GUIDELINES FOR CHOOSING A SPOUSE
Date: November 26
Category: Marriage and Relationships
"Let them marry whom they think best."
This is a commandment concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, who were of the tribe of Joseph. Their father didn't have any sons and it was usually the sons who inherited the land. A woman's possessions were usually added to her husband's estate. So these daughters were worried that because their father didn't have any sons, he was going to lose his name in the land of Israel. So Moses inquired the Lord about this situation and this is what the Lord commanded concerning these daughters, "Let them marry whom they think best."
Then verse 6c says, "Only they shall marry within the family of the tribe of their father." So these daughters could choose their own husbands, but they would have to make their choice from within their father's tribe. It's very similar to a commandment in the New Testament concerning whom we should choose to be our spouses. In 2 Corinthians 6:14 we read, "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers [do not make mismated alliances with them or come under a different yoke with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership have right living and right standing with God with iniquity and lawlessness? Or how can light have fellowship with darkness?" In other words, a believer is to marry another believer.
According to Numbers 36:6b we can see that the Lord commanded the daughters of Zelophehad to marry whomever they think is best while staying within the tribe of their father. So if you're single, you are free to choose who you want to marry as long as they are from within the family of God. Of course, there are other guidelines, but ultimately, you are the one who makes the choice. Choosing a spouse is the second most important decision you will make after your decision to accept Christ into your heart.
There are several things that you are to consider when making your decision. The first guideline, as we've already read, is to marry within the family of God. The second thing to consider is the counsel from authority figures in our lives, such as our parents. Even though my parents and my wife's parents were not believers and were all separated, I wrote four letters to each of them asking for permission to marry Ljiljana. Praise God, they all gave me their permission. Sometimes you may seek counsel from spiritual leaders within the church as well, such as a pastor or a mentor. But it's important to seek counsel before making your decision.
Another guideline in making your decision is by prayer. Before you decide anything, you have to pray about that person and ask God to speak to you. Then you have to consider your desires. We all have different desires about certain character traits of a person. You have to determine what your desires are. Then you have to examine your temperament and the temperament of the other person. Everyone has a specific temperament, which plays an influence in how we relate to people. Finally, you have to sense the peace of God in your heart about your choice. That peace of God becomes an umpire for your decision.
So the initial attraction in most cases is physical. That's very important as well. There has to be some kind of chemical attraction between you and the other person. But there has to be more than that. There has to be a psychological connection as well. In other words, you have to consider the other person's soul (mind, will, and emotions). Determine if their mind is renewed in the Word of God, if their will is submissive to the will of God, and if their emotions are under the lordship of Jesus Christ. Then that ties in with their spiritual life. You have to consider how spiritually strong and committed they are to God. When the spiritually connection is the strongest connection you have with a person, then that will enable you to build a strong marriage.
So according to Numbers 36:6b, "Let them marry whom they think best," we can see that the selection of a spouse is really our decision. But God has laid out in His Word various guidelines that we need to consider before making our decision. It's so important that we stay within those guidelines when we choose a spouse because marriages that are held together by God are the marriages that are most successful.