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If you're a single saint who is seriously considering marriage, you should have your own list of what things you require in a mate. I don't mean that it has to be detailed, describing exact clothes sizes and so forth, but you need to sit down and write out a list of major qualities that you desire and expect to find in your mate.

First of all, you will want that person to be, in one sense, a "clone" of yourself—someone who is like you in many ways. Now that may seem boring but, believe me, when the time comes, you'll be very happy that your mate is like you.

Opposites Attract, But They Fight a Lot Too!
Don't get me wrong: "opposites" marriages can work, but they require a lot more work to succeed than if you and your mate have a lot in common to begin with. But no matter who you marry, you are still going to have to work to get over personal differences, to learn to "speak each other's language," and so forth.

So the goal is to minimize, as much as possible, the amount of differences between you and that person. The more you have in common, the better.

Share a Common Background
One thing you will want to consider when you make your list is that the person needs to share a similar or common background. For example, you both should have come up in the same type of church. Just because a person goes to church doesn't mean that he or she qualifies, because there are so many differences even among churches.

So if you go to a Word church (a church that teaches the Word of God), then you need to marry someone from a Word church. You can't marry someone from a traditional, unbelieving church and expect that person to understand you.

Abraham understood this principle, because he required Isaac to marry someone from his family—in other words, someone with a background as close to Isaac's as possible. We also see here that Abraham did not want Isaac marrying someone who didn't believe in his God.

"And I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell" (Gen. 24:3).

You see, the problem was not that the Canaanite women were not of the same race. The problem was that they were unbelievers. God doesn't have a problem with you marrying someone who is not your particular color.

However, He does have a problem with your dating or marrying an unbeliever. "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness" (2 Cor. 6:14)?

You see, a yoke is a strong bond. You're not even supposed to have an unbeliever as your best or closest friend, because that relationship will form a yoke between you. The only role an unbeliever should have in your life is that of an acquaintance. You can't date an unbeliever, and you definitely can't marry one, without violating God's command.

Now there are other issues that should be reflected on your list as well, such as: Does the person want children, and if so, how many? Is the person a tither? Does he or she believe in giving and receiving? You should find out the answers to all these questions very early in the dating process—easily within the first month.

Another major question that should be answered within the first month is about the person's sexual history. Of course, we know that even if a person is not a virgin, if he or she has repented, then God has fully cleansed the person from sin.

Therefore, you do not have a right to condemn or call that person common or unclean. However, this may be an issue that is very important to you or to the other person. So you need to find out very early in the dating process. Don't play around with and waste each other's time.

That's all I'll say concerning the content of your list, because it should be based mostly on your particular preference. But, in general, a safe guideline is that your list should be in line with God's Word.

Is There Just One Special Person For You?
It's a myth that there is only one special person out there for you. There is more than one person who is able to fulfill your list. Chances are, you know of a couple people right now. But let's just say, for the purpose of illustration, that it were true that there was just one person for you.

What happens if that special somebody, who has a free will just like you do, gets caught up with the wrong crowd, and instead of following God, ends up in jail for the next 25 years? So suppose you end up marrying someone else. Well, does your marriage now upset the balance of the universe?

I mean, think about it! That would mean that the person you married was supposed to be with someone else, and that someone else will now have to marry someone else, who was supposed to be with someone else!

So, you see, that kind of teaching is fairy-tale foolishness. It's not based on the Word. It's not even well thought out. And just to sum up the whole misconception, the Word of God even talks about widows who desire to be remarried. It clearly says that they can marry whomever they want—the only qualification is that the person be "in the Lord" (1 Cor. 7:39).

Follow God's Word at Every Stage of the Relationship
Well, what happens when you find someone who meets or fulfills all the requirements on your list? What then? You need to trust God to direct you before making a choice. We learn from the Word of God that we find out the will of God in two ways: through His Word and through prayer, and both are in connection with being led by the Holy Spirit.

In other words, in order to follow the will of God for your life concerning the matter of a mate, you must be able to follow the leading of the Holy Ghost. However, you need to understand that any direction the Holy Ghost leads you in will always be in line with the Word of God.

The Spirit of God will never contradict the Word of God. For example, the Holy Spirit will not lead a man to try to take another man's wife, because that is contrary to the Word. So the direction that the Holy Ghost leads you in will be in line with God's Word.

I can't stress this enough. Great men and women of God have lost their ministries because they didn't understand this one concept. So whatever you do, you must always operate according to the principles found in the Word of God. That means to put the Word of God first and the Holy Spirit's leading second. If you'll follow this principle, you will always be safe, because God's Spirit will only confirm God's Word.

Dating Is Not a Game
Now if you are considering someone as a possible mate, and that person does not fulfill your list, then stop pursuing that relationship. Don't even consider him or her anymore. That doesn't mean you have to automatically write a person off because he or she has brown eyes, and you wrote down that you wanted someone with green eyes.

That would be foolish! However, if someone does not meet the qualifications on your list, generally speaking, then don't date that person. If you do, you're just playing games, and dating is not a game.

If It's "Not Quite," Then it's Not Right
It is not God's will for you to date person after person and go through one painful relationship after another. The purpose for dating is marriage—period. It is not just something you do to have fun.

The only time you should go on a one-on-one date with someone is when you are seriously interested in that person as your mate. Dating is not so that you can establish friendships or get to know the opposite sex. That's why so many people get hurt in dating—because this is how people approach it.

That's why you shouldn't go out with someone in a one-on-one capacity who is just a friend, because more times than not, that person sees you as more than a friend. Therefore, you're just setting him or her up to be hurt.

The truth is that you're looking for something in that one-on-one date that you know you can't get in a group date - something that is beyond friendship. Or you're playing games with someone's emotions. Or maybe you just like the attention.

When you go on a one-on-one date with just anybody, you're opening the door for the enemy to hurt you. Many people have fallen into sexual sin or have been hurt because people do not know the real purpose for dating.

Now the right way to get to know members of the other sex and have fun in a "dating" atmosphere is by "dating" in groups. You can get to know someone by watching how he or she operates in a group setting. In most cases, you can tell if that person will be right for you way before you ever go out on a more personal one-on-one date.

Source: God's Plan for the Single Saint by Keith A. Butler, II.
Excerpt permission granted by Word of Faith Publishing

Author Biography

Andre Butler
Web site: Andre Bulter
With an undeniable passion for equipping others to experience the future God has for them, Andre Butler is on a mission to share God's desire to prosper His people in every area of their lives, and His command for them to do their part in winning the world to Jesus. The Pastor of Faith Xperience Church (FX Church) in the heart of Downtown Detroit, he is a sought-after conference speaker and host known for his practical and relatable approach to preaching God's word. A graduate of Rhema Bible Training Center, Pastor Andre also holds a bachelor's degree in Management from Kennesaw State University. He resides in Metro Detroit.

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