Let us suppose you have been praying earnestly for a partner and your heavenly Father has heard your prayer. You can trust, therefore, that He is preparing for you exactly the mate that you need, right in every detail. He is the perfect Matchmaker. But because He is such a loving Father, He will not commit one of His precious children to you as a mate until He has assured Himself that you will treat her (or him) as every child of God deserves to be treated.
In this Bible teaching article, Derek Prince shares 4 keys, specific attitudes in four specific areas that you need to cultivate if you want to enter into God’s plan for marriage:
- Your attitude toward marriage;
- Your attitude toward yourself;
- Your attitude toward other people;
- More specifically, your attitude toward your parents.
1. Your attitude toward marriage
Are you prepared to approach marriage with the reverence that it demands? Do you see it as a sacred mystery, formed from eternity in the mind of God, and revealed to man for his measureless benefit and blessing?
Every Christian who contemplates marriage should read and re-read the words of Paul in Ephesians 5:25-32:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. (. . .) This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.”
Human marriage is an earthly counterpart of the relationship between Christ and His Church. The union a man enjoys with his wife prefigures the union Christ will have with His Church. The reverent contemplation of this mystery must inevitably bring each one of us to the place where we acknowledge:
“Lord, I cannot even comprehend all you have prepared for me in marriage. Much less can I achieve it by my own efforts. Humbly, therefore, I put my hand in Yours and ask You to teach me and to guide me.”
2. Your attitude toward yourself
At this point, you are faced with the second main issue if you want to prepare for marriage: your attitude toward yourself.
A sense of self-worth is one of the most important elements in your making a success of your life, not least in marriage. Many personal problems may come to mind: “I had an unhappy childhood.” “My parents were divorced.” “I’ve never made a success of anything.” “I don’t feel comfortable with other people, especially the opposite sex.” “I really don’t see what life holds for me.” And so on.
All that may be true; but if you are a Christian, it is no longer relevant. Listen to what Paul says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
God did not take you as you were and then simply make a few adjustments and improvements. He made you new all over, from the inside out. As far as God is concerned, your past sins and failures are not merely forgiven; the record of them has been completely erased. You have been given a totally new start. It is up to you to accept this in faith and act accordingly.
A sense of self-worth
Insecure people are difficult to live with. They cannot rest in a relationship, but are in continual need of something to bolster their self-esteem. Yet nothing suffices for long. Such people do not know how to receive love, and therefore they cannot give it.
The second of the two Great Commandments charges us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves. If we have not learned to love ourselves, we have nothing to offer to our neighbour.
Through faith in Christ, God has provided a divine remedy for this condition so prevalent in today’s world. He has become our heavenly Father. He has adopted us personally as His children. And because God has accepted us, we can accept ourselves. To do anything less is plain unbelief.
Legally, all this is fully true from the moment we are born again. Experientially, however, we need to cultivate an ever-expanding realisation of what we have become in the family of God. To achieve this requires long hours spent gazing into the mirror of God’s Word, discovering what it means to be a child of God. Then, the Spirit of God works within us, transforming us into the likeness of what we are looking at (see 2 Corinthians 3:18).
3. How do you treat others?
Once you have established a proper attitude toward yourself, based on your relationship to God as your Father, you are ready to consider the third main issue: your relationships with other people.
At the beginning of human history, man’s rebellion against God and his consequent fall shut him up into a narrow prison of self. From that time on, self-centredness has been one of the most obvious effects of the devil’s influence in a human life.
One great effect of redemption through Christ is our release from this prison of self. Identification with Christ enables us to relate to other people as He did. In simple, down-to-earth language Paul explains how this works:
“Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing. Your attitude should be the kind that was shown us by Jesus Christ...” (Philippians 2:4-5, TLB)
There are two basic causes of broken or unhappy marriages: lack of consideration and lack of sensitivity, in one or both parties. This in turn leads to a breakdown in communication.
These basic problems may manifest themselves in various kinds of behaviour, depending on the temperaments of those involved. Some of the most obvious manifestations are sexual unfaithfulness; arguing and quarrelling; each of the parties going his or her own way and building a separate, independent life. All these manifestations have one thing in common: they frustrate the end purpose of God in marriage, which is unity.
The grace of God in redemption offers us two positive antidotes: appreciation and thankfulness. Appreciation is the inward reaction, and thankfulness the outward expression. Together they act as a lubricant that can keep two people flowing together in harmony with one another. So cultivate both!
Approach every situation and every relationship with a positive attitude. Look for anything that is good, small or great. When you find the good, make sure you express your appreciation of it. This will make you the kind of person who is easy to live with. Practice this in all your relationships as you go through life, and in due course you will reap the benefits in a harmonious marriage.
4. Your attitude toward your parents
You may be surprised to find this included in the requirements for a successful marriage. Nevertheless, it belongs here. The apostle Paul quotes the fifth of the Ten Commandments and comments on it as follows:
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honour your father and mother’— which is the first commandment with a promise—‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’” (Ephesians 6:1-3)
If you want it to go well with you, you must be careful to honour your parents. Conversely, if you do not honour your parents, you cannot expect it to go well with you.
Bear in mind that it is possible to honour your parents without agreeing with them on all points or endorsing everything they do. You may disagree strongly with them in some matters, yet maintain a respectful attitude toward them. To honour your parents in this way is also to honour God Himself, who gave this commandment.
Many young couples struggle with problems in their marriage that they cannot trace to their source. They are committed to the Lord and to one another. There is genuine love between them. Yet there is an indefinable something missing, which is God’s favour. In such cases, I always recommend that they examine their attitudes toward their parents and make any changes that Scripture requires. Often this has changed a struggling marriage into a successful one.
This article is taken from the book God is a Matchmaker by Derek Prince. In this bestselling book, he reveals God's plan for you and your future spouse. He will also help you answer tough questions, such as:
- How can I know if it is God's will for me to marry?
- How can I prepare myself for marriage?
- How can I find the mate God has appointed for me?
- What is God's plan for remarriage?
Visit your local webstore to read more about this book and order your copy.