May 29, 2014

What Singles Need to Look for Most

Gary Thomas —


Singles, married people never argue with me when I quote James 3:2, that we all stumble in many ways.  You don’t have to convince anyone who is married that the human heart is evil and has a propensity to go astray.  We see the evil in our own hearts more than enough; sometimes, we see the evil in our spouse.  That isn’t really a debate.  If you count radio broadcasts, I’ve spoken to literally millions of people about this and haven’t had a single married person challenge me on it.

All of which, quite naturally, can cause singles to grow more than a little nervous—how can you know the person you want to marry, a person who stumbles in many ways, won’t be a train wreck of a spouse?

There’s one biblical quality extolled time and time again in the Wisdom books of the Old Testament that helps put a check on sin: “By the fear of the Lord one keeps away from evil.” (Proverbs 16:6)  Our hearts are ready to jump, but a heart that has an appropriate reverence for God has a check that other hearts don’t.

Proverbs 31 even suggests that this should be the primary factor driving the marital decision: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” (v. 30)

So, single men and women find someone who has an individual reverence for God.  The kind of man or woman who doesn’t practice piety to be accepted by the church or others but who has a conscience that is sensitive to the providential, all-seeing eyes of God.  Someone who lives with an awareness of God’s presence, the kind of person who is more likely to be convicted of their sin even before you mention it.

If you catch them telling someone (or you), “Look, when I was praying the other day, God convicted me that what I said might have seemed a little harsh…” those words should make you quiver with excitement even more than 6 pack abs or a large trust-fund.

Women, you want a man who will feel crushed by God if he gets harsh or insensitive, not a man who treats you one way at church (when others are watching) and another way at home.  Unless you live at the church, peer pressure won’t help you much.

Men, you want a woman who will hear from God if she puts the children first, above her marriage, or becomes negative.  If you raise the issue, she’ll likely think you’re just being selfish.  If God raises the issue, that’s a tougher person to argue with.

The struggle against sin is a reality—even for Christians.  So find someone who lets God be the point man in your future spouse’s personal battle against sin.


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5 responses to What Singles Need to Look for Most

  1. This is what we need – an insight to make eveonrye think

  2. Wow, this is great insight. Thank you for sharing. I am definitely going to the bookstore tomorrow to get my copy of the sacred search. Looking forward to learning much more about this topic.

  3. Good day Mr Thomas,

    I trust you are well.

    Kindly note that I am currently reading your books Sacred Search, Sacred Influence, Sacred Marriage and A Lifelong Love and am finding it extremely helpful – thank you! I am a 34-year old single woman and I have been a christian for about 9 years. I would like to get married one day and am doing everything in my power to learn as much as I can about godly marriage beforehand.

    A couple of years ago a very good friend of mine wanted to persue a relationship, and possibly marriage, with me. I respectfully declined his interest after learning that he has been addicted to pornography for about 15 years and that he has not had any real breakthrough with this struggle in his life. It was one of the most difficult and heartbreaking decisions that I’ve ever had to make and to this day I often wonder if I made the wrong decision and if I was too hard on him.

    I would like to ask you if you could write an in-depth article on your blog about how a single christian woman are supposed to handle the pornography addiction problem that single men are struggling with? Is pornography addiction a serious enough problem to be a marriage dealbreaker? And if so, how do you decline someone’s interest without humiliating him completely? Please note that I am not referring to men who watch pornography every now and then. I know we all sin from time to time and we need to have grace with each other. I am referring to someone who’s had an active addicion for many years, who’s addiction has led him into serious trouble in the past and who cannot, without uncertainty, say that it is behind him.

    I struggle to know where I should draw the line with men who struggle with this. On the one hand I do want to be gracious and loving and not not overly critical, judgemental and finding fault with everything. But on the other hand I also do not want to make a mistake and marry someone with a very serious problem.

    I would really appreciate your thoughts on this subject.

    Kind Regards,

  4. Um. If someone came up to me and said that they were praying and God convicted them that what they said to me may have been harsh, I would think they were a weirdo. Or someone who likes to brandish about his christianese in order to appear super spiritual. Because, who talks like that?

    If he just said I’m sorry if I was harsh that would good.

  5. Of course this is SPOT ON, Gary! Will be sharing this post with the Future Marriage University (FMU) community at