The Perfect Match for Marriage
Marriage is a God idea! God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18-22) Consequently, you have an innate desire to be in a long-term “exclusive” relationship with the opposite sex. Exclusive relationships can be either a “marriage” or a “commitment” to one person outside of marriage. The Bible teaches the best and only long-term exclusive relationship that involves sex between a man and woman is marriage. Therefore, we will be teaching about how to access and recognize the person who is the right match for you to marry.
Definition for Dating
Dating is defined as the process whereby couples assess one another’s suitability for marriage. Dating in our culture has become couples experimenting with one another through an exclusive relationship. These relationships typically end up with broken minds (hearts) and sexually abused bodies. Do you really want to continue a cycle of experimental relationships that are detrimental to your mind and sexually abuse your body? We will discuss how to date based upon biblical principles, so you can properly access another person’s suitability for marriage while protecting your mind from brokenness and your body from sexual abuse.
Principles for Dating
First, know that God made you and He knows the right person for you. Who else is better able to match you with the right person than the person who made everyone? He is a matchmaker for His children. Yes, I believe God fixes prearranged marriages! Secondly, work on becoming the right person the right person is looking for. Everyone is looking for the right person to marry, but are you the right person the right person is looking for? Lastly, guard your mind and body while you’re in a long-term dating relationship.
The Perfect Match
God made us three in one: spirit, soul, and body. Our spirit is the part that relates to God above us, our soul relates to the people around us, and our body relates to the material world we want for us. Those are the three levels of relationship that you need to assess (match) as a couple when thinking about your suitability for marriage. Most couples while dating do not properly assess their relationship on all three levels before they marry. Marriage can work on two of the three matches, but a couple with less than three matches will experience extreme difficulties. As you’re dating you’re assessing all three matches simultaneously. As you’re going through the dating and relating process make sure you’re open and honest about your relationship so you can properly assess your suitability for marriage.
A Body Match is a couple’s assessment if they want to live in the same world together.
God placed the first couple in the Garden of Eden to live and grow together. The Garden of Eden symbolizes the type of environment God made for the couple to live in and grow together. In the Garden of Eden the couple had a purpose to live for, provision (food) to live on, profession to live out, principles to live by, and the presence of God to live with (Eden means the place of God’s presence). (Genesis 2:15)
The first date symbolizes the invitation to expose another person to a limited extent to something about you and the world in which you live. When you’re dating someone for an extended amount of time you should both slowly and methodically want to know what kind of world they want to live in. Do you both want to live in the same type of world? I call this the Body Match.
We invite and remove people out of our world. When considering a Body Match you want to know what inspires them, motivates them, and influences them to build the world in which they live. You want to know if you are both stimulated by the same things to live in the same world together.
What inspires them in their world? Our inspiration is our purpose for living. Are they living for themselves or for others? Do they seem like they are fulfilled or still searching? Everyone has a purpose to fulfill in this world. Do not marry a person if they don’t know their purpose. Purpose driven people are inspired people who are generally fulfilled in life. You want to know if your purposes are compatible. An occupation becomes some people’s purpose. They are inspired and driven to achieve a certain position in their occupation. Some people’s purpose may keep them travelling or moving. A question you want to ask before marriage is, “How do our purposes fit within the context of a marriage?”
You want to know what motivates them. The material things of the world motivate us to obtain them. Material motivators indicate what kind of material possessions you want for your world. Everyone doesn’t have the same motivations to achieve certain material possessions. For an example: “What type of home do you want to live in or car do you want to drive?” Some people would say, “I don’t marry someone for their material wealth.” Great! But you better marry someone who is at least motivated to maintain a job to provide things for life; your housing, clothing, and food.
For those who want to have more than the necessities of life it is good to know their material motivators. Their talk must be compatible with their action. They may paint a great picture of things they see in their world but their actions say they will never achieve it. Another way of saying this is, “Does their work ethic support their vision?” A question you want to ask before marriage, “So what type of lifestyle are you trying to obtain?”
You want to know who influences them. People influence people. Who are the influencers (family, friends, co-workers, and etc.) in their lives? As your relationship grows pay close attention to the people they listen to in their world. Are these people good or bad influencers? These people will eventually be for you or against you. A question to ask, “Can you live with the people in their world?” A question you want to ask before marriage is, “Do I get along with the influencers in their life?”
The overall question you want to ask is, “Are we both stimulated by the same thing?”
A Soul Match is a couple’s assessment if they like one another.
When you’re assessing someone for marriage you want to know if you like one another so you can become best friends. I call this a soul match. If you can’t be friends before marriage you won’t be friends in marriage. Friendship is important because it means you like one another.
You share your life (good and bad) with people you like. Did you know like should come before you marry someone for love? Love is the foundation for all relationships but liking them makes relationships grow. You can actually love someone and not like them. You want to have both like and love in marriage.
Don’t spend your time trying to impress one another but inform one another about who you are as a person. You properly learn about one another through asking the right questions and listening to their responses. Then ask them questions about their responses to get the right understanding about the person so you can know them. Here is an important principle to live by, “When people tell you who they are, believe them!”
Here is a “general example”: When someone says, “You’re just too good for me.” What they’re saying is “I’m going to live below your standard and hurt you.” Don’t be so needy you turn off your common sense given to you from God to discern right from wrong.
To find out if you can be soulmates you will need to assess one another’s character traits and mutual interests, so you can first build a friendship before marriage.
Character traits reveal who they are as a person. How do they act in certain situations? Do they have personal control over their emotions? How do they process their thoughts to make right decisions? Do you have frequent disagreements about the little things? You need to allow your differences to be known so you can know if you can live with one another’s differences.
Character traits reveal another person’s honesty, faithfulness, or personality (likes and dislikes). If a person lies to you one time they will lie to you again. Do not tolerate lying in your relationship. Do not try to change another person’s personality. We are inclined to like certain things. Some people like sports and others do not. Some people like being outdoors and others are homebodies. Know if your personalities are compatible enough that you will want to spend enough time together to become best friends.
Mutual interests means you like the same things. It is not how many things you don’t like, but do you like enough things that will make you want to spend quality time together. You could have one mutual interest but that interest dominates your relationship and keeps you growing in friendship with one another.
When your friendship grows to the point you are seeing and talking to one another regularly, you need to ask this question as soon as possible: “Where is this relationship going?” You know what you’re thinking and feeling about them and the relationship, so you need to know what they’re thinking and feeling about you and the relationship. Could this be moving into mating for marriage? This is not rushing anything, this is called guarding your mind and labelling the relationship.
If you’re seeing and talking to one another regularly you have a right to know the direction of the relationship. God is not indecisive when matchmaking. Adam was not indecisive when he saw Eve and Eve didn’t reject Adam. God is still matchmaking and opening the eyes of couples to see they are one for one another. (Proverbs 18:22) Liking someone and wanting to spend time with them doesn’t mean you should get married but it could be an indicator that maybe you have more than friendship.
Spending more time together could lead to sex before marriage. Remember, you’re first building a friendship. Friends do not have sex! You should prohibit the following practices to maintain a platonic friendship: a) do not be alone with one another; b) do not talk sexually to one another; c) do not touch one another sexually nor kiss.
You should not make your relationship exclusive meaning you can only see one another. Exclusive relationships should be only reserved for someone who has made a commitment to marriage. You may freely choose not to see another person while you’re seeing this person but, neither of you have a right to ask for an exclusive relationship without a commitment to marriage. Friends don’t tell other friends they cannot have other friendships. A desire for an exclusive relationship could be another indicator for marriage.
Here are seven topics you need to know and talk about over a period of time:
- Faith – What are your beliefs about God, church and sex before marriage?
- Family – What is your relationship like with your parents and siblings?
- Fellowship – Do you share similar interests (fun) that bond you together as friends?
- Finance – How do you handle your finances?
- Fidelity – Have you both been loyal, truthful, and dependable?
- Future – What are your ambitions and can you see one another in your future?
- Fights – How often do you see things differently from one another?
These topics should define where this relationship is going (individuals or friendship). Individuals mean you’re two separate people who do not have enough mutual interests to become friends so you go your separate ways with respect for one another. Friendship means there is enough mutual interests that you want to continue to see one another to further explore the relationship on a friendship basis.
A Spirit Match is a couple’s assessment of their commitment to God.
A spiritual match is the most important indicator a couple needs to assess on their “initial” date and “subsequent” dates that follow to know if they are suitable for marriage. A spiritual match connects you both to God so you can unite and relate to one another on a spiritual level. I know that sounds so otherworldly and unintelligible in today’s culture. Without your ability to match on a spiritual level the relationship is destined to stay within the physical realm of materialism and sex. Do you believe that is what is best for you? Here is what a spiritual match looks like:
First, a spiritual relationship is transferable. You’re able to relate your spiritual beliefs to one another and apply them to your relationship. You both want a relationship that is God-centered not self-centered. You’re coming together not just for yourselves but to fulfill a purpose from God. Marriages that last a lifetime are those couples who live outside of themselves and live for a higher purpose in their marriage. Your marriage must have more than your love for one another. There must be a purpose for that love.
Second, a spiritual relationship will complement you. God sends a person in your life to complement you.
You should be a whole person before marriage. Therefore, you don’t need a person to come and complete you. This would mean you need someone to come and fix something missing or something broken. You should be a person living out your purpose and the goals that go along with that purpose. So, you don’t need a person to come and disrupt you from fulfilling your purpose and the goals that go along with that purpose. This would get you sidetracked! God chooses a person who will complement your purpose and the goals that go along with that purpose.
Last, a spiritual relationship abstains from sex. The couple is intent on going through the process of accessing their suitability for marriage while abstaining from sex so they can build a healthy spiritual relationship that avoids the downfall of a physical relationship by uniting their souls and bodies together before marriage. If the person does not match you spiritually then you need to sever the relationship immediately. Your spiritual match is the primary principle used to protect your mind and body from experimentation.
Sex before Marriage
Most couples engage in premarital sex at the Body Match stage. Couples spend most of their time after their initial physical attraction stimulating one another on a Body Match level. Their assessment is we enjoy one another’s company, we have a compatible worldview, and we have no problem with one another’s family and friends. Marriage is in our future, we’re in love, now let’s have sex to consummate our “love” for one another. Stop it! God made sex for marriage only (Genesis 2:24). You have two other matches to assess. The Body Match can get you started in relationship and sustain a relationship for period of time but it will be unable to endure a marriage relationship without the other matches.
Sadly, most people are affected with Post Dramatic Relationship Disorder (PDRD). Sex unites a man and woman in soul and body together mentally and physically. A couple having sex before marriage distorts their ability to properly access the relationship because they have united their souls and bodies together as one. This makes it more difficult to end the relationship without being affected by P.D.R.D. This disorder makes you dysfunctional for future relationships because of your past failed relationships. Your mind, heart, and body are damaged. We are not taught to know how to properly exit a relationship, heal, and then enter another relationship without carry some kind of baggage that effects the new relationship.
Sex before marriage is not only a sin before God but a detriment to your mental ability to love, and to forgive the past in your future relationships. Also, sex before marriage exposes your body to the possibility of contacting sexually transmitted diseases (S.T.D.) (I Corinthians 6:18). DO NOT have premarital sex.
Here are some questions you need to ask over time to help you know if this is a spiritual match:
- How important is God to you?
- Do you have a pastoral covering?
- What does prayer mean to you?
- Are you a follower of the teachings of Christ?
- Do you financially support your church?
- Do you serve in ministry of your church?
- Are you in agreement with abstaining from sex before marriage?
A sign of a healthy spiritual relationship is you both benefit and grow in one another’s company. There is no pressure to compromise your beliefs or become sidetracked from your purpose and the goals that go along with that purpose.
LOVING ONE ANOTHER
The “first time” the word “love” should be used in a relationship is when the man asks the woman to marry him. This is the only time the relationship now can become exclusive. Using the word love prematurely has caused many heartbreaks. You have accessed that you are the right match. You are marrying your best friend! If you have not already, you should immediately put your relationship under a covering (parents, mentors, or church) for mentorship and accountability.
Here is what the man should do to ask a woman to be his wife. First, the man asks the woman’s covering (father or pastor) for their approval to marry their daughter or spiritual daughter. Secondly, once approved, the man should then ask the woman to go through pre-marital counseling before he formally asks her to marry him for pastoral covering and for a final examination of their relationship. Lastly, after pre-martial counseling has been completed successfully, the man proposes marriage to the woman privately with a date the marriage will take place.
If the woman accepts the proposal, they make their intentions for marriage public before their church, family, and friends. The woman should not commit to marriage without the man having a date when the marriage will take place. No woman should be strung along waiting for the man to commit to a date for marriage. The relationship has not only been called by God, but you are now covered by the church before marriage for mentorship and accountability. That is a very important principle to understand.
The time between the proposal and the wedding date is called the engagement period. During the engagement period, the date of the marriage is set, invitations are sent, and the man and woman prepare for the celebration for their marriage covenant ceremony. (St. John 14:2-3)
The marriage ceremony symbolizes the covenant between a man and woman: The man leaves his father and mother to make his wife his priority. He unites with his wife for permanence and they both mutually submit to one another so they can fulfill the purpose for marriage. (Genesis 2:24) The marriage ceremony also symbolizes the model for your marriage: The husband will love his wife just as Christ loves the church and the wife will submit to her husband just as the church is subject to Christ. (Ephesians 5:25-30) Finally, your marriage ceremony should include your church, family, and friends as your witnesses of your covenant commitment to one another.
LIVING WITH ONE ANOTHER
Your marriage will be sustained when you remain open to one another, and living by the following five characteristics (Genesis 2:25):
- Love – you sacrificially serve one another
- Trust – you keep your word to one another
- Friendship – you like and spend time with one another
- Submission – you mutually support one another
- Acceptance – you forgive and affirm one another
Warning: It is never too late to stop the ceremony if you find out this is not God’s will. Because this is a spiritually-led relationship founded upon friendship, your hearts may be disappointed but not broken. Since the relationship was not sexual, you will not suffer from personality disorders and you will remain friends because of the integrity the relationship was built upon.