GUIDELINE TO CHOOSING A LIFE PARTNER

Several questions we ask ourselves when it comes to issues pertaining to relationships – courtship or marriage: questions Like:
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How do I know he/she is the one? What is the assurance that he/she will not break my heart? Is it really God’s will? Is it love or lust? Can God give me assurance?

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Answers to these entire questions do not come from the North, South, East or West but from within us and it is determined by the relationship we have with God. There are steps to take for the question is he/she right for me? To be answered

STEP 1: BE SURE BEFORE YOU FALL IN LOVE

We call this stage FRIENDSHIP or OBSERVATION. There is no way you as a man/woman will not know if the opposite sex is attracted or interested in you, but attraction grows gradually not immediately. There can be what we call “CHEMISTRY” “LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT” but one needs to be sure it’s not “LUST AT FIRST SIGHT”. Many take LIKENESS for LOVE but the truth of the matter is that, you can say you love the person but is it the kind of love that is GOOD enough for marriage? You need to ask yourself what you have to offer. What does he/she have to offer you? When you have so much attention from the opposite sex and you discover you are growing to like the person then you must not wait to FALL IN LOVE before you take the next step.

STEP 2: TELL AND ASK GOD

It is always safer for you to go to God about a thing before you conclude it in your heart. Doing things on our own, without involving God is what has gotten a lot of us in trouble in time past. Tell God everything Heb 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith;” The first time I met my husband was a conversation on the phone. We got into an argument on the phone about his past because he told me the first day that he is a Divorcee, why he had to do it, and all. He never did hide anything from me. Before then I had being telling God that anyone he brings my way should be a HUSBAND and not a BOYFRIEND. You can be sure BOYFRIENDS will come but when you tell God about it, you won’t be deceived. Your relationship with God matters a lot, and whatever God says to you is relevant in this case. I spoke to God about him then, even before he proposed to me. I told God what I thought about marrying him. The bible says. “Cast all your cares on HIM and he shall direct your path”............................. Whatever we do is not hidden from HIM but He needs us to talk to him. “Commune with HIM” I told God about my husband’s past and what I feel. God is a good listener. The last line in Isaiah 40:31 says “His understanding is unsearchable” You just have to talk to him and then you wait to listen to his opinion about it. If God says NO, HE will definitely give you the reason. You have to be sure before you start your courtship.

 STEP 3: ASK HIM/HER
At this stage, you have already told God what you think, feel and know; then you need to ask him/her. Many ladies believe that it is a man that should ask a woman about the type of relationship they or might have but it is not so. Afterall, the bible says “Whosoever (He) findeth a wife findeth a good thing and obtaineth favour of the Lord” - Proverbs 18:22. Supposing you have told God, and God told you he/she is not the one for you, yet he/she keeps coming to you, what happens? The other party might think you are interested or believe that with time you will like him/her but you know otherwise. As a sister, it is safe to ask the man so that you will be able to put him right. Ask him to DEFINE your relationship. Ask him/her the Vision or future of the relationship. It is safe to ask than for you to fall in love and end up with a broken heart when God says NO or you end up forcing yourself into a marriage that will HIT THE ROCK. Proverbs 16:25 says “There is a way that seemeth right unto man but the end thereof is a way of death” Gal 6:7 “Be not deceived, God is not mocked.......................” You cannot deceive God

A long time ago, one of the brothers in our church was getting close to a sister and she discovered that he calls and sends texts messages regularly. She was really getting emotionally attached to him. When she told me about it, I simply advised her to ask him what he had in mind or say in other words, what his plans were. When she asked him, he told her that he was only out for friendship not marriage. She was disappointed, but thank God, today she is engaged to be married to a wonderful brother that she took time to talk to God about. Another illustration given by one of our pastors in church was about his wife. He said she was the one who had preached to him and got him converted. When she spoke to God about him, God told her he was the one but she couldn’t tell him so she told her pastor. The pastor called the brother and told him to go and pray. He prayed and thank God they are married with children today. You have to develop the boldness to ASK. I pray the lord will help you.

STEP 4: HOW CLOSE IS HE/SHE TO GOD (Pray together)

There is a saying that you should “PRAY so that you will not PRAY” You must know his/her spiritual level before you start. He/she must not be someone that will pull you down spiritually. When we got to a stage in our friendship (My fiancé and I), he called me and told me that we need to dedicate a week to wait on God concerning the issue of marriage “But those who wait on the lord...” Isaiah 40:31. It is a lifetime appointment and no mistake is allowed. We prayed, though we were distance apart, we both shared our assurance about starting a relationship. Remember I had prayed about it before I started, this prayer now is a prayer of reassurance from God. This prayer is what will sustain you in time of trouble. You will be able to tell God that HE knew about it from the beginning and HE gave you the go ahead, then HE cannot leave you then. Allow God to reassure you. Note that at this stage, when you are sure then you are free to FALL IN LOVE.

STEP 5: GET TO KNOW HIM (COURTSHIP)

Pastor Femi wrote a write up on DONT FALL IN LOVE. In this write up he counselled couples to WALK IN LOVE and not fall in love. At the stage of your courtship, you will get to face challenges that arise from getting to know each other. Quite a number of these challenges will come in form of trials, and it is at those times you will get to know where you both stand with each other. You will both get to know your likes and dislikes, temperament, faith, and other relevant things about each other. It is advisable not to pretend to one another so that you will be able to resolve all problems amicably. This is a delicate stage because the devil tries to break you up with his deceit. During the trying period of the courtship, you may

get to a point where you get fed-up with the whole thing, and then you say to yourself “why did I start this relationship in the first place?”, “maybe I didn’t hear God well?”, Maybe he/she is not really for me?” etc, but you must realise that this is what the devil wants you to believe, so you must not give in to him “The Thief (devil) cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill and to destroy”......................John 10:10 During our courtship, my husband and I had already fixed a date for the wedding. Four months to the wedding he said he was not sure about the thing, because there were some issues going on in his heart. He said that, every time he tried to give me a ring (engagement ring) (This happened three times), there was always a draw back in his heart, and that he had to resolve and know what God is trying to say to him about the whole marriage thing. At first I thought it was a joke until it got serious. He refused to reason with me or anyone; neither did he pick my calls. I fell sick for about two weeks before I got hold of myself and went to God in prayer. During my sickness I had the opportunity of sharing with other Christians around me, and I got diverse advice from people. One of my friends told me that she had told me before that i need to tie my man down so that he won’t leave me. She said we all call God that we have to help ourselves in other ways too. She said if I was ready that she can introduce me to an AIFA (Muslim Priest) that will do it but I told her then that “if this man is not for me then my man is still on the way”. That was when the question “Maybe I didn’t hear God well when he came to me?” A friend also introduced me to his pastor who said I should bring a large sum of money so that they could go to the mountain, to pray on my behalf. I bluntly refused. It was then I woke up from my slumber and thought to myself, “Can’t God hear me?”I told him to give me the prayer points so I can go to God in prayer on my own. Thank God for wonderful friends. There is nothing like coming from a good Christian background, being grounded in Christ Jesus and having matured Christians around you. My sister came over when I didn’t know what to do anymore. All the same, I kept praying and she said something that I will never forget. She said “God has said it, so believe it and that settles it. Tell God the date of the wedding and that you don’t want to change it. Keep thanking Him that He has done it” I went to God in prayer. I opened up my mind to HIM. Told HIM about all the advices I had received from people, and then I reminded HIM of what HE had told me. It took lots of prayer and fasting on my side and people praying along with me. I kept telling my fiancé then that God had not told me yet that he is not my husband. I sent mails, text messages, bible quotations; I kept visiting his parent etc. Because I was sure of what God had told me.

Sometimes I will just change my mind and say to myself “Why am I bothering myself about this man?” “I’m beautiful enough to get another man” “Who does he think he is?” but deep down in my heart a voice keeps telling me that I gave you the assurance. I remember during this trial that God gave me this passage Isaiah 45:1-end, Verse...”Command ye me, I am the lord..................” the lord promised to go before me and make every crooked path straight. Thank God today we are happily married in Christ Jesus. So you must know that this stage is for more prayer. Whatever you don’t like about your partner, you don’t have to complain to him/her but tell God about it and he will change it. Complains bring argument but God sees every heart and He knows what to do. Remember you are both from two different backgrounds. Note that it is during this period that every other man or woman that didn’t notice you before will start to do so, but you must not give into temptation. Don’t let the lies of the devil deceive you.

 CONCLUSION
Marriage is not a bed of roses but God makes all the difference. There will be ups and downs but the assurance you have from God from the beginning will keep you going. Don’t be in a hurry to rush into marriage because if you rush in you can’t rush out. You cannot know everything about your partner before marriage so you need the Holy Spirit to guild you. Marriage is a lifetime institution. Do not let a third party into your misunderstanding but resolve all in prayer and love. I PRAY THAT THE LORD WILL SEE YOU THROUGH. Titilayo Odunaiya temiajayi@yahoo.com, titilayoa@gmail.com, 08023694228, 07028089419, and 08063847345

©2009

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