AGONY PEP TALK with AUNT SUE
Dear Aunt Sue,
THANK you for your guidance especially for us young people, who usually do not know who to ask when it comes to issues of relationships.
Four months ago I started going out with my friendâ€™s cousin. I am so in love with her but how do I know that I have found a perfect partner for marriage? I am 28 years old and I am economically-independent as I am working.
The Bible does not address how to find the perfect spouse, nor does it give specific guidelines as we might like on the matter of finding the right marriage partner. The one thing Godâ€™s Word does explicitly tell us is to make sure that we do not marry an unbeliever; assuming that you are a believer. Beyond this, the Bible is silent about how to know we are marrying the â€˜rightâ€™ person.
First, ensure that you are ready to marry and you are mature and able to commit yourself to someone else for the rest of your life. Marriage requires sacrifice and selflessness and before tying the knot, you should study the roles and duties of a husband and wife.
You should make sure you know each other for a sufficient amount of time before discussing marriage. How the other person reacts to different situations, how she behaves around your family and friends, and what kind of people she spends time with.
A personâ€™s behaviour is greatly influenced by the company they keep; there is need to agree on issues of morality, finances, values, children, church attendance and involvement. Also consider relationships with in-laws, and employment. These are areas of potential conflict and should be considered beforehand.
Finally, it is important to go for pre-marital counselling to learn valuable tools for building a marriage on a foundation of faith in Christ, and you will also learn how to deal with inevitable conflicts. After all these criteria have been met, the couple is ready to decide to be joined together in marriage.
Biblical age gap
Dear Aunt Sue I wanted to find out if there is anything in the Bible that addresses age differences in relationships?
The Bible very rarely gives us age examples in marriage relationships (or in any other situation, for that matter). We do know that Abraham was 10 years older than Sarah (Genesis 17:17), but there are no other couples in the Bible where both individualsâ€™ ages are given. It is often assumed, for example, that Joseph was significantly older than Mary. However, there is absolutely nothing in the Bible that indicates this.
Age can be important in a marriage, but it is far less important than other issues such as salvation, spiritual maturity, and compatibility. As people get older, age difference means less and less. Obviously, a 40-year-old marrying a 20-year-old will be questioned, while no one will think twice about an 80-year-old marrying a 60-year-old. The only warning regarding age in marriage is to avoid marrying someone young for lustful purposes, and avoid marrying someone older for money.
Look for love?
Dear Aunt Sue,
I am a 23-year old girl and in college. I am not going out with anyone but I want to know if I should be actively looking for a partner now, or should I wait for God to bring one to me?
At the risk of sounding noncommittal, the answer to both questions is â€œyes.â€ There is an important balance between the two. We are not to frantically search for a spouse as if everything depends solely on our effort. Neither should we be entirely passive, assuming that someday God will cause a spouse to knock on the door, ring in hand, ready to recite the vows.
When the time came for Isaac to take a wife, he took action (rather, his parents did, according to cultural norms): they sent a servant to actively seek a wife (Genesis 24).
As Christians, once we know that it is time to start looking for a spouse, we should begin the process with prayer. Committing ourselves to Godâ€™s will for our lives is the first step. We should also be clear on the biblical characteristics of a godly husband or wife, and we should seek someone who qualifies on a spiritual level.
It is important to understand these qualities first and then seek someone who possesses those qualities. To â€œfall in loveâ€ with someone and then discover he or she is not spiritually qualified to be our mate is to invite heartache and put ourselves in a very difficult position.
If we pray, God will lead us to the person He has for us. It is important to wait on the Lord and trust in Him.
How will I know?
Dear Aunt Sue,
I am a 20-year-old girl. How can I know if I am in love?
Dear BB, love is a very powerful emotion which motivates much of our lives and often times people make many important decisions based on this emotion; even to get married because they feel they are in love.
Maybe, this could be the reason why about half of all first marriages end in divorce. The Bible teaches us that true love is not an emotion that can come or go, but a decision. We are not just to love those who love us; we should even love those who hate us, the same way that Christ loves the unlovable
BB you are still young and it is very easy to imagine that you have fallen in love with someone, but there are some questions you need to ask before you can decide if what you are feeling is true love.
If you are considering giving your heart and emotions to one person, then you should be willing to put that person above all other people and to put your relationship second only to God.
Another thing to consider is whether or not the loved one is a good candidate for being a mate. Has he/she already put God first and foremost in his/her life? Is he/she able to give his/her time and energy to building the relationship into a marriage that will last a lifetime? There is no measuring stick to determine when we are truly in love with someone, but it is important to discern whether we are following our emotions or following Godâ€™s will for our lives. True love is a decision, not just an emotion. True biblical love is loving someone all of the time, not just when you feel in love.
I hope I have answered you.
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