Deciding If She’s The One
In Stop Test-driving Your Girlfriend Michael Lawrence (an associate pastor at my church, Capitol Hill Baptist Church) discusses how a guy should go about deciding whether to marry someone. Here are a few comments that come to mind:
Michael speaks of asking the questions “Am I the sort of man a godly woman would want to marry?” and “What sort of qualities should I be looking for in a wife?” A good resource on these questions (and the equivalents for women) can be found within Rick Warren’s Relationship Series (part 3, the other part 3, parts 4 and 5).
It has been a concern of mine that the principle of avoiding unhealthy emotional intimacy within dating has been poorly justified through 1 Thess 4:6 (as in the teaching on ‘defrauding’). Michael avoids this, accepting that the context of the verse is phyisical immorality, and establishes the principle of protecting each other emotionally, by using the positive command of Rom 13:10, “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Michael also talks about finding true beauty, while also saying that physical attraction is necessary too. The issue of the importance of spiritual characteristics, personality and attraction is a difficult but important one. I think that in general God uses attraction as one way to lead to marriage, and to uphold marriage, and we should not overspiritualise and so understate its frequent role, though we should also be discerning in considering the other aspects too and avoid accepting without question our culture’s views about attraction and romance.
Michael’s reference to true beauty relates to a series of talks given at Capitol Hill Baptist Church on the subject, particularly relevant are The Nature of True Beauty (with Q&A) by Al Mohler and Does Thin Equal Beautiful? (with Q&A) by Ed Whelch.
Much has been made of the idea of courtship versus dating, however Michael intentionally avoids using the word courtship, while still seeking to present principles that uphold biblical wisdom and commands on the subject. The first 2 ‘related articles’ listed below Michael’s piece are by Scott Croft and Matt Schmucker, also from CHBC. (This year, Michael and Thabiti Anyabwile, reworked and taught the courtship and dating classes that Scott had written and then taught for several years (the online material predates that reworking), and some of that evolution is reflected in the 3 articles.)