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).