Prove all Things; Hold Fast That Which is Good – The Dating Period
There are those that say that God revealed to them who would be their partner, and thus they knew with confidence whom they should marry. I am not saying that God does not guide, or does not bring together the two individuals which He knows will be husband and wife. But I do want to say that we can’t push aside our own responsibility for the decision that we make.
There are people that blame God when they have problems in the married life, because they cast the responsibility on God for the fact that they married this believer or that. It is important to remember that God does not force us to marry one believer or another. We have the freedom of choice, and God does not impose the marriage on us. If later on in the married life problems break out, we cannot put the blame on God, but on ourselves.
I believe that the responsibility falls on us to examine the prospective partner carefully before entering into a marriage covenant with him or her. If we do not test the person, we should not marvel afterwards, when all kinds of problems appear. I am not saying that if you examine the prospective spouse carefully before marriage you will not have any problems in the marriage. Of course there will arise problems, like in all marriages; but at least you will know that you were aware of this and you will not weep over the fact that you did not examine things better beforehand.
I would recommend to examine the prospective life partner in the following areas:
Stability in faith
Does the believer that you met attend the assembly gatherings regularly? Does he or she have regular reading and prayer habits? How much do they love and know the word of God? Do they serve the Lord in an active way, perhaps fulfilling a particular role within their assembly or in an organization run by believers?
Stability in daily life
Is the believer that you met always changing what he does after a short period of time? Or is he or she persistent over long periods? How were they in the army, in their studies, and at work?
Their financial habits
Is the prospective partner in a habit of regularly giving financially for the Lord’s work, more than a few dollars per month? Have they saved some money over the years or do they just spend everything they earn?
If the prospective life partner has a family, or if they are still living with the family, how do they get along? How does he or she behave? What do they say about him?
Who are the friends of the prospective spouse? What do they say about him or her?
What are your future spouse’s plans with regard to work, where to live, congregation, and family life? Can I picture myself fitting well within those plans?
Fruit of the Spirit
Do I see the fruit of the Spirit in the life of the life partner? We ought not to deceive ourselves with the thought that the partner will change after the marriage.
Moreover, within the process of testing there is a need of prayer to God, to ask that He will help you to see if there is a reason that you don’t know of, for which you shouldn’t marry. I recommend to set aside time for fasting and prayer particularly for this issue, and to ask God to prevent you from making a mistake.
Problems will arise after the marriage in every instance, but if you know that you have examined the prospective partner as you should, and you have brought this issue before God with prayer and fasting, I believe that you will not need to feel guilty that perhaps you made a mistake in choosing your partner. If your heart was open to God’s guidance, and you were willing to accept it if God was holding you back from marrying a particular individual, without insisting on your own will, then the problems in the marriage are not originating from a mistake that you made in choosing your marriage partner, but rather from the sin nature that is still present within each of us and results in problems in the marriage lives of all the believers.