God’s Guidance in Marriage

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Divine Guidance, Reassurance in Marriage / God Providing a Christian With A Spouse

Guidance in Marriage

From the 1987 book from Guideposts magazine, Practical Christianity, page 558 – 560

by Ingrid Trobisch

When I was a small girl, my father explained to me in a very natural way where babies come from. Then he said, “You are not too young to pray for the boy who will someday become your husband.”

I took that advice seriously. When I had dates as a high school and college student, I would have a little dialogue with the Lord. “Is he the one?” I’d ask, and he’d say, “No, not yet. Wait.”

After awhile the waiting didn’t seem to make any sense. I thought surely by the time I left for my first mission appointment in Africa I would have a husband. But I didn’t.

And then one evening in a small town in Germany, Walter got up to speak, and it was as if the Lord said, “This is the one you’ve been praying for.”

The Lord may not always point out mates that specifically, but I would like to think he guides us to the mate he has in mind for us. My old boyfriends may be very nice men with fine families, but I have a hard time imagining walking those twenty-seven years with any man besides Walter and still being in the center of God’s will.

Now and then you hear of a case where a man says to a woman – or a woman says to a man – “The Lord has told me that we should marry each other.” I believe that it has to be a mutual telling. If the Lord tells one person, he will tell the other.

I didn’t know it at the time, but more than a year before the Lord pointed Walter out to me, he had pointed me out to Walter. If someone said the Lord had told him I should marry him, and the Lord had not given me the same message, I’d just say, “Well, he hasn’t told me.”

…. If you’re in doubt about marrying a particular person, don’t do it. Wait until you feel certain. There are many things worse than not being married. One of them is being married to the wrong man.

Another is getting married too young. I think it was a great plus for me that I was twenty-six and Walter was twenty-eight when we got married.

Both of us had already had full careers. I had taught for two years in Cameroon, and he had been pastor of a large church. It’s helpful to be established before getting married. Otherwise you have to grow up together.

That can be great too, but beginning a marriage while either of you is still in school may mean you will have more struggles.

On the other hand, it is certainly better to get married and be legal about it tha to live together in a trial marriage. Sometimes Walter would talk with a couple who would say, “We can’t get married because we don’t have our furniture yet.” If they were otherwise ready for marriage, he’d say, “Forget it – you can live with camp cots if you have to.”

Although most of us tend to rush ahead of God, some people seem unable to come to decisions. They wait endlessly, because they are not absolutely certain about God’s will.

But you have to go way or the other, and sometimes you just have to take that first step. As long as you are not disobeying God, he will continue to guide you. If he wants you to go in the other direction, he’ll turn you around.

If you’re going to get married, you have to get engaged. Why not go ahead and get engaged, and let the engagement be the trial period? Not of sleeping together, but of checking out how this marriage would fit into God’s plans for both of you.

Walter did this. He was engaged to a young woman who, like him, was serious about obeying God’s will. Neither one could come to any peace about the proposed marriage.

It was a happy day for both of them when they broke the engagement a year later. And the day the engagement was officially broken, he received the invitation to come to the States to study. That’s where we met.

Here are some ideas that will help you recognize the person God wants to marry:

1. Don’t think about getting married until you’re grown up. It’s good for the young woman to be at least twenty-three or twenty-four – old enough to know who she is and to have learned to live alone. Sometimes it takes a young man longer than that.

2. Marry someone you love. It is not in God’s will to unite you forever with someone you don’t enjoy being with. The two of you should be able to talk for hours on end without getting bored.

3. Marry someone whose sense of time is compatible with your own. Some people, when they say they’ll be home at 6:00, really mean 5:45. Others mean midnight. You and your partner do not need to have identical approaches to the clock, but if you can’t accept each other’s attitudes, your marriage will be a catastrophe.

4. Look carefully at your future spouse’s parents. Child abusers create child abusers.

A young woman should observe how her young man’s father treats his mother.

Wife abuse also is handed down from father to son. Of course, God can heal people from simply dreadful homes. How long has your beloved been a Christian? What kind of walk has he or she had?

What kind of grandparents does he or she have? I’m convinced that sometimes children are saved because of good grandparents.

5. Get to know your future spouse in normal settings. Do everyday things together: wash clothes, go shopping, clean house for an older person, hang wallpaper. You really find out who the other person is when you do a project together.

6. Get some kind of third party counseling. Talk to your pastor or a trusted teacher, or attend a retreat for engaged couples. Take a personality inventory to see if you understand each other.

We’ve had young people break teir engagement because they discovered they didn’t reallly know each other. They were just projecting their own image onto the other person, and this person wasn’t that way at all.

7. Don’t let your engagement last forever. If you’re together most of the time, six months is long enough for you to know for sure if you’re meant for each other. If you’re apart and can’ts see eah other often, you might want to wait a year. If you still have doubts at the end of this time, this may not be the marriage partner God has in mind for you.