Education and Marriage Part 3
Recently I went to a wedding and after the wedding my aunt asked me what I was looking for in a wife and I told her, “About four things”, without being specific. She laughed and said, “Only 4 things! I was looking for 40 things!” I am not concerned with my future wife’s education, body type, hair or eye colour, skin colour, ethnic background, or family history. I am not saying physical attraction is not important, it is important because God created us all with different looks and different preferences. And those different preferences help us make decisions; imagine how difficult life would be if you liked all things the same way! But what I am really interested in are:
-Her mind: how she thinks; her wisdom; submitting her thoughts to the Lord by making His thoughts her thoughts; rejecting evil thoughts.
-Her heart (and I don’t mean that blood pumping organ): her loving and forgiving attitude others, God, others, me, and herself. Her servant and giving heart.
-Her relationship with the Lord: her discerning mind to the voice of the Holy Spirit, and her obedience. I am so not interested in just a believer, even if she serves at church and sings in the choir. By the way, believing in God does not mean you have an intimate and personal relationship with Him (contrary to what most churches teach nowadays), just as believing in aliens does not mean you have a personal relationship with them. A relationship is a dynamic communication of talking (praying), listening (being sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit), and responding (obeying God because He is our Lord just as He is our heavenly Father). A relationship means you are growing closer to God in intimacy and closer to the likeness of Jesus Christ in spiritual maturity and obedience. In a relationship you are continually changing because being in a relationship with the God of the universe is a dynamic and life changing event, and not a passive state of just existing. You know, if you get hit by a car your life will probably never be the same again until you die, so how could you encounter the God of the universe and not show any signs of change? Going to church, serving, and singing do not necessary mean you have a relationship with God, even though they could mean that. Attending church should never be a substitute to spending solitude time in prayer with the Lord.
Don’t get me wrong: I am not looking for a perfect wife. What I am looking for is a woman who is sensitive to the Word of God and the teachings of the Holy Spirit, who is continually changing to the likeness of Christ. I would rather marry a woman who smokes but knows smoking is a sin and is struggling with quitting this habit, than a woman who sees absolutely nothing wrong with smoking. I would rather marry an immodest woman who knows immodesty is a sin and is struggling with letting go of her way of dressing, than a woman who sees absolutely nothing wrong with her immodest dressing. It is one thing to know Satan exists but you are struggling against defeating him, and it is something completely different when you are completely oblivious to Satan’s tactics. The first could mean you are a new Christian or there is a weakness in your life where Satan has a stronghold; the second could mean you are not even born-again, because if you cannot discern God’s work from Satan’s then it means you do not have the Holy Spirit, and if you do not have the Holy Spirit then you have no part in Christ.
-Her spirit: to explain this point I will tell you a story.
A while back I was in the library at university and this girl kept looking at me. After passing by her a couple of times she kept looking at me, which I thought was kind of strange. Finally, after looking at me she said, “Fadi, don’t you recognize me?” I looked at her for a couple of seconds and then I realized she is my classmate but she looked different because she had a plastic surgery done on her nose. (I didn’t actually recognize her until I looked at her eyes!) This made me wonder, “These physical bodies will not come to heaven with us, so how are we going to recognize people in heaven if we are so obsessed and preoccupied with their physical appearance?”
What I am trying to say is that I am interested in knowing the woman I will marry in deeper ways than physical appearance. I want to know her spirit, and be attracted to her spirit that bears the fruits of the Holy Spirit, that is: love, joy, peace, self-control, gentleness, kindness, patient, goodness and faithfulness.
Finally, I would like to say this: Do not marry a new believer. I am not saying it is a spiritual rule or command, but it is a very wise advice to follow. A new believer probably has hard time discerning God’s voice. She might feel compelled to marry you because she thinks it is God’s will. She probably cannot discern the difference between feelings and faith; and the Bible says we are to live by faith. Sometimes we feel that God has told us something; it is not the same as God actually saying something.
I remember few months ago learning of a young man engaged to a young Christian woman and wanted to marry her, but he was not Christian so he told the pastor, “I will become Christian if she agrees to marry me.” And the pastor said, “If you become Christian then I can marry you two.” She agreed, and her parents agreed. I was stunned when I learned of this true story because the Christian girl, the parents, and the pastor do not know anything about salvation! Salvation is the work of the Holy Spirit: it has its origin with the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit finishes it, and perfects it in the life of the Christian. You do not wake up one morning and put “getting saved” on your to-do list. Salvation is not a magic word like “abracadabra”; salvation sweeps over you and leaves you stunned and speechless.
I was just sharing the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ with a friend over the phone four days ago, and he went speechless. Then he said, “We have to meet this weekend somewhere quiet and talk about this”, and silly me asked, “Why?” He said, “Didn’t you understand what you are telling me?! This is serious stuff! I have been going to church for 30 years and I did not know this!” Salvation is not a joke, nor is it easy, nor is it something you decide to do. The Bible says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:44)
The second reason you do not want to marry a new believer is that you want to make sure she is actually a believer. People will tell you that of course she is saved because she prayed the sinner’s prayer, or that she signed on a booklet somewhere, or that she started attending church. But that is not what the Bible teaches! The Bible says that by our fruit we will be recognized, and that the evidence of salvation is a changed life. A new believer probably would not have the time (or spiritual understanding yet) to change noticeably, so: first, you will not be able to recognize the evidence of salvation in her, that is: a changed life; second, she will not be mature enough spiritually to be the godly wife and mother a godly family needs.