So you’ve been dating someone for a while, and you think they might be the one for you. You’ve reached that special juncture where you want to share your future with them and be part of their own. This is an exciting time, and as a Christian, you should want to marry somebody God would approve of.
As your Christian brothers and sisters, we want to make sure you’re prepared for success on that journey. So, before asking them to be your partner for life, let’s take a look at some significant things worth considering prior to popping the question about marriage. It will help you determine if engagement is a wise choice at this point.
The Engagement Checklist
We want to equip you with an Engagement Checklist. This tool is basically a way for you to go down a small list and check that this person has met the appropriate requirements for marriage from a Christian perspective. Some of the items on this checklist are dealbreakers, and others are reminders to seek after marriage with the right person.
This checklist ensures you’re pointed in the right direction for marriage. After the question gets popped (and we’re rooting for you), we want to make sure your future marriage is a smashing success. This checklist is our way of setting you up for that result! Think of it like aiming before shooting an arrow; if all the items get checked, you’re going to hit a bullseye.
Are They of the Opposite Sex?
Yep, with the advent of Progressive Christianity (which is anything but progressive or Christian), we have to make this question part of the checklist. Homosexuality is still a sin, not part of the biblical design for marriage, and a dealbreaker if you happen to be in this position. The biblical design for marriage is a monogamous, heterosexual union between a man and a woman.
However, we want to make a theological point here. Homosexual attraction is not sinful, and in our opinion, resisting the urge to act upon that desire is a form of hallowed heroism worth praising. Essentially, it’s akin to resisting a lustful desire. Yet, when someone chooses to submit to that desire, that’s when it becomes a sinful act.
Like premarital sex, fornication, adultery, and polygamy, homosexuality is simply another form of sexual immorality. We refuse to judge one person’s form of sexual immorality over another person’s form of it. Nevertheless, we still recognize that sexual immorality is wrong, and this form of sexual immorality is prohibited in the marriage dynamic.
Are They a Christian?
This is the primary question that must be asked about anyone that you’re considering marrying. If they are not a Christian, it’s a dealbreaker to their candidacy for marriage. Passages like 1 Corinthians 7:39 and 2 Corinthians 6:14 make these marital requirements quite clear.
If they aren’t a Christian, we strongly advise reevaluating the dating relationship also because the purpose of dating is marriage. It doesn’t make much sense to continue dating someone you’re biblically forbidden to marry. Hoping for their salvation is good, but it’s not a winning dating strategy for finding the right partner for marriage. We want you out there looking for people who are already Christians.
Do They Practice the Faith?
You want your future spouse to be someone who demonstrates their Christian faith. Look for signs that they go to church somewhere or are involved with a Christian small group of some kind, and these signs should be noticeable to you by this point in the relationship. Remember, you want a Christian spouse, not a pretender.
This analogy helps make the point well enough, so think of it this way. You’re searching online dating profiles and come across someone claiming to be a dedicated runner. But the entire time that you’ve been dating them, they never went to a single race and never went jogging even once. Were you really dating a runner this whole time, or were you dating someone who only thinks they’re a runner?
It’s the same way with Christianity. If someone doesn’t practice the faith in some way, are they really Christian? It’s hard to tell without some sort of track record (pun totally intended).
Is Their Lifestyle in Agreement with the Bible?
Following that same train of thought, this is another important question for the checklist. You want to know if they practice what they preach. Someone who professes to live one way but actually lives another way is a hypocrite, and if they treat their faith this way, you can be sure that they’ll treat you the same way in the marriage.
The checkmark for this item can be as big or as small as you think it should. A big checkmark might be easy biblical answers to questions like: Do they have a habit of lying? A small checkmark might be difficult biblical answers to questions like: Are they demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control)?
The point of this checklist item is simple. You have an unspoken biblical standard in your mind, and we want to make sure that your potential spouse meets that standard.
Do They Have a Kingdom Mindset?
This is an underrated but super impactful question. Are they an American Christian or a Christian American? You can plug any nationality into that equation, but there’s a big difference in the implication behind the answer.
There are a few key questions that will help you discern if this question deserves a checkmark yet or not. Like Hebrews 13:14 reminds us, do they understand that this world is not their home? Like 2 Corinthians 5:20 employs, do they understand themselves to be an ambassador for God on earth? These types of questions help orient us with a proper perspective about our role in the kingdom of God. Our Christian faith isn’t simply an additional aspect of our lives; it’s the whole preoccupation!