However, that brief season ended abruptly when Joanna Wimmer and I began dating. Of course, this story has a much-longer version, but the short of it is that God was preparing me by helping me realize that all I needed was Him.
Sixteen years ago today, Joanna and I entered into a dating relationship. And I couldn't be happier. We have the joy and adventure of being on mission together. And more than anything, we have the joy and mission of seeking to glorify God together.
Now, 16 years later, I look at my kids -- a teenager, a pre-teen, and an 8-year-old -- and I wonder what their future holds. And one of the things I wonder about is if they will be married one day.
Even though that decision is out of my hands, I still feel the need to prepare them for marriage. At the least, the principles that we teach them will help them in all areas of their lives.
Whom Should My Kids Marry?I already shared my thoughts on this topic on the Family Matters blog. But I wanted to elaborate on these ideas, which you could use as you disciple your children.
My kids may get married one day. And if they do, I do not think there is that "one person" that God has for them. I believe that there are many good options. The question isn't "Which person should they marry?" but "What kind of person should they marry?"
And above everything else, the kind of person that they should marry is someone who loves Jesus more than anything else. A husband or wife must love Jesus more than they even love their spouse!
First, the Bible is clear on this teaching, as from Paul's second letter to the Corinthians (apparently that church struggled with relationships, not unlike all churches today):
"Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?"We see that righteousness (more specifically, God's righteousness) takes preeminence over everything else.
Second, in a practical sense, a marriage between a true Christian and a non-Christian is doomed to failure. Think of this triangle illustration . . .
A follower of Jesus Christ makes it his ultimate goal to grow closer to God. This journey of faith has it's up-and-down moments, but the overall trajectory is that of a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
As long as two Christians are both pursuing God, they will draw closer together. This is true for any friendship or business partnership, and is best exemplified in marriage.
But if a Christian (growing towards God) marries a non-Christian (not growing towards God, or even moving further from Him), these two people will become more and more distant. It is unfair to both of them to be "unequally bound" like this.
(Again, for more on this topic, check out this post.)
Spiritually and Practically Speaking . . .When one person is pursuing Christ with everything they have, and when one is not, both will become frustrated, and both with suffer. Marriage is not reserved solely for Christians, but Christians should only marry Christians, and non-believers should only marry non-believers.
So, whom should your kids marry? Someone who has the same view of God as they do.
And, hopefully, that same view of God means a faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
I'd love to hear your thoughts and questions, in the comments section below, or on Facebook or Twitter.