Who chooses your spouse? You or God?
BY LAJU IREN
I remember watching a Mount Zion film a few years back. The main character, a Christian sister, had a dream where she was to choose between two suitors. One was ‘supposedly’ handsome and the other wasn’t. I used the term ‘supposedly’ with a mischievous smile on my face, but I will not say more than that because I have a lot of respect for Mount Zion movies (Zips mouth shut). Anyway, instead of choosing the man God asked her to choose-the one with the man tribal marks-she chose the other guy, the supposedly handsome one. She woke up from the dream and years later, it came to pass. It was a decision she regretted.
I decided to write this piece because every time I speak to people, it almost always comes up. Do I choose or does God choose for me? I know of people who kept insisting that someone was their God-ordained spouse until the person got married and had children. I know people that have let go of good, God-fearing people that they actually liked because they felt it wasn’t ‘God’s will,’ and people who passed up so many good relationship opportunities because they did not see a vision from above. I’ve met people who stayed in abusive relationships that were almost destroying their lives, because they believed that God told them that person was their spouse. So what really is the deal? Let’s find out together:
The first place we must look into is the word of God. After all, marriage was His idea in the first place. We see three major instances where it appeared like God chose people’s spouses for them. Notice I use the word ‘appeared.’ One was in the case of Adam and Eve, the other was in the case of Isaac and Rebecca and the third was the prophet Hosea.
I will start with Adam, the first man. After God had brought all the animals to Adam to see what he would call them, no help meet was found for Adam, so God made woman. Of course she was like Adam, but God didn’t tell him: This is your better half, I made her just for you. It was Adam himself that called her his wife. He was the one who said: This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2). Even though she was the only woman in the whole world, God let Adam choose. Besides, don’t forget that Adam and Eve were the first man and woman in the world. It was God’s plan to bring forth the world, through their reproduction. You, on the other hand, must be like the 200 billionth person in the world.
Secondly, we see the case of Isaac and Rebecca in Genesis Chapter 24. Let me just state here that a popular person recently argued that Rebecca got married at three years old. It can’t be. No three year old can fetch water from the well for many men and camels, then lead them home and relay to her family all that she was told. Anyway, back to the point, Abraham already set in motion a plan for his son to marry within God’s will: from the tribe of Israel, which was God’s instruction to Israel at that time. Notice Abraham’s servant had been sent to pick a wife for Isaac from among Abraham’s relatives. If you were in his shoes, what qualities would you look out for? Someone who is caring, humble and hard-working would clearly top the list. This particular scenario is one that combines desire with the supernatural. He knew the qualities he desired for his master’s son; he prayed to meet a woman with such qualities. God gave the servant direction; there is no gain saying that. Rebecca herself also had a choice to make. She was asked and decided to go with the servant and marry Isaac.
We also see in Hosea Chapter 1, the story of Prophet Hosea, a demonstrative prophet whom God told to marry Gomer a prostitute to portray to the Israelites that even though they had prostituted themselves with other gods, he still loved them.
What we don’t see as a norm throughout the bible is God telling people who to marry. Jacob fell in love like any regular guy. The bible doesn’t deem it fit to tell us how Abraham and Sarah met, or Lappidoth and Deborah, or Acquilla and Priscilla, or Peter and his wife(Notice that the first pope had a mother-in-law which implies that he had a wife, Luke 4: 38-41). We don’t know the background story of Joseph and Mary, there was no dramatic revelation with Boaz and Ruth.
Of course God has standards: he told the daughters of Zelophedad in Genesis 27, to choose whoever seemed right to them as long as the husbands were part of the household of Israel. That was the same instruction Abraham tried to follow in choosing a wife for his son. The Epistles, which form the basis of our doctrine as Christians tell us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers(2 Cor 6:14). We know what the fruit of the spirit are and we understand God’s plan for marriage. Equipped with this knowledge, we are to choose within the confines of God’s will. Paul himself supports this in 1 Cor 9: 5 when he says: “Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas?”
Proverbs 18: 22 says that Whosoever finds a wife, finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord. The Hebrew word for favour here is ‘Rawtson’ which can also be translated to mean approval. It is safe to say that it is your responsibility to find, then God approves or disapproves of your choice, just like any other choice you make as a christians. Sometimes, it is possible that from your point of view, someone seems perfect for you, but you just have a nudge in your spirit not to go ahead. I am not talking about the spirit of fear here please.
At this point, I would also like to address the idea of pastors telling people who to marry. We see no example of such in the bible. However, I must say this: if you attend a good church where your man of God is not the type that witch-hunts people, you should not totally disregard him if he doesn’t approve of someone you like with good reason. But ‘good reason’ is important here. He should be able to tell you why. And it must make objective sense to you.
The point of the last nearly 1,000 words is this, God will not choose for you, but with you. You know God’s standard, you know your personal preferences, you find someone you like, who also likes you and is compatible with you and then you make a choice. You both may get very strong convictions about the fact that God’s hand is involved, or you may not. But when it all comes down to it, the supernatural nature of your meeting is not as important as the commitment of both parties to making to work.
Haven’t you seen couples who had dreams, visions and revelations that they were meant to be together, but still did not work out? So let me say this again: the supernatural nature of your meeting is not as important as the commitment of both parties to making to work.
There is no marriage in heaven. It is an earthly decision, although one that could have eternal implications.
Romantic Love is a choice. You have the right to choose, and the other person has the right to choose you as well. What if you believe it is God’s will and he or she does not. What if such a person loves someone else. Don’t go around harassing someone who does not like you, insisting that it’s God’s will for you two to be together. Even with someone who love, marriage is a tough job, how much more when the reverse is the case?
So what do you do? Make your choice within the context of God’s word. Let your desires be in line with his, and you’d make the right decision. You may get supernatural convictions, you may not, but when it all comes down to it, if you want the relationship to work, you both must be willing to make it work.