Choosing A Life Partner: It’s Your Choice But Let God Lead

The search for a life partner can be stressful and confusing, but more especially when we rely on our own wisdom and ignore the leading of the Lord. While the choice is ultimately ours to make, letting God lead us in the process brings us peace.

It does not mean that marriage will be a perfect one; but it means that we will be starting from a good foundation, and if both partners cultivate the ingredients needed for a successful marriage, then that adds to their joy.

Why should I let God lead?

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jer.  17:9, NIV).

Only God knows the deep intents of the heart of man. Friendship and familiarity can reveal who a person is but only to a limited extent. That is why you hear people say, “I married the wrong person,” “He/she has changed so much”. There has been no change really but just a revelation of the person’s true self; marriage has only revealed what had been lying inside. We have not even mentioned people who intentionally pretend just to get a person married to them. So, you see, it is just frightening.

But God can save us from making terrible mistakes in choosing a wrong person for a spouse. And God does this in so many ways. Those who let God lead them can be assured that even in circumstances where they are blinded, God is able to bring them out of ill-motivated courtships and relationships set to fail in marriage.

The question of the heart of man and how humans cannot see as far as God can, is seen for instance in the anointing of David as king over Israel. Given Saul’s disobedience and subsequent rejection by God, God sends Samuel to the house of Jesse to anoint one of his sons. While Samuel thought Eliab, one of Jesse’s well-built, fine sons, was God’s chosen, God said to Samuel,  

Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).

Eventually, God’s choice was the young boy David. Why did God not choose the more gallant and well-built men?

Because he knows the heart of man and he knows what the future holds for every intent of man. 

Yet, it does not mean that God’s leading at this stage will produce a perfect marriage. It is important to note that the ministry of marriage is not one of imposition. Rather, it’s about you and your partner collaborating with God, like a ‘three-fold cord’, to use your marriage to bring Him glory (cf. Eccl. 4:12b).

Making a right choice of partner, then, is the first step. From then, a lot depends on the couple to cultivate the necessary ingredients needed to grow a successful marriage—it doesn’t come automatically.

One key ingredient for a successful marriage is oneness—oneness with God, oneness of vision, and oneness with spouse on all levels. Any marriage that has failed, no matter the reasons given, missed out on this key ingredient—oneness. If you cannot guarantee this key ingredient as you prepare to marry a potential spouse, break off the courtship.

Sometimes our ways may seem right to us, but may lead us into dire consequences (Prov. 14:12, NIV). Marriage is a long, winding journey. We cannot see the end of that journey from the beginning. But God does. Everything may be perfect today, how about tomorrow?

It is only prudent to let the Lord lead you when considering who to walk the long corridors of marriage with. Do you want the peace that comes with walking the long journey of marriage with a right partner? Think, observe, watch, reason, but let God lead you in your choice and in your marriage journey.

How do I let God lead?

  • Give God say in your plans

A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs His steps (Prov. 16:9, NKJV).

Planning our lives is very important. Illustrating with the example of the ant, the writer of Proverbs even advises us to be prepared in and out of season (Prov. 6:6-12).

In planning our lives, we sometimes need to consult with people for advice. If we want to let people to be involved directly in our plans, then it means giving them the opportunity to make suggestions to us.

But to let God in on our plans does not merely mean He playing an advisory role in our lives; rather, it describes a relationship that involves consistent deliberation and trust, and a willingness to cut short our plans and move in God’s direction when that moment arrives. Yes, plan. But when God cuts in, be willing to listen and follow where He leads.

  • Wait on God; don’t go ahead of Him

Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. (Is. 26:8, NIV)

Sometimes, finding a partner can come off as hopeless, thus many fall into desperation and eventually refuse to obey God’s word. It may be giving in to sexual sin to be accepted by a potential spouse, or giving in to anyone available because ‘you are not growing any younger’.

But letting God lead means waiting on God. It means making Him your utmost priority, and making marriage secondary. Your life must not be dictated by the pressure to marry but by the desire to glorify God.

It’s not a question of whether you marry at 20 or 40. If it’s tarrying, wait! Don’t compromise your faith in God. You need to trust that God will lead you to the right person in His own time, and that He is able, even in the most difficult situations, to fulfil His promises to you.

Contrary to what some people think, waiting on God does not mean praying and fasting for 21 days for a spouse. We must not have the kind of relationship that is transactional: “Lord give me a spouse and I will serve you”. No! True waiting results in obedience to His word and a focus on pleasing Him alone and not our selfish desires. We must desire to serve God whether we will marry or not.

Walk in His word while you wait; make His name and renown your desire while you wait (Is. 26:8, NIV). Instead of fretting during your period of waiting, take stock of the lessons God is teaching you and the processes He is taking you through in anticipation of that ‘thing’ you desire.

You, LORD, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in You (Is. 26:3, TEV).

Letters to Young People: Preparing Towards A Holistic Family Life (2)

Dear Kwesi,

It is refreshing to hear from you. When you saw Adwoa’s letter, you asked what you could also do to prepare yourself adequately for marriage and family life. I was excited about your question because it takes two well-prepared people to build a fruitful home.

I must confess that your question is quite difficult to answer compared to Adwoa’s even though it is the same question. Hmm, when it comes to marriage and family life, I think the biggest responsibility falls on the man. This is because God has made him the head of the family and if the ‘head’ is sick, there will surely be disaster in the family.

So, you need to first of all train your ‘head’. I am very happy that you have had a good education. Your certificates will pay off in your search for employment. Aside from that, the knowledge you have acquired will be useful in your daily decisions. Interestingly education has a way of sharpening one’s life. Please tell your friends who do not want to go to school because they feel it is a waste of time to do so because it will pay off for them in the future.

I am even more elated to know that you love reading. Keep reading a wide variety of materials. Your reading list far exceeds materials on marriage, relationship and parenting. It should cover materials on financial management, entrepreneurship, marketing among others. You need to be versatile. A time will come when you will need multiple sources of income. So train yourself in that regard now.

Secondly, get your hands busy. It is refreshing to know that you are hardworking. A lazy man is poison to his generation, so when you meet young men like yourself, tell them to quit ‘sleep’ and vain talk and get their hands busy in productive ventures. Do not let your education prevent you from any productive thing you can learn or do with your hands.

And for someone like you who wants to enter into full time ministry this is fundamental. Your able hands will help you earn some money for your family alongside ministry. You remember Paul’s example? He was a tent maker and did not beg for his upkeep. He enjoyed freely from the generosity of God’s people without compulsion and reproach.

Kindly tell the young Christian brothers that their desire for full time ministry does not mean they cannot do anything productive with their hands. All they need is to identify, learn and establish some productive ventures they can run alongside ministry. God’s people must not beg for bread.

Financial prudence and abundance belong to God’s children; it is high time we appropriated it. As a man the financial responsibility of your family falls on you, of course with support from your wife. You do not have to fail at this major responsibility. That is why you need to take your time to plan and lay some good foundation financially.

Yes, you do not need all the money in the world before you get married, but you need a workable plan and a regular source of income. Please note the adjectives—workable and regular. Please do not ignore this advice. Without adequate finance for your daily upkeep, your marriage can land on rocks. I always tell young men who are not ready to work not to think of marriage. This is because they will let innocent women and children suffer unnecessarily.

Also get your vision right so that the woman God blesses you with can support you in that regard. No wise lady wants to follow a man who does not know where he is heading towards. So please be very sure about that and tell your friends to do so too. Think hard, plan well, write down your goals. Where you need more direction, pray to God, but don’t live in total darkness and uncertainty in the name of faith.

I know of young men who say they want to marry spiritual ladies so that their wives will pray for them and raise their children in the way of the Lord. I always laugh when I hear this. The man is the spiritual head of the family. He is supposed to be on his feet interceding for his family like Isaac did for Rebecca. I am glad you have trained yourself to be a prayer warrior and an intercessor. When you finally get married, make sure you do not push the prayer needs of your family to your wife.

Regarding your children, purify them with the word of God together with your wife. I am glad your feet are deeply rooted in the word of God. Please teach your friends and the other young men to get the word of God into their heads and hearts. It will save them in days of adversity.

Now learn as much as you can about women. You are blessed to have sisters and to know how to relate with them. But for the sake of your friends who like to read your letter with you, let them learn how to respect women and honour them. Tell them to give up autocratic and selfish tendencies as these are not attractive to young ladies but detrimental to healthy family life.

Visionary ladies are attracted to young men who have given themselves to good personal grooming. You do not need to have too many clothes but you need to wash regularly and iron them nicely.

Some young men do not take their personal hygiene seriously. Their body odour and bad breath can cause you to faint. Tell your friends to take note of these things. I wonder why some of them do not want to shave their underarm hair and trim their nails. These are some of the reasons why the church ladies do not like dating the church guys.

Please permit me to end here because baby Nyamedea needs attention now. You will hear from me again regarding this issue. Until then, take note of these things and teach your friends to do same. Stay blessed and keep shining.

Yours,

P. G. Okyere Asante

Letters to Young People: Preparing Towards A Holistic Family Life

Dear Adwoa,

I trust you are doing great. This letter is in response to your question on how to prepare yourself holistically for family life. I was excited to hear you ask such an important question.

First of all I will encourage you to train your physical body for the task ahead. By physical training, I mean developing the discipline for daily exercise. This will keep your body strong and in perfect shape for the task ahead especially for the daunting task of pregnancy and child birth. It will also keep your mind alert and sound.

Secondly, you need to train your hands. Acquire skills that will be useful now and in the future. Put your hands to the task of learning how to do some good cooking.

Some say that not knowing how to cook does not make you less of a woman. Yes this may be true, but if you can cook for yourself and family, you will save yourself from most of the junk foods on the street that are contributing to the rising burden of chronic illnesses in Africa and for that matter Ghana.

You may ask, “How about I get someone to cook for me?” Yea, that is a good idea except that you can’t completely control what goes into that food. For instance, I don’t put magi or any other spices in my food except a lot of onions, ginger and garlic. But I have no control over these things whenever I eat from outside.

It will also be financially impracticable for your family to depend solely on food sold on the streets. Regarding the issue of a maid cooking for your family, let’s talk about it another time.

Let your hands be skillful, swift and malleable. Learn a little of everything at your disposal: bead making, baking, stitching, etc. Learning to do these things will not make you less of an educated woman. It rather increases your opportunities of earning multiple sources of income in future. That way your family will never lack no matter what.

Thirdly, attain head knowledge. By this I mean you should acquire as much information as possible about family life. Grab books on relationship, marriage and parenting. Don’t wait till you get there before you read. It may be too late as you may have already committed some mistakes.

My friends used to tease me that I loved marriage too much (aware3 y3 wo d3 dodo) because I read a lot about relationships. I had piles of books on relationship and marriage and few ones on parenting.

It was not only because I loved marriage and family but also because I wanted to help other people in this regard. I felt that family life is too precious to be ignored. How else would we secure the future of the human race if we downplayed the essence of family life? So please prepare yourself in this regard.

Fourthly, train your heart for today and the future. By this I mean submit your heart to love.  Love God, love your neighbour. Family life is built on love. Without love, there will be no meaningful relationship, marriage and family.

Learn to respect and appreciate everyone who comes your way for the value of human life is enormous. Learn good interpersonal and communication skills. These are not only important for marriage and family life but also for your professional life. Learn some financial prudence too. It will pay off in your single and family life.

Lastly, I will say that add prayers to all these things. I love to pray because prayer makes the impossible possible. Prayer moves the hand of God, and makes rivers spring up in deserts. Prayer has caused miracles in my personal family life. That is why I cannot end my letter without emphasizing the need for prayer as you prepare towards your dream marriage and family life.

If you trust God and let Him lead you towards His direction, you will have no regret. I have told you time and again that there are no regrets where God leads. Feel free to let me know if you need clarification on anything.

Yours,

P. G. Okyere Asante

 

 

A Letter to A New Wife

In this letter to a new wife, Uncle Ebo Whyte touches on the key thing that can make marriage work for a wife–understanding how men are wired and responding accordingly.

Roverman Productions

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Dear Solace,

I will never forget the way you looked on your wedding day. You looked radiant and lovely and almost perfect. And that smile you had on your face spoke volumes of your love for John, whose ring you were going to wear, and of your hope of a better and happier future. I will cherish that image of you in your wedding gown for the rest of my life and I pray that the reality of marriage will exceed your wildest imagination and expectations.

You asked me for insights that may help you make a success of your marriage. Well, John, your husband has also asked me for the same thing. I sent him his letter last week and I have asked him to share it with you and you are also to share yours with him.

Solace, I know you know that you married a man but…

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A Letter to A New Husband

In this letter to a new husband, Uncle Ebo Whyte touches on three key points that can make marriage work for a husband: (1) identifying your wife’s love language; (2) understanding how women are wired; and (3) maintaining emotional maturity.

Roverman Productions

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Dear Mr. New Husband,

First of all, congratulations on your wedding. You made a good choice. Solace is a great girl and I am sure that if you prove to be the right partner, she will make you very happy.

My dear Mr. New Husband, you asked me to give you some tit bits on how to make a success of your marriage. You said you wanted nothing less than a fantastic marriage. And you asked if I could give you any ideas for becoming the best husband alive.

Well, first of all, you cannot become the best husband alive. That is not possible. To pick the best husband alive, we will have to make the contestants marry the same girl at the same time and live under the same circumstances because only then can we judge which of them is the best. But as you can see, it is…

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The First Year of Marriage: Being Spiritual is Not in Tongues-Speaking

In our last post we saw that the ‘spiritual’ fervor portrayed by potential spouses can turn out to be deceptive when their true objective or character is revealed in marriage. We called this the ‘spirituality shock’.

In today’s post, we will consider the reasons why many Christians fall into this pit and show you how you can avoid endangering your marriage as a result of marrying an ‘unspiritual’ person.

Marriage is foremost spiritual, because it is a reflection of the relationship between Christ and the church (cf. Eph. 5:32), and since Christian marriages are tools of warfare against the Enemy’s plans, the devil will do everything he can to destroy them (cf. Eccl. 4:9-12).

A marriage built on Christ as foundation and in which the couples relate with God is, therefore, inevitable if that marriage’s anchor will hold against the storms of life and attacks of the Enemy. This is why for any Christian, a potential spouse’s relationship with God is paramount in making the final decision of who to marry. But why do we get it wrong when it comes to making the decision?

Getting the ‘spiritual’ right

For many Christians, their idea of who a ‘spiritual’ person is finds expression in the prideful statement of the Pharisee in Luke 18: “I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess” (v. 12).

These activities are no doubt performed by spiritual persons, but not everyone who performs these actions is spiritual. Consider Jesus’ testimony of this Pharisee; He said the Pharisee was unjustified because of his pride: “for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (v. 14).

The measure of the Pharisee’s spirituality was not in his fasting or paying of tithes, but in his attitude towards God and man (cf. vv. 11-13). His attitude was one of pride. So in considering who a spiritual person is, we need to look at their attitude towards God and man, not their outward performance or show of religiosity.

While every spiritual person will commit to religious activities like praying, reading the Bible, paying tithes, fasting, going to church or operating in a spiritual gift, carnal Christians can also perform these activities (cf. 1 Cor. 1:4-7, 3:1-4). But what sets the spiritual man apart from the carnal Christian is that the spiritual person has an attitude towards God and man that bears witness to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and its result of fruit-bearing (John 15:1-17; Gal. 5:22-26; Titus 2).

Being spiritual is not in tongues-speaking, charisma or ‘anointing’

The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23a). It is not tongues-speaking, prayer and fasting, wearing the crucifix, ministering in the sweetest voice, casting out demons. There is a difference between gifts and fruit. A person can possess the gift of healing, yet be leading the young women in his church into sexual sin.

Consider Paul’s description of the Corinthian believers in different verses. In fact the Corinthian Church can be called the ‘spiritual gifts’ church—according to Paul, they lacked no gift (1 Cor.1:7). Regrettably, they were divided (1:10, 3:3, 11:18-19), contentious (1:11, 3:3, 6:5-6), sexually immoral (5:1), and puffed up in knowledge (5:2, 8:1-2). They defrauded their fellow Christians (6:8), abused their freedom in Christ (8:1-10:33), and looked down on those with gifts regarded as ‘irrelevant’ (1 Cor. 12).

What was Paul’s conclusion:

And, I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal (1 Cor. 3:1-3a).

Were these not the same people Paul described as lacking no spiritual gifts? But Paul says they are carnal. Their attitude towards God and their fellow humans was nowhere near spirituality. Their attitude was in tandem with the works of darkness: envy, strife, divisions, pride, adultery, fornication, idolatry, homosexuality, thieving, fraud.

“Oh, but he is an anointed man of God.”

Was Saul anointed? Was David anointed? In what way can you differentiate David’s spirituality from the carnality of Saul? The difference was in their attitude towards God and man. One thing that is common to the spiritual and carnal Christian is that none of them is perfect, but the spiritual Christian possesses an attitude of humble submission towards God and of loving endurance towards man. 

Haven’t you heard of Christians who sing under the anointing and yet are at loggerheads with their next door neighbours? Or a Christian leader fighting with another over a position in church? Or a boyfriend who just returned from church demanding sex from his girlfriend?

So who is the ‘spiritual person’?

The spiritual person is one who has surrendered to the Lord and makes God His delight by obeying His word, his life being evidence of God’s transforming power.

We will continue to explore this topic in our subsequent posts.

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com/Alfonso Romero

You can also share your experiences with us by clicking this link. Your confidentiality is assured.

If you are a young person, between JHS to tertiary level, and would like to join our mentoring and discipleship group in order to grow your walk with God, WhatsApp or call our Programmes Assistant on 0207567560.

This is part of a series of lessons for the first year of marriage as part of our discipleship ministry, Mimesis Christou (find out more about this ministry here and here). The vision of Mimesis Christou is to intentionally disciple young people to be effective, faithful followers of Jesus Christ. We believe that marriage has a bearing on how faithfully Christians walk with the Lord, hence the introduction of these lessons.

The First Year of Marriage and the Spirituality Shock

Before people tie the knot, they assume that the good things their partners portray during courtship will certainly continue to be exhibited in marriage, or that their partners won’t display any character, behaviour or action that would have counted as a red flag or deal breaker during courtship.

In many marriages, however, the reality is that these behavioural expectations are often not met. Some spouses tie the knot only to get surprised at their partners’ actions, behaviour or character. In today’s post we share with you one of such surprises—the ‘spirituality shock’.

For many Christians, one of the top qualities we look for in a spouse is spirituality. On the side of Christian women, they want a man who prays and can teach them the word of God; one whose spirituality poses a challenge to theirs. They want a man who can lead the family into God’s presence.

Christian men too want a spiritual woman; someone who can give spiritual support to the family and help bring the children up in the way of the Lord. For many Christians in ministry, it is an unavoidable quality.

In the quest to marry, some persons pretend to possess the quality of being spiritual. They do everything from being active in church, leading prayer sessions, moderating bible studies, or singing in the choir just to win the heart of a young man or lady.

They even join missions, but their motive is far from winning souls for the Lord. They want to win a soul for their selfish gain. But, if they are not found to be spiritual, how are they to accomplish their goal?

So you have this fine, charismatic, prayerful gentleman expressing interest in you; or you find a lady of same qualities accepting your proposal, and you are overwhelmed with joy. They can move the crowd, they can be seen praying feverishly in the deep of the night, they even possess an anointing that speaks volumes.

You get married and within the first year you wonder if this was the same person whose spirituality you ‘fell in love with’. You realize that he or she was not as spiritual after all. That is when it dawns on you that all this while, you had got the definition of ‘spiritual’ wrong.

In our next post we shall look at what it means to be ‘spiritual’, why some Christians fall into the ‘spirituality shock’ and how one can avoid this pit.

If you are married, you can share your experiences with us by clicking this link. Your confidentiality is assured.

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com/Mike Goodwin

This post is part of a series of lessons for the first year of marriage as part of our discipleship ministry, Mimesis Christou (find out more about this ministry here and here). The vision of Mimesis Christou is to raise young people to be effective, faithful followers of Jesus Christ. We believe that marriage has a bearing on how faithfully Christians walk with the Lord, hence the introduction of these lessons.

Broken link updated 26/12/2016