Hate to tell you this but no, God did not tell you to marry your spouse


Although I have no formal seminary education and am not ordained, I am a leader and a teacher in my church. Add to that the fact that I am a number of years older than many of the church members (I’m 48) I have noticed that I am more and more becoming someone that people seek out for advice and wisdom.

Truly, this is an awesome and humbling thing that I take very seriously, especially when I am giving someone advice on major life decisions that can have devastating and lasting effects on the lives of many people.

That being said, I have recently been talking to a young person who is absolutely convinced that God has sent him his future wife and that He is telling the young man that he needs to propose; and sooner rather than later.

Not really an unusual situation as I have long understood that Christians often believed that God blesses people with the prefect spouse but I simply cannot condone or endorse his logic or tell him in good faith that his desire to marry is really God’s will for him.

Anyway, I have been reading the Bible and some other sources as well as praying about this and I have come to the conclusion that people need to, where marriage is concerned, learn that who we marry is ultimately up to us, not God.

Sure, as with everything else, God has a hand in it but concluding that God sent you the person He decided you should marry is unbiblical and could lead to a very poor choice. Here is a little more on the subject I found helpful.

“It’s been miserable, Gary,” the woman confessed. “We’ve only been married for three years but it has been the worst three years of my life. My husband has just been awful. And what frustrates me so much is that God confirmed that I was supposed to marry him, ten times over.”

You could have served the bitterness in her voice to a thousand people.

In another conversation, another woman, married not just years, but decades, to a man who proved to be pathological, slipped in the same sigh and words, “But God told me to marry him.”

To these and many others who said, “God told me to marry him/her,” I want to cry out, “No, He didn’t.”

How can I say that?

My response is simple: How can you say the opposite? There is nothing in Scripture that suggests there is just one person we’re ‘supposed’ to marry. Proverbs 31 urges young men to be guided by a woman’s faith and character in making their choice—there is no mention of second guessing some divine destiny. In 1 Corinthians 7, the apostle Paul tells women (widows, in particular) to seriously consider singleness, but assures them the choice of whether to get married is up to them, and then specifically says women can marry “whomever they wish” as long as their potential husband is ‘in the Lord.’ (v. 39) If the Bible explicitly says, ‘it’s your call whether or not to get married’ (a sentiment Jesus echoes when he says some “choose” to become eunuchs—celibate—in Matthew 19:12, with emphasis on the word “choose”) and it’s entirely your choice as to who to marry, why should your subjective feelings and reasoning override living by the truth of Scripture?

There is, quite frankly, nothing in Scripture that ever tells us it is our sworn duty to marry one particular person. Whether we marry, and who we marry, are spoken of in Scripture as part of God’s “permissive will,” something He allows us to choose.

Is it possible God has told a couple to get married? Look, I’m not going to put God in a box. I can’t say “He can do this but He can never do that” (and thus I’m admitting the title of this blogpost is a bit provocative to make a point). All I can say is that the clearest scriptural teaching makes marriage our choice—both as to whether we get married and to whom we marry. Presuming that some mystical leaning you’ve received overrides a clear biblical teaching is always risky and often foolish (regardless of how many times God seems to subjectively “confirm” this call; after all, God objectively said something very different in Scripture).

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Categories: Christianity, Marriage

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16 replies

  1. I spent 3/4ths of my time reading this post completely disagreeing with you, almost to the point of being offended! But, then I got really thinking about it and truly, EVERYTHING is our choice. It is our choice to love God, or not to. It is our choice to sin, or not to. It is our choice to marry a specific person, or not to. So, without going into the whole biblical argumentative post that will ultimately back up what you’ve already said… I guess you’re right after all. 🙂

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  2. Ah…you bring up a touchy subject here.

    First I must ask…who are we to say that God did or didn’t tell someone to marry such and such person?

    Did we ever consider that God has a reason for every person to be created and that when two individuals come together, they are creating offspring that will be used by God either for good or for evil?

    Or that the person born was predestined to be created because God brought their parents together at the proper moment?

    Consider this…did God himself not establish the genealogy of every living being? Or was the birth of Issac, Moses, Saul, David, Baalam, Solomon, Peter, Paul, Nebuchadnezzar, Pilate or even our Lord Jesus just random acts based on two people who made the decision on their own to get married?

    The fact of the matter is that God is the One who brings two people together in His perfect timing because He knows those who are His (2 Tim 2:19) and He knows the unformed substance of man, of which are written the days that were ordained for us (Psalm 139.16).

    So then…I ask again…who are we to say that God did or didn’t tell someone to marry such and such person?

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  3. The worst thing we can do regarding marriage is to select a spouse based on feelings. The second worst thing is to presume upon God’s will. “The witness of the Spirit,” and all such subjective conclusions, can get us into trouble if we take them at face value. That’s why we have the church, and most especially the mature saints, to share their discernment with us.

    God’s Word gives us relatively few concrete do’s and don’ts; the rest is there to give us life-principles for guidance.

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  4. God apparently told the Prophet Hosea who he was supposed to marry. Doesn’t seem to have made things easy for him.

    Even if God guides our marriage decision, we should not expect that to make things easy for us. As 1 Peter 4:12-19 makes clear, we must not think it strange when a fiery trial tests us. We are here to be tested and made pure.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a thought provoking post! I agree with you wholeheartedly that we make our own choices in life and we need to own up to them, especially during conflict. And that does include our choices in marriage and a marriage partner. However, I do believe that when God says pray in everything, pray without ceasing – that we are praying for God’s hand in what we are praying for. After single parenting for almost 9 years, and not wanting to marry again after my first disastrous marriage, I began dating a man from my Sunday School class. Within a few weeks we were talking marriage. We planned the wedding date, which turned out to be much sooner than I thought. And then I began backing out. I was too scared. However, I did not tell anyone, including my fiance that I had cold feet. We had a date scheduled and I was going to tell him that night. However, my sister called me (from another state where she lived) and told me that God had impressed upon her this Scripture verse and for some reason she felt she was supposed to call me and tell me, and that somehow I would understand what it meant. Now, I hadn’t spoken or communicated with my sister for over a month. She, and no one else had any idea how I was feeling. The Scripture she gave me was the beautiful love of Solomon and his “bride.” When my sister read this to me, the most peaceful, warm feeling came over me and the thought “Beloved, it’s time for you to be a bride” came into my mind and settled peacefully in my heart. You might think this was coincidence, but for me, it was God telling me that I should be at peace and marry this man. And I did. That was 23 years ago. Yes, some years have been rocky, but it’s been an amazing 23 years. My prayers were answered with God telling me to marry this man. I know this without a doubt. So maybe there are exceptions to your “rule.” Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful, Godly posts – they are an oasis of life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And to add the clincher in my reasoning – just 2 MONTHS after we married, my precious 9-yr old son died in a horrific school bus accident. There is no way I, or my 11-yr old daughter could have gotten through that black, drowning time without the 24/7 love and support of my new husband. If I had backed out of marrying him, my daughter and I would have been alone to face this awful thing by ourselves. You see, I believe that God knew my son’s time was short, and because God loved me and (us) so much, He prepared the way for us to be comforted ahead of time, and provided my husband for me, and told me to marry him, just in time. God provides, in whatever way necessary ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is such an interesting post! I agree with you, and I can see where you are thoughtful in saying that we also can’t just put God in a box… His ways are so different from our ways. But I do agree that we ultimately choose who we marry, and then we make the choice to stick with it and give 100% into making it the best possible we can.

    Thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This was interesting James and I have debated commenting or not.

    I know God blesses my marriage. I see it every day that He uses our union for His good and glory.

    But, you are aware that it is my second marriage. Most likely, His preference would have been that I come to salvation in that marriage and have led them to Him as well. I didn’t. We do make choices.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have been thinking about this quite a bit Wally and I can’t find anywhere in Scripture where God picks a wife for us or tells us who we should marry.

      Of course God can bless marriages but He is also more than willing to walk us through a bad one as well.

      Liked by 1 person

    • This was inspired by a person I was counseling who insists he has met a woman God is telling him to marry and sooner rather than later.

      I disagree. He is 19, has no car and no real plans for the future…

      Good kid but not, by any standard, mature enough to marry.

      His answer is “God is telling me so…”

      Hard to say point blank that God isn’t telling him but I seriously doubt it and I’m not the only one.

      Anyway, it’s been an interesting dilemma for sure and I’m sure it will get worked out.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I won’t get into the details, but I know that I know, God brought my wife into my life 28 years ago. However, I totally agree with you that the decision to marry her was 100% up to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. So true.. haha. Once upon a time, this guy (who happened to be my Bible study leader) told me that God told him I was to be his wife. I was totally creeped out, but I trusted the dude spiritually (I mean he was my Bible study leader) so I gave him a shot. We went on a few dates and I discovered that he annoyed the crap out of me and I could hardly stand to hear his voice much less marry him or, well, consummate anything with him for lack of a better term. Two years later I’m married to a different man, the love of my life. 🙂

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  10. Thank you for this post. I agree with you 100%. So many struggle with the guilt that they may have married the wrong person. Others stress over finding God’s perfect match. It’s sad, really.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really is sad Anthony. Actually I would say that the state of many marriages in America is sad for multiple reasons but that could be another few posts.

      I put this post up because I was counseling a young man who swears God sent him the woman he is destined to marry and marry right now. He hated the fact that I didn’t think God was telling him to marry this girl because he knew in his heart what God was telling him.

      Anyway, I hoped this would give people some biblical perspective.

      Thanks for reading and commenting brother, have a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

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