The other day I went back and read through some of these blog posts. Can I just say that I love journaling and blogging? I know it's not everyone's thing... but I just love getting thoughts out of my head and onto paper(?). I feel like I can breathe easier when things are put out there and not flying through my brain at lightening speed. I'm always fascinated when I can go back and read my journals from months and years past... it's so funny to be reminded of what was going on at that time and how I felt about it. Something that strikes me when I go back and reread is how strong my faith always seems. I guess in-the-moment it always seems like a meager attempt, and then looking back I find myself consistently impressed by it. I think that's just the nature of faith... "if you had faith like a mustard seed"... It's all that it takes!
Anyway, I recently reread my previous post about the "dating covenant," and it was good stuff! Although, I discovered that I had said that I would mention the idea of being "biblically qualified" for marriage in a future post... and turns out I never did. Oops! So, ladies and gentlemen (I'm pretty sure no gentlemen read this, but you never know...) here it is!
I came across this idea of being a "biblically qualified" spouse when I was reading through an online resource of Christian dating articles called "The Single Guy's Guide to Marrying Well." Now, of course I wanted to read through that! I had to know what all of these Christian marriage experts were saying about how to choose the right woman! Maybe it would teach me how to be the right woman!? So, I read through the entire thing in like one afternoon and much of it was thought-provoking and interesting. In fact, I found it, on the whole, to be far more interesting than "The Single Girl's Guide to Marrying Well." Maybe I'm just tired of the same old message that the church sends single women? Anyway, I digress. You can access one or both of the guides by visiting www.boundless.org and then you can make a decision for yourself!
Okay, so as I was skimming the articles, I came across one that was cleverly titled "Stop Test-Driving your Girlfriend." Ah ha! Perfect! Teach me, o article of wisdom, what is the key to avoiding being a "test drive" and instead being the keeper! Yes! As I anticipated, it was full of nuggets of wisdom... perhaps the most significant being the idea of "biblical qualification." See the gist of the article was this...
God has a purpose for marriage. God has a plan for you. God wants you to date someone who is qualified for that purpose... and He likely doesn't care about the rest of your "perfect spouse" laundry list, which is likely irrelevant.
But what about the fact that my husband must be over 6 feet tall? What about my childhood dream of marrying a firefighter?! How am I ever going to have green-eyed children if both my husband and I have brown!? Ahhhh! I thought that God grants the desires of our hearts!?!?!
Well, no... not according to the article. It argued that the problem with the way many Christian singles view marriage is that it's consumerist. It's "what can God do for me?"... It's "let me take my laundry list to God and then He'll serve me and give me what I want." That's a problem. The design is for us to serve God... for marriage to serve God. Why do we think it will work the other way around?
So, the article argues that we need to change the way we think about dating for marriage, and that starts with asking the right questions. It starts with NOT asking "is this person right for me?" (again, since it's not all about us) and instead asking "is this person biblically qualified?" Meaning... would God approve of this person for my marriage? You see, the terrifying thing is that God sets out shockingly few qualifications for marriage material. They are important... but few. Which leads us to believe that if a person satisfies these few, perhaps it matters not to God where they fall on anything else. Perhaps this means we're destined to be with a 5'4" non-firefighting hazel-eyed man. Who knows?
Now, how do we tell if someone is biblically qualified? Well, look to the Bible! Or, even easier, peruse the following list and treat yourself to some serious honesty:
1) Are you thinking like a servant or like a consumer?
2) Do you have a proper understanding of God's design for marriage?
3) Does your relationship with Christ define your life and actions?
4) Are you biblically qualified?
For him or her:
1) Does s/he radiate true godliness and internal beauty?
2) Generally speaking, will you be able to serve God better together than apart?
3) Do you desire to fulfill the biblical role of a husband or wife with this person, as outlined in scripture?
4) 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, pray and give yourself in service as a result of time spent together?
5) Do you think s/he will make a good discipler of your children?
6) 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?
And that, my friends, is what it's all about. And if that's all that God cares about, then I'm pretty sure that's all that we're supposed to care about. Scary! But, in the end, we'd rather have a marriage with someone who satisfies these things, than with someone who satisfies our silly list of superficials... I mean, right?