Saturday, November 21, 2015

Should You Say "I Do?" - Considering a Potential Marriage Relationship ~ by Amy Vest


"Can I get to know you?"

So you are looking to Jesus for your deepest fulfillment and purpose, you know why you want to get married, and now there is a guy interested in pursuing a relationship with you considering marriage.

What NOT to do: freak out, start planning wedding colors, and ask your friends to be bridesmaids.

{Take a deep breath}

Let's back up a little bit.

Yes, there is a lot that will likely take place between you knowing your "why" for marriage and having a guy pursue you.

In the past, we have talked a lot about purity, wholesome guy relationships, pointing all guys to Jesus, how to handle various situations, trusting God to bring the right guy, and more (including frogs) in video sessions.  I encourage you to watch them! (Links are at the end of this post!)

In this post we are going to be addressing once a guy who is truly a potential marriage partner comes into your life and is pursuing you with the intention of marriage.

It is serious, sacred, sweet stuff right here.

Let's just make sure we are on the same page:
~ God created marriage - and said it is good.
~ Marriage is a big deal - the most serious decision you will make next to surrendering your life to Jesus.
~ God has a perfect plan for you that He will work out as you follow Him - and you can be excited.

So let's look at considering marriage.

The Goal = To approach a relationship considering marriage in a way that glorifies and honors Jesus, honors and encourages one another in Jesus, and helps you determine if the Lord intends your relationship to end in marriage. 

(Stop and read that one more time.)

The goal is to make much of Jesus in every aspect of this process!

Every situation is different and the biggest goal is to look to Jesus, His Word, and His ways.  There are countless books on relationships and marriage.  There is so much more that could be said.  In this post, my desire is to give you some rock solid pillars and heart thoughts as you navigate these waters.

Taking steps in considering marriage is a beautiful opportunity in seeking to honor Christ and point one another – and everyone watching - to Him in a way that displays Jesus.

1) Follow Jesus.
God is love, the Author of love, and the Source of love.  Friends, we want HIM at the steering wheel of our love life.  He knows what is best for us, His glory, and the blessing of others.

He can lead you into a relationship, in a relationship, and out of a relationship.  You want to be where He leads you.

He can be trusted with your heart.  He alone has the answers.  He will lead you in His way.  While there are helpful tools in considering a relationship, founded on those, there are a million variables that we desperately need to look to Him to lead us on - and He will.

Jesus cares more about your love life than you do.

Pray, pray, pray.  Keep so close to His heart.  Look to Him every step.  Do it all for His glory. 

(As a sweet little note - You can fall in love for His glory!)

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
(1 Cor. 10:31)

2) Your heart attitude is crucial - Your heart condition is so crucial in this process.  When your heart is to honor, love, and obey Jesus and help the guy toward Him, it will influence your part in the relationship the most.  It is essential to keep lifting our heart to Jesus in this process and letting Him work.  We are dedicating a special post to this next week! 

"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." (Proverbs 4:23)

3) Gifts of grace in considering a relationship - It is so powerful, protecting, and freeing to look at the gifts of our personal walk with Him, His Word, community, counsel, boundaries and accountability, serving and getting to know one another in a variety of settings. 
~ Protection - You are a treasure and you deserve to be protected!  It is wise, and so freeing, to have your dad - or a godly person who can fill that role, if you don't have a dad - act as your protector in a solid, wholesome, and gracious way.  Sending guys to him first for permission, an initial screening, and establishing a relationship is a freeing protection.
~ Basic boundaries - It is powerful to personally place boundaries that will enable you to honor and obey Jesus, protect and honor one another, and allow you to either enter marriage or part ways in a way that brings maximum glory to God, joy to you, and blessing to others.  Sweet friend, get them from Jesus and His Word - and own them for yourself!  This will lead you to embrace them when it is only you and Jesus - or if the whole world is watching!  Remember that He calls us to do things for our good and deepest joy in the long run.
This will involve determining boundaries for time spent together, where you go, what you do, physical contact, etc.  and then having a people who hold you accountable (more below).
Can I say a little word on the physical contact side?  A very basic concept that has helped me so much is, "When I am his, I am his.  When I am not his, I am not his."  Any guy who will not respect and protect your heart and purity is not a guy you want to marry - but rather flee from! 
Boundaries when received from Jesus and His Word are for your blessing - and establish freedom, trust, and blessing in the relationship.
~ Counsel - Just like in any other area of life, we need to be smart enough to realize that we are not smart enough to navigate this enormous decision on our own – especially if our head may be in the clouds a little.  Having a few wise, safe, trusted people who walk with God, love you, and want your best is essential in this process.  I cannot tell you the powerful gift this has been to me!
~ Community - It is so powerful to consider your relationship in a community people who know you, can witness your relationship, and can share feedback (support, caution, etc.).  We can be somewhat blind on our own.
~ Accountability - Wise people know they cannot go this journey alone - and especially in this situation that can be filled with blessing, but also temptation.  Staying accountable a mentor couple in the process will be powerful beyond words as you seek to honor the Lord and each other!

There is more on this area and more specifics in considering a marriage relationship in this VIDEO.

Remember the goal of all this is to honor Jesus, each other, and your future spouses - so that whether it ends in marriage or not, Jesus is glorified and we are pushed closer to Him!

"Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety." (Prov. 11:14)

4) Getting to know the real person.  Coming soon we will have a post specifically helping you to look at the guy you are considering to help determine if he is who God is calling you to marry.  Here are a few basics in considering the relationship:
~ Ask important questions - What is their walk with Jesus, vision for life, calling, past, perspective on marriage, roles, children, raising and schooling children, church, finances, etc.?  It is SO critical to talk these through and make sure they are on the same page BEFORE marriage vs. hardship after marriage.  Do NOT even consider a relationship with someone who doesn't know Jesus - you don't share the very purpose in life!  "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?"  (2 Cor. 6:15)
~ See each other in different settings - serving, with family, playing sports, stressed, etc. vs. only when dressed up and sitting down to talk. So much more is revealed about them - and you - in these times!  Remember most of your married life will be spent in the daily moments.
~ Giving the relationship time and walking through different seasons together - There are things you learn as a relationship grows over time and you walk through different seasons and situations with them.  For example, you learn a lot about someone when you walk through suffering with them.  Give a relationship time - it is a life-long decision! Your job may change – lots of things in life will change – but this life-long covenant you make before God “til death us do part” is a BIG DEAL!  Think it through. Pray it through. Take as much time as you need to know if it is God’s will for you.
~ Be yourself - Be the real you, instead of who you think the guy wants you to be.  As you are who God created you to be, the guy can get to know you as you really are - and the same with him.

Remember you will be two imperfect people pursuing Jesus together - but, your key is looking at their heart, the path they are on, and the fruit in their life - and if Jesus is calling you to join your lives together on the same path after Him.

5) Trust how the Lord leads you is for the best.
As you look to Jesus, He will make it clear - and you can know that is for your very best. 

If He leads you to marry the guy you are considering, you can embrace seeking to glorify Him in marriage with all of your heart.
If He leads you away from the relationship, whether you see the reason now or not, you can trust. 

I have seen over and over again the perfection of His ways, protection of His hand, and trustworthiness of His heart in my own experience and the experience of others!

(Please remember this - just because a guy is the first one to pursue you, does not mean that he is the one God is calling you to marry - or that no one else will ever come!  Trust Him, leave it in His hands, and follow!)

I just love the quote, "God gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him."

Friends, there is a lot more that could be said.  I wanted to give you some more solid heart grounding advice.  You can read the Word, Christ-centered relationship books, listen to messages, and ask godly counsel for more.  Pray through this.  Talk it through with your parents and godly mentors.  Receive from the Lord the approach He is showing you to take for His glory and your good.  I am praying for Him to guide you.

It ultimately boils down to these questions:
~ Could we effectively love, seek, grow in, and serve Jesus together?
~ Is Jesus calling us to love, seek, grow in, and serve Him together?
~ Is this the man Jesus is calling me to love and to give my life for for the rest of my life?

In every step, it takes much prayer, staying close to Jesus, being in His Word, listening to good counsel, and seeking to follow and glorify Jesus in every step you take.

As you follow the One who is Love, as you consider human love, He will lead you in His perfect plan for you.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."  (Proverbs 3:5-6)


If you want some more thoughts on relating to guys in a pure way before marriage and considering a relationship, you can watch this video! ~ Power of a Pure Heart and Single Focus

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