage—wounds, hurts, and scars from the past. But a lot of single people (married people, too) have yet to adequately deal with their baggage. They just throw it in the closet and push the door shut. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Not hardly! One day that door will no longer close … and it won’t be pretty. Rest assured, if you marry someone who has a closet-full of unpacked, unaddressed baggage, you will encounter lots of anger, mood swings, heartache and dysfunction in your marriage.
4. The Communication Factor – How well do you two communicate? Are you able to talk about issues, problems, and emotional baggage in a calm and constructive manner? Or do you often hit impasses on various subjects that immediately break down communication? One thing that will deceive you regarding the communication factor is premarital sex. You see, sex is a great gift from God … but it is only to be experienced in the safe confines of marriage. Sex before marriage clouds visibility and sabotages healthy communication. Listen, no one builds a successful marriage on sex. Sex is the thermometer of the relationship, not the thermostat. It doesn’t regulate conditions; it only registers them. If open, effective communication is lacking in your dating relationship, I will guarantee you that a satisfying sex life in marriage will melt away “like a sno-cone in Phoenix” (to quote Mrs. Doubtfire).
Do yourself a big favor and be wise when it comes to the dating game. Never settle for Mr. or Mrs. Okay. If the desire of your heart is to be married one day, then “delight yourself in the Lord,” knowing that He will give those who do so “the desires of their heart” (Ps 37:4).
One last piece of premarital advice: if you want to find the right person … be the right person! Grow in your relationship with Jesus. Seek Him with passion and priority. Deal with your emotional baggage. Stay morally pure. Remember Psalm 84:11, “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries
Dr. Jeff Schreve believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a wonderful plan just for you. From His Heart provides real truth, love and hope on over 700 radio stations each day, in 182 countries each week on TV, and is always available online. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All donations go to furthering the broadcast outreach. As a listener/viewer supported ministry, we thank you for joining with us to help speak the truth in love to a lost and hurting world. Go to www.fromhisheart.org for more information.