Christians believe marriage is a “’till death do us part” covenant before God and his people. For this reason, it is exceedingly important to enter into that covenant with the right person. We often asked: “What should we be looking for in a potential spouse?” The answer to that question varies depending on who is asking and why, but there are five things that apply in every situation.
1) Are they a Christian?
2) Do they love the local church?
3) Do they repent well?
4) Do they forgive well?
5) Are you willing to Ephesians 5 them?
On many lists such as these, well-meaning Christians will say, “You need to be attracted to your potential spouse.” While this may sound like wisdom, it is utter foolishness. By this logic, we Christians would never have been chosen as the Bride of Christ. We were covered in the filth of our sin and exposed as ugly whores before the entire world. Yet Jesus still chose us, pursued us, and wed us as his own. Instead of asking the question, “Am I attracted to them”, Jesus asked the question, “Am I willing to Ephesians 5 them?”
And he is.
This should be the same question we ask ourselves: Am I willing to Ephesians 5 them?
As a man, this means you must ask yourself if you are willing to lay down your life for your potential spouse, as Jesus laid down his life for you. Are you willing to lay aside your preferences for this woman? Your independence? Your dreams? Your freedoms? Your control? Your literal life?
As a woman, this means you must ask yourself if you are willing to submit to this man, as the Church submits to Christ. Are you willing to honor this man above yourself, whether he deserves it or not? To respect him above all, whether he has earned it or not; to follow him as he leads, however imperfectly he might do so?
These are the things Jesus commands you to do. If you’re not willing to do them for a potential spouse, then you dare not marry them, no matter how pretty they may be. If you are willing, then as you pursue your potential spouse, they will become far more beautiful than you ever imagined.
This is what Jesus did for you. He did not choose to love you because you were attractive; you became attractive because he chose to love you. You are now empowered to do the same.
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