Divine steps to getting married and settling down
Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge (Hebrews 13:4).
OVER the years I’ve heard preachers asked what a single person can do to marry or get married. Strange as it may sound, entering into a true marriage isn’t necessarily a matter of chance, neither is it something we don’t have any control over. It has been demonstrated through experience, precept and results that there are definite steps a person can take to assure a sound result in this quest.
Apart from deciding your eternal destiny by taking a stand on the question of Jesus Christ and what the Bible says He did for you on the Cross, the choice of whom to marry is the most important decision of your life. As such, it should be approached with just that kind of seriousness.
As easy as it seems, I know from countless stories that deciding whom to marry can cause some people sleepless nights. However, to those whose heads spin with confusion at the thought of this very subject, I’m glad to announce that help is within reach through the avenue of godly counsel.
While there’s no formula for things like that as such, below are some tips on how you may get it right, under God. See them as guidelines rather than as formulaic recommendations from a guru.
Begin with a decision. The Bible says in James 1:6b-8 says, “For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
In order to progress to marry or get married, you must first make up your mind that marriage is a good thing, as our text scripture above states, and then decide that you will do it. Some people are still in two minds about even the advisability of marriage, but when you decide that it is something you need to do, you have crossed the first bridge. The next thing you have to make a decision about is when you want to marry. I’ve heard it taught that you can only plan to marry after you have found a prospective spouse, but I know many people who are happily married today who just started with a decision and a general deadline. The Bible says that if you are double minded, you’ll be unstable in all your ways. Therefore you must decide that you will marry or get married, discarding the wrong and untrue ideas about marriage that you might have received from your upbringing or elsewhere; decide when you want to marry or get married, whether you have a fiancé or fiancée or not. If you are involved with someone, decide whether or not to take things to the next level and begin proceedings that would lead to marriage.
Next, you need to pray to be led by the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us in Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Some people falsely teach that you don’t need the leading of the Holy Spirit in deciding whom to marry since the scripture says you must find a wife. Well, if you need the guidance of the Spirit in lesser matters such as finding a job, how much more do you need it when it comes to such an important matter? Pray about this fervently regardless of your present relationship status. I don’t care how things stand with you or about your relationship situation right now, God has a plan and He’s not hiding that plan from you. Pray, fast and believe Him to bring it to pass.
Once upon a time when the world was less of a dangerous place than it now is, a person could pick a spouse just as one would pick a packet of tomatoes at the grocery store and still have a successful married life. Today that cannot cut it because there’s too much hypocrisy in the world and it’s tough to know who is who.
1 Timothy 3:1-5 tells us, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”
You want to avoid marrying someone who fits this description, as verse 5 says, but how can you avoid them when you don’t know them? Thank God we have His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit knows all things and we have Him as our guide in the journey of life. 1 Corinthians 2:10 says the Holy Spirit “…searches all things.” Glory to God! His assistance is yours for the asking.
If you feel that your singlehood is now a bondage caused by demonic oppression or generational curses, you can even see someone else with a proven deliverance ministry and ask them to lay hands on you, rebuking the devil and dismantling his hold on your life in Jesus’ Name. Or, better still, you can do this on your own, with fasting to intensify the impact of your prayers.
While praying and seeking God about this matter, be sure to be busy with some useful godly activities. When we were single, my friends and I used to talk about a principle we called “work before woman”. We understood that principle to mean that since God gave Adam the responsibility to tend the Garden before He provided him with Eve, work must precede woman. A man has to have a source of steady income before he can marry. It takes an income to establish a family, and sometimes it takes much more money than unmarried people imagine. So get yourself a job or start some kind of business, and if you already have one with a pitiful income, see how you can have multiple streams of income. You’ll be the better for it.
For girls or single women I have this to say: get a job too if you can, but moreso be busy with self-development, and above all else with the work of God. There is something about giving yourself wholeheartedly to the work of God that hastens your dreams of finding a spouse, especially when you don’t do it just to get noticed by a prospective spouse. I’ve never in all the 20 years I’ve been a Christian seen a girl busy with the work of God who didn’t become the talk of her congregation to the point of enhancing or even boosting her desirability as a life partner. Never! This is not campaigning to get married; it’s just doing God’s work. Doesn’t the Scripture say if we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all things will be added to us? (Matthew 6:33). Also look at how Isaac got Rebecca in Genesis 24. She wasn’t looking for a husband. The husband was looking for her (which is divine order) and when she was found, she was doing something productive, busy making a meaningful contribution. I suggest you read the whole of Genesis 24.
You also need to be decisive in order to successfully get married and settle down. This may sound like the first point I made above but it isn’t, as you shall see. By decisive I mean that you must make up your mind about a man or woman or girl, to go forward or not – refusing to linger between two opinions for long. Christ said in Matthew 5:37, “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” In other words and in the context in question, when people just flirt and never disclose whether they are lovers, whether they are going to marry each other etc. the devil is at work. Jesus said “yes” should be yes and “no” should be no. He added that anything other than that is from Satan! We know of girls who lead guys on, flirting with them but never telling them “yes” or “no”. That comes not from the girls themselves as they may think, but from the devil himself. I for one would not have stood for a girl who led me on without telling me “yes” or “no”.
Meanwhile, we also know guys who never tell a girl whether they’re moving to the next level with their relationship, making it serious by starting marriage proceedings, or not. Sometimes the other party finds out when it’s too late that their time was wasted, that the person they thought they were with was busy seeing someone else behind their back! I’ve heard of girls finding out when the wedding invitation cards were being circulated that their so-called boyfriend was marrying someone else the next Saturday! These things ought not so to be! Be open and frank even if your answer is “no”. Don’t lead a person on unnecessarily.
Success depends on the grace and blessings of God, and success in finding a spouse is no exception. We therefore need obedience to avoid soiling the grace and blessings of God on our lives. In this vein, you need to understand the value of chastity as God sees it. Chastity has been defined as the sexual conduct of a person that is deemed praiseworthy and virtuous according to the moral standards and guidelines of their culture, civilisation or religion.
Simply put, you must refuse to sleep around! The Bible says in Genesis 24:16, “Rebecca was very beautiful and old enough to be married, but she was still a virgin. She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came up again.” Virginity is God’s best, but I realise some people may no longer be virgins at this writing. All the same, you can recommit to the vow of chastity and tell yourself that from now onwards you’ll not sleep around, that you’ll dedicate your body and present it as a living sacrifice – holy and acceptable to God (Romans 12:1). God demands purity in sexual matters, whether your pastor preaches about or exemplifies it or not. And if you have a fiancé or fiancée, refuse to sleep with them henceforth even if you have done that with them before. This may bring a cost, but it’s worth it. If you start refusing to sleep with someone who has been sleeping with you already, they may turn ugly, but refuse to barge. They’ll respect you the more for it whether they move on or stick around. The body is not for sleeping around or fornication (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
Chastity will enhance the desirability of a man or woman as a spouse, especially in Christ Jesus, where we have been given the divine privilege to see things as God sees them. The trust can only improve and skyrocket, and how important that is considering that it’s a glaringly absent component in marriages today. It will also invoke the blessings of a God who doesn’t tolerate sin. Summarily, refuse to be used by someone who doesn’t love you enough to marry you.
Having ticked that box, make sure you are always in your most presentable state, especially if you are a girl, but the same also applies to men. 1 Samuel 16:7b tells us that man looks on the outward appearance, meaning that to human beings how things look outwardly is important because humans are not God, so they don’t know the heart. It is not enough to be clean and pure in your heart because it’s only God who sees it and it’s not God you want to marry or get married to! Man looks at the outward appearance. The time is past of going in public places or church looking like last year’s bird nest – all shoddy and dowdily – if you are serious about settling down. Look and smell your best not only because first impressions are last impressions, but also because when talking about marriage, we’re primarily talking about human affairs, and the Bible says humans look at things as they are outside. Of course, I don’t need to tell you about the value of bathing, deodorants, colognes, perfumes, hairdos, make-up, etc.
Moreover, don’t let desperation allow you to let other people decide for you whom to marry under any circumstances, unless perhaps your culture is that of arranged marriages, such as among some Indians, most of whose arranged marriages usually last a lifetime and appear happy for the most part. Otherwise, we are told in Galatians 6:5 that each man should bear his own burden or responsibility. Over the years I can’t tell you how many people I knew who were too afraid to decide whom to marry that they let other people decide for them just to avoid the responsibility. For instance, I knew of a girl we all felt loved the Lord, was faithful in church and quite committed to the things of God. Then one day a certain young man wanted to seek her hand in marriage and decided to ask his lady pastor for assistance. He actually asked the pastor to persuade this girl to say “yes”. Although the girl spurned this guy and really didn’t want anything to do with him, the pastor exercised her powers, so to speak, and the girl ended up succumbing. They married and before the year was out, the man was sleeping out with mistresses, only coming home once or twice a week. He would beat her up, starve her and treat her like a dog. The moral of this real life story is that you should learn to listen to what God is saying to your own heart so you can own your decisions and the outcomes thereof, with no-one to blame if something should go wrong. If your heart says no, then it’s no, because God leads you through your own heart, also known in Scripture as your spirit (Proverbs 20:27).
Finally, you must be detached in spirit in your quest to get married and settle down. This means that after you have prayed about marrying (or getting married), don’t allow the matter to become the most important thing in your mind and life. This is one area where the phrase “When you chase things, they run away” is true. If you are obsessed and desperate to find a spouse people can sense or even see it, and I’m here to tell you that it’s a huge turnoff. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, “But let me say this, dear brothers and sisters: The time that remains is very short. So from now on, those with wives should not focus only on their marriage. Those who weep or who rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions. Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away.” What Paul was teaching here is the principle of detachment. That word means “the act or process of disconnecting or detaching; separation” or “the state of being separate or detached” or “indifference to or remoteness from”.
So when you have earnestly fasted and prayed for a spouse to the point of having assurance in your own heart that God has answered you, and you’re obeying all the advice given her, you must cultivate some indifference about the matter, but without allowing demons of passivity to take over. Sooner rather than later your spouse will appear. Let not your heart be troubled (John 14:1).