Can You Depend On God To Send You Your Spouse / Is It Okay To Have Faith In God For This?
How Much, If At All, Should A Christian Seek His Or Her Spouse?
I am a Christian woman who has never been married but would like to be.
If you ask God to send you the right person and you trust God to send you the right person to be your spouse, yes, it will happen.
I realize I am a rarity in saying that.
How many other Christian singles sites have you been to where they quickly add an asterik and a footnote by such a comment saying, “… um, unless of course God has willed you to be single forever.”
(I absolutely despise such defeatist thinking. Christians are called to speak the truth in love, but then, we’re also told to have hope, to have faith, and to encourage one another, not depress one another.)
Such writers then blather on about being “content in your singleness” and how singleness is such a “gift.” I personally do not regard singleness as being a “gift.”
Some try to bring you down (cheer you up) by saying how marriage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’m sure that marriage isn’t the end-all, be-all cure to all of life’s ills, but then, I dare say it’s got to be step above being lonely.
And yes, I’m aware that it’s possible to be lonely while in a relationship – I was in a long term relationship and experienced this first hand.
You and I know very well how difficult it is to be single – the loneliness is not easy to take at times – and not to have someone (an earthly, in the flesh, here-and-now someone) to rely upon.
As for how pro-active one should be in landing a spouse, if at all, I don’t think there is any one clear cut answer that fits all people.
I think whether a Christian should aggressively pursue looking for a mate ultimately depends on you as an individual, your unique personality and your circumstances.
However, those in the “marriage mandate” crowd, such as Debbie Maken and relationship advice authors at Boundless.org do not seem to recognize these factors. (I don’t like linking to the Boundless site, but I provide the link so that you can judge their content for yourself.)
The “marriage mandaters” seem to think that all Christians are built on assembly lines and are identical – with identical needs, skills, weaknesses, strengths, situations, and problems.
If you are an out-going extrovert who loves going out and meeting new people, perhaps God would expect you to do a little more work at it than a shy, quiet, introverted person.
I think God deals with us each as we are, in our own particular circumstance and life- and geographic- situation.
How pro-active a believer should be in getting a spouse is a topic I will return to later in this essay.
The Role Of Faith
I am tired of the Christians on the web – and the ones who write relationship advice books – insisting that for us to trust God, to sit back and wait on God for this particular need / want, makes us ‘naïve’ or ‘lazy.’
Not that these believers usually refer to us with such terms, but I sense it is usually implied.
(More recently, as of 2009/2010, critics of the faith-based approach to getting married have taken to using the word “passive” in what seems to me to be a derogatory, dismissive sense.)
They insist that we must be out at all times working quite hard to find our Mr. (or Ms.) Right. They maintain that we must rely mainly or partially on our own human effort.
Such Christians advise that we Christian singles who are hoping for a spouse join a billion volunteer programs, a hundred singles groups at different churches, and generally go absolutely nuts trying to hunt down that Special Someone.
That kind of advice sounds somewhat (although, granted, not totally) worldly to me, the sort of thing you’d expect a Non-Christian relationship advice counselor to say.
Honestly, it sounds no different to me than the advice like columnists such as Ann Landers give to the lonely hearts who write her.
If so-called Christian advice is sounding awfully similiar to Non-Christian advice, it should give you pause to think.
Jesus said to seek God’s kingdom first, and whatever you need will be given to you.
I don’t recall Jesus insisting that we have to “do our part” and run about like headless chickens in any of our endeavors before God would extend a helping hand.
In short, this sort of Christian is advocating the un-Biblical cliché that “God helps those who helps themselves.”
(That’s right, the expression ‘God helps those who help themselves’ is no where in the Bible.)
Having Faith Is Biblical – It’s Not Naïve, Unrealistic, Lazy, or Passive
Another problem with the “don’t trust in God to provide you with a spouse but rely upon your own efforts” view, as far as I can tell, is that such thinking actually flies in the face of what the Bible teaches.
Over and over again, the Bible commands us to trust in God wholly and totally – and not just in regards to salvation – but in other areas of our lives.
Ironically, it is the “negative Christians,” the ones who don’t believe in faith (or who downplay the role of faith), and the ones who love to quote “Christ is sufficient to meet all your needs” every other line in articles for singles, who make it seem as though Christ is not sufficient to send us the spouse we need and want.
Haven’t such Christians ever stopped to consider that perhaps “Christ being sufficient for all my needs” means that Christ will meet my needs by way of other people, by sending me the spouse I’m asking for?
Walking By Faith, Not By Sight – Not Always Easy To Do, But It Is Biblical
Sometimes we tend to go on sight and by what is going on right in our life at this moment. Our circumstances may seem insurmountable, as though they will never change, or it seems as though they simply cannot change.
Walking by faith is difficult, especially when God seems to be taking His sweet time answering our prayers. If it’s a long wait, we can feel discouraged.
Elisha’s servant was with Elisha when confronted by the troops of King Aram. The servant freaked out at the sight of the army that came to inflict harm on them.
Elisha prayed and asked God to open the eyes of his servant, and here’s what happened (the following is from 2 Kings Chapter 6):
And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, “Strike these people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.
Needless to say, Elisha and his servant came out okay in that confrontation. I walked away from this passage realizing that we cannot or should not always go by what we see with our eyes, and we shouldn’t be daunted by a situation that appears at the time to be hopeless.
If you have faith in God, nothing is impossible because with God all things are possible.
Even if your faith is small and at times wavering, that’s okay (remember what Jesus said about having faith the size of a mustard seed; see Matthew 17:20).
What matters is what or, more accurately, Who you place your faith in. The key is placing your faith in God.
In Genesis 17: 19 and Genesis 18: 10, God tells Abraham that Abraham’s wife Sarah will bear him a son. Sarah overhears this and laughs:
Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD ? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.” [Genesis 18: 3- 4]
And as it turned out, yes, God allowed Sarah to get pregnant and have a baby – God kept His word, and NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM. See Genesis Chapter 21.
Hebrews Chapter 11: 1 – 31 is one lengthy tribute and summary of many biblical characters who placed faith in God.
I grant that Hebrews Chapter 11 is not a perfect analogy for my purposes, since it is mainly talking of the ultimate fulfillment of Old Testament scenarios and prophecies in Jesus, and it is discussing how such Old Testament believers would not see the fulfillments first hand —
— but still, the idea is that those mentioned in Hebrews Chapter 11 are not applauded for operating by their own efforts or by securing some accomplishment on their own, but by trusting God and God’s promises; by having faith in God.
So I really have to wonder about the motivation of Christians who tell me it is wrong for me (or for any believer) to rely on, or have faith in, God to send me a spouse.
How many times were believers in both the Old and New Testaments chastized by God for not relying completely on Him? There were plenty of times.
In the book of 1 Kings Chapter 17: 2- 6, God provided the prophet Elijah with food – and that in a most unusual way – by way of Ravens:
Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.”
So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
If God cared enough to provide for Elijah in this way, I don’t think it a stretch at all to conclude that God will provide a believer with a suitable partner.
Then think of all the instances in both the Old and New Testaments where a believer (or group of believers) completely relied upon God – even in the face of what seemed to be incredible odds – and God came through for that person(s).
There are plenty of such examples. Many times it is stated in the Bible that ‘such- and- such’ a person was rewarded due to his or her faith.
Not by his or her efforts and work, but because of his or her belief (faith).
If anything, the biblical pattern I notice is that God usually scolded believers for trying to do things on their own and not relying upon Him.
The Nay Sayers And Mal-Contents
I was reading an online article about a week ago that was rather negative in tone – here it is: Does God Promise You a Spouse? by Rob Eagar – and the gentlemen who wrote it was, in my opinion, not just negative, but he sounded almost bitter.
(I read another, similar bitter-sounding article by another author about the same time who also argued against placing in faith in God to send you your future spouse. I can’t find the link to it, however.)
Apparently, this article – “Does God Promise You A Spouse?” – was taken from excerpts from a book Mr. Eagar wrote called “Dating With Pure Passion.”
Mr. Eagar believes that God will not send you your “Mr.” or “Ms. Right” and that there is no such thing as one special “soul mate” who God has chosen just for you.
This same author confesses about three-fourths of the way through his essay that he was married for about six months, but that his marriage ended in divorce.
Here is what he says in this article:
My search for a spouse turned into a cycle of frustration as I encountered numerous relational struggles and a wife who abandoned me six months into our marriage.
Maybe I am just quibbling with semantics here or being overly nit-picky or reading too much into the author’s choice or words, but notice the phrase he used:
“My search for a spouse…”
Notice how he did not phrase it:
“While I was trusting God to lead me to the right spouse or to bring me into the life of the woman He had in mind for me…,” or, “When I met someone I thought might be the spouse God had in mind for me, I prayed and asked God if she was the one He had chosen for me…”
No, Mr. Eagar was “searching” for a spouse – on his own. I don’t see anything in there mentioning following God’s lead.
The author was probably hitting the pavement, joining up oodles of “singles clubs” and activities, and he probably had memberships, or attended who knows how many singles classes, at various churches in his search for a spouse.
There may not be anything necessarily wrong with looking for a spouse or joining a singles group here or there (more on this far below), but it sounds to me that Mr. Eagar did little, if any praying about it, or if he did, he didn’t fully trust God in this area.
(By the way ladies, your statement should probably look something like, “While I was waiting on God to send me the right man…,” as opposed to “While I was waiting on God to send me to the right man…”)
The author was not, apparently, placing His faith in God to lead him to the right woman.
The ‘Christ Is Sufficient For All Your Needs’ Argument
Mr. Eagar then drags up the inevitable “Christ is sufficient for all your needs” type reasoning one often times finds in these advice columns and books for single Christians:
Whenever I demanded that God rush me a spouse, however, He seemed to whisper this question in my heart, “Rob, is the love of Jesus Christ enough for you? Have you allowed My complete forgiveness and unconditional acceptance to satisfy your heart?”
I am not necessarily against any Christians reminding other Christians that the Bible teaches us that Jesus is sufficient for all our needs. Yes, that teaching is in the Bible, and yes, it’s a wonderful thing.
I’d like to make it very clear that I am not advocating that people elevate marriage to or above God’s level in their lives. To replace God with anything is, or borders on, idolatry.
I’m simply afraid that in their zealous push to cram the “Jesus is sufficient for all your needs” mantra down people’s throats, that they are minimizing the very real pain of loneliness and the concerns that Christian singles face, and their interpretation of that verse may not be totally accurate.
My problem with the people who love to continually quote “Jesus is sufficient to meet all our needs” is that God apparently gives us some needs that cannot be met via Jesus, or directly through, or by, Jesus.
Take hunger, for example. I’m sure that Jesus could, if He chose, use His supernatural ability to keep you alive even if you never ate another bite of food, but He seems to expect us to go make ourselves a sandwich and eat once in awhile.
(You can get anal retentive and argue that Jesus indirectly meets my hunger need by providing me with the ability to buy food in the first place and have it in my fridge, but you see my point.)
When I was a 12 year old girl, even though I was very close to God and Jesus, that did not stop me from wanting and needing the friendship of another 12 year old girl. Jesus was not sufficient to meet that particular need.
Unless Jesus Himself had morphed into a 12 year old girl, I don’t see how it was possible for Jesus to fill my need of a playmate of my age and gender.
~The only other way Jesus could’ve met that need would’ve been by sending me a 12 year old, female friend.
If you fall from a tree and break your arm, God could heal your arm on the spot, if He so chose. You could even pray and ask God to heal your arm.
However, God is probably expecting you to take a trip to your local doctor’s office and have the doctor set your broken arm. In that specific example, Jesus did not meet your need – you or your doctor did.
You could argue that Jesus indirectly supplied your need by providing you access to a doctor. The point is that Jesus did not step out of Heaven Himself to tend to your wounded arm: he utilized a third party, a doctor, to fulfill this need.
And so it goes with the need and desire for a spouse.
Spouse-Shaped Hole in the Heart
You have a God-created, spouse-shaped hole, or empty spot, in your heart that can be filled only by a spouse.
As close as you are to Jesus, and as much as you love Him, He cannot fill that particular hole.
All humans have a God-shaped hole in their hearts that only Jesus (God) can fill. If you’ve already trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, that specific (God shaped) hole has been filled.
The “God shaped hole,” after having been filled by God, does not necessarily cancel out, fill, or ease the emptiness of the “spouse shaped” hole that still exists.
Otherwise, you would not find Christians writing essays or books lamenting the emptiness and loneliness they endure as singles, now would you?
I’m utterly amazed at the number of Christians who are blinded by that or behave as though it’s heresy to notice it, discuss it, or admit to it.
Yes, despite having Jesus in your life and heart, you can still feel lonely or discouraged at times.
Certainly, it is wise and a good idea, especially when feeling lonely and discouraged, to look to Jesus. I certainly don’t advise against it! Looking to Jesus has helped me through some rough times in my life, including singleness.
Don’t Be Too Quick To Look For Advice From Christians Who’ve Experienced Bad Relationships
Mr. Eagar Revisited
Anyway, my suspicion is that Mr. Eagar has allowed his own shortcomings and marriage failure to influence the advice he gives to other Christians.
Mr. Eagar admits in the article that his wife of six months left him, so naturally he is going to be rather pessimistic about the role that God plays in sending or selecting a spouse for a person.
In light of this, I don’t think he – or Christians like him – should be giving relationship advice.
I further suspect that Mr. Eagar probably was not fully trusting in and counting on God to send him the right woman, and this woman who divorced him after six months – he probably married her because he was lonely and was concerned he’d never meet Ms. Right.
She was probably not the woman God had chosen for him to marry.
If anything, I’d say Mr. Eagar’s example would only serve to make my point: trust in God to send you the right person and do not rely solely on your own judgment, otherwise, you will end up with the wrong spouse and will get divorced after only six months (or however long) of marriage.
If you claim to be a Christian, and you feel bitter about your past relationships, please do not give relationship advice to other single people such as myself who are still hoping and looking.
Your job as a believer is to build up other believers and encourage them, not knock them or their hopes down.
To you embittered, self-professing Christians who’ve been through rough relationships and relationship disappointments:
I (and those like me) don’t need to hear about how there’s supposedly no hope, that all men are pigs (or, if you’re a single man, you don’t need to hear that all women are heartless gold diggers, etc.).
We don’t need to hear that we can’t count on God to send us The One, it’s wrong for us to have trust in God to send us the right person, and all that.
The “But If You’re Looking For A Job…” Argument
I have addressed this argument elsewhere, in a post entitled, “Is Getting A Spouse Like Looking for a Job?,” so I won’t bring it up in this one.
Christians Who Cannot Look For A Spouse
Some Christians are incapable of “looking for” or “working for” a spouse, and I believe that God understands this, and so He does the work for them.
Proponents of the “actively seek a mate” view, such as Boundless.org authors and Debbie Maken, don’t take earnestly these issues into account.
Some Christians, such as me, cannot “do the work,” “actively seek” someone, or get out much because we have from various problems.
Some Christians have physical health problems which prevent them from searching, from getting in a car and riding around all over town to attend social functions.
Some Christians have mental health concerns, such as clinical depression, biploar disorder, etc., making it difficult or impossible to leave the house.
I have a family member, who, after being robbed at gun point on several occasions, developed agoraphobia (she was afraid to leave her own home for three years).
Do you really expect me to believe that God would hold that against such people and not provide for them?
God Does Not “Need” Your Help
Furthermore, God does not “need” my assistance or help with anything, including in acquiring a spouse. God is quite capable of taking care of things on His own.
There might be some things God expects some believers to take care of on their own at times, but it does not follow that God expects all believers in all situations at all times to do so.
To the average atheist, I’m sure the average Christian sounds like a lunatic. Christians have faith and believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, which is a most remarkable supernatural event.
And yet, some of these same Christians will treat a fellow Christian like a lunatic for having faith that God can and will send him or her a suitable spouse.
Someone please explain that gap in consistency to me!
All Christians have faith in a most unusual occurrence (resurrection after death, and lesser events, such as Jesus walking on water and giving sight to the blind) but some of them think it’s silly or false for other Christians to have faith that God can and will send someone the right spouse.
Motive: Profit, Financial Gain?
It beats me why some Christians try to toss obstacles in our way by telling us we have to go out and do “X, Y, and Z ” to get a spouse, or why they try to discourage us by saying we trust God “too much,” and we should not trust God.
It could be that some of the Christians telling us not to trust God (or the ones who tell us not to trust God “too much”) are the ones who have books or dating site memberships to sell, so they care more about profit than they do about marriage or about the well-being of single Christians.
By the way –
Stop and think about how utterly insane and how unbiblical that is, for one “Christian” to tell another Christian that he or she is placing “too much” faith in God for something!
It’s Okay To Be ‘Pro Active’ If You Feel It’s Right For You, If God Seems Okay With It
Please understand that I am not totally knocking the notion of a Christian being active in searching for a spouse, or in whatever it is you’re looking for or hoping for.
I don’t think God is necessarily against a Christian being a little active in this area of her life.
I’m just saying don’t get worked up and anxious thinking you have to turn your life upside down, running all over the place, looking for your spouse.
Little Of Both
At other times you may find it may be a combination of being passive and of being active. (Please note: unlike the “negative Christians,” I am not using the word “passive” in a derogatory sense here.)
At times in my life, I’ve felt led by God to do “X” and once I’ve done “X” I’ve felt God tell me, “Okay, now that you’ve done ‘X,’ I will do my part; now just sit back and wait for Me to do My part in this.”
But remember, even in such a scenario (at least based upon my experiences), God will not make you do anything that He knows is too hard for you to do or that you are not capable of.
If you absolutely, positively are not up to doing “X” (whatever that may be), if you are not strong enough to do it or whatever your issue is, God will not demand or expect you to do “X” before He’ll do something for you.
God is very loving, considerate, and understanding of you and your unique set of concerns, fears, hopes, flaws, talents, and shortcomings – far more so than the professional, Christian relationship experts you’ll find on the web and in the bookstores give Him credit for.
The bottom line is you are unique, your situation is unique, and God will take all of that into account.
In my estimation, it’s not a good idea to get too hung up on any one approach, but I don’t think you can go wrong by relying on God “too much,” if there even is such a thing, and I don’t think there is.
Rely on God; look for His direction in what to do.
Don’t Find Him, He’ll Find You – very uplifting; it says to Christian ladies: have faith, pray, and wait, and sure enough, Mr. Right will be directed your way by God!
Warning: some of the people who left comments on the “Don’t Find Hm, He’ll Find You” page were very discouraging and negative, so you might want to avoid those comments (they’re at the bottom of the page)
Jesus is My Matchmaker – warning: some of the Christians on this page do not believe that God will send you your spouse. They’re in the grumpy, dreary, “I can do it all on my own or mostly on my own” camp.
Other Christians on there believe more like I do, though – but don’t read the page if you think the negative ones may get you down.