August 30, 2016

Should I Marry Him?

by Jordan Standridge

Maybe it’s because I am days away from having my first daughter (after 3 sons), but I’ve been shocked by how many godly girls are dating guys who just don’t seem to love the Lord. Guys who seem like their teeth are being pulled when they come to church or you talk about spititual things with them.

For some reason some single women in the church feel like they are better off being married to apathetic believers (or unbelievers?) than being single. While marriage is a huge blessing from God, marriage to an ungodly man is extremely difficult, and could be dangerous not only to potential children and grandchildren but to the church as a whole.

groomMy heart goes out to these girls, who have bought the lie that godly men simply don’t exist, and who believe that they must settle for the first guy who comes along who shows them attention.

The calling to be a wife is great. Women are called to submit to a man in the same way as the church submits to Christ in everything (Eph. 5:22-24). This is why women have to be so careful whom they choose to marry. I’m scared to have a daughter because some overconfident dummy is going to come along some day and try to steal her heart away.  My prayer is that she finds a man worth submitting to.

Of course we should point out that there are some women out there who are waiting for their prince charming, who will only ever be satisfied with Christ himself.  These women ought to lower their standards a little bit.  But there is a sense in which Ephesians 5:25-31 describes Christ and his incredible love for his bride and I believe challenges husbands to emulate him in everyway.

In order to warn you from making the same mistake my wife made, here are 5 aspects of a man worth marrying.

He must be a Christian

This is obvious. He cannot love a wife unless he first loves Christ. In fact, if a marriage is to succeed then both parties must love someone else more than they love each other.  It just happens to be the same “someone else”.

Second Corinthians 6:14 says that a Christian must not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever. And while you might say that we can’t ever be sure about anyone’s salvation, you must be confident the one you are marrying is a believer. You are sharing a bank account, going on vacation, training your kids, watching movies, picking your friends, and doing so much more with your spouse, that’s why being married to an unbeliever is potential disaster to your soul.

If you marry someone who is not a Christian you are hating your children. You are setting them up to be discipled by someone, who unless he repents, is on his way to hell.

He must model sacrificial love

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…

The question is: is he someone that will love me when he doesn’t feel like it?

In the same way that Christ obeyed the Lord and for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, husbands are called to love their wives even when they don’t feel like it.

You will be able to tell if he is someone who loves when the going gets tough, when he serves the church selflessly. When he offers up his time to serve others without concern of what he can get in return. He isn’t someone who is consistently selfish in his relationships, but instead he spends his time reaching out to those who can’t give him anything in return. He is also someone who isn’t constantly complaining and easily gives up on school, jobs, friends and family the minute he faces some adversity. He isn’t a quitter. If he is someone who loves sacrificially, you can bet that he will stick it out in marriage whatever comes his way, and will serve the Lord till his dying breath despite trials and persecution.

He must love the Bible

…so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word…

This is so important. And this goes with whether he is a Christian? If someone is to be the spiritual leader of the family he is to love the word of God. The Word will be his delight (Psalm 1). He will know that it is the Word that causes change in his own heart and others. He will know that faith comes from hearing and hearing form the word of Christ (Rom 10:17). He keeps his life pure by living his life according to the Word (psalm 119:9).

In order to have a successful, God-honoring marriage you must have a man who loves the Word of God, who lives by the Word of God, and who wants to learn more of the Word of God.

Is he teachable? Does he want to know God more? Does he read God’s word on his own? Does he enjoy hearing biblical preaching?

The best place to find a man is in church.  If you go to a church where the Bible is faithfully preached, then you are a little safer because chances are that guy is attracted to that church because he want to be exposed to the Word.

He must pursue purity

…that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing…

I didn’t know how sinful I was until I got married.

Marriage is taking two selfish people and putting them under the same roof. As believers we are called to surround ourselves with people who will push us towards godliness. And perhaps the greatest tool God uses us to make us holy is our spouse.

I will never be closer to anyone than to the person I’m married to. They see me at my best and at my worst. They see the side of me not many people get to see. They will see me sin. The big question is, will this person encourage me towards Christ-likeness?

Before you start thinking about whether he will care about your soul and your purity, you must ask yourself, does he care about his?

If a guy is consistently minimizing his sin, if he is prideful and likes to point out his accomplishments, if everyone else’s sins are always so terrible, then you have a man who doesn’t take his own sin seriously. You need to run away because there is no way that he will be able to lead you in your sanctification if he is not leading himself.

How can you trust him to point your kids towards holiness, if he doesn’t pursue it himself?

How can you trust him to run away when a woman comes and tries to seduce him?

Does he pursue accountability? Does he meet with older, mature men? What are his favorite movies? What is his favorite music? Does he love reading the Word and hearing convicting preaching? Does he confess sin? Does he think his sin is worthy of hell.

You need to ask yourself these questions, because he can only take you as far as he’s willing to take himself.

He must be a provider/protector

…In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church…

Of course the husband is called to provide and protect his family. The minute the vows are exchanged and the I do’s are said, the couple becomes one, and the husband goes from caring only for himself, to cherishing someone else as long as they both shall live.

A selfish man will never be able to care about anyone but himself and the wife will spend her days longing for someone to be cherished by. It is imperative that we marry someone who is able to provide for his wife not only financially, but spiritually as well.

Why does it matter?

…This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Marriage is an opportunity to understand the gospel better. It is also an opportunity to display the gospel to a dying world that has no clue about what love is.

A marriage that is built upon the gospel is a beautiful picture that ultimately points to a greater truth.

A husband who serves his wife and lovingly leads her is a picture of Jesus lovingly and sacrificially giving his life for his bride the church. A wife who submits to her husband and lovingly and sacrificially chooses to set her desires aside and to embrace her God given role as helper of her husband is a beautiful metaphor for the church submitting to Christ and trusting Him to lead.

There is no marriage in heaven. Let me rephrase that. There is one marriage in heaven and that will be between Jesus Christ and the church. As believers our calling is great, because our mission is to display the gospel to a dying world and there is no better way to do that than through a godly marriage. It is imperative then, that we see our marriage as an opportunity, not for our own happiness, but for the great privilege of displaying the Gospel to a dying world. That’s why we must not settle when it comes to choosing our spouse.

Jordan Standridge

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Jordan is a pastoral associate at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA, where he leads the college ministry. He is also the founder of The Foundry Bible Immersion. You can find his personal blog at surrender.us.
  • wiseopinion

    Where are the godly young men? Why do the girls feel like there are none around? This is a great reminder of what women should be looking for, but where are they? So many have left the church. Why? Where do they find them if not in church?

    • Christina

      Thank you! I was about to post the same thing. Even at a church like Immanuel, there are not large numbers of single men to choose from. I am 42 and never married. I have a 23 year old daughter (originally my foster child) that I pray for every day because Godly men are not easy to find. I am not suggesting women date “spiritual” men or non-believers, but this post was depressing to me as the parent of a child who would like to marry and start a family one day.

      • Maranatha

        Grace and Peace to you both wiseopinion and Christina, perhaps reading this little book will help to get a new (biblical) perspective on this topic in endtimes condition church: William MacDonald “Singleness – A Male Perspective” (= also for women!) https://www.everydaypublications.org/EPI/Order/Books.php?id=105 He lived happily 90 years on earth going the way Paul did as well 2000 years ago. 😉 (I am mother of a single son, my prayer is not anymore how to find a christian bride for him but how he might still grow in faith until the LORDs return)

        • Jason

          When my first child came back from pre-school talking about who he was going to marry I realized just how early kids can be introduced to the cultural expectation that everyone get married.

          Some of it is probably just harmless extrapolation since most the kids have married parents (thankfully). Still, I had a bit of a talk with him about how Paul was grateful that he was able to serve the church in a way that married men could not.

          As far back as Song of Solomon we’re told not to force romance, and yet matchmaking is basically a Christian pastime… It’s good to see some encouragement for singleness.

          • Maranatha

            Dear Jason, perhaps my/our story is a little special in this case: God used a little girl suffering from leukemia to show His love (agape) through the friendship to my son, both in pre-school age. When she died, it was the time for salvation of me and my husband.

            Once my son was asked, too, whom to marry one day. He said, he would marry that girl, because “I know her alrady” as he framed it. I think he was true in this point. We raised him in a sexualized world with Job 31,1 and are glad that God did not let him be tempted too much until now. Marriage and family were never worth any deeper conversation since then.

            I agree with you that “family” is one big topic in our community. Please excuse this expression, but in the US I think it is even CULT (whereas in Germany the cult goes more to health and personal independence). I can see this from all the US- movies messages. Christians should not be influenced by this and “panicking” like worldlings.

            Another point is the number of children, most Christians are very much influenced by OT Israel blessings. We should learn from Abraham that it was no shame for him having only one son, and from Aquila and Priscilla not having children at all.

            God bless! 😉

          • Christina

            Who is matchmaking? My daughter is a recent college graduate who is working full time at a law firm. She is establishing herself in her career and in life, and one of the things she wants is a mate to share that with and children….eventually. There is nothing wrong with singlehood…..remember I am 42 and have always been single, but there is nothing wrong with wanting to be in a Godly relationship either. It is interesting that you mention Song of Solomon telling people not to force romance, but remember that was written at a time when it was normal for marriages to be arranged by parents.

          • Jason

            “Who is matchmaking?” Maybe my situation is more unique than I had assumed… You’ve really never experienced people pushing singles at each other in church? Maybe it’s more of a midwest thing than a church thing…

            In any event, the attitude of people not being “normal” unless they are seeking a spouse and having children (once married, this is seemingly everyone’s concern) is a very real thing in the congregations I’ve grown up in.

            I’m married with children. I absolutely count it a blessing. I also know that, early in life I was heavily influenced by the idea that a guy needed to be seeking a wife. Most of my life was spent with an unhealthy perspective on relationships that seemed perfectly inline with the general attitude of the church. I missed out on the blessings of singleness!

            From Song of Solomon to 1 Corinthians, the Biblical perspective is not to resist marriage if it comes to you, but also not to go after it. So many today encourage the idea that our life is not “full” until we’ve got a spouse and children.

            I was simply commenting on how refreshing it was to see someone acknowledging the blessing that is singleness in a culture that sees it as something of a curse.

          • Christina

            I guess that is the difference. I grew up in Black Baptist Churches in the south and it was mostly women in attendance. There was a bit of match making I guess, but there were so few young men it didn’t happen much. Even the married women often attended church and Sunday school alone. The husbands came to church occasionally. Until I started attending Immanuel Bible Church, I was really not used to seeing so many men in church.

            Also, I have not found that Christians say their lives are not full unless they are married. I have quite a few single friends, and while most of us would like to be married and “grow old with someone” we are content in what God has provided. I don’t know if you have ever seen the movie ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ (not a Christian movie at all) but I feel that I am living a similar life. I always desired a family and I got it….in a very non-traditional way. I am happy with the life God gave to me, but I still would like to marry. To me, it is ok to want that but not ok to obsess or be depressed because I am not married.

          • Jason

            I can’t say that my experiences is with mostly female dominated congregations, but I’ve heard and read that a lot of congregations struggle with that and can certainly see how that would reduce the likelihood of encountering the constant meddling of well intentioned, but ultimately off-base, attempts at making sure “everybody has somebody”.

          • Rach

            Jason, No I am on the southeast coast and it is very much pushed in the churches, there are even singles conferences, not for that purpose but underneath for that purpose. And then some churches have single women’s conferences and single men’s conferences where the sexes are separated. But yes this is very very common, mainly in churches that do not preach that Both marriage and singleness are Both gifts from God & that marriage is not a promise from God for everyone and that the likely pagan idea of “soul-mates” does not exist.

        • Christina

          You assume that I don’t want my daughter to grow in faith in the Lord knowing that he will return? I can pray for the Lord to send my child a Godly husband while praying for her to be content in the Lord….the two are not mutually exclusive. My daughter has a group of girlfriends that recently came to our home for a ladies night. It was 8 ladies between the ages of 20 and 24……all of them are single and to me, that is an issue. While I agree that God’s plan may not include a spouse for every person on earth, I also believe His plans do still include marriage for His people. My daughter is content in her singlehood at the moment but she is a beautiful young woman…..men do take interest in her and I want God to send the right kind of men her way…..good Godly men. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, especially since I have years of experience being single for her to draw on. Thank you for your suggestion.

          • Maranatha

            Dear Christina, I do not “assume” anything at all. I do just not know what upsets you in suggesting biblical singleness. Of course, you can pray what you want for. I just want to mention that if we are biblically now living in the times of Noah and Lot (Luke 17,26-30) there is not really much need for family planning but to help gathering the last souls to be saved spiritually (=Gods children, not natural ones). Lots daughters did not marry their Sodomite fiances anymore, and Noahs grown up children couples had no children – before the flood. Do you understand the picture from the biblical view? 😉

          • 4Commencefiring4

            If your daughter is just 23, I think she’s got lots of runway ahead of her before she needs to think much about liftoff. That’s just one year out of college. At 23, I still had four cars between me and marriage and was nowhere near ready to settle down. Most people at that age are woefully unprepared for it.

            I hope you’re not of the view, common in some cultures, that if a young lady isn’t married by her late 20s, she’s getting past her prime. Nonsense. It’ll happen if and when it’s supposed to happen; don’t lose any sleep over it.

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  • Ray Quest

    how about godly young women ?
    can you write a similar article on ” Christian woman ” worth marrying

  • Kim in TN

    Just wanted to let you know, the Bible verse referenced and linked in the article is slightly off…I think you meant II Corinthians 6:14.

  • Jane Hildebrand

    Congratulations Jordan on your soon-to-be little girl! What a gift! Be prepared to have your heart softened like you never imagined. And what a blessed little girl she will be to have a wise Dad like you. 🙂

    • Jordan Standridge

      Thanks Jane! You’re always an encouragement.

  • Jane Hildebrand

    Perhaps I did it wrong, but I always taught my children that God had designed someone especially for them and that they needed to wait for that person.

    If anything, this was especially valuable in relation to their purity in that we taught having relations with someone before marriage was taking something that didn’t belong to them. That one stuck. And what a joy it was to hear the pastor say at their weddings that they give to one another their purity. (Kleenex break)

    I now understand that it may be God’s will for some people to stay single, but I guess my husband and I tried to model and teach that marriage was a wonderful gift and so the kids naturally looked forward to being married. And how we love the ones that God gave to our children! They love the Lord and it is amazing how they balance each other out, as if God designed them just for them. 😉

    I know this is not always the norm, but I am just so grateful. Last week I got to sing “Jesus loves me” with my almost-2 year old grandson. I really need to stop wearing mascara.

    • Christina

      Thank you for sharing that. I wish I had had that opportunity to share that with my children from a young age. My children came to me as teens and as a single parent and the product of a single parent household (my parents divorced when I was very young), the thought that God has someone designed especially for them was not even on my radar. I am fortunate to have a wonderful relationship with my children and the ability to talk openly with them about love, marriage and God’s plan for his people and I pray….a lot. I feel blessed that my daughter is really starting to understand that a relationship must have God at the center and she is not interested in men that don’t feel the same. I look forward to sweet times with my grandchildren in the future as you have with yours now.

  • Lighthorseman54

    My wife and I raised 7 kids in the Lord…all of them have a confession of faith…all of the married ones, married “Christians”……….however, against our better judgment 5 married poorly. We have wrestled with our obvious mistakes in parenting to understand why? Our family had pretty tight boundaries. After agonizing over it and seeking the Word and guidance from the Holy Spirit, we have come up with two difficult conclusions. First, we probably didn’t communicate the message of being “Born Again” as much as we did about them “accepting Jesus into their hearts”. It’s only been in the past few months as I look at a generation of young “believers” who, exposed to the easy believeism of the message of “cheap grace”. I have concluded that many if not most including our own kids, have “believed” but haven’t been transformed…i.e. “born again”…”born from above”……or “born of the Spirit”. With no real concept of their original spiritual condition or in other words how their sinful nature had them condemned. Thus how important the need for confession and repentance was in their original decision. I think this is a problem with kids raised in Christian homes. First we as parents, desperately want our kids to “come to Christ”. However we may make it easy to be “saved” without condition of genuine confession and repentance, especially the pre-adolescent ones. Even like so many adults, we suddenly find our churches filled with confessing Christians, but without the true benefit of being “born of the Spirit”. The results, are children making many life long decisions under the guise of being “culturally Christian”, but without the Spirit of the Living God” to direct them.
    So my second point is this. A Christian can be “unequally yoked to Believers”. A Christian can be as bad a choice as an unbeliever. The proof is too many divorces in Christian marriages. I know that I will be accused at over simplification, but too many of our kids, as they have made bad decisions in picking marital partners, no longer show very much of the “fruit of the Spirit”, just as their intendeds had shown little Spiritual fruit before marriage. One could argue that the young people our kids married weren’t saved or that our kids weren’t. In any case, just the confession or even the apparent life style of being a Christian, isn’t enough. We must confirm first our Christian kids are truly born again…not just riding our shirt tails. Secondly we have to convince our Christian children that “God has bigger plans for us than we do for our selves”. God can lead them to the person He has for them to marry. One of the ways best to confirm that is for them to rely on mom and dad to confirm one way or the other what God is trying to establish in the life of our children. Safe guards have been left in for the young person seeking a husband or wife, such as II Cor. 6:14. However in the confusion of today’s Christian culture, being “saved” might not be enough to ensure God’s best in the life of a young believer.

    • Jane Hildebrand

      It is never too late to speak to your adult children about what it means to be truly born again! Take them out to coffee, ask them questions, share some verses with them and tell them you love them and are praying for them.

      May God move their hearts as they see the love and grace of Christ in you. It’s never too late. 🙂

      • Lighthorseman54

        Presently I am discipling my son in law who I recently led to a true relationship with Christ. Sadly my daughter is resisting my relationship with him due to their separation…….so yes, you’re correct and am maneuvering through various “spiritual Minefields” in an attempt to bring them all into a right relationship with their creator!

        • Jane Hildebrand

          That’s wonderful! May God bless you and your family.

        • Maranatha

          So if I understand correctly, your daughter resists the wonder of grace in the life of her (still?) husband = your son in law having been newborn recently, because of some separating difference before? Then it is time to pray for your daughter which can not be saved then eternally because otherwise she would be willing to forgive her husband and being happy about a saved soul and the healing of her own matrimony like the almighty God and every single of His angels! (Luke 15) I hope and pray the work of the LORD has not yet come to an end here. Be strong and of good courage, be not afraid ( Jos 1,9)!

          • Lighthorseman54

            Correct and thank you for the prayers!

  • 4Commencefiring4

    Here’s a question: Should believing parents want their unbelieving child to marry a believer? I think the biblical answer would have to be… no.

    Many christian parents raise unbelieving children. And many christians date non-christians. Back when I was an unbeliever in college, I dated a christian just long enough to come to the Lord myself, and then–it was ka-put. Years later, I began seeing an unbeliever who then came to the Lord; now we’ve been married over three decades and our kids are believers.

    Of course, many christian marriages fail, too. No one formula always works.

    • Maranatha

      Dear friend, re your last sentence, which I can not agree: Yes, one formula ALWAYS works which is Jesus Christ IN PERSON. His word, written in the Holy Bible is true, everlasting and healing EVERY problem.

      • 4Commencefiring4

        Let me clarify: As my HS math teacher was fond of reminding us, “Practice makes perfect, if you have perfect practice.”

        Christian marriages are not bullet proof. They fail, too, and at rates that are embarrassingly high. And many christian parents raise children who, as adults, do not evidence faith. So the question I posed is very real.

        The Bible is sufficient to address every human problem, but we are but clay and are imperfect employers of it.

        • Maranatha

          Dear friend, certainly I do agree, but what I meant is that EVERY bad marriage can be HEALED by faith in God’s Word. It takes time, prayer and the will to do it, but it works, when GOD works. But the couple must have the will to bow under Christs commandment, both. (This has to be the normal christian practice in any good marriage anyway) Otherwise… OK then you still have prayer and the blessing of the partner with the better relationship to Jesus. God hates divorce, and He suffers when His children suffer, as does the whole body of Christ (1 Cor 12,26)! So He WILL find a way to heal bad marriage but you have to LET HIM command what to do.

  • HannahW

    I’ve been married for almost 18 years to an “agnostic”. And while we do have a very good marriage, I know that it’s not what the Lord wanted for me. We have been blessed in many ways by our very generous Creator and it appears as though my husband is coming around.

    One of my concerns for those who are unequally yoked are this (and they are from experience): when you are inolved in your church and you see husbands and wives worshipping and serving together it can become hard to handle. You can become jealous and angry that you don’t have that same thing. You know that their marriages aren’t perfect but you believe that at least they have the Lord together, which is something you don’t have. You get defensive about questions regarding where your husband is. You get tired of women who tell you what to do to get your husband saved. It definitely makes things a bit more difficult.

    But like I said, we are blessed in our marriage. And I have family and friends that pray for us every day even when I’m worn out. So these are just some of my experiences. Hopefully others can learn from them. Have an awesome day!

    • Jordan Standridge

      Thanks Hannah for sharing. I’m thankful for your faithfulness and for your thankfulness to the Lord for His blessings! Im sure people are being blessed by your example as you keep running your race whether your husband joins you or not.

  • Maranatha

    BTW: Does anyone of you know the testimony of Paul Washers wife Charo?https://youtu.be/GAxeDX-GYHw

    I do not think he didn`t be careful before his marriage as a pastor himself (!!), but he was married to a hypocrite non- believing “Church-christian” for 12 years before she broke through to be newborn during one of his sermons.

    In Laodicea times like today, I personally would even better stay single involuntarily and even against Gods will before “lay hands suddenly on man” (and woman) 1 Tim 5,22 and suffer a lifetime in unequal-yoked matrimony and wasting instead of using my lifetime fruitfully for the LORD helping to new life some child of God (like e.g. the apostle Paul named Timothy his son in faith) that did not come out from my womb literally. Better one saved soul not related to my family as ten unholy children! God will not be as gracious as to Paul Washer and Charo in any other case – He MAY be, but that is no guarantee.

    It is our responsability to ask HIM about HIS plan in our lives in ANY case. If marriage is the biblical picture of Christ and the church in earthly life, the very proof of the spouse before marrying her of him is unimaginably important such as the pure church is important to Christ. Do we really understand how serious this is and how seriously God redards it?

  • GinaRD

    “For some reason some single women in the church feel like they are better off being married to apathetic believers (or unbelievers?) than being single.”

    Maybe because so many of their fellow believers make them feel like second-class citizens and inferior Christians if they remain single. Maybe because so few of their fellow churchgoers offer them any encouragement or support in the single life. Maybe because, without always meaning to, the church has promoted the message that you’re not fully adult, human, or spiritual until you marry.

    You’d be surprised at how many ostensibly Bible-believing churches push these ideas.