It’s one of the biggest decisions of our life. As children of God, we know that there is no turning back. So we want to be sure to marry the right person. What are the signs to look for?
Joseph was ready to break up with Mary when she told him she was pregnant. When your fiancée becomes pregnant when you have never touched her, you might think it’s a clear sign that you shouldn’t be together. Since it was a major turning point in History, it was the coming of the Savior, God intervened directly. He sent an angel to Joseph to confirm his choice. The situation was critical, the response of God was extraordinary.
Sadly, this situation is the only one where God sent an angel to confirm the decision of a man to marry a particular woman. It would be so much simpler, more clear, if God would send to each of us an angel to tell us “yes, you can marry that person, God approves”. But God does not act that way anymore. In fact, He does not need to do this because He has given us His Word and His Holy Spirit. We do not need a divine messenger when we have direct access to God. Right?
Okay, an angel may seem more convincing because we can see it with our eyes, but God wants his righteous people to live by faith (Romans 1.17). We must, therefore, read the Word of God to know His standards (Psalm 119.105) and have a good relationship with the Holy Spirit so that He gives us peace in our decisions. So how do we know if the person who makes our heart beat faster is the one we should marry?
First, consider God’s recommendations for choosing a partner. He must be of the same faith as you (and not only in name!), because “what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6.14 NASB). Taking the example of Abraham, we must add some essential criteria for this person to be compatible with us (read this other article on this subject). We can add bonus criteria, to simplify our lives, but if the person you are with shares the same sincere faith, meets your essential criteria, God is not against this union.
Logically, you can marry that person. But God does not want us to only trust our human logic, even if we base it on his Word! He also wants us to consult His Spirit, who knows Him the thoughts of God (1 Corinthians 2:11). So put your logical choice in prayer and let the Holy Ghost give you peace or give you specific instructions (for example, He may tell you that you should wait a little longer or that you have to give up this or that before you marry).
The Holy Spirit always confirms the will of God in our choices by his peace. But having peace does not mean that we have no fear. Joshua knew very well what God’s will was for him, and he was trembling with fear to do it - so much so that God had to tell him 3 times not to be afraid. The peace of God is a feeling that goes beyond circumstances, that goes beyond intelligence (Philippians 4:7). You need this peace to reassure you because fear will come to visit you here and there. Even once married, you will have those days where doubt will come into your head and you will wonder if you have really married the right person. To these doubts, you will have to answer that you have indeed married the right person because you followed the recommendations in the Word of God and that you had the peace of the Holy Spirit.
Can we ask for extraordinary signs to confirm our choice? “If she comes to sit next to me, Sunday, that will prove that I should marry her.” Or, “if my pastor tells me that he has peace in our choice, then surely God approves”. Although it is wise to seek advice from those who have already been there, never rely on external signs alone to justify your decision. These may be beautiful winks, but God wants his children to live by faith and not just by signs. If you rely solely on the word of your pastor, for example, what will happen to your marriage if you learn a few months or years after that your pastor did not follow God’s plan for his life and that he had an extramarital affair or diverted funds from the church? All his decisions will be questioned, and that will put your marriage in question too! Listen to the advice, but build your decision on your own faith - you will be the only one responsible.
Follow God’s recommendations in his Word, and let the peace of the Holy Spirit confirm your choice. With this, you can not go wrong. It will not always be easy, but you can not make the wrong choice when you walk in his steps with his Spirit at your side.