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).

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No Regrets Where God Leads

I have noted that usually I don’t know what I really want. I am unfamiliar with my deepest desires. There are surface desires that I pursue based on my limited knowledge. It is only when God establishes His will regarding a particular matter that I realize that “Ah, this is what I truly desired!” It turns out that these desires are deeply seated so much so that I barely recognize them.

God is all-knowing (omniscient indeed). He searches our hearts and knows our deepest desires. David puts it better by saying,

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
    all the days that were formed for me,
    when none of them as yet existed (Ps. 139:15-16, NRSV).

Here are some examples that describe what I said in my opening paragraph.

For many years, I kept running away from a man who was going to be my husband. It was only after God had helped me accept him that I realized he was the only man I had always wanted for a husband. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts (Is. 55:8).

When I got pregnant, I said I wanted a girl mainly because she will help with house chores. I prayed for God’s will anyway. It was not until I got a boy that I realized that what I really wanted was a boy. My joy knew no bounds. I wanted him to look like his dad and grow to take charge of his daddy’s affairs. God’s ways are not our ways (Is. 55:8).

One other example was when I wanted to start my masters. I desired to travel outside the country. I was then working with the International Programmes Office of the University of Ghana. I had interacted with a lot of foreign students who encouraged me to pursue further studies abroad. You should have seen how hard I worked on foreign applications and how much money I spent on application fees. I was praying every dawn for favour with my applications. I was consumed with the desire to travel.

But the Holy Spirit (He is our helper indeed) directed me to pray for God’s will concerning my masters, which I did, yet still holding on to my desire. It was later that I began to see myself in my dreams working with the then director of the Institute of African Studies. I knew right away that God was directing me. So I went online to make inquiries about masters in African Studies and applied.

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Graduating with MPhil in African Studies at the Great Hall, University of Ghana.

To cut the story short, all my foreign applications failed; there was no funding for me. I ended up with Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana. I was taught by the director and lo and behold, I became her graduate assistant. The best part of the story is the wonderful learning experience I had, with very supportive course mates and amazing supervisors who took personal interest in my thesis.

“Ah! There could not have been any better place for me than this. Thank you Lord for your constant leadership,” I found myself saying a number of times. Indeed, God’s ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts (Is. 55:9).

I can go on and on, but my point is “We make our own plans, but the LORD decides where we will go” (Prov. 16:9, CEV).

God is the Master planner. He will give you step by step directions that will lead you to your destination. Many times, like the fog light, you will only know what is ahead as you make a step in obedience to His will. So, in all aspects of your life and regarding all issues including the insignificant, seek His will for he cares and is willing to direct (1 Pet 5:7; Prov. 3:5-6).

There can be no regrets where the Lord leads. You try it!