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. Thank you to the person who mentioned spiritual husbands I would have never known.

  2. please i have a problem with strange dreams i am engage to a man i love and he love me too but many at times see myself married to another man in a dream sometime male friends around me.
    sometimes i see a strange man asking for my hand in marriage.sometime too i will dream that we are fighting but physically he is very humble person i have known him for five years. i told a man of God about the dreams and he says we are not suppose to marry. any time i try to pray for direction the more confuse i become.please what can i do?

    • Have you looked into what it means to have spiritual husbands in the spirit realm. I would just read a little on this if I were you

  3. “Delight thyself also in the Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” God wants your mate to be saved like you but He’s not going to choose your mate for you. That’s up to you and the person you marry. There must be a MUTUAL attraction not a FORCED union. Else, free will(which God had even given to the Angels in Heaven at first) would be a complete waste.

    God also said he knows how to give GOOD gifts like your natural parents do. If you ask Him for a fish, He will give you a fish and not a serpent. If you ask Him for an egg, He will give you an egg and not a stone. If you ask him for a tall, handsome, kind, saved, blue eyed spouse, who is kind, faithful, loyal, peaceful, generous, mutually attracted to you and looks like Rob Lowe, God is not going to give you the OPPOSITE of that. If you get the opposite it’s because you SETTLED for the opposite.

    I know a girl(sweet, beautiful and wonderful as she can be) who prayed to God for the specific kind of husband she wanted. One day when she was leaving church, a guy who was the OPPOSITE of what she prayed for asked her out. She accepted, began dating him and eventually married him.

    He cheated on her throughout the marriage, had other women calling the house at all hours and ended up leaving her with 6 kids whom he still doesn’t care for. She was very low income at the time and struggling to support them. They’re divorced now and she is NOW married to the guy she should have been with in the first place.

    It should have been a red flag when a guy who wasn’t even her type asked her out that she should have said NO. Why settle when God is willing to give you what you asked for the first time you asked? God is not heard of hearing and Hes’ not forgetful. God is not a man that He should lie nor the son of man that he should change His mind. He knows what you need but He also knows what you desire. As long as it’s according to his will you’re all set.

    Sometimes people get desperate and settle because they fear it will never happen. Sometimes faith is a waiting game but God is ALWAYS faithful. Sometimes you just have to wait it out and keep your focus on him in the mean time. God will never let you down and He WILL NOT disappoint the faithful. I know this from experience. God Bless everyone!!! 🙂

  4. I am so glad to see that after this much time replies are still open. I saw this and immediately felt I needed to go on record as one who married by God’s direction. I was away from the Lord for a number of years, a 14-year drug addict. I became clean by God’s intervention, and one of the first things upon my mind was, that one thing I now wanted was a family. I put out a fleece in a prayer that God would send the right one my way, whereby I would know. God honored the fleece and as human behavior will sometimes do, I tried at times to go with my own choice, and abandon the path God laid out. God overruled and brought our paths back together. Eventually, there was some distance between us, as I had moved to Kentucky from my native SC, to enter seminary in preparation for ministry. I wasn’t there for very long, about three months, when God began to impress upon me that I should propose to her. Knowing better than going off the deep end on first getting such an impression, I made it a matter of prayer for some time. But the impression deepened, which I had come to understand as being a possible signal that the impression is indeed coming from God. But there were complications to doing this if it was truly what God wanted. She had moved, and I had no idea where she lived. I had an address, but this was pre-GPS and pre-Google maps, I couldn’t just plug this in and find out where she was. I had no phone number, and she was three states away. But the impression was strong, and before long I realized that since I DID have an address, I did have ONE means of doing what I felt God was asking: do it by letter. Boy, did I balk at THAT! I knew the source of the request, and knew by this time it was something I would have to do. But it just wasn’t RIGHT, I protested. And so once again I put out a fleece, challenging the Lord to show me just ONE person who had EVER proposed marriage to someone in this manner, and I would do what God was asking. Naturally, I thought I was getting out of what was an uncomfortable feeling about doing things this way. I should have known better. After all, this is the God of the universe, where did I get off thinking I could put anything before God that would be too hard for Him? Actually, it only took Him two days. At the time I had put out that fleece, I had been reading, during morning devotional time, an autobiography of George Muller, an incredible man of God who had done some wonderful things for God in the early 1800s in England. In his daily exchanges with various persons, he had become smitten with a certain young lady he encountered, and one thing led to another, to the point that he felt he should ask her hand in marriage. So he wrote: “On Aug. 15th, 1830, I therefore wrote to her, proposing to her to become my wife. . .” I knew when I’d been beat, so I sat down and wrote the letter. It was a couple of weeks before I got the reply. Everything she said in reply had the flavor of “We need to talk about this.” But everything I was reading in between the lines was a yes. As I went to put her letter back in the envelope, I noticed another enclosure I had missed. It was a clipping from a newspaper, a jewelry store advertisement for diamond rings! I got the message: “The answer is yes, but next time you’re home, bring a ring and do this right.” Three children and 22 years later, we’re still going. So why would God do that, some might ask? I’ve considered that more than once through the years. Well, my wife has epilepsy (I didn’t find out until after the proposal and engagement). I have two sons, they both have Asperger’s Syndrome. My daughter struggles with depression/anxiety issues. It would have been an easy temptation to look at the situation and question whether or not this was a marriage that God would have brought about. But with these and with many other issues through the years, I have always felt God’s blessing and presence. Granted, it was admitted in the blog comments that the title and subject were not intended to say “God won’t ever do this.” But I do take exception to the expressed idea I’ve seen, and more than once, that there is nothing in Scripture resembling such a course as this. I see an example in Genesis 24, where Abraham sends a servant back to his homeland to seek a wife for Isaac. He tells the servant that the God of heaven will guide him. The servant in turn puts out a fleece whereby he will know he has found the right one, and the detail he requested was honored, and Rebekah was the one. Naturally, I don’t claim it as any sort of thing that is set out with any idea that it is a pattern for us to follow. But I do see it as one instance where such a thing occurred in the Bible. As for my own experience, I’ve simply seen it as an extraordinary event indicating what God can do when we commit our way to Him.

  5. I disagree and agree with you. While yes, I don’t believe that God is always the one intervening in these peoples lives (that have been talked about in your article), it is clear in Scripture that He will in some cases.

    Take the story of Hosea and his bride (yes, she was a nightmare but God still asked Hosea to marry and love her.) Then there is the story of Rebekah who the traveler asked for a sign from God who would be Isaac’s wife… And it was given. The story of Joseph and Mary, Adam and Eve….

    I think what is important to know though, is that God will intervene in some cases, and so will the Devil.

    One of my friends told me the way you can see who is talking is the Devil will try to give you your selfish desires that will ultimately lead to a destructive path. God will show you a path of selflessness, that will ultimately heal you and those around you…

    Be warned, the Devil is a raging lion… Waiting to consume… So do not be deceived.

    But God in His mercy loves us and has the best plan for us, and will show us where to go if we but ask with faith… This applies to marriage as well.

  6. A matter of Prayer April 18, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    I’m very fortunate to attend a praying church. We pray for God to lead us to the right jobs, to the right house to buy, to the right ministry to get involved with, lead us to divine connections. We get to hear praise reports weekly of answers to these prayers that would ordinarily seem impossible. Our church has prayed for the right land for our church to build on and God miraculously brought us to that land. We believe that God cares about the things that concern us – and he does. So why wouldn’t we pray that he would lead us to the right spouse? We are talking about a person who will affect everything in our life. More important than a job, a house or anything else, this person will have a huge affect on our walk with God. I can’t imagine that this too wouldn’t be a matter of intense prayer, and something that God wants to be a huge part of.

    • Don’t fret over the topic.

      It is not a matter of prayer, but a matter of deeper theology: Does God have a specific plan and is personally intimately involved in every decision a man should make? If you believe so, go ahead and pray fervently for God to lead you to the right spouse (note: what is that?). If not, go ahead and make your wisest choice hoping that God agrees with you, if He didn’t thunder and yell something different from heaven.

  7. Nicholas Cornor April 12, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Who is to say that God telling you to choose a particular spouse would always result in a success? How often does God call people in Scripture to do things and it actually turns out pretty bad. Paul go to Rome…gets his head chopped off. The clearest example in Scripture of God telling someone to marry someone is Hosea! He married Gomer, a prostitute that continued to live that life JUST TO MAKE AN ANALOGY! I have to say, if God ever told me to marry someone or really to do anything, I probably wont rejoice in that because odds are, there are some hard times ahead.

  8. Prov 31:10 “Who can find a virtuous and capable wife”, prov 19:14b”but only the LORD can give an understanding wife”, prov 3:5-6 “trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding, seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

  9. Alexander Semande February 22, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Guys, I can’t let you believe this. Three years ago, I was going to break up with my girlfriend which I had no problem doing. We were both Christians. I had just had enough of her flaws, and they were too much for me to carry. As we were in my jeep, I was just about to tell her that it wasn’t going to work out. I couldn’t wait for this relationship to end in a way. Yes, I had emotional ties to her, but trust me, I was ready to end it. And right before I opened my mouth to give her the news, God spoke to me. He told me this was the girl he has called me to be with, and clearly told me “Do not break up with her. I have called you to her for her benefit. She needs you”. I quickly argued back with God and told him that I deserved better, I wasn’t happy, and I just wanted to be free. He said, “It’s not about you. She NEEDS you”. Keep in mind, I was 19. I said “Fine! I’ll stay with her, but I’m not gona be happy or love her”. For the next two weeks, I was miserable and numb when we went on dates, but I was just being obedient to God. Then, I don’t know how, but he put such a huge love (that only came from him because I was not capable of loving anyone like this) in my heart for her. He revealed to me why he told me to stay and that I was to marry her. Her flaws didn’t change, but my mindset changed. I had faith. I had courage. I was willing to go through whatever fire she put me through. Why? Because God told me that this was the woman he is calling me to be with. Because of my obedience, he blessed me by putting such a strong love for her in my heart that I couldn’t contain. He took such a heart of hatred towards her and turned it into pure love. We are now married and are madly in love. Every day is still a struggle, but what keeps me going and willing to fight is remembering how he has called me to her. I know that my marriage is God-breathed because it was his command to me. God called me to my wife. God DOES tell you to marry your spouse.

  10. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
    Mark 10:9
    Gary your opinons have no biblical support

  11. Thanks for this piece, i took the time out to study in line with the scriptures referenced in this write up and it was amazingly clear. The holyspirit developed it for me. It was just an amazing experience with God through his word (Bible).

  12. Gary,

    I agree with your post, but I have a question. It may be a bit off-topic, but I will ask it anyway, as I believe I can trust your judgement, given the wisdom you’ve displayed here.

    It’s said that love is not a feeling, and that people do not “fall in love.” Rather, love is a choice – they deliberately choose to love each other. I agree that love is absolutely, most importantly a choice. But if people don’t fall in love, how do people choose who to choose (if that makes sense) to love? If love does not ever have feelings associated with it, and attraction (physical and otherwise) does not come into play, then how can two people even come close to narrowing down their choices to the point of choosing each other.

    Thanks in advance and God Bless.


    • Sorry, I meant “narrowing down their OPTIONS.”

    • Well, if you want my opinion, you have 2 choices:
      – you “shop” for the best version of a partner in terms of looks, character, temperament, social status, job etc
      – you ask God to help you choose someone according to His plans for your life – here also there are some criteria in terms of call, ministry, character, etc

      third option: you choose the person you fall in love with, irrationally, even the worst possible match for you.

      • I understand that we should trust God in everything, especially in choosing a spouse. But even restricting our choices to what is acceptable to God’s Will for our lives could potentially leave us with more than one viable option, thereby still leaving us with choices of our own to make. My question was is do passion, attraction, “chemistry,” feelings, and other things like that NEVER come into play with love?

        Logic and reason alone, though they are of primary importance for a sound, Christ-centered love, may not necessarily be enough for a man to choose from multiple women, especially if his options have varying but relatively equal advantages, strengths/weaknesses, and appeals (both spiritual and physical). Is there never a deeper connection between two people that the logical aspects of love cannot explain?

        It seems to me that it would all be kind of boring if there was no mystery at all to it that can’t be explained or achieved deliberately, and that it could still leave people quite torn and indecisive as to who they should choose.

        I did not suspect that someone else would answer my question, but I certainly appreciate your time!


        • I cannot give you the recipe for choosing a spouse. You use either reason or feelings. Or the third option: in a hedonistic world of “I want this in my spouse..” and “that” and this strength and to feel madly attracted to…..there is another option: God-arranged marriage or God-ordained marriage. In which you surrender your requirements and ask God to lead you to a choice of a spouse according to His plans for your life and the plans of that potential spouse. Of course, experience will tell you that many of the principles God really applies when He chooses a spouse for you (like some level of compatibility on essentials issues) but the point is you are free of making lists and scrutinizing every potential spouse according to your criteria. in the end, what makes a marriage and sustains it till the end of life is exactly Christ-centered love, the kind that is supernatural and not romantic and that no one seems to want for the basis and glue in marriage.

          I think in the end everyone will choose a spouse according to his/her own ideology/worldview/theology etc.

          If 2 people don’t fall in love first so that they choose to love each other after they have fallen in love [and if they fall out of love, what possible motivation should they find to continue to choose to love each other????], they can choose to love each other because God has a plan for both of them as a family and ministry for His kingdom and has lead them accordingly.

          Yes, passion, chemistry, attraction do play a role – only in the erotic love – that any human being can display. But those things have – fortunately or unfortunately – have NOTHING to do with love as a choice, God-centered love or agape love.

          Hope I answered your question.

  13. Dear Gary,
    I spent a the whole dày reading posts on here an l can say they have been helpful. You are indeed a man of God..
    Before l go l just want to say that l was widowed young and 17years on am still waiting an praying for a God fearing husband,its been lonely and long but lm still trusting God.

  14. You were correct in saying that you should not “put God in a box.” Throughout the Scriptures, the Lord dealt very differently with each individual. If the Lord has a work to be done He may very well choose a certain partner for us so that together we can fulfill His plans and carry out the great commission. Paul was chosen, he did not choose Christ, Christ chose Him. It is not always our choice as God is sovereign and if He needs workers in the harvest and two people together will complete His work then yes, indeed, He will put two people together! Can we say no to this person, yes we can, but that doesn’t mean that God did not choose that person for us. Throughout the Scriptures God has put thoughts in the minds of men to carry out His work and purposes. He had rulers rise up against Israel with a thought He himself put in their minds. Another example is how He put the thought into Pharaohs mind to not let His people leave Egypt. God can and will steer people in the direction of the correct mate if it is to fulfill His divine purposes. Please be careful teaching that God deals with all people exactly the same. That is not Biblical. Yes, at times the choice for a mate can be ours, but other times it may be the Lords divine purpose to put two people together. You reference Corinthians, but you must take the Scripture as a whole entity comparing Scripture to Scripture and seeing how God deals with His people individually. I encourage those reading this thread to yes indeed, ask the Lord to choose his or her spouse! The Lord wants us to go to Him in all things!

  15. God will give you the kind of wife you deserve. If you add patience to your faith you will surely get your desired woman.

  16. ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not upon your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct your path.’
    ‘Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened unto you’.
    Then remember the prayer of Jabez. God heard him.
    My point, we might not be strong enough as we think to bear the consequences of our decisions. It might be more scary than we can imagine. But as a single lady, I’ve come to the point where I know it going to take the all sufficient, omnipotent God to help me make this important life decision. Yes, there might be no such thing as a soulmate but its going to take God whole searches the heart to direct and lead me into the arms of the right man.
    Yes, I’ll play my own part of watching but I can’t still do it alone. Its too critical a decision to do that. If God answered Jabez and kept him from evil then I believe he’ll answer me too.

  17. Gary – I agree with everything in this article. I actually have left the church for years at a time and still don’t attend regularly because of the vast ignorance among Christians – not just regarding marriage either. It seems that the Christian mantra is “everything happens according to God’s will.” If it was true that God only allowed people to get married that he wanted to get married, there would be no divorce and no gay marriage. I agree that people make their own choices.

    The way I see “everything happens according to God’s will” used most is to justify whatever it is that Christians want to do. I knew a woman who divorced her first husband. She herself told me that he didn’t want to get divorced. She didn’t divorce because of infidelity, but rather because they had issues like every marriage has. She remarried, of course, in the church to another Christian guy. She believed in “everything happens according to God’s will” and “if God wants you to get married, it will happen”, because if she had to accept responsibility for her own decisions, then she would have to follow what the Bible says about remarriage and she wouldn’t have been able to get married again.

    She actually told me after I ended an abusive relationship with a Christian boyfriend I had at the time that God must not have a husband planned for me (because otherwise he would have rewarded me with a husband rather than punishing me with an abusive boyfriend and blocking my desperate attempt at landing a husband). She’s actually now divorced for a second time with three kids, and she’s currently dating another guy. I guess God has three or four husbands planned for her.

    You’re also correct that when someone grows up in an abusive or dysfunctional home, that person is more likely to *choose* someone who is also abusive or dysfunctional in some way as a spouse. I grew up in an abusive home, and I developed behaviors (codependency) to cope with the environment that I grew up in. These behaviors no longer serve me well as an adult, and they’ve been destructive in my relationships as an adult. I’ve had a lot of problems in relationships with people, and it wasn’t until about a year ago (after more than ten years of counseling) that a very perceptive counselor told me to read up on codependency.

    Now that I’m older (and a woman), my options are more limited – especially in the church where there are twice as many single women as men. There are a lot of people in the church who shift the blame back onto me for still being single even though the odds are stacked against me. When someone grows up in a healthy, happy home, that person naturally relates to other people in a healthy way and it much more likely to choose someone who is also emotionally healthy as a spouse. I like to compare it to learning a different language. English is my native language, so I understand how to speak in English without thinking about the rules of grammar or how to conjugate verbs, etc. But for someone whose native language isn’t English, it’s much harder to communicate – it takes many years of studying and practicing, and, even then, the person easily falls back into their native language.

    So, even though I understand my problems, I struggle to relate to other people in a healthy way. I fall back into patterns of relating to other in a destructive manner – I’m not abusive towards others, but I take on too much responsibility for other people, I try to keep other people in a relationship with me by doing nice things or giving them things rather than letting relationships develop in a natural way, and I feel better about myself by “helping” others who are not responsible/don’t make good choices. So, I have a tendency to be in relationships that are one-sided with people who are needy or abusive in some way. And I drive away people who are emotionally healthy by approaching relationships out of desperation. I don’t have appropriate boundaries with people, so I have a lot of anger towards those who have treated me badly.

    Unfortunately, most people in the church don’t have a degree in psychology, so they don’t understand. I’ve heard endless advice and lists of criteria – when I desperately tried to live up to God’s perfect standard in the past and follow all of the rules, I still ended up in destructive relationships. I had people tell me that I needed to stop dating for several years (because God would only reward me with a spouse if I was focused on serving him), date someone older (even though the worst boyfriend I had was older and also a Christian), date someone ugly, pray for God to give me feelings for someone if he’s the right person for me (even though I have a long track record of being attracted to abusive men), date online (because if I don’t that means I’m not really trying – even though someone else told me to stop dating in order to get God to give me a husband), stop meeting guys online (because it was dangerous – even though I’m not really trying unless I meet guys online), etc. And when I finally manage to follow all the rules and things still turn out badly for me, it’s because “God just doesn’t have a husband planned for *some* people”.

    We live in an imperfect world where not everyone will be able to get married and have children even if that’s what they desperately want. No one is perfect and every marriage will have problems. I have a friend who told me that her and her husband couldn’t keep their hands off each other before they got married. She recently told me that she’s withheld sex for almost a year, because she thinks he smells bad. Obviously if someone is miserable alone, a marriage isn’t going to magically solve all of that person’s issues. But, having said that, we were created to live in community with each other, and I’m at a disadvantage, because I don’t have a loving, supportive family. I didn’t get what I needed growing up, and I have problems because of that.

    There’s no magical God who has resolved all of my issues for me. Recently, I’ve been reading books written by the evangelist Nick Vujicic. He was born into a loving family, but he was also born without legs or arms. He’s inspiring, because he’s been able to overcome his physical disabilities. He’s married with two kids now. He and his wife wrote a book on marriage. He said “your family, your home and your marriage should be a refuge from the challenges of the world.” So I still have hope that one day that could be possible for me. But I also need to be emotionally healthy so that I can create a home for someone else that’s a refuge from the challenges of the world.

  18. This is sage counsel for our entire spiritual life with God, in addition to marriage.

    “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). “

  19. It would be interesting to know “when” do people bring God in their decision making, because asking God to give confirmation about someone might just be a way of wanting affirmation to what they already desire. The question “should I marry him/her” is not the right question to ask God in my opinion because the desire for the person will often cloud sound judgement. The right time to seek God’s help is before anyone is in the picture and then you can ask objectively: God, what is your will for me? Please help me make a wise decision when there is someone in the picture.
    I was given wise counsel by my parents when I wanted to marry my girlfriend to cut all contact with her for 3 months before we decided to marry. Guess what, she found someone in less than 2 weeks but I also prayed during those 2 weeks seeking God’s guidance: “God, help me reach a decision.” I had some warning bells beforehand so heeded my parents advice. So in my case I both heeded sound counsel and asked God’s help with the full intention of obeying it. I am now happily married but over the years I have found out – I knew what I wanted but didn’t know what I needed. Now that I have someone who I need to complement my weaknesses with her strengths. I am grateful to God for not giving me someone I wanted but giving me what I needed. Often times needs and wants can be two different things – wants may go away but needs will always stay. By the way Gary, I completely agree with your article and the way you wrote it.
    I hope Christian singles trust God completely in this matter and everything in life but be ready to follow God’s will even though it may be contrary to their own will. Asking God’s guidance (not confirmation) and sound counsel from parents, pastor or Christian counsellor are not mutually exclusive.

  20. I was very hurt when i was told to break up with my fiance because God wants me to marrry another person. I only cried my eyes out because i felt i have chosen smeone else and i was only praying to God telling him to allow me to marry my fiance instead and i jx cant break up cos both of us will hurt, but thnx a lot for opening my eye the fact that i can choose anyone considering the fact that he is a believer…God bless you