Reminder: Keep your questions coming! More questions, more good blogs entries!
From reading many of your comments, it sounds like finding someone who shares a genuine faith and commitment to God is an important factor for you in choosing a future mate. I’m so happy to hear that, and I encourage you not to let that go. However, determining if the guy or gal you’ve been dating is the kind of person you want to marry can be confusing. Maybe you wonder at what point you’re either being too picky or too accommodating. Maybe you have trouble recognizing the habits and traits that should be present in a God-honoring mate. Consider the following questions to help determine the spiritual vitality of any potential mates.
Growing. Does this person seek out God willingly and eagerly on their own (without relying on you) by reading the Bible, praying, engaging in ministry at some level, and fellowshipping with other believers? God's best will have a growing relationship with Him that is genuine, fresh, and intimate in a way that is noticeably and consistently affecting their life.
Praying. Does this person pray regularly? Do they easily pray with you or in front of others? Do they talk about their prayer concerns and answered prayers? A marriage without prayer is like a light that hasn't been switched on — dark and powerless. A great mate will be someone who is conversing with God on a regular basis for direction in life, developing prayerful intimacy with God, and investing in the lives of others.
Pure. No matter what mistakes have been made in the past, is this person determined – now – to wait until marriage to have sex, refusing to use your body for their own sinful pleasure? Do they honor their word to preserve purity, not trying to entice you into a physical relationship? Does this person work hard to avoid “pushing the limits?" A great barometer of a person's current spiritual life is how they control their sexual urges. If they truly love God (and you) and want to be obediently set apart for Him, there won't be any excuses, playing with fire, or compromises. Trust me, this is possible. It’s called delayed gratification.
Teachable. Does this person ask for help? Do they admit when they’re wrong and say they're sorry? Do they respect God-given authority? Do they seek out godly counsel? Someone who invites wise counsel into their lives is a very trustworthy person. Plus, if a person is teachable with others, they will likely be teachable with God. There’s no greater trust and security in marriage than a mate who’s teachable before God, seeking His will above his/her own.
Honest. Does this person tell you the truth even when it's hard? Do they communicate openly about their feelings, struggles, past, and failures? Do they take responsibility for their actions when they do something wrong or hurtful? Do they frequently twist the truth or minimize to get out of trouble or make themselves look better? Counting on your partner's word in marriage is vital so there should be all the signs of honesty and openness, even when discussing hard issues or admitting to wrongs.
Whole. Does this person place their hopes, expectations, and emotional needs in God alone or do they try to fill up emptiness with the emotional support of others (you), or overindulgence in things like alcohol, food, drugs including prescriptions, spending money, T.V., sports, etc.? Does this relationship feel more like a drain or does it create positive energy? In a healthy marriage, both individuals must know where to get “filled up,” not depending on the other for happiness or constant fulfillment. They do not avoid pain or boredom, and are not afraid to be quiet and still. They must each be secure in their relationship with God alone. Only then can you have a content joy in being together without dashed expectations and hopes.
Surrendered. Is this person independently pursuing their own plans and goals, or do they frequently offer up their lives to God and His plans? If the person you marry is living for their own plans, you are not going to have the marriage God intends for you. Two people who are surrendered to God’s plans open up doors for a great marriage adventure!
Forgiving. Does this person forgive and get over things easily? Does he/she treat people kindly who have hurt them? Is there any area of bitterness or unforgiveness from their past that shows on the surface? A person who can't forgive usually hasn't really connected with God's forgiveness toward them. This person’s bitterness will make your life bitter, too. People who are forgiving recognize that God is ultimately in control and they can let go of offenses. This will work in your favor when you have marital conflict!
The most important thing to remember is that, whatever traits or habits you’re looking for in a future mate, you must also exemplify them yourself. If you want a godly mate, you will only attract that kind of person if you are that sort of person.