Many weddings are officiated in large cathedrals or decorated church auditoriums. This is done under the assumption that couples who recite their vows before God and the elegantly-dressed witnesses have surrendered their hearts to Jesus. Where you choose to get married isn’t as important as the person you choose to get married to.

In our society, we often assume that someone is a Christian because they attend church events regularly. But God doesn’t call any of us Christians; He calls us His children. Christians are not going to heaven; only those who have surrendered their hearts to Jesus and are led daily by God’s Spirit – will go to heaven.

“Don’t get married to someone who claims to be a Christian (what people assume that you are). Instead, get married to a child of God.”

A long time ago, some people in a little town called Antioch called the members of the early church ‘Christians’ because they acted, spoke and interacted with each other in a certain way, which was so different from the culture of their day. These new disciples’ lives had been changed from the inside out by the mighty work of the Holy Spirit. Let’s not go around town telling anyone we are Christians. Rather, let our lives reflect the One we claim to love and serve. Let others see and testify that you have had an encounter with Jesus.

How does someone who claims to be a Christian violently abuse his wife? It’s mind-boggling to think that a wife who sings so loudly in the choir will disrespect her husband or refuse to contribute part of her income towards the upkeep of the home. How does a man who says he is a child of God enjoy secret affairs with strange women online or claim to travel on a business trip, while he spends the weekend in a brothel instead?

It is still a mystery how couples who were once head over heels in love with each other before they walked down the aisle would end up sleeping in separate rooms because they are no longer interested in each other or they are too busy to spend time under the sheets. Many couples are dressed up in clothes with matching patterns but they are unable to forgive each other for something that happened two decades ago.

Don’t get married to someone who claims to be a Christian (what people assume that you are). Instead, get married to a child of God (one who has had a personal encounter with God, who is willing to be led by the Spirit of God, whose heart pants after God and lives to please the Lord daily).

The emphasis shouldn’t be what church your prospective spouse attends or what position they hold in the church (whether pastors, choristers, ushers, etc). Your concern should be about their personal relationship with the Lord. Don’t get married and agree to just attend their church; ensure that you are not just ‘going’ to a place but growing together as a couple.

The Lord knows those who are His and those who are known by the name of the Lord should depart from iniquity. We’ve either surrendered our hearts to the Lord or we are just living to please ourselves. We are either on fire for God or we are enjoying the pleasures of sin. Sadly, many people who go to church are halting between two opinions – a bit of God and a bit of the world, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. But God wants all of our hearts, our devotion and our commitment.

Sometimes, we are desperate to commit to get married to just anyone who is from a wealthy family, has a different accent, who looks handsome, is tall or light skinned, and has a high-flying career. The last thing we consider is whether the person fears God. Many months after we’ve been intimate with them, we then finally remember to ask if they are Christians or what church they attend.

When Solomon took over the kingdom from his father, David, God asked Solomon to make a request for whatever he wanted. Solomon asked only for wisdom to lead. But God gave Solomon much more than he asked for (long life, riches and the lives of his enemies). If Solomon had asked for these things God gave Him in addition to wisdom, God might have given them to him but may have withheld wisdom from Solomon.

When we are praying about our choice of a spouse, let’s ask God for a spouse who has the following characteristics: Fears God and one whose heart pants after Him; who has a humble and teachable heart; who is genuinely passionate about the business of God’s kingdom and who has discovered God’s purpose for their life. After asking for these qualities, watch to see if God won’t give you much more than you’ve asked or imagined.

Sadly many couples have been deceived. They got married to people they thought were children of God only to discover to much dismay that their spouses had never surrendered their lives to Jesus. Many claim to be led by the Spirit of God and but then insist on doing things their own way. If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. There is a deliberate, intentional and consistent effort by such a person to live for Jesus.

Marriage is a challenging and risky journey. You can’t afford to just get married to anyone who just ‘goes’ to church. You need a spouse who is connected to God, whose heart pants after God and has discovered God’s assignment for them. We can’t just commit to hand over the rest of our lives to anyone.

It has to be someone who is under the continued control of God’s Spirit. Note the emphasis of the word ‘continued’. Surrendering to be led by God’s Spirit must be on a continued basis. Some people start out well but along the line, they get distracted. Spending time in God’s presence becomes a chore. Never assume that because someone attends lots of church events and that means they have surrendered their heart to Jesus and are committed to be led by God’s Spirit.

“Spouses can prove their partners can be trusted when the opportunity to be dishonest was presented but they didn’t take the bait, Couples are quick to say they love each other.”

One of the examples of couples in the Bible we’ve explored in previous sections of this book is Samson and his relationship with the women he fell in love with. It’s not enough to have God’s Spirit mightily at work in you to do great exploits for the kingdom. If you get married to a spouse who doesn’t fear God. they will take your marriage down.

Job’s wife is another example we have looked at. She was just fine as long as all was well with Job and his business empire. She must have attended all the women’s conferences, night vigils, and other church events. But when things began to go south, she was on her way out. The trials and challenges that come against our marriages, often expose the truth: If we or our spouses have been following the Lord or just pretending.

Lastly, another couple in the Bible, Ananias and Sapphira are a silent reminder of what can happen to any couple who refuses to spend time with God and allow themselves to be changed in God’s presence. Something happens to your heart the longer you linger in God’s presence in worship, prayer and the study of God’s word. You can’t spend so much time with God and not be changed. It was obvious Ananias and Sapphira were just ‘going’ to church.

In reality, they were disconnected from God. Tough times don’t change our commitments; they reveal it. Until the trials and storms of life begin, we will never know if the person we got married to just ‘goes’ to church or is a child of God.

We can’t tell if you won’t be an angry spouse till you can prove you’ve got your wild emotions under control. Spouses can prove their partners can be trusted when the opportunity to be dishonest was presented but they didn’t take the bait, Couples are quick to say they love each other. But can their spouses attest to the fact that they feel loved or respected? That is a different kettle of fish.

I pray for you that you will not just be attracted and deceived to get married to someone because they sing their loudest in the choir or pray the longest at night vigils. May God send you a spouse who truly fears Him, is committed to be under the continued control of God’s Spirit, has discovered God’s purpose for their lives, and is genuinely passionate about what’s important to God. Amen.

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