Choosing a life partner? Here are 10 things to keep in mind
Senior Pastor Benny Ho, Faith Community Church // October 1, 2020, 4:03 pm
The story of how Isaac met Rebekah in Genesis 24 is a classic story of romance and love worthy of a K-drama.
Abraham was on the verge of promotion to heaven. So, he summoned his trusted servant and sent him on a special mission.
“…you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.” (Genesis 24:3)
I know that it may be difficult for us to understand arranged marriages because we no longer practise it. However, while the setting and methods may change, the principles remain the same.
Allow me to outline for you 10 keys for choosing a mate.
1. SEEK COUNSEL
Notice that Isaac was not the only one involved in the choosing. There were others involved in the process, such as a trusted servant and a devoted father.
There is wisdom among many counsellors. I want to encourage you to see your parents and your spiritual leaders as a source of wisdom rather than a hindrance.
Chances are when we marry someone against our parents, our pastors or our mentor’s advice, we are likely to go onto dangerous ground. This is especially true if they love God and have your best interest at heart.
The need for counsellors becomes even more critical because when we are so “madly in love”, our emotions tend to overwhelm our better judgment.
We end up missing the most obvious signs of weaknesses in the other party. We end up seeing what we want to see.
Before we jump into a relationship, there is a need for us to seek counsel.
2. BE EQUALLY YOKED
“…go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.” (Genesis 24:4)
Abraham’s chief concern was that his son marries within the same faith. This is the principle of being equally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14-16).
The word “yoke” refers to a harness that puts two oxen together as they plow the field. Once they are yoked together, they must go the same direction, do the same things, at the same time.
God loves you and wants the best for you. He knows the amount of challenges that can come in an unequally yoked relationship.
In the long run, I find that one party will have to give up their values to flow with the other. And usually it is the Christian who gives way.
Imagine the Christian is on top of the chair and she is trying to pull her unbelieving boyfriend up. At the same time, he is trying to pull her down. Who is likely to win?
Of course, the one below! The law of gravity works against the one on top.
In the same way, the law of sin works against us when we are trying to do this tussle. We need to be real and face up to these facts.
I am not saying that I have never seen an unequally yoked situation turn out good. But my point is that when it does happen, it is by the mercy of God.
Good results coming out of a carnal decision does not make it right. The bottom-line issue here is one of obedience to God’s commands.
This can be further applied to spiritual compatibility as well. We are referring not so much to spiritual position or activity, but rather to spiritual passion and devotion.
Never mistake a guy’s zealousness for true spirituality.
Don’t go out with him simply because he turns up at every prayer meeting and every seminar. They may be indicators of spiritual passion, but not absolute proof of godliness.
Take time to know the person in a group setting until you are convinced that his walk with Christ is real and authentic.
3. GUARD ONE ANOTHER’S PURITY
“The girl was very beautiful, a virgin; no man has ever laid with her…” (Genesis 24:16)
In other words, she was a woman of chastity.
Chastity is the greatest gift that you can give to your future partner. Let us learn to honour our bodies as a temple of the Holy Spirit.
Sex is like adhesive tape. It sticks well the first few times – but if we keep on changing different surfaces, after a while, it loses its stickiness.
In the same way, when we keep running from one partner to another, sex loses its meaning.
There is something so deep that takes place between a man and a woman through the sexual act that makes it unlike any other experience that man goes through. Sex is sacred and worth waiting for.
Be careful of the moments you spend alone as a couple. Never be in a situation where you are alone and out of the access either of family or public.
Consider not only the holiness of God, but also the the purity of others (Hebrews 10:24). If we are not careful, we end up stealing what belongs to somebody else’s future spouse.
4. CONSIDER YOUR PERSONAL MISSION
In the choice of a mate, one would have to bear in mind the mission and destiny that God has for your life.
In Abraham’s case, he knew that Isaac had an inheritance in the Lord, and that his future mate will have to be a part of that destiny.
“The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’ – he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there…” (Genesis 24:7)
Here are 3 Ms to think about:
- Master: I remember when I got into my second relationship, my mentor at that time told me to concentrate on knowing God first, but I didn’t listen and ended up with the pain of another broken relationship.
- Mission: There are so many people who have shipwrecked their life mission and destiny because of a wrong choice of a mate. Their God-given dreams and visions must be shelved because their partner does not share their passion or mission.
- Mate: Everyone is complete in themselves but “two is better than one”.
That is why I always believe that two candles coming together must burn brighter for the Lord! If not, why bother to come together?
I know that some of us may have already made our choice of a mate before we even discover our mission.
In such cases, God is so gracious that He will overrule and still bless you with a marriage that is God-honouring and kingdom building. Both can still seek to grow in obedience to God and come into alignment with His will.
5. REMEMBER THE PRINCIPLE OF CHOICE
“If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you are released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.” (Genesis 24:8)
“Then they said, “Let’s call the girl and ask her about it.” So, they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?” “I will go,” she said. (Genesis 24:57)
In other words, Rebekah was willing!
That brings us to another important question that often plagues us: Does God have a perfect choice for me?
If He does, it would mean that there is one out of 5 billion who is meant for you and if you miss it, you miss it.
What does the Bible have to say about this?
“This is what the Lord commanded for Zelophehad’s daughters: They may marry anyone they please as long as they marry within the tribal clan of their father…” (Numbers 36:6)
“A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord…” (1 Corinthians 7:39)
There you have it – we must marry within the family of God in the New Testament, just as the people of the Old Testament must marry within their tribe.
And within that biblical boundary, we have a range of good choices. We are then free to choose the one that fits us most.
God is not so concerned that you choose the right one, but that you will be the right one. To find a Mr Right, you must first be a Ms Right.
We can talk on and on about courtship and romance but ultimately, we must bring God into our search for a mate.
“Then he prayed, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham…” (Genesis 24:12)
“Isaac went out to the field one evening to meditate…” (Genesis 24:62)
While he was praying, Rebekah turned up. They set eyes on each other and “walaaa…”
It was love at first sight. But it was also birthed out of a prayerful search!
The psalmist said: “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will grant you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
Prayer is the key to knowing God’s desire.
7. PAY ATTENTION TO KINDNESS
It is interesting to note that when Abraham’s servant placed a test before God, it had something to do with the virtue of kindness.
The moment the servant asked for a drink, Rebekah responded: “Drink, my lord, “she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink. After she had given him a drink, she said: “I will draw water for your camels too…” (Genesis 24:18-19)
It is one thing to offer a stranger a drink, but another thing to water his camels as well. It takes genuine kindness to do this. And not to mention strength!
What you see is what you get. People change – but not much. So, if you don’t see kindness and loving concern now before marriage, you will probably not see it when you do.
Look for this indispensable virtue of kindness and grace.
8. GET THE BLESSING OF FAMILY
“So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham’s servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies.” (Genesis 24:59)
Marriage is between two persons, but it also includes the coming together of two families, so it is always good to seek the blessings of our loved ones both at home and in the Church.
However, the couple must ultimately make their own decision.
Honouring our parents do not always mean that we must do what they say. There is a higher law of God that rules in all our earthly relationships, including that of parents and children.
If you are asked to do things outside of the confines of godliness, learn to disobey in an honourable manner.
9. TRUST GOD’S TIMING
There is such a sense of divine timing in all of this.
Notice the sense of timing in Abraham’s heart, the timing in which the servant and Rebekah could meet, the time when Isaac would be in the field praying and meeting up with Rebekah on her way to his home.
It all pointed to one thing: The kairos timing of God has come! And when it comes, it comes!
If you have not found your partner yet, I want to encourage you to trust God’s timing for your life. Do we really believe that God has our best interest at heart?
If you are single, don’t rush to get married. Make the best use of your time.
Stop having this “all I need is a man/woman mentality”. By doing so, we tie ourselves up by rushing from one short-term relationship to another.
Enjoy singleness as a gift of God for this season of your life. Be content in every circumstance. If you are not content when you are single, you will not be content when you are married.
Your hope is not in marriage, but in the One who can make it happen.
10. STICK CLOSE TO “THE WELL”
Where do you find such desirable dudes and gals?
“Well, well, well…”
It is interesting to note that Isaac (Genesis 24:11), Jacob (Genesis 29:9) and Moses (Exodus 2:15) all found their spouses at the well.
Here’s the million-dollar question: Where is this “well” today?
- The well is the place where the community gathers.
- The well is a place where people are refreshed.
- The well is a place where you can find water.
- The well is a place of rest.
What does all this point to? That’s right – the best place to look for your future mate is in the Church!
Just keep on pursuing after the knowledge of God and the purposes of the kingdom.
And as you serve the Lord at the “well”, your “Rebekah”, “Rachel” and “Zipporah” may just come along. Hang around the well and your “Isaac”, “Jacob” and “Moses” may just turn up!
Pray and wait in faith, entrusting the outcome to God. Restfulness should be our state of mind as we are waiting for God to provide us a life partner.
In conclusion, we can learn from how the servant prayed in Genesis 24:12: “O Lord God of my master Abraham, give me success today… Let me be found in the right place at the right time.”
This article is adapted from an online talk given by Pastor Benny Ho for Faith Community Church.
THINK + TALK
- Have you discovered your personal mission in life?
- When it comes to the search for your future spouse, can you truly trust that God’s timing is the best? How have you seen this coming through in other areas of your life?
- What does it mean to be resting in God while you wait for a mate?