Vol. 4, No. 12
~ Page 8 ~
[Fulton County Gospel News, Vol. 36, No. 8, page 3-4]
The Wise Man said, "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord" (Proverbs 18:22). This is also true the other way: "Whoever finds a husband finds a good thing." He could have added that whoever finds a good wife or a good husband is blessed. The New Testament says, "Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled" (Hebrews 13:4). Most people will marry, a few will not.
There are several important things to consider in selecting a wife or husband: Whether love is present is a very important consideration, whether he will make a living and whether she will live within their means, whether he will be a good father and she a good mother, whether or not he/she is too selfish to make a marriage work, whether he/she has learned self discipline, whether they are mature enough, etc.
The most important consideration of all is to marry someone who is a Christian (assuming you yourself are a faithful Christian). You should be primarily concerned with marrying someone who will help you get to heaven. This is all-important. Your soul is your most important possession. Saving it should be your most important consideration. Jesus poses the question: "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole word, and lose his soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his own soul?" (Matthew 16:26). To make a decision to pair up with someone who will be a continual hindrance to his divine goal is nothing short of foolishness. The ideal to strive for is to be "heirs together of the grace of life" (1 Peter 3:7).
The Lord knew his people would have problems when they married outside of their faith. That's why he told his people Israel not to marry among the heathen. He said,
"Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and one call thee and thou eat of his sacrifice; and thou take of their daughters unto their sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods" (Exodus 34:15-16).
One consequence of their marrying outside the faith can be seen in Nehemiah's time. Some of God's people had intermarried with the heathen and it had resulted in serious consequences,
"In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab: And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jew's language, but according to the language of each people" (Nehemiah 13:23-24).
It is true that in the Old Testament, the Lord was concerned about maintaining the purity of the race, but when explanation was fully given, it always boiled down to the intrusion of other gods into their religious faith.
We know of numerous instances where a Christian married someone outside the church and was led away from the faith. First of all, even if one does not allow himself to be led away, he is likely to be in for a lifetime of tension and struggle with the mate to maintain his faith. Some get tired of the struggle, quit the church and lapse into indifference. Others grow weary of the tension and join their spouse's religion to keep the peace. They convince themselves that it doesn't make that much difference to which church they belong. Somewhere along the way, they unlearn many of the truths of New Testament Christianity.
Although the most important consideration in selecting a life's mate is whether he/she is a Christian, there are further things to consider. One consideration is to be sure and select a wife/husband who is eligible to marry. The Lord does not permit just any one to marry. Not a few Christians have gotten themselves into a mess by marrying someone the Lord has not permitted to marry. Rather than listing all who are not eligible to marry, it is simpler to give those who are eligible to marry. First, be sure you are eligible to marry! (1) Those who have never been married are eligible to marry. (2) One whose spouse has died is eligible to marry (Romans 7:1-3). (3) One who put away one's spouse for fornication is eligible to marry (Matthew 19:9). All who are excluded by these categories are not eligible to marry.
It has been the case that some who claimed to be Christians were not good marriage material. They did not live and act as Christians and treated their spouses shamefully. In a word, they were hypocrites. (And some of them were elders' or preachers' children.) It sure would have been helpful if those who married them had looked deeper and saw to it that they were not just Christians in name only but faithful Christians.
It's hard to be too careful in selecting a wife or husband. Some people seem to give more thought to selecting a house, an automobile, a job, a bank or an investment than they do a spouse. In marriage, you are investing body, soul and spirit in a lifetime relationship. Take your time! Investigate! Listen! If in doubt, don't go through with it! When you do finally decide, resolve to make it a lifetime commitment. This is the Lord's way.