It’s a beautiful gift and at the same time a hard gift. I don’t want to pretend to understand it except by proxy because my time of singleness was short-lived.
One of my favorite types of conversations though is talking to single men and women about how to wade past the emotions to examine the heart and character of a potential spouse. My husband and I also love to sit with dating and engaged couples and talk about the reality of marriage. It is our honor to encourage them through their fight to honor Christ with their bodies before the pleasures of the marriage bed.
The Single “Best Foot Forward”
I’ve noticed though, one of the tough parts about dating is that the significant other puts their best foot forward.
I certainly did!
I looked like a pretty good bride when we got married. There were flaws and red flags he didn’t notice, but I wanted to change the world for Christ with him. That was a huge plus. I was seemingly submissive to spiritual leadership. I could talk the talk about the Bible and faith when I needed to.
But Bobby and I both agree we would not recommend someone marrying or dating a woman like who I was due to not being ready to minister and serve others soon after we got married.
My journey of discipleship has been fraught with sin, and Bobby has taken a heavy load in living out Christ for me day in and day out. Marriage will reveal sin even in the godliest of newlywed couples, but because of the shallowness of my faith, marriage started and stalled out as particularly rough for us.
Pause and Consider the Seriousness of Marriage
For women particularly, the challenge is real if they are waiting and praying for a godly man to pursue her. How can you determine in a relatively short amount of time if this man is going to lead you toward pursuing Christ? As a single woman, you’re submitting to your pastor as of spiritual importance and probably your father out of honor.
When you’re committing to marriage for the rest of your life, you’re committing to joyfully submit to the loving leadership of your husband because you agree with his vision for the rest of your lives. You trust that if his vision for your lives were to change, fervent prayers in seeking the Lord’s will would be apart of that change along with your voice and concerns. You are committing to helping your husband in that vision.
That’s a weighty commitment!
So with a strong dose of seriousness in view of marriage, I suggest to single women not to waste time in dating by going the route of “getting to know” a brother in Christ on an emotional level. What I mean by that is avoiding spending so much time flirting and getting to know a brother that the point of the courting/dating relationship is skewed.
When a brother in Christ approaches a sister for dating, he is supposed to be doing so in order to find a wife, not fool around. After all, this is his sister, not his wife. Until she is his wife, she is primarily his sister and should be treated as such.
Instead of spending a large amount of time in a “let’s get to know one another” limbo where hearts and emotions and desires can flare up, asking gospel-centered and penetrating questions can help both parties see if continuing to court or date is appropriate. This dating limbo can really cause unnecessary pangs to females who are swept up in the genuinely sweet and fun joys of a budding relationship.
When you’re able, ask:
- What do you think the role of the husband is in marriage?
- What do you think the role of the wife is in marriage?
- What does it mean in your eyes for a woman to be a helper?
- What is biblical submission?
- How do you see God leading you in your life in the future?
- Tell me about your normal, every day life, from sun up to sun down. (The point here is to find out if he’s digging into the word every day.)
- When was the last time you shared the gospel with another?
- When was the last time you discipled another in the faith?
- What is the role of a father in a Christ-centered home?
- What is the role of the mother in a Christ-centered home?
The questions and his answers should address if he has thought deeply about the responsibilities of being a husband and eventually a father. They also begin to examine his current spiritual state. Ideally a man who is ready to be a husband is ready to teach another in the faith, as he is becoming a spiritual leader in your life and your future children’s lives through marriage.
Trusting that you’ll both just figure it out is signing up for the type of marriage Bobby and I have had in the past in the best case scenario. In the absolute worst-case scenario, you could find yourself marrying a man who looks like a believer on the outside but is actually emptier than a tin of chocolate chip cookies at a Sunday potluck.
Are there questions you are sure to ask your brother in Christ before dating?
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