The Marriage Decision
A Principles-Based Framework
This encouragement and teaching was developed in conjunction with the Elder Body:
Because a marriage relationship impacts so many areas of life, it is important to use a sound, faith-based approach when considering the marriage decision. While the Bible does not give specific directions on how to pursue marriage, it does instruct towards faith (2 Corinthians 5:7) and godly wisdom (Ephesians 5:15-16) in all areas of life. The following definition describes what is meant by seeking marriage in a faith-led way:
The marriage decision is a discernment process grounded in faith and godly wisdom that occurs with counsel in community.
The principles-based framework below uses the acronym, FAITH, to promote a wise, biblically informed, and counseled choice drawing on all five resources highlighted below.
Follow Biblical Truth and Principles
- Seek God’s Kingdom first and maintain a healthy relationship with Christ. Matthew 6:33; Mark 12:30
- Practice surrender of our will to Christ and commit to prayer. Matthew 7:7-8
- Lead an overcoming life demonstrated by resisting temptation and sin. Romans 6:11
- Pursue God’s Word. He designed marriage as a living representation of Christ and His bride, the church.
Apply Godly Wisdom
- Seek wisdom from God. This wisdom is grounded in teachings in the Word and gained through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, learning from others, and life experience. Proverbs 4:11-13; James 1:5-6
- Scripture doesn’t support a mystical search for “one right” person to marry. Avoid over-spiritualizing the marriage decision by seeking repeated signs, emphasizing coincidences, and overly relying on feelings.
- It is not wrong to have interest or feelings for another person. Seeking healthy boundaries, counsel, and “walking in the light” helps avoid being driven by emotions that run past godly discernment.
Invest in Counsel and Community
- Counsel with parents, mentors, and/or mature believers in the Body of Christ. Proverbs 11:14
- Seek input from those willing to provide you with both encouragement and caution where needed. They can provide experience, a different point of view, and encourage ongoing growth. Ephesians 4:15
- Support people should help examine an individual’s readiness for marriage and evaluate what areas of growth and maturity are needed to be a healthy, future spouse. Proverbs 27:17
Transparent with Leadership
- Maintain open dialogue with church leadership throughout the entire marriage decision process, along with counsel from other support people to whom you are accountable. Romans 12:5
- Obtain godly counsel and encouragement from leadership during the entire decision-making process as this is a time of self-examination, prayer, and surrender. Hebrews 13:17
- Counsel with local leadership helps ensure necessary learning, guidance on timing, and awareness of, and protection from, blind spots. Proverbs 12:15
Healthy Perspective of Marriage
- Maintain a balanced perspective of marriage. Marriage and singleness are of equal value in scripture.
- Marriage is not an escape from or solution to our problems. Take steps to identify and manage issues that could get in the way of a healthy marriage relationship.
- Consider the various aspects of a healthy marriage relationship including spiritual leadership/submission, gender/family differences, emotional health/bonding, etc. Commit to needed growth. Ephesians 5:22-33
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