I used to believe if you were called to marriage, God had someone specifically hand-picked just for you. But over time, I started questioning that belief. Today, it’s really official: I no longer believe there is one specific spouse that God “created for you.” I know this can be shocking to some, but hear me out…
Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:39 advises younger widows to remarry, saying:
“A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.”
If that’s not plain enough, Paul is saying she can marry ANY Christian brother she desires.
This verse made me remember that God has given us free will and that love is a choice! It is not something we have no control over, like some spell that’s cast upon us that we cannot break away from and must love only one specific person in this life. Do you know Jeremy Camp’s story? His first wife died of cancer not long after marriage and after grieving his loss, he eventually found himself another wife whom he now has children with.
The truth is, if the person is a brother in Christ, and you both love each other and desire each other, you won’t have to later worry, “Oh no, what if this wasn’t that one person God designed just for me? What if this person isn’t my ‘soul mate.'” Soul mates are a worldly idea. And a dangerous one if you think about it. Because that means if down the road, you aren’t happy with your spouse, you can say, “My husband must not be my soul mate. I need to move on and find my true soul mate so I can be truly happy.” I wonder how many spouses commit adultery and deceive themselves with the idea that it’s okay because their fellow adulterer is actually just their true soul mate.
Jesus told His followers, “You didn’t choose me, I chose you.” God doesn’t just love one person, He loves us all, and died for us all. But only those who ACCEPT that love are considered His “bride.” If you believed in soul mates, a brother can convince you you’re his soul mate, even if you don’t really desire to marry him. Then, when you get married, you can have doubts and wonder or even get angry at God like, “But God! I thought this was the man you had for me!”
Peter, led by the Spirit of God, in speaking to the Church, commanded:
“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart…”-1 Peter 1:22
He isn’t speaking to just husbands and wives, but he is telling all the believers to love each other fervently. If there’s a brother in Christ you love and respect and admire, and if he feels the same about you, then it’s okay to pursue marriage. HOWEVER, I will caution you to always practice wisdom before marrying someone. There’s two things you can do to have confidence in your decision of choosing a spouse.
First, find out if this brother is really a brother in Christ.
And how can you discover that? By listening to your Heavenly Father’s voice and comparing His Word on what a true child of His looks like, to that potential husband. Firstly, is he an open Christian? Does he openly confess to anyone that Jesus Christ is his Lord?
Second, does he portray fruits of the flesh, or fruits of the Holy Spirit:
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”-Galatians 5:19-24
Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruit.” Be honest in your comparison. Leave a little room for grace, since we’re not all that mature yet, and some have been more sanctified than others by walking longer with Jesus and having solid discipleship. BUT if the brother is JUSTIFYING any fleshly behaviors rather than actively trying to crucify them, and showing that he is growing, then you should back away.
Next, ask your Heavenly Dad if He gives His blessing.
Many of us know the tradition of a man having to ask a woman’s father for permission to marry his daughter. If a brother has made his intentions clear and is pursuing you, bring that to prayer and ask God what He thinks of this child of His. Would you be good together? Or does your Father have someone else in mind for you?
See, it’s two-fold. God knows you and that brother better than either of you know the other, or yourselves. Therefore, I believe God can foresee and knows if you two would be good for each other, or if there’s a better “match” for you. So know that if you go to God about one of His sons who is pursuing you, and God tells you “no,” you can trust that He knows best and has reasons why He prefers you don’t marry the brother. But if God gives you a clear “yes” then go for it! Don’t be afraid if God has given you His blessing. Just make sure you diligently seek Him and are sure He blessed it, rather than you just running forward because you really want to.
Third, don’t be deceived by the lust of the eyes.
Just because someone looks good, doesn’t mean he is good. And just because someone doesn’t look that good, doesn’t mean you won’t deem him amazing down the road. Yes, I’m advocating that you give the lesser attractive brother a chance. If there’s a brother in Christ who really loves the Lord in action, it’s not just lip service, and he brings you joy and you admire his relationship with the Lord, and he really wants you to give him a chance, then give him one! If after a few outings and spending time together serving, you don’t find yourself starting to desire him, then IT’S OKAY to let him know you still just want to remain friends. You’re NOT leading him on if you let him know off the bat that he can try to win your heart, but you’re NOT making ANY promises.
This may sound weird, but sisters, this is how most men operate. They are natural-born fighters and you better believe if a man really wants a woman to be his wife, he WILL fight the battle of winning her heart. If his strength is in the Lord, if he loses that battle, he will get back up again and find someone else. That’s not your business or burden. But if you give him a chance, you might be surprised just how much you end up loving and desiring him to be the man you not only spend the rest of your life with, but raise up godly children with. Because remember, whoever you allow to have you as a wife, he will someday be the father of your children. Is he worthy? Will he truly raise them up in a way that’ll please God?
So don’t let the excuse of waiting for your soul mate hold you back. If no guy is pursuing, well, that’s on them, and it COULD partly be on you. Go to your Perfect Daddy in Heaven and ask Him why no one is pursuing you. Ask Him to please show you and reveal to you clearly what is going on. Trust your Daddy. He loves His daughter and may know you aren’t ready. Maybe there’s a few things He wants to work on first. I believe God will give you your hearts desire if you wish to marry a godly brother. Just keep praying AND listening to your Daddy. His timing and will are PERFECT!