Trying to decide if the person you’re dating is God’s best choice of a mate for you but the answer isn’t clear? Determining God’s best — and I believe He does have an opinion on this — is a critical decision, one that requires you put aside your own agenda and desires, in order to consider the most important thing: What is God trying to tell me about this relationship?

Below are some characteristics that I believe are consistent with the kind of person God would provide for you to spend your life with. But remember, before you expect to find this kind of person, you must be this kind of person for someone else. God will not give you His best if you are not already His best for someone else.

Growing spiritually
Ask: Does this person seek out God willingly and eagerly on their own? Does he/she rely on me to grow spiritually — read the Bible, pray, and go to church — or does he/she do this already? Remember: God’s best will have a growing relationship with Him that is genuine, fresh, and intimate in a way that is noticeably affecting their life consistently.

Active prayer life
Ask: Does this person pray regularly? Do they easily pray with me or in front of others? Do they talk about their prayer concerns and answered prayers? Remember: A marriage without prayer is like a light that hasn’t been plugged in — it’s dark and powerless. God’s best will be someone who is conversing with Him on a regular basis for direction in life, intimacy with God, and investing in the lives of others.

Ask: Is this person determined to wait until marriage to have sex or use my body for their own pleasure in any capacity? Do they live what they preach (many say they want to be pure and honor God while simultaneously enticing you into a physical relationship). Does this person work hard to avoid a physical relationship so as not to “push the limits?” Remember: A great “barometer” of a person’s heart is how they control their sexual urges. If they truly love God and want to be obediently set apart for Him, there won’t be any excuses, playing with fire, or compromises. They will honor God above their own desires, and they will honor and love you enough to protect your body until marriage as well.

Ask: Does this person ask for help? Do they admit when they are wrong and say they’re sorry? Do they seek out godly counsel? Do they respect God-given authority in their lives? Are they repentant and obedient in matters with God? Remember:If a guy/gal is teachable with you and others, he/she will likely be teachable with God. There is no greater security in marriage (especially for women in submitting to their husbands) than trusting a mate who is teachable before God and seeking His will above their own. A man or woman who is living to please God is someone you can trust with important decisions. Also, someone who willingly gives permission to others to speak truth into their lives is a very wise person.

Ask: Does this person tell you the truth even when it’s hard? Do they communicate openly about their feelings, struggles, past, and failures? Does this person take responsibility for their actions (own up) when they do something wrong or hurtful? Do they ever twist the truth or minimize to get out of trouble or make themselves look better? Remember: Counting on your partner’s word in marriage is vital. In a dating relationship, there should be all the signs of honesty and openness. The person you are dating should be willing to open up and talk about the hard areas of their life, they shouldn’t try to hide or twist truth, and they should take responsibility when they do something wrong. They shouldn’t be afraid to admit when they mess up.

Ask: Does this person place their hopes, expectations, and emotional needs in God alone? During difficult times do they try to fill up holes with the emotional support of other people (especially me)? Do they seem at peace or do they struggle with addictions (alcohol, food, drugs including prescriptions, spending money, T.V., sports, etc?)? Remember: The person you marry should know where to get “filled up.” He/she will not depend on you to make them happy, or to be there for them all the time. They will not avoid pain or boredom, or be afraid to be quiet and still. They should be secure in their relationship with God and know what to do with their pain (face it with God). Placing too much hope in each other, will doom a marriage because only God can fill those “black holes”. Only God can give true comfort, hope, and security.

Ask: Is this person stubbornly pursuing their plans and goals or do they frequently offer up their lives to God and His plans? Remember: If the person you marry is living for themselves, you are not going to have the marriage God intended for you. Someone who is surrendered to God will open up doors for a great marriage adventure in God’s plan!

Ask: Does this person forgive and get over things easily? Does he/she treat people kindly who have hurt him/her in the past? Is there any area of bitterness or unforgiveness from their past that they have not dealt with that is often coming to the surface? Remember: A person who can’t forgive usually hasn’t really connected with God’s forgiveness toward them. This person will be bitter and will make your life that way too. People who are forgiving recognize that God is ultimately in control and they can let go of offenses. This will work in your favor when you have marital conflict!

If, after reading over this list, you find that these traits are lacking in your own life, I encourage you to begin seeking to build these into your life. Getting into the Word and prayer daily, reading Christian help books, getting counseling if necessary, joining a Christian support group, and finding someone to encourage you or hold you accountable are all ways to get started on the path to change.

If you are in a serious relationship where you and your significant other are both more often than not characterized by the above traits, and you still can’t determine God’s will for the future, try these steps.

Ask for input and prayer from trusted godly advisors. These could be your pastor, parents, close friends, accountability partners, Bible study leaders, or a pre-marriage counselor.
Pray and/or fast for answers. Setting an agreed upon time away from each other for prayer and/or fasting could be very helpful in giving you wisdom and discernment. For a great resource on fasting, read God’s Chosen Fast, by Arthur Wallace.
Pay attention to your spirit. Most of the times in my life when I was doing my own thing or making a bad decision, I can look back and see that God was not giving me “abiding” peace (maintained over a period of time) to do a certain thing, but I proceeded anyway because I wanted my own way. While this is not a sole indication (there is room for error), it can be a contributing factor with other considerations.
Wait perhaps God is not ready to reveal His plan for your relationship yet


Copyright © 2006 Julie Ferwerda, Used with permission.

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Julie is the author of The Perfect Fit…Piecing Together True Love and has written articles for other publications such as Marriage Partnership, Brio & Beyond, HomeLife, Discipleship Journal, and Revolve III Biblezine Project for teen girls (Thomas Nelson, July 2006).

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