I put some of it into my own words in order to make it more applicable to women and men alike, but the majority of it is right from the “guide” itself, and it reads as follows:
The Scriptures call us to develop an attraction to true beauty. 1 Peter 3:3-6 describes the beautiful wife as a woman who has a gentle and quiet spirit, born out of her faith and hope in God, and displayed in her trusting submission to her husband.
… Is this the kind of beauty the driving force in a relationship? Or have you made romantic attraction and “chemistry” the deciding issue? Now don’t get me wrong, you should be physically attracted… but we get in trouble, both in dating and in marriage, when we make physical beauty and “chemistry” the threshold issue in the decision to commit to marriage.
Physical beauty in a fallen world is fading and transient. What’s more, the world narrowly defines beauty as the body of a teenager, and scorns the beauty of motherhood and maturity. But which “body” are you going to spend most of your years together? Personalities also change and mature, and what seems like “chemistry” when you’re 22 might feel like superficial immaturity 10 years later.
No one lives in a perpetual state of “being in love.” But in marriage, our love is called to “always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere” (1 Cor. 13:7). If mere worldly, physical beauty if the main thing attracting our love, then our love will prove as ephemeral as that beauty. But if we have developed an attraction to true beauty, then we have nothing to fear.
Don’t Wait for a Soul Mate
Our culture has embraced a rather absurd notion that there is just one person who can “complete us.” This is a disastrous mindset with which to approach a lifelong marital decision.
Many people mistake a storm of emotion as the identifying mark of their soul mate. How else can you identify “destiny”? Such individuals marry on an infatuation binge without seriously considering character, compatibility, life goals, family desires, spiritual health, and other important concerns.
God has given us biblical ways of making a “wise” choice that we can use to arrive at a solid decision, based on a number of factors:
- Is the person a believer who fears God (Proverbs 31:30) and who is biblically eligible for marriage (Mark 10:11-12)?
- How do they handle their money? (Proverbs 31:16, 18)
- Is this person a hard worker? (Proverbs 13:4; 26:13-15)
- Do they live an upright life? (Proverbs 13:6, 20; 25:28)
- Does this person wound people with their words, or are they an encourager? (Proverbs 12:18; 18:21)
- Are they peaceful, or quarrelsome? (Proverbs 17:19; 19:8)
Prayer & Parental, Pastoral, and Wise Advice
Look For A ‘Sole Mate’
Instead of following Plato in a wild pursuit of our soul mate, we should seek to find a biblical “sole mate.” A sole mate is someone who walks with us as together we apply biblical love. The most accurate definition of true love is found in John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
This love is not based on feelings, but on sacrifice. The Bible calls men to act like martyrs toward their wives, laying down their own lives on their wives’ behalf (Ephesians 5:25). Love is not an emotion; it’s a policy and a commitment that we choose to keep. Such love is not based on the worthiness of the person being loved – none of us deserve Christ’s sacrifice! – but on the worthiness of the One who calls us to love: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
A “sole mate” appreciates that marriage is a school of character. Character that shows in the women or men who, through the duties and sacrifice of marriage, have trained themselves to love with God’s love. They live out the gospel on a daily basis, forgiving, serving, and putting others first in the most ordinary issues of life in such a way that they see themselves in training for godliness.
As Christ’s follower – as a true sole mate – I’m called to take his example and his definition of love and apply it to my spouse. It really doesn’t matter whether my spouse is a “soul mate,” as much as it matters that I choose to love him/her with Christ’s love. That means a sacrificial mindset marked by generosity, kindness, and mercy.
A biblical sole mate who walks in this truth, who daily travels God’s journey on sacrificial love, and who willingly goes “into training” for godliness is a far more stable foundation upon which to build a lifelong partnership that the philosophy of Plato.
The guide then continues and focuses on a section that looks at “How Do You Decide to Marry the Man or Woman You’re Dating.” Since that may be a step too far ahead for some at this point, there still are things that one can really think about and take into consideration even when still at the point of friendship/beginning a new relationship. These were specific thoughts such as:
- Generally speaking, will you be able to serve God better together than apart?
- Does this relationship spur you on in your Christian discipleship, or does it dull and distract your interest in the Lord and his people? Are you more or less eager to study God’s word, and pray, and give yourself in service as a result of time spent together?
- What do other mature Christian friends and family members say about your relationship? Do they see a relationship that is spiritually solid and God-glorifying?
All of these things are important to think about, apply and make a priority whether you are single and preparing for that future someone, or if you’re in a relationship, or even if you’re already married and need to make your focus deeper in Christ. :)