With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, my mind has been on the many young ladies thinking about marriage and the type of man they want to spend the rest of their life with. I’ve been thinking about both the girls that are waiting ever-so-patiently to be chased by “just the right man”, and the more sobering crowd of young ladies who have compromised their convictions and character, to toy with the idea of marrying someone who is just not “up to par.”
My heart truly breaks when I consider what a young lady is forfeiting when she has to lower herself, even if it is the tiniest bit, in order to secure a life-long companion. I understand the pain, the fears, the doubts that the enemy throws in the mind of the girl that has waited YEARS for God to send the right man. All too often godly young women fall prey to Satan’s torments and give up the fight to quell the yearning for the love they are designed to desire.
Somewhere around the age of 16 God spoke to my heart to establish the things that I would not settle for, and to HOLD OUT for His best. I began a small list of questions to ask myself when ever my heart started fluttering into a crush. Over the years the list grew to about 30 questions and my friends actually RIDICULED me for making marriage impossible for myself.
These were not criteria that would have limited God though, like “He has to be an evangelist, have black hair, love dogs, and like the things I like.” These were questions that required me to ask myself,
“What exactly are you willing to live with?”
God gave me incredible strength, for whenever a guy showed interest and my emotions began to unravel my determination, I was able to pull out the list, ask myself the hard questions, and… if he didn’t meet the criteria, the answer was simply “No.”
Nine years later I was married to the man who had been my first and only boyfriend. God was gracious to me, and protected me and my heart for the absolute best He had to give- a man who was far above what my list of questions would have required.
Now that I am a wife, the importance of these questions seems to have increased as I have realized more than ever, that girls do not understand just HOW MUCH those little things matter once you are united with a man for the rest of your lives. It is so easy when your mind is enshrouded in hearts and cupids and LOVE to think that all that matters is that you will “be together forever and ever” and “love will overcome everything”.
I am posting my list of questions to encourage girls to ask themselves, “What exactly am I willing to live with for the rest of my life?” because while you are playing the waiting game, they may seem like small factors, but when you are spending a lifetime together, they will rise up in your marriage and create problems. I would even suggest printing them out and adding your own to it. So… without further ado:
“Things to Ask Yourself Before You Let Your Heart Go” by Becky Nichols
More than anything, my heart and life belong to God. If any boy that expresses interest does not compare favorably with this list, I cannot entertain the notion of a relationship with him. Life is too precious to waste time in frivolous pursuits that we know will lead us from the path God desires for us.
1. Do you admire him, as in, aspire to be like him?
You will be following him for the rest of your life. If you do not or cannot look up to him as someone you want to imitate and be like, you should look elsewhere.
2. Who are his friends? Do you fit in with them?
A person’s friends say a lot about them. Even if they seem different, remember “birds of a feather, flock together”
3. Where is he from? Do you mesh there? Could you adapt to living there?
Remember, you will be following him! If he lives far away, you will have to willing to leave who and what you know and love behind.
4. Would you respect him?
If you have a hard time respecting him now, remember, it will be even harder when you are married.
5. Have you observed his work ethic?
If he is lazy, remember, you’re seeing him at his best… the worst is yet to come!
6. Does he show initiative towards ministry, personally?
If he’s not doing anything for the Lord of his own accord, it’s probably not in his heart, no matter how much he “talks” about it.
7. Do your callings match?
Choosing a man over God’s will, will set your feet on a path of destruction. Also, remember, HE will be leading your lives. Your husband’s leading may never take you to the mission field you felt God called you to.
8. Is he stronger/more stable than you? Could he lead you?
If he is weaker than you in the faith, you will be ahead of him and you will find yourself struggling not to usurp his authority when he isn’t standing up to be the spiritual leader and head of the home.
9. How does he respond in church?
Right now, he’s showing you his best church face, and if he’s not very active in church right now, guess what? It will go downhill from here…
10. How does he spend his time?
This is where you will find a man’s heart. Is he consumed with video games and entertainment? Does he sit idle? Or does he utilize his time as the Bible commands?
11. How long has he been saved? Filled with the Holy Ghost? Ever backslid?
If he’s only been saved a short time, it is important not to get involved right away. He needs some time to grow and become established before he gets caught up with a girl. The same thing goes for the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Until he is filled, he is operating by his own strength and power, which can effect how he leads your home. The backsliding question is only meant to give you an idea of his stability- if he has or does backslide often, he’s not committed to the Lord. If he has backslid recently, you need to take a step back and give him room to really develop a solid relationship with Christ before you get entangled.
12. What do you know of his background?
Background is important because it has undoubtedly shaped who this man has become. On the other hand, you need to let the Spirit of God help you decipher what areas in the background are going to be an issue. (A man that has an unsaved family may not be able to help that his family is unsaved, but a man that has an unsaved family and participates in ungodly activities with them, you should be wary of.)
13. What do you know of his devotional life?
How much time does he spend with God? Does he even have a devotional life? If he doesn’t, don’t count on him acquiring one later, and forget him rising up to lead your family in devotions.
14. How does he manage financially? Outstanding bills?
You should look hard at a man’s financial ethic because his patterns and habits with money will be the same when you are married. If he blows money, you’ll live with that for the rest of your life. If he doesn’t care about outstanding bills, you’ll spend a lifetime in debt. Look for a man with financial integrity!
15. What kind of effort does his “plan” for life entail? A little? A lot?
Does he have goals, or is he just going to float through life? What are his ambitions? Remember, this is what you are going to live with forever… Can you live without accomplishing anything noteworthy?
16. What do near acquaintances have to say about him?
Take the reports of others on the conduct and reputation of this man seriously. You will be married to him afterall, and you will be inextricably connected to his name and character.
17. Is there any doubt in your mind?
Take seriously ANY doubt you have, because sometimes God can give us a sense that something is not right, but we may not learn what it is or why right away. Be very, very cautious, if there is something in you giving you pause.
18. Are you “crazy” about him?
You’re going to be spending the rest of your life with this guy. If you are not crazy about him now, remember love can wane in low valleys.
19. What reasons, if any, are you holding on, despite questions and possible doubts?
Take some time to assess your questions and doubts. If you are hanging onto a relationship that is questionable in your mind in any fashion, why is that? Sometimes unearthing our motives will reveal that we are only in this because of fear of being alone for the rest of our lives, or a desire for someone to pay attention and flatter us. Once you see that, you realize you are not in it for this guy, and that is neither fair nor wise.
20. Do you like the “idea” of him, or HIM? Is it him you like, or the “romance”?
Again, assess your heart for its motives. Sometimes the thought of romance is what carries us forward, but fast forward 10 years… real life is not all romance. If this is what you were in it for, you will live out your marriage dissatisfied with your husband.
21. What differences, if any, are there in your convictions?
This is one of those “small things” that will make a big difference later. If he does not think it is right for you to listen to your favorite artist, will you disagree and defy him? If you disagree about watching movies, what will happen in a moment when you are trying to distract the kids to keep them under foot? Will you defy him? Will he go against your wishes? If he has a conviction against supporting your favorite restaurant, will you eat there against his wish?
22. What is his response and interaction with authority like?
Does he respect authority? Gossip about them behind their back? Does he trash-talk his Pastor, or boss? These are things that will poison your home, and affect your children.
23. How soon will you have to make a commitment of any kind?
Will there be enough time to really explore the possibilities? Is your decision going to be made under pressure? Are any current situations going to influence your decision one way or the other, and cause you to regret the choice you made?
24. What is his job history?
Has he ever had a job? If not… there’s a red flag! Has he gone through a lot of jobs? If so, there’s another one! Was he ever fired? Why? Did he ever quit? Why? Remember, he will be your provider.
25. What is his relationship history?
Has he had a lot of girlfriends? If so… red flag. How did he conduct himself in any relationship he may have been in? Did he behave honorably? Did he preserve himself and respect her? was he a player? Was he serious? What kinds of girls did he have relationships with?
26. What do you like about him?
What are the things about him that make you really like him? It’s a good idea to identify precisely what it is, so you can make sure you’re not being shallow, and, that it is a truly valid reason to like him.
27. What noteworthy things has he accomplished?
Whether or not a person has accomplished anything in their lives is a key indicator of their ambition and who they will become and what they will do with their lives.
28. Which of you is farther along?
If you are farther than he, you will be the leader, and God’s design will be marred.
29. When you pray about this, what do you feel God is telling you… honestly?
Take EVERYTHING to the Lord about your thoughts and feelings in this matter. Be open and up front with Him. Do not leave this incredibly serious aspect of your life out of your prayers!
30. Take away emotion. What does your head tell you?
A lot of times, when you remove the flutters and the pitter-patters of your heart, and lay aside all that clouds your head, your brain will actually tell you something… if it’s not bogged down with all things that feel wonderful, it can WARN YOU!
31. Describe what you are REALLY looking for. How does he compare? What of these are crucial? What are not?
32. Can you see him fulfilling what he hopes to accomplish?
If he has told you what he wants to do, can you see him actually doing it? If you can’t see it, you should back away, because he needs a wife that can. And if the reason is deeper than that, you should still back away… because if it looks like he’s going nowhere, guess where you’ll be going your whole life… Nowhere.
33. Why does he like you? When did he determine he liked you? How sure is he, and why? Was there really ample time for him to truly know enough about you that such an important decision could be made?
And… this is where we determine how godly and serious this man is about you? Does he like you because you flirt with him? Or because he was impressed with the way you prayed around the altar? Does he like you because you sing well? Or was he impressed with the way God worked through you to minister to others?
Before you say “YES!” make sure you can ALWAYS say yes!