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Musings on Marriage

When I was five years old, I first heard the word boyfriend within the context of some adult

conversation and decided to add it to my vocabulary. I did not know its meaning, much less did I

imagine the connotation connected with it when I declared my friend Joseph my boyfriend. I had

simply broken down the words, boy and friend, understanding it meant that the boy was my friend.

Joseph, a few years older and a little wiser, looked at me incredulously and told me, “Esther, you are

not old enough to have a boyfriend.” That was my first introduction to the seriousness of courtship and

marriage.

During the years since that incident, I have had the opportunity to ponder more deeply my own

ideal for a future spouse. I explored a dictionary definition for marriage once and left dissatisfied when

it merely defined it as “the legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife.” It seemed to me, as

I watched the marriages of respected adults crumble, or as I observed my peers choose impulsive,

flirtatious mates and divorce them a year later, that there must be more involved in marriage than that

of a legal union. My search has made me explore various courtship books and question many older

adults for advice, but the most helpful principles have always come from inspiration. Ellen White

penned my favorite definition, “Marriage, a union for life, is a symbol of the union between Christ and

His church.”1

If marriage symbolizes the faith-filled, vibrant connection between Christ and His church, then

my choice of a spouse will most certainly not be a decision determined by mere passion or romance. In

I Samuel 16, I found the account of the prophet Samuel whom God commissioned to anoint Israel's

future king. Samuel was presented with seven handsome young men who each held kingly qualities,

but God did not accept these men as leaders for His nation. He said, “Look not on his countenance, or

on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man

1
Adventist Home, p. 95
looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”2 He called the youngest son,

David, who was humbly minding the home duties instead of enjoying the feast. From this story, I

gather valuable principles of guidance for the choice of my spouse. First, Samuel is given the task of

anointing the king, but not choosing him. I do not have the authority to choose for myself the prince

charming of my life—God does. Next, there were many decent young men to choose from, but God

made it clear that none of these possessed the divine qualifications. In my choice of a husband, I do not

want outward handsomeness (or the lack thereof) to influence my interest. Rather, I want God to guide

me to someone who is faithfully working for Him.

There are many character traits and abilities which Ellen White outlines as prerequisites for

marriage. I desire to marry someone who has been eagerly growing in regards to these principles,

including a living, daily walk with Christ and practical skills like home maintenance and auto repair.

He will be someone to whom I can look with respect and admiration, in regards to both spiritual

leadership and vocational ability. Most importantly, he will fulfill his part of this definition of godly

marriage: “Marriage does not lessen [the couple's] usefulness, but strengthens it. They may make that

married life a ministry to win souls to Christ.”3 I want a life union with someone whose strong points

atone for my weak points and vice versa so that together we make a team more effective in service for

God.

I have chosen to wait for my prince. As Samuel learned, I will learn to look past outward

appearances, and wait for him who has been learning from the school of Christ and developing a heart

of love for God and me.

2
I Samuel 16:7
3
Adventist Home, p. 102

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