First, we must allow our Heavenly Father to do the picking. And second, the decision for a mate must be made on a spiritual and intellectual basis before it’s made on an emotional one. “What about love? Shouldn’t that be the third?”, you ask. No, and I’ll tell you why. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jer. 17:9). The heart is willful and is driven by its own agenda. It does not consider things rationally and intelligently–it just loves to love! Therefore, you have to point it in the right direction: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Prov. 4:23). Whenever you meet a man, you need to get clearance from God, check out his attributes, and then allow your heart to engage.
Dating exists not for mating; it exists for collecting data. I believe that the biblical design would be friendship, courtship, and then marriage. Friendship is two people walking together in agreement and accountability, learning, and growing together. Courtship follows the mutual agreement to commit to one another exclusively–it is the decisive turning toward the agreed-upon goal of the marriage altar. It is a period of laying a foundation and preparing your life together after marriage. But dating? Well, if you do date, use the time wisely to gather facts:
1. Check out the fabric. Is the person mate material? Does this man have an intimate relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ? Does he care what God thinks about his behavior? Is he accountable to God as well as another co-laborer in the faith? Accountability is an important factor. It is imperative to maintaining a committed relationship. Is your potential spouse a member of the same family–the family of God? Scripture is clear on this: ” Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14). You need to have common interests and values and agree on the essentials of living day to day. You have a similar spiritual walk. You eat the same spiritual diet. You enjoy a lot of similar things. You have like interests, like goals in life, like opinions on basic life issues. You have had like experiences in your background.
Though there is some truth to the idiom that opposites attract, like-minded folks fare better together. Furthermore, does he want to get married? If you want to be married and your dreamboat isn’t interested, don’t waste your time. Remember, women fall in love and get married. Men decide to get married and then look for a wife. Note the difference in order. So if a guy says he’s not looking for anything serious, take his words seriously. If he’s not going in your direction, get off the bus and wait for the right one.
2. Does this man want you? Is he pursuing you? The man who is right for you will pursue you, and God’s hand in the relationship will be clear. No guessing, no fleeces, no dead ends. Scripture says: ” He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord” (Prov. 18:22). Note–who finds whom? THE MAN FINDS THE WIFE. From the beginning of time, God has transported men and women across the world to put them together. At the RIGHT TIME, He will bring that man on the scene and he will find you. In God’s perfect design, the man is the one who recognizes his mate. Adam had no problem recognizing that Eve was his missing rib. You do not need to strategically place yourself anywhere. You don’t have to help a guy out because he’s shy! Men will do whatever they have to do to get what they truly want. The man in your life should recognize you as the pearl of great price in his life and be willing to do whatever he must to gain your hand. If he is passive about gaining your affections, take it as a sign that he is not interested. Many a woman’s mothers have suggested that it is a good idea to marry a man who loves you more than you love him. As cold as that sounds, it actually might be scriptural if you stop to think about it: “We love him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Until then, take the ultimate chill pill. You don’t need a bunch of men in your life to make you feel all right about yourself. You need only one man–your man, the one God has selected to select you. And trust me, the right man at the wrong time can be just as awful as the wrong man at any time. So trust God’s timing in this. He is the ultimate matchmaker. Relax, sit pretty, and allow yourself to be found. Again,–WAIT until the man voices his intentions. He should take the lead in establishing the relationship. You may have an inkling that he is the one, but God will use the man to set the tone of the relationship. Allow him the opportunity to woo you–this is your first act of submission. Jesus set the standard for all men to follow. They should love us first. And they should lead the relationship.
3. The man in your life should not desire to move into your house, only into your heart. A man who prepares for your future has made his intentions clear. A man who is husband material has the means to take care of a wife. He is a responsible human being who understands he needs to have something to offer. In short, a man should have the means to be a suitable lover for you.
4. Check out his buddies. Everyone knows birds of the same feather flock together, yet most women fail to see the connection between a man and his friends. A man’s pals tell you a lot about the person that you haven’t seen yet. They reveal things about the guy’s character that might be hidden when he is on good behavior. Everyone knows how to put his best foot forward. Don’t stay focused on the foot, check out the rest of the body!
5. Check out his relationship with his mother. How does he treat her? This is your preview of how he will treat you. There are lots of men who, because of a negative relationship with their mothers, really don’t like women, yet say they do. Unresolved issues between mother and son continue between husband and wife.
6. Remember that a man’s family reveals the cloth from which he’s cut. Take note and decide whether you want your future with the man in your life to look like his present family situation.
7. Check out the patterns of his life. Do you see repeated cycles of drama in his personal kingdom? broken relationships? problems in making commitments? including the job market? mood swings? Is a problem always someone else’s fault? Does he embrace responsibility or shirk it? Does he keep his promises? Is he a man of good reputation? Remember all garments look wonderful hanging in the store, but with wear, some begin to unravel. Give yourself time and space to check out the man in your life. Time will always reveal whether or not he is made of the right stuff.
8. Does this man have a vision for his life? Is he running with that vision? Remember, God decided Adam needed help once Adam got busy DOING his assignment. As we saw Adam, a man doesn’t need help until he is busy doing what he was created and called to do. Is the man in your life guided by a sense of destiny and purpose, or does he just allow life to happen around him? A man who is not certain of his mission can be a most miserable person–and you’ll be miserable too if you know where YOU want to go in life. A man who has a vision is not intimidated by a woman whose mission statement is clear. He will be your best ally, cheerleader, and assistant because he wants you both to make it! A man who cannot be supportive of your achievements because he is floundering in a sea of uncertainty over his own life is not a healthy partner to have and to hold forever. Creating dependencies or feelings of obligation is not the way to get the best out of your man. Somewhere along the way, he will resent you and flee from the smothering burden of obligation he associates you with. You want a man who is firmly anchored in his identity in Christ. Remember, we are looking for a man who will be a priest and leader in his home. His first instinct should be to want to cover you, redeem you, and provide for you. Your job is to decide if this is the man God has ordained for you to complement.
9. Complementarily. Do your talents and gifts complement his? Do his gifts complement yours? What about your temperaments? Do you see the two of you as an effective team capable of bringing blessings to the lives of those around you? Do your futures mesh? Can you coordinate your gifts attractively and effectively? This is why knowing your purpose is so important. Make sure your hearts beat for mutual causes. When I go shopping I always consider the fabric, the fit, and what I already have in my closet. Will my next purchase be a complementary addition to what I already have? If I find that I am going to have to buy shoes and matching accessories to go with a new outfit, I leave it right on the rack. It is too expensive a proposition. If the man you meet makes you feel that you need to completely reinvent yourself, something is wrong. This is where I ask you to consider the relationship in terms of cost. Is this relationship expensive spiritually, emotionally, or physically? Does your longing for a mate make you willing to forfeit who you are in the process? Or does he see you as the gift that you are? The man in your life should consider you as a rare find, a priceless jewel – because of you, he is getting ready to get blessed big-time! Any relationship that causes you to feel unworthy, unlovely, unacceptable, undesirable, or that you have to work for love, is too expensive! God has called the man to cover, protect, and provide not only materially for a woman, but emotionally and spiritually as well. You should be richer in mind, body, and spirit for your union with the man of your dreams. The man in your life should make rich deposits into your heart and spirit, not withdrawals.
10. Does he have a healthy love & acceptance of himself? Make sure the man in your life has taken time to heal from past relationships and has made peace with himself. The way he cares for himself is how he will care for you. A man’s relationship with God is crucial here. His love for himself will only be as strong as his love for God. This is not something that you can impart. You cannot be his savior or teacher. That is out of spiritual order. In his rightful place as your personal priest, he should be leading you to a richer relationship with Christ. If he is causing you to compromise your faith and destabilize your walk, if he is leading you into sexual sin or causing you to be distracted from your commitment to Christ, the relationship is too expensive. Offending the Lover of your soul, who promises you, eternal love, is too high a fare to pay for a ride that has a limited run. If you and your man can’t soar in the Spirit, when the force of your love for another is tested by the pull of gravity of the world, your union will not be able to survive. So you decide. How much is your life worth? How much is your love worth? You will be able to accept only what you believe you deserve. God Himself calculated the worth of your love and decided it was worth His life. He now pledges you His love for eternity. Yes, Jesus sets the example for all others to follow when He paid a ransom for His bride. Should you expect less from a mortal man? Throughout the Biblical age, men were willing to pay the cost for the hand that they desired. The truth of the matter is, everyone knows that anything worth having, costs. And no one gets a ride in this life for free.