Are You Looking for a Partner in Life?
“THERE is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.” So it has been said. Hence, it is no wonder that millions of single people would like to have a partner in life.
Some look to a computer as a matchmaker, others to the stars. But how much better it is to look to our Creator, the Originator of marriage! (Genesis 2:18-24) God’s loving interest and wisdom provide a solid basis for trusting his counsel and principles that help us to know what to look for in a marriage partner. (Psalm 19:7) His Word commands us as follows:
‘Marry Only in the Lord’
Why? This is because Jehovah God is concerned with our eternal welfare. The apostle Paul’s counsel to ‘marry only in the Lord’ harmonizes with the practice of Jehovah’s early servants who chose as marriage mates those who were likewise true worshipers. (1 Corinthians 7:39; Deuteronomy 7:3, 4) The benefits of doing so are numerous and should be kept in mind.
For example, a godly marriage mate can contribute to continued fidelity to our loving heavenly Father. (Compare Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.) Christian mates can encourage each other and together can successfully meet different trials. Unitedly, they can resist the pressures that can weaken marriage bonds. Since both look to Jehovah and apply his wonderful counsel, they can with greater ease smooth over the rough spots and work together harmoniously instead of being competitors. Their sincere efforts to serve Jehovah and mold their lives according to his ways will contribute to a successful marriage that honors our Creator.
Some years ago, a woman named Gloria was having close association with a young man who was attending Christian meetings and was even commenting at the Watchtower Study. She received admonition not to continue associating closely with this unbaptized person, but she was “so in love” that she did not apply the counsel. Yet, she knew the counsel was good. So one day she prayed to Jehovah earnestly, begging for his help in the matter. Shortly thereafter, it was discovered that the young man was immoral, and Gloria therefore immediately cut off the friendship. She eventually married a fine young Christian man. Today, he is an appointed elder, and their two children are active in the truth. As she looks back, she says: “Thanks to Jehovah, I have avoided many problems. Because of his direction, I have received the best counsel, permitting me to live a happy life along with a loving husband.”
Why Look Elsewhere?
Why, then, would a person dedicated to Jehovah look elsewhere for a marriage mate? Is the Christian not convinced that Jehovah knows and desires what is best for us? (Proverbs 3:1-7; Psalm 145:16) What about you? Do you believe that Jehovah is “the God of truth”? (Psalm 31:5) If so, then you surely realize that he always provides trustworthy advice that is proper and beneficial. (Isaiah 48:17, 18) Indeed, our loving heavenly Father gives counsel with our everlasting welfare in mind, but we may shortsightedly limit our plans to the immediate future. When looking for a partner in life, though, should we not be planning for more than the immediate future?—Psalm 37:11, 29.
Do you really believe that the Kingdom is at hand and will soon take action to cleanse the earth? And do you see yourself in the foretold global Paradise? Or do you desire to enjoy the present system of things to the full? Are you looking for a partner who has the ability to provide you with a good life-style? Or are you seeking one who keeps true worship in first place? (Matthew 6:33) Really, what is foremost in your life? It is wise for us to examine our inmost thoughts and motives. Then, if necessary, we can make adjustments and thereby avoid a course of action that might displease Jehovah.—Compare Psalm 78:40, 41.
Our Treacherous Heart
Jeremiah 17:9 warns that “the heart is more treacherous than anything else.” So we need to keep it in check. It is also good to remember that those who ignore the inspired Bible admonition and the reminders lovingly given by congregation elders and others often shed many tears and suffer heartaches.
‘But how can you say that?’ someone may ask. ‘I know a brother who did not marry a fellow worshiper, and now they are both serving Jehovah.’ True, in a few cases matters have worked out that way, and we are glad that both mates are now “walking in the truth.” (3 John 4) Nevertheless, the brother who married an unbaptized person was disobedient. Will that independent spirit surface once again? Might he be tempted to think he knows better than God and thus disregard Bible counsel and trust in his own wisdom in yet another situation? We are encouraged to ‘trust in Jehovah with all our heart.’ (Proverbs 3:5) That implies submissive compliance with the divine will in all things. So we should want to develop an obedient heart, one meeting the test of obedience even in small things. (Luke 16:10) If we disobey God, what kind of pattern are we developing? The brother who did not ‘marry in the Lord’ probably now recognizes his mistake in doing things his own way and has sought Jehovah’s forgiveness. But is that how you want to initiate your marriage?
‘But my boyfriend has begun to study the Bible and is attending Christian meetings,’ someone else may say. Yes, but why is he studying? To win a marriage partner or to learn about Jehovah God and serve him? Throughout the courtship the man’s motives may be in doubt. What will you discover after the wedding day? Of course, you may wait until your boyfriend is baptized and very soon thereafter set the wedding date. Strictly speaking, you are ‘marrying in the Lord.’ But are you acting in harmony with the spirit of that counsel?
Have you noticed when a brother is recommended for certain privileges of service? Is it enough to be baptized? No, rather, such a brother is “tested as to fitness first.” (1 Timothy 3:10) Can we learn a lesson from that? Yes. Stop, look, and listen. Stop and think about the seriousness of marriage. Look at the individual, not through the beclouded eyes of infatuation, but objectively. And listen too. Does he (or she) speak from the heart with loving expressions of praise to God? Over a reasonable period of time, has he given evidence of Christian growth? After he has shown his faithfulness and spiritual qualifications, it is soon enough to begin considering him (or her) as a possible partner in life. To quote a witty poet:
“Misses! the tale that I relate
This lesson seems to carry—
Choose not alone a proper mate,
But proper time to marry.”
What can happen if our heart causes us to cast aside good counsel and objective reasoning? The consequences can be disastrous. Remember, the Bible counsels us:
‘You Reap What You Sow’
Consider what happened to Jacqueline. An elder counseled her about a friendship she was forming with a young man outside the Christian congregation. But because she felt the brothers were too strict, she turned a deaf ear to Bible-based recommendations. Reflecting upon her own attitude, she later admitted: “One sees what one wants to see and not what Jehovah sees and says.” The young man began to study the Bible and eventually was baptized. Within three months they were married.
Problems developed very quickly. In fact, they began on the honeymoon! Undesirable traits that Jacqueline had not noticed or had conveniently overlooked then became evident. She had dreamed of a happy and united marriage, but, regrettably, the opposite proved true. Her husband was disfellowshipped and left her and their two babies. Now she must meet not only the economic pressures of this deteriorating system but also the challenge of raising two young ones, caring for their physical and emotional needs. What has Jacqueline learned from this bitter experience? “Obedience,” she says. “Although the counsel seems harsh or it may not appear to be the best for you, you should consider it as coming from Jehovah and should fully obey it.”—Galatians 6:7; Psalm 86:11.
Consider another example. Maritza met her future husband at work. He showed her things in the world that she had not known about—and they did not seem so bad to her. He was well educated, had good manners, and could speak intelligently on many subjects. Although she was given many Scriptural warnings, they just did not sink in. She was too much “in love.”
Soon the Christian meetings became monotonous to Maritza, not having the glitter of exciting evenings with her entertaining companion. Before their marriage, he promised that he would not interfere with her Christian meetings, and so it was. However, little by little she found herself so occupied with other matters that her spiritual activities were relegated to second place, and she became inactive.
What about those entertaining conversations? They gradually ceased, and eventually her husband divorced her, leaving her with four children from four to nine years of age. The shock left Maritza numb, and only after three years did she feel sufficiently tranquil to analyze what had happened and what she would do with her life. She kept telling herself: “To live is to suffer.” But that did not satisfy her because she could still recall the years when she was happy, when she enjoyed even a cool breeze against her face while out in the field ministry, sharing with others the good news of the Kingdom.
“Oh, how much pain and vexation I could have avoided if only I had listened!” Maritza exclaimed. By means of her children’s schoolmates, she once again came into contact with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Her interest in the truth and her love for Jehovah were rekindled, and now she and her children are active in his service. Now Maritza wholeheartedly recommends: “Learn to submit to the guidance that Jehovah is giving and recognize that Jehovah uses the persons you would least think of to make known his will.” As Jesus Christ said: “Pay attention to how you listen.” (Luke 8:18) Yes, stop, look, and listen!
Look around during the next meeting at the Kingdom Hall. You will undoubtedly see many happy Christian married couples and will note their delight in sharing time and experiences together. On the other hand, you may see some who are there alone because they have unbelieving mates. Oh, how they wish their husbands or wives were with them! Often they have to rush home right after the meeting and must miss out on upbuilding conversations and association with fellow believers. Are you willing to take the risk of needlessly finding yourself in similar circumstances because of ignoring the admonition to ‘marry only in the Lord’? Rather, how wise it is to follow Jehovah’s instructions and thereby avoid sad consequences!—Psalm 119:9; Proverbs 28:26.
Wait on Jehovah
‘But,’ you may say, ‘I just can’t find anyone in the congregation. There are so few people my age.’ That may be true. But are you convinced that Jehovah wants you to be happy? “He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6, 7) Do you recall the proverb that says: “A discreet wife is from Jehovah”? (Proverbs 19:14) Well, then, why not consider the subject of marriage in prayer?—Philippians 4:6, 7.
Do you remember Hannah and her desire to have a child? What did she do? She poured out her heart in supplication to Jehovah, trusting him completely. Then she left matters in his hands. In due time, she received a wonderful answer to her prayer—the birth of a son.—1 Samuel 1:9-11, 18-20; Psalm 62:8.
Although there may be few people your age in the local congregation, what about circuit assemblies and district conventions? We attend such gatherings for spiritual reasons. But those who volunteer their services at such times have the satisfaction of serving others and meeting brothers and sisters who serve Jehovah whole-souled. And on such occasions, there is some possibility that you will meet your future partner in life.
But even if you cannot now find a suitable Christian mate, prayerfully rely on Jehovah to help you pursue a chaste life as a single person. And while yet unmarried, cultivate qualities and abilities that will enable you to be a good husband and father or a good wife and mother. (Galatians 5:22, 23) Many have been helped to do just that by taking up the full-time ministry as pioneers. What better way to use your time and energies!
If you are looking for a partner in life, then, where will you start? May it be among active fellow worshipers of Jehovah, those who share your goals in life and who have a keen desire to serve him forever. (2 Timothy 2:22) And if Jehovah blesses you with a God-fearing partner in life, may your marriage be one that honors our loving God.
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“Oh, how much pain and vexation I could have avoided if only I had listened!”