Choose a Christian Spouse

     The spiritual life advances in a unique direction when a husband and wife are growing together in the Lord.  The spiritual marriage consists of two believers who consistently submit to God the Holy Spirit and permit Him to accomplish His will in their lives as a couple.  When two believers, a man and a woman, unite together in Christian marriage and individually choose to love and live for Christ above each other, they will have a marriage marked by the highest Christian virtues that will sustain them throughout their marriage and they will know a joy that transcends the circumstances and trials of life. 

     In order to have a successful Christian marriage, it must be God centered, biblically based, and Spirit led.  The growth of the marriage is directly proportional to the spiritual growth of each individual believer.  As goes the spiritual walk of each believer, so goes the health of the marriage.  To achieve growth within a marriage each believer must have a biblical understanding of what is foundationally necessary for spiritual success.  The Bible is authoritative to speak to the Christian marriage and it must be studied, learned and lived.  

     For strength and unity to exist in a marriage, there must be a bond of commitment, and willingness to give of oneself for the wellbeing of the other.  Believers must always guard themselves against the weakening instinct of selfishness and consciously choose to live and love sacrificially for the benefit of the marriage partner.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.  (Phil. 2:3-4)

     The world often promotes a happy marriage, but God promotes a biblical marriage.  There’s a difference.  A biblical marriage is a healthy marriage, which conforms to God’s Word.  I’ve seen happy marriages that were not biblical, as the husband and wife lived in blatant sin, defying God’s Word in every way.  By worldly standards their marriage was a success, but biblically, it was a complete failure because God was given little or no place in their relationship.  I’ve also seen biblical marriages where both Christians struggled against the pressures of the world, yet they had a peace and joy that transcended their circumstances, because they trusted in the Lord and looked to Him in everything (Phil. 4:6-7). 

     Christians are to marry only other Christians who are “in the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:39).[1]  The Christian should never knowingly marry an unbeliever, for this would join someone who is spiritually alive with someone who is spiritually dead.  The unbeliever cannot be spiritual or live in God’s will, for he resides in a perpetual state of spiritual death until he turns to Christ for salvation.  The Christian who knowingly marries an unbeliever is openly disobeying Scripture and asking for all sorts of problems.  It’s better to obey the Lord and marry a growing believer so blessing can come. 

Dr. Steven R. Cook

[1] Some have sought to make Paul’s command “do not be bound together with unbelievers” apply to Christian marriage (2 Cor. 6:14).  Within its context, Paul was not talking about Christian marriage, but was commanding Christians in the church not to be united with false teachers.  However, one could argue that if one should not be bound together with an unbeliever in the church, how much more does that hold true in biblical marriage?!