Shopping can be a good experience if you plan ahead and follow your plan. Have you ever been shopping in one of those large department stores that sell everything you could need under one roof? The first thing you see is the sale section and you pick up a few bargains. On the next aisle you notice that the shoes you’ve been looking at online are on sale and you snap them up. Then you wander into the cosmetics section and an attractive scent fills your nostrils so you visit the perfume counter and pick the featured scent. While there, an announcement is made over the speaker that it’s ‘buy one, get one free’ on all bags so you decide to have a look. Once you’ve bought your new bag, you say to yourself, “Hey, what did I come in here for!” Your mind was clearly not focused on your original purpose-to pick up a pedal bin for your kitchen! Instead you have given in to buying a number of items you never intended to buy.
Compare that experience to when you have gone to a stationary shop or a supermarket with a list of 10 items to pick up and you stuck to the list? Most likely you saved yourself a lot of time and money.
We should keep this lesson in mind when ‘shopping’ for a Godly spouse. You need to plan ahead, prepare a ‘shopping list’, and stick to it. Otherwise as you go through life, you may become distracted by all the options that you are presented with, none of which are what you originally wanted or needed but you go for it as it is packaged so nicely.
But where do we find such a shopping list? You could write down the things you like and dislike about people and use that as a yardstick for what you don’t want in a spouse. You could also think about what you would like your life to look like once married and pick a spouse that will fit into this vision. Both these options sound plausible; however there is one major flaw. These options only consider what we want for ourselves, to make us happy and not necessarily what God may want for us. There is much criteria that you could use such as compatibility, money, level of education, race/ethnicity. However, if we only consider those who are compatible with us in these areas, we may be overlooking that differences can often complement each other and of course God is the unchangeable changer. We are all works in progress and your spouse may be very different once God has shaped and molded them. If we base our choices on money, it can develop wings and fly away. On the other hand, God can make someone to be rich in one day. No situation is permanent. Therefore, never make a permanent decision based on a temporary situation.
I believe that if we want God’s opinion, we need to turn to His Word and when we do, we find that God puts much emphasis on having a good character (Prov. 4:12, Rom. 5:4, 1 Cor. 15:33, Phil.1:11). Therefore, when making your ‘shopping list’ try to add character traits that are Godly and will bring joy and not sorrow to your marital life. Some core examples of good character traits are listed below. The list is by no means exhaustive so feel free to add your own, allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you in selecting those traits that will have most meaning for your future marital life.
- Spiritual Passion (Psa. 42:1)
- Contentment (1 Timothy 6:6)
- Kindness (Colossians 3:12)
- Consistency (Matt. 5:37)
- Optimism (1 Thess. 5:18)
- Unwavering Commitment (Psa. 62:6)
- Humility (1 Pet. 5:5)
- Faith (Heb. 11:6)
- Perseverance (Heb. 12:1)
Remember that we are all works in progress, just as you may not have nailed every character trait listed here, neither will your potential spouse. However, there should be elements of all of these present in someone who is ready for marriage. In all, remember that getting married and staying married isn’t always easy, but solid character is a good foundation for both.
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