The One Thing That Matters Most When You Choose to Marry Someone
I haven’t addressed singles who are seeking to get married in a while, so this post is designed to point them to the one thing they should never compromise on.
I want to make a near-promise to you; it’s not absolute, but it’ll be true over 90% of the time: if two believers go to a counselor or pastor with a problematic marital issue, and both of them are earnestly seeking first God’s Kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33), even if that couple isn’t particularly well matched, they can enjoy a rich, meaningful and fulfilling marriage. They may never agree about certain things, and their personalities may never be an “easy” mix, but they can build a family and forge a healthy and even enjoyable partnership.
Shared spiritual purpose is enough to carry the marriage of a couple that is truly motivated out of reverence for God. The problem issue they are facing might be sexual, relational, financial, or spiritual, but if both are motivated by God, worshippers of God, led by the Holy Spirit, eager to live for His kingdom and humbly recognize their need to seek righteousness, any decent pastor or counselor can help them find a few strategies to deal with the issue and continue their growth together.
If, however, I’m talking to a “mixed” couple—one is seeking God and one isn’t—there is often little I can do to motivate the one who is not seeking God. I will try to make an appeal on behalf of the children (which I’ve done before, and watched it fail). I can appeal to their own self-interests. But most often that counseling situation becomes one-on-one with the Christian where the pastor simply tries to help the Christian learn how to cope with their disappointment and their spouse’s actions (or inaction).