January 5, 2015

God Didn’t (and Won’t) Tell You to Marry Your Spouse

Gary Thomas — 

God Didn't Tell You Who to Marry

“It’s been miserable, Gary,” the woman confessed. “We’ve only been married for three years but it has been the worst three years of my life. My husband has just been awful. And what frustrates me so much is that God confirmed that I was supposed to marry him, ten times over.”

You could have served the bitterness in her voice to a thousand people.

In another conversation, another woman, married not just years, but decades, to a man who proved to be pathological, slipped in the same sigh and words, “But God told me to marry him.”

To these and many others who said, “God told me to marry him/her,” I want to cry out, “No, He didn’t.”

How can I say that?

My response is simple: How can you say the opposite? There is nothing in Scripture that suggests there is just one person we’re ‘supposed’ to marry. Proverbs 31 urges young men to be guided by a woman’s faith and character in making their choice—there is no mention of second guessing some divine destiny. In 1 Corinthians 7, the apostle Paul tells women (widows, in particular) to seriously consider singleness, but assures them the choice of whether to get married is up to them, and then specifically says women can marry “whomever they wish” as long as their potential husband is ‘in the Lord.’ (v. 39) If the Bible explicitly says, ‘it’s your call whether or not to get married’ (a sentiment Jesus echoes when he says some “choose” to become eunuchs—celibate—in Matthew 19:12, with emphasis on the word “choose”) and it’s entirely your choice as to who to marry, why should your subjective feelings and reasoning override living by the truth of Scripture?

There is, quite frankly, nothing in Scripture that ever tells us it is our sworn duty to marry one particular person. Whether we marry, and who we marry, are spoken of in Scripture as part of God’s “permissive will,” something He allows us to choose.

Is it possible God has told a couple to get married? Look, I’m not going to put God in a box. I can’t say “He can do this but He can never do that” (and thus I’m admitting the title of this blogpost is a bit provocative to make a point). All I can say is that the clearest scriptural teaching makes marriage our choice—both as to whether we get married and to whom we marry. Presuming that some mystical leaning you’ve received overrides a clear biblical teaching is always risky and often foolish (regardless of how many times God seems to subjectively “confirm” this call; after all, God objectively said something very different in Scripture).

Why does this matter?

To move forward, we have to own up to our choices—why we made them and how to be responsible in the face of them. To a woman who was abused by her dad and then married an abusive husband, I’d say, with a pastoral heart, “You were deeply sinned against and hurt. The kind of man you felt ‘comfortable’ with, because of your upbringing, wasn’t good for you, so you chose a man who continued your father’s practices. Psychologically, that’s perfectly explainable, but let’s discuss how the grace of Christ can redeem your situation, help you evaluate what the right thing to do now is, and help you make better choices in the future.” I would never tell a woman who had been abused by her dad that God’s “perfect will” was for her to also marry a violent husband. There is nothing about the biblical doctrine of God’s providence that demands that application, unless you slip all the way over to determinism.

Far healthier, spiritually, than to sit in resentment against God, is to say to yourself, “I chose this man/woman. It might or might not help to explore why. But since I made the choice of my own free will, I bear certain responsibilities for the commitment I have made.” Then God becomes your ally, not your enemy, in helping you face the future. Instead of, “God, why did you lead me into this mess,” you’ll pray, “God, help lead me out of the mess I’ve made.”

That’s a huge difference, spiritually speaking.

On another level, the virtues of kindness, faithfulness and goodness demand that if I convinced someone to marry me, or agreed to marry someone, knowing it was a lifetime commitment, knowing it would be beyond complicated to dissolve the union, I need to step up to face the lifetime consequences. That means not just staying married but staying engaged in the marriage, working to make it the best for this person that I can.

If you’re a single person reading this, I implore you to avoid trying to “second guess” God’s will as to who you “should” marry and instead look for the character qualities in a spouse the Bible exalts. What I’m saying may not sound very romantic, but please realize that the consequences to living by a sentimental romanticism are real—and in the case of marriage, can be long-lasting. I just received an email last week, saying, “Sadly, I was one of those people who believed with all my heart that God has only one person for me to marry. I also believed that God would do the choosing.  I believed it was God’s will for me to marry my husband. This has had disastrous consequences. Based on all the things you outlined in The Sacred Search, my husband and I should not have gotten married.”

Here’s what I’m going to insist on: Just because you think God wants you to marry one particular person, doesn’t mean He does. And just because God doesn’t “stop” you from marrying someone doesn’t mean He agrees with you that it’s a wise decision (he didn’t “stop” a lot of people from robbing banks who are even now serving time in prison). He will never forsake you. He will be with you every second of that marriage, giving you the grace of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to live by your decision, but He has stated in His word that it is your decision, so it is risky to assume otherwise.

Rise up to your regal calling in Christ and own your decision. Of course, seek God’s blessing, but just as much, seek His wisdom in Scripture. While the Bible is silent on how you can definitively know who you’re “supposed” to marry, it does talk about the process of making wise decisions—applying biblical principles, seeking wise counsel, being deliberate and wise in your choice, considering the future, and basing your decision on the right priorities.

As the sad e-mailer suggests, I hit this hard in my book The Sacred Search and I’d suggest if this is still not clear to you, that you check out that resource.  http://www.garythomas.com/books/sacred-search/

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394 responses to God Didn’t (and Won’t) Tell You to Marry Your Spouse

  1. If God through the Holy Spirit can speak to us and tell us to do other things, then why would He not tell us who to marry. God is a limitless God and because He has told many of us who He chose for us and we choose to go another way, there are consequences. Adam didn’t choose Eve God created her. Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledged him, and he shall direct thy paths. Many of us has asked for spouses and we must be specific, for God fearing God pleasing and Jesus loving spouses that will love us as Christ loves the church, for we want what God has for us in the name of JESUS and nothing sent from satan.

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  3. I agree with Gary but I would like add a bit. I do believe God will give us a choice but He will direct us and show us what that choice may bring us, whether heartache, blessings or the two at varying degrees. I believe God showed me things about my husband before we married. I didn’t go into my marriage blindly but prayerfully. Before getting married, I was a happy single giving God my all. I didn’t mind choosing to live a single life. However, I believed I would serve God better being married. I am in full-time ministry overseas in a country where its very different from home. I felt I needed a companion who would serve with me. When I met my husband we found out we had the same desire, vision and love for the Lord. This was great! But God also showed me the not so good side of him. My family and one of my mentors thought he was the wrong person for me. Some of my friends and mentors though he was good for me. I wanted to end the relationship. I prayed and the Lord told me it was my choice. I also knew that everyone comes with some sort of baggage (including myself). And I loved him and knew he loved me. We went through counseling to deal with some of our issues before getting married. About one year after the wedding, we went on the field together (I have been a missionary for some years and he has been overseas short-term but his first time long-term).

    Right now things are not perfect (we JUST had a disagreement…this is what led me to looking at the site). Our marriage is still young (less than two years). Some days things are so hard that I believe I made the wrong decision. Other days are so sweet that I think it was God’s perfect plan. I am learning how to give the Lord my marriage. He has been directing me and helping me work through the tough moments. From the people around us we are a perfect couple because they see us working so well together. They don’t see the trials. But God sees and He extends His hands to me (us) everytime we need Him.

    So in response to Gary’s point, I would say, yes God gives us a choice but He guides us in making the choice, and is with us when walking it out.

  4. Peter Templeton January 17, 2017 at 5:42 am

    Gary – I have a gigantic story about how God directed me to bring from overseas and marry my beautiful and loving wife. Many astounding and stunning and unexplained signs and signals went on for many months and involved a complete transformation for both of us. We are now very happily married. I will be happy to tell you more if you like.

    • I would like to hear it

    • That’s awesome to read! I do believe that God prepares and parades (presents) prospects to a man, leading him in the direction of individuals, but even when doing so it is still our choice. You could have chosen, even with all of the unexplainable signs to choose not to marry her. However, I’m sure that you are more than glad that you did!

  5. God bless you Marc ans everyone else who doesnt agree with the fact that God cannot tell you who to marry. The bible clearly tells me that he will show me the way to God. Now whether i go that way or not is my choice and ill face the consequences.
    What is key in that verse is that, HE WILL SHOW ME. He will tell me if thatguy is good for me or not, He will tell me if i should go ahead and marry him or not, He will show/ tell me if i am about to waste my time and life. What is important is teaching people o have a relationship with God so much that He can guide them easily, He wants to guide us all, He is our maker, He wants the best for us. I sought Him when my husband proposed and he clearly gave me a dream that clearly told me to go ahead. I did and I am so so grateful I sought God and obeyed. 3 years before i ever met him, I had received a word of knowledge about my future, in terms of location. 5 years after we got married, all of a sudden, we are having to go to that location and God has made it so seamless and pulled down every mountain. I had totally forgotten about that word of knowledge that came in 2006 about me living in a particular country until we started getting the kids papers sorted and i ran into the pastor who had shared that word of knowledge with me 10years ago.
    please let no one ever tell me God can not tell you….God has a plan for your life, not many plans if you get what i mean, you cant marry just anyone to walk in that plan, the choice of who you will marry will definitely have to be in line as much as possible. who you marry can either make or mar you………

  6. Hello,
    I really appreciated reading this article. It helped me feel more at peace with some of the struggles I’ve been having. I did have a question and wondered if you (or any other readers) might be able to provide some insight.
    I have been dating someone for a few years and we have been talking a lot about getting married at some point. I think we both would like this to happen but haven’t gotten engaged yet because we want to be “sure” it is the “right” decision.
    On my side, I would really like to marry him. He loves the Lord and has some amazing qualities. However, I don’t often feel like I have a “peace” about the decision – in fact, I usually feel the opposite. It feels as if God is just saying no. Sometimes I do feel like it would be ok with God if I married him. But at other times, I feel very unsure. I want follow God and do His will. But I don’t want to lose a great relationship if these feelings are just fear. I struggle with this a lot and wonder if anyone has some advice? Thank you!

    • Hello

      As so many writers before, in 2 years since the original post has been written, have said, you cannot base a decision on feelings – how you feel peace or not. What I can say is, you can base your decision on YOUR RELATIONSHIP with GOD.

      The way you communicate with Him, understand His Word(s), His Holy Spirit rebuke or prompting is the base of communication you use in all your decisions you involve God in. If you choose to do so.

  7. Plain and simple, If you ask God for something he will give it to you. and if youre meant to marry someone and god shows you that than its because two of you will build something to glorify him. Dont limit God saying he cant because nothing is impossible for him. And he is a father that gives Good gifts. now if you want to have that state of mind of saying “you can consider” just proves thats not the one or you have a blind over your spiritual heart. Some people marry people that they considered and they found themselves in a considered situation in court. lol just saying

  8. Thank you. I blamed God for years for allowing me to get into the marriage I was in. My husband abused me physically and mentally, got me pregnant, abadoned us and then divorced me. He has since moved on, remarried and now has 1 daughter with another baby on the way. I was so angry at God, why did you stop this? Why did you warn me? I am now working on forgiving my ex husband and praying God to heal the broken pieces of my life. Right now, my daughter has to go to him for shared custody and that is not a good situation with him and his new wife. Please pray for us. He recently took my back to court to pay less than $70 a month for child support, which is not even enough to buy her weekly school lunch,. It seems he did me wrong and has continued to become blessed at my expense. I’ve asked God to forgive. I am now going to start asking Him to help me get out of this mess that I created, I didn’t know what I was getting into.

    • Yahweh sends the rain on the good, and the bad.

      You need to forgive him in your own heart, not through the Father. The Father will forgive you, as you forgive others.

      The blessings he receives are not always from God. Man can bestow many things themselves. I can, for example, give a child rapist million dollars and a brand new home. That blessing was just material things, of an earthly origin, given by men.

      Your reward will be in heaven. His reward will not be, if he continues. Earthly blessings and good things are not indicative of Heavenly standing. Let

      The victory is the Lords. Let it be His. Worry not about whether he is punished for earthly sins against you… that is not Biblical at all. What is punishable are sins against the Father, and these are violations that the Father will judge, at His own choosing. To feel that a person must be cursed, punished etc for what they do to us is not the humility God seeks. Remember, the meek will inherit the earth, give him your cloak too, turn the other cheek, and love your enemies. Let God have the victory.

  9. I’ve also heard stories of many women who heard God speak to them on who their husband was and Truely did end up married to him. Ultimately it is our decision on who we marry. I don’t put god in a box and therefore believe he can tell his children who future husband or wife is. That’s the best profetic word one can have. Gods words from his mouth.

  10. You

    Hi

    I’ve met a girl of my dreams. Its been 2 months and we didn’t even plan on falling in love initially…it just happened….

    There’s so much I can say about our similarities, missing each other, our daily chats and outings, the way we feel and make each other feel, we spoke to both our parents and even planned marriage. I know it sounds far fetched but it was, like we knew each other all our lives…we reffered to each other as soul mates….it was perfect

    And overnight she changed, she has become cold and told me she was fasting for an answer from god for direction and he replied ” I’m not the one for her”

    How can this be when my love is pure and I know I won’t do anything to hurt her or bring unhappiness to her life
    She is Christian and I’m a hindu

    Religion for me is love and respect all
    We are all Gods Children
    Religion should not break bonds
    We spoke about religion before and she was fine that neither changes and respect each others beliefs and supports each other

    And now this, she is head strong and blind now and treats me as I’m just by the way

    Please help I don’t want to loose her …I love her

  11. I come in piece but I cannot agree. In the beginning, God made women from the rib of man and He didn’t need his help to do so. Man was asleep. Look at the confusion Eve caused but God created Eve for that particular man. He said, “I WILL MAKE YOU A HELP MATE! Abraham’s servant prayed to God to send his master’s son a wife and he stated how he wanted to recognize her. God sent him Rebbeca for Issac and brought her to him. Isaac, Abtaham’s son, wasn’t aware and had to be told the series of events. That’s what happens when you wait on The Lord. We were chosen before the foundation of the earth and the plan for our lives has already been set in place. Yes we have free will to do and to choose who we like. But if you think your humanistic will can override Gods divine will, you are not thinking properly. God was, is, and will always be in control. It is written, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtainieth favor of The Lord.” That favor comes from the man seeking Christ and following the bread crumbs that is leading him to her. Look at what Jacob had to go through when he chose man to make decisions for him. God spoke my husband directly to me to do a specific work in Him. He is The Most High God and NO ONE can tell him what he can and cannot do. I am a living testimony! My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge.

    • Thank you so much for this word. It’s sad to me when people say what god can and cannot do! Like he is god he can do the impossible. Your words are refreshing to those believers who are walking in gods promises of marriage joy and fulfillment

  12. Dear Gary,
    I know this thread is old and my comment might just get lost in the midst of others debating but I thank you for this forum, even if its just for me to vent. I carry a secret that has cost me so much and I have no one to really talk about it with…
    I recently got married in march of this year to the father of my child. Over 2 years ago, I had a dream which I believe the father was communicating to me to get right with him. The dream was so powerful it changed my life, and to me it felt more like an encounter with God then just a dream and was in fact the initiator of my being reconciled to God. In that time however I had a partner (the father of my child), who definitely wasn’t Gods best for my life however after my encounter I began to change. I decided to recommit my life to the father and live a life of purity and holiness for him, which mean telling my partner he had to leave and move out of the house and that we could no longer have sex. He respectfully left and I was left to begin my new found relationship with Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. After focusing on God and living for him my ex partner came back on the scene. He had said that he had repented and that Jesus was his Lord and that he wanted to be married. I did go yo the father for confirmation and the Holy Spirit told me without hesitation ‘NO’. but I still heard my ex out. By this time I had been celibate for 2 years, I wasn’t desperate for sex or anything as God had really delivered me from the bondage of fornication, however I guess I hadn’t allowed the father to completely renew my mind where ‘fatherhood’ for my child was involved. I wrestled with God for the whole 10months of our engagement because I tried to reason with him that my daughter needed a father and I begged him and begged him. All the while he was getting more silent. The thing is I had spent so much time with the father that I could truly recognise his voice however the less obediant I was the less I heard from him even though he would still speak to me. I begged him to bless my marriage, I cried and repented for my weakness. I told him I would end it so many times but I didn’t have the courage.

    *Note to anyone reading this please please trust in the Lord for a spouse. He’s not keeping one from you because he doesn’t love you but he is protecting you and perfecting you for the right time. Remember he is perfect and there is nothing dark in him and he would not hold any good thing from his children.

    In the end I didn’t let it go. The night before my wedding I spent the evening alone, praying to the father and trying to make peace. I told him I would love Leon that I would follow his word with regards to submitting that I would follow him. And the next day, I married my now husband. 4 days into the marriage the mistake was very evident and after an argument, I cried bitter tears to the father of true true repentance. I cried for breaking the father’s heart and for my broken heart. That same room that I had used as a prayer room, as our meeting place I sat there and cried with the father about how wrong I was how I didn’t trust him, how I messed up, I grieve the person I will never become because of my choice and I grieve for the husband that the father had for me. I grieved that I had come out of his perfect will. Now don’t get me wring I still believe and know that our God is sovereign and able to help in all situations and adversities. Almost 5 months in and things have gotten worse. My husband speaks to me in such a disrespectful way. He doesn’t show any interest in me. He thinks band talks to me as though I am stupid and all I do is repent and cry. I go into warefare and God always works it out. But I’m scared because I feel like I now have not only failed God in getting married out of his will but that I won’t keep my oath to him able staying with my husband. I’m almost prepared to divorce and never remarry as I’d rather just go back to that place where it was just the father and I. The sad thing is that everyone warned me about him. They had seen how he had been before and didn’t think he was the right one. But I felt he had changed and that he had Christ however that has now become apparent that Jslesus isn’t his Lord, despite he professing him to be. He claims to be a Christian however I don’t see it. To everyone else now he is amazing and they love him. Now I feel trapped and have almost not wanted to exist anymore. I have entertained the spirit of suicide only because I’ve just wanted a way out. I’ve told him to pack his bag but then I’ve also repented to him and begged him to stay. I’ve messed it all up but I’m convicted about your words that If I went into it knowing that it wasn’t right, that I have to now go through with that decision and commit to it by remaining engaged in my marriage and not just staying married. My heart is truly broken but I know the father is here. I feel so so sad and I only wish that someone who reads this that is facing something dimilar , will ask God for the grace and confidence to walk away and trust in his ‘NO’ which could actually save your life.
    Much love to you and your family God bless

    • Thanks for sharing. The Lord does direct his people to their partners. I’m a living witness myself. And in Proverbs19:14, the bible says ONLY God can give an understanding Wife. People need to learn to wait on him

    • What a miracle, your story is just like mine, well almost.

      I was/am in a relationship with the father of my one month baby. We were living in fornication even though I did not enjoy only did it to please him and keep him because everyone told me no man can live without sex in this age. I would always repent and ask the father for forgiveness and we would stop. But with every chance he had to lure me in he would use it and I would give in but I knew I was the strong one because I never initiated sex nor did I entertain it in my mind or plan it. I loved him because he said he was saved but I saw no Christ in him. He is a violent man, was violent to everyone but me. Until suddenly he started being violent to me as well. He also had so many other issues including alcohol and other sensitive ones, people begged me to leave him include some in my family but I just loved him and had so much mercy for him because I thought everything, the way he was and the things he did, was because he never had his to father raise him. He never had his father and never wanted to talk about him. When we found out I was pregnant we sought the pastors help, counselling and decided to get married. LORD have mercy. I prayed and prayed for the wedding but on the day of our wedding things didn’t go right and he didn’t even care or bother to come to the wedding. Everything was a mess. And everyone was there, everyone from the corners of the world. I’m still crying thinking about it because it’s only been three months this happened, it feel like a dream. Anyway, everyone was at my wedding, all my relatives, and my great great parents. and things were a mess from his family’s side, his family fighting us and refusing to attend the wedding. When I spoke with him over the phone he seemed clueless and said it was his family causing him to abandon me. But I remember one time when I was crying bitterly with my mom holding me and my sisters surrounding me, everyone ready outside people and everything ready as organized even the pastor waiting, I got him on the phone and told me to forget it. We called him to fix things and he was smelling alcohol on our wedding day and he seemed to care less. Ooh how my heart got torn apart. We never got married. And that was the worst day of my life! All the spending from my parents and family and relatives from far, the gifts and all. I was ashamed of myself and felt like a disappointment to my parents. He called afterwards and asked for forgiveness and said it was his family that caused all the chaos and promised to plan a small ceremony for just us and small close family. To this day I’m still waiting because he keeps on postponing by months, three months now. My parents are now no longer fond of him and think I should leave him. I typing this I have a baby next to me, he keeps on ditching me then come back and cry how much he love me and the baby and he will fix things, I just need to have patience. He seems so sincere but everyone is warning me to run far away because there’s a reason God didn’t let the wedding happen. It’s hard for me to leave the father of my baby. The beautiful family I dreamt of. I believe in my heart he will change and things might change and go well and pray to God everyday to fix things and bring us together again. But there’s something that tells me to let him go but I just can’t, I just wanna get married and have my family. I cry everyday about everything that happened and is happening. It’s like I am falling to pieces everyday and most of the time I just don’t want to live anymore, how can he do this to me and leave me with a baby, his baby. I’m still struggling to make a decision, whether to leave him or wait for him to come around with everything. I’m also scared he might sleep with someone because it has been very long since we had sex. I’m just…. I cry and ask God to help and Jesus to forgive me for failing Him because I feel like I am no longer the same. And like God has taken away the Holy Spirit from me and all the power and authority and the inheritance/the crown He gave me. I’m scared I am gna go to hell for fornication and having a child out of wedlock. I also can’t see any man marrying me with a child and them as their own. I am just torn and broken.

    • I don’t know if you’ll even see this reply since it’s been so long but I agree with you. I prayed so much before I got married asking God to please guide me and let me know if this was the husband for me. I was not as close to him as you were so I never really “heard” a clear NO however, I did feel like running! Now in retrospect I see that as a no but at that time in my life I wasn’t brave enough to leave. Constantly worrying about what if I was just being afraid, or what people would say. He doesn’t physically hurt me and I have two wonderful kids with him but so much has happened between April 2011 to now that I am definitely not the person that I once was. My shine and optimism has flown out the window. I’m no where close to living the life I once thought I would have and I can’t help but wonder who I could be truly happy with. It breaks my heart because my husband is a good man that would be devastated if he knew I felt this way but somewhere along the line he and I are just not compatible. Now all I do is pray for God to give me the strength to face what I walked into and forgive myself for the choice that I made

  13. It appears that the Calvinists are having a time with someone saying God gives us a choice in marrying.

    The fact that we do have a free will to choose, doesn’t not make God any less God or sovran, it’s simply the way He desires worship toward him.

    Freewill is a Bible word (Lev 22:18,21,23; Lev 23:38; Num 15:3; Num 29:39; Deut 12:6,17; Deut 16:10; Deut 23:23; 2Ch 31:14; Ezr 1:4; Ezr 3:5; Ezr 7:13; Ezr 7:16; Ezr 8:28; Ps 119:108)

    The article is right on. It doesn’t say that God is excluded from our decision making in marriage, it simply states that God doesn’t do the choosing for us. God is as involved in it as we ask Him to be. He leads us, he directs us, he protects us, and he let’s us choose based on the desires of our heart (for good or bad).

    The idea that “the one” is going to save us through marriage is preposterous. The only constant in marriage is God, He is the same, He doesn’t change. People change, that means our spouses too. There is no guarantee that “the one” isn’t going to change, even if you believe he/she is the right one. But, when our lives and focus is on Him, then we can as a couple endure all and persevere through all life throws at us. All Glory be to God.

  14. Dear Gary,

    I pray that you read this an respond quickly to me. I have been at my boyfriends home in Canada for the past two weeks (I am from the UK). The lord has used his parents, who minister, to minister to me over this time and it’s been extremely tough. I have had to be extremely honest about myself and my life before I was a christian, which was not by any means perfect. I am 21 years old and became a christian last November. Therefore it’s been a short walk thus far but I am continuously growing in my faith and am headed towards a life full of the Lord.
    To give you some background, me and the man have been dating for over a year, it began before I was a christian but he was already one. He was a gift from God into my life, he lead me to Christ and I have continued to grow since being at his home. We have a very strong understanding for one another and I care and love his deeply. We fight and bicker and have had many outburst style rows in Canada, not so much at each other as they were just pleading for help. However, every time we resolved them and ended proclaiming our love. For the purpose of clarity, I have sinned sexually in the past and so has he. We have also sinned together, however when I became a christian in November we stopped. We messed up on few occasions, but felt deep condemnation afterward. I am however today free from lust and do not lust after this man, however I still love him deeply. We both want to honour the Lord and grow in our faith. I want to do it together and just yesterday evening we agreed we are still partners stood side by side walking toward God. However, the reason I am reading your post and now commenting to you for help is because last night his parents sat down and said “you are not God’s choice for one another”. It was really difficult and because I believe and trust in what you wrote about I feel so hurt. I feel like the man I love is being ripped from me for the wrong reasons. His parents, and mainly his father, grew frustrated with me when I said I disagreed and believed we should be together and was insistent as a wise christian he knows best. I honour their opinions and I do agree that they are close to the lord, but I agree with what you said. I want to remain faithful in the Lord, however I feel so stuck. They seem so convinced we are not God’s choice and I just feel like we (me and my boyfriend) are just being blindly convinced that we are not God’s choice and thus being made to sacrifice the love we have for each other. After about an hour of his dad trying to convince me of this, my boyfriend turned and said “you know I’ve been distant the past week and that makes sense because we must not be God’s choice”. I can’t believe it. I feel like not only is this not true, but I feel his mind has been misled. I want us to be together and I believe we are there to help each other grow in our faith. I feel that we have a strong and God given foundation and I don’t want to be pushed to walk the other way and I don’t want him to feel pressurised either. I know he loves me so much and I feel now he just is pressurised to not feel his true feelings. Scared that they are wrong and following facing two weeks of high pressure (his parents finding out we have had sex in the past, which resulted in lots of anger from his father, including punishments). He is supposed to even be coming back to England for graduation with me in 2 days time and his dad has said he will not go. In september he is supposed to be beginning his LPC (legal practice course) before beginning his training contract to become a lawyer and his dad is saying he may not be allowed to return to England full stop! I don’t think this right in anyway and I don’t see how taking his career away is a lesson! If God forgives us for our sins how can his parents do this to him?
    However, that aside, I trust in his parents in their close-ness to God, but I think they are wrong about me and him. They say they are doing this with love for me too and love for him but it seems wrong. I agree God does not have a single choice and he leads us and then we make the choice as long as we honour him. I choose my boyfriend, I honestly do, and I know that God would continue to lead me through him. However, he is being torn from me by them and now he is willing to accept this mistruth that I am not God’s choice.
    I don’t even know what to do – i’m supposed to be undergoing ministry again today but I feel so sad that this is happening and I’m being made to give up on this relationship when I don’t want to and I know he does not either.

    Please help me and guide me as to how I deal with this! I pray you reply quickly!

    • Hi Georgia, this is a bit after you left this comment, so I don’t know if you’ll see it or not, but I hope you do. I’m not Gary, but I’d like to offer a response.

      My heart bleeds for you as this is a really difficult situation. I obviously don’t know all the details, but I would just say a couple of things:

      One, I think it sounds like your boyfriend’s parents are a bit controlling. He’s an adult (assuming he’s about the same age as you), and the choice of whom to marry or date is his, not theirs. It sounds like they are trying to be a bit heavy-handed, instead of speaking to him privately and sharing their concerns about your relationship, but allowing him to make the choice, they are trying to use a “spiritual” trump card of telling him, and you, that you’re not God’s choice for each other. No one, not even parents, can tell someone that. I believe another person could hear from God on that, but ultimately, the choice is up to the individuals in the relationship.

      They also sound very controlling in that they’re telling him, at 20-something years of age, where he can and cannot go and trying to control his career? That’s not healthy at all. It sounds like he is very under their influence, which is something you need to consider when thinking about a relationship with him, as it could make your life very difficult.

      To tell you the truth it sounds more to me like they are angry about the sexual sin between the two of you, and therefore they are trying to keep you apart, rather than being able to accept that their son is an adult who sinned and is responsible to God for that sin and repenting of it.

      Another thing I would say though is that it is not a good sign if, as you say, you are fighting a lot. I believe you should think really carefully about what that means for your relationship. Marriage does not magically make things better, it only intensifies problems that already exist. No couple will always get along and never fight, but there should be harmony and agreement most of the time. If you are constantly fighting that is a really big red flag that perhaps the two of you need to work on your own problems separately and really seek God and seek personal maturity individually before thinking about whether you can be together in the future. I would say in your case that’s even more crucial since you are a new Christian and met him before you were saved.

      Given all of these problems, I believe a wise course of action would be to take some time apart to think, pray separately, seek God, and especially in your case, seek wise Christian discipling and counselling in order to grow as a person and in your own faith, so you are in a better place to make a good decision about whether to go forward with this guy or not. I know you probably really don’t want to do that, but you honestly have nothing to lose. You can gain some clarity on the situation, and you may either end up thanking God for not giving you what you wanted, because you see it is not best for you; or, the two of you could perhaps begin again in the future, but with the benefit of greater maturity and wisdom and problem solving.

      I will pray for you. All the best my dear.

    • Sorry, just a couple more thoughts:

      In my experience, it is not the best thing for parents to be the primary or only spiritual counsellors or advisors in situations like this. I could be totally wrong, but from what I have seen, it is very hard for them to be objective since they are so close to their children and so invested in the outcome. It is often hard for them to allow their children to make their own choices and mistakes, and not be controlling (it depends on the parents, of course). I would suggest if your boyfriend is open to it, to talk with another pastor or spiritual mentor as well.

      Another thought: as you have just recently become a Christian and it was your boyfriend who led you to the Lord, I think it is very important that you make sure that your relationship with God is your own, and stands independent, regardless of your boyfriend and whatever happens with him. I think the only way to do that is to take some time apart to seek God and Christian counselling/mentoring in order to build yourself up in your faith apart from him. Then see what happens with the two of you. But if his parents are determined to separate you, and he listens to them, there may not be much you can do. Blessings on you.

  15. I think this is spot on. In some cases, God may have someone specific in mind- but in most cases, the bible seems to convey that it is really our choice. My question would be whether the choice you make for a marriage partner can change the purpose or destiny God may have for us. If you have an answer Id love to know what you think

    • Joe,

      I am not Gary but I think there is a contradiction between believing you can make any moral choice in the will of God as who to marry and questioning that if by doing so, you might alter the purpose and destiny God has for you.
      If you believe in destiny, then there are some specifics that you should not interfere with – and maybe people who believe in destiny believe also in some partner God wants for them in His sovereign plan and destiny. If you believe you can choose whatever you want in the moral will of God, the destiny is the one you make yourself by making your own independent choices.

      You cannot have the cake and eat it too. Choose what you believe and act upon it.

      That’s my opinion on the matter.

  16. Well, this thread has been going on for over a year! Even though I’m late to the party let me share my thoughts.

    Even though the Bible does provide a few examples where He was directly involved in getting a couple together for His purposes (e.g. Gen. 24:12-27;50-51), I agree that generally speaking God is not in the matchmaking business. I do believe that marriage is a choice.

    However, Christians are encouraged, no, they are commanded to trust God with every single aspect of their lives. (Pro. 3:5-6, Mat. 6:8, Phi. 4:6, Mat. 7:11, etc.) So we have been taught to trust God for direction in our careers, our finances, our daily walk. Do you remember those periods in your life when you were so in love with God that you could see His Hand in even the minutest details, like for example, that parking spot you were totally convinced that He reserved for you at the shopping center?

    God is the Provider for ALL of our needs, whether they be spiritual, material, emotional, and marriage fits perfectly within the realm of God’s provision.

    Marriage ranks wayyyyy up there as one of the most important decisions anyone will make, the most important one being, of course, to accept Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

    With marriage being THAT important, don’t we think that God is at the least interested in that aspect of our lives to help guide us in that decision, especially when He can see infinitely much farther ahead than we can?

    Therefore it stands to reason that we should trust God not just to help us in our marriage once we’ve gotten into one, but to help us make the right decision before we get into one. All of you who are married in the most “perfect” of marriages say “Amen” if you think or know anyone will need SOLID help from God in marriage. While God gave us the ability to choose (free will), God also honors those that, trusting God, rely on His direction and His counsel to make better decisions for themselves and for others.

    At this point, I think we can all agree that God is faithful, can’t we?

    So why do marriages fail, and who is at fault?

    Let me put out there a few thoughts….

    Is it possible that our concept of marriage has been distorted by what we’ve seen on TV?

    A pastor told me once that “love is to change the address of your soul, so instead of residing in your heart it resides in the heart of your beloved”. Or something like that. The Bible teaches us exactly what love is: John 3:16, 1John 4:19, Rom. 5:7-8, Rom. 8:39, 1John 4:7-9, and many more.

    But Hollywood tells us that if we don’t get what we want, desire, or expect out of our relationship with our spouse it’s time to check out. How many “beautiful” and famous couples we see splitting and going their separate ways every year? Yet, even as we call ourselves “christian” we sometimes diminish God’s definition of love while exalting the “version” of love being served by the world. Success as the world defines it is not the same as God defines it (Mat. 16:26, Luke 16:15, Luke 12:15, James 4:4-5)

    The Apostle Paul compares marriage to the mystery of the union between Christ and His Church: Eph. 5:25-33. If there was any problem at all between the “couple” that is Christ and His Bride, can anyone take a wild guess as to who could possibly be at fault there? Anyone? Yet, Christ in His steadfast love for us, continues to forgive us, restore us, and renew us. THAT is love. That should be our standard, that should be our goal, to grow in love in marriage as to mimic Christ’s like ve for His Church, and to abide in love towards one another to such degree that the world will know without a shadow of a doubt that we are His disciples (John 13:35).

    My pastor also used to say: “It is possible for something that starts wrong to end well, but it is more probable for something to end well that starts well.”

    As two people start the journey of life together in marriage having Christ and His love in their marriage makes all the difference in the world. So, start right! (2Cor. 6:14-18). And as you go, continue to abide in Him (John 15:5). It is possibly then that in any relationship that is (or should be) centered in Christ, one or both decide (consciously or neglectfully) to stop abiding in Him… with understandable results.

    Anyone who has never made a mistake and is sure to never make one in the future (1Cor. 10:12) does not need to worry in the least about marriage or anything else. The rest of us, take heed and take heart: there is NOTHING that the blood and the love of Christ cannot cover, forgive, forget, and restore. If your situation in marriage is so bad that your safety or that of your children is threathened prayerfully seek advice, and if separation is in order, in my opinion, leave. If you are still trusting God in your marriage despite everything that has gone down, prayerfully consider 1Cor. 7:12-16 (but I don’t believe physical abuse should be condoned).

    God does not allow us to be tempted more than we can bear (1Cor. 10:13), even if that means having to live under the circumstances directly or indirectly caused by our own decisions. If you want to look for the reason why your marriage is in its current state of affairs, stand in front of a mirror: most likely at least part of the reason can be found there. Every story has at least two sides. However don’t let disappointment or guilt blind you so you fail to see the arms of Love and Mercy that are holding you close to Him that loves you and gave His Life for you. He is never late; His time is always right. May you find victory for your marriage and for every other aspect of your life in Him. He is faithful and can be trusted with every single detail of our lives (Luke 12:6-7).

    Humble yourself, and wait. Psa. 37:5

    Note: I stumbled onto this site because I myself am going through some difficult times in my marriage and life. I decided to take my day off on vacation to spend some time alone with God. As I read through some of the responses I started thinking about my own situation, and as I started to write I started to give what I didn’t even know I had (2Cor. 1:3-5).

    • Thanks, Marc, for the deep and biblical explanation for the failure of some “Christian” marriages. May all of us abide in Christ and learn to really LOVE like Him, by His definition, in our marriages and in all our lives..

      May God give you also victory in your marriage and every aspect of life.