When we think of the idea of a “soul mate” we may think of someone who would be “perfect” for us—someone who understands us completely and accepts us for who we are, wants the best for us, encourages us to be our best, is fun to be with, and also really attractive to us physically. If we have a strong belief in God, we also want our future spouse to share our faith.
Together, there are so many factors! It can be difficult to navigate through the process of searching for and pursuing a relationship to marriage. The question becomes, “Does God have one particular person He intends for me to marry?” This is a great question. If someone is asking that, then they are trying to prioritize God in their decision making, which is essential.
The Bible does not directly answer the question for us individually, but there are examples and principles we can apply. For instance, take a few minutes to read the God-led love story between Isaac and Rebekah in Genesis 24. It was clear that God had appointed Rebekah as the chosen wife for Isaac, before they had ever met.
We know that God is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. This is the personal Creator God ordering the events of life all the while not infringing upon your free choice. Therefore, we must come to the prospect of a future husband or wife prepared and ready for the privileges and responsibilities of that divine union.
Putting the God relationship first
Unless we have a meaningful, viable, and growing relationship with God then we should not go any further in developing a deep relationship with anyone else. We must be careful that we are not floating along behind our family’s faith, but are actively making an effort to know the One who will be your immovable anchor in any uncertainty. If you want to know if God has someone chosen for you, you first must know who He is, why He cares for you, and what His ultimate goals are for your life. Isaac had been through tests of faith, alongside his Father. He saw God working in their lives. When we walk with Jesus Christ, everything hinges on this relationship.
Praying for a future spouse
Be specific in the way you pray for your future spouse. Talk to Him openly about qualities and characteristics you have in mind, and why those are important to you. Ask Him if you need to change your ideas or priorities in looking for a spouse, and if so, to show you why. Begin to look for the qualities in others that you spoke only to God about. While we should never assume that a friendship is going to be more than friendship when it begins, it’s good to think about why some traits or behavior is more appealing than others, and why certain people seem more attractive to you. Allow yourself to have expectations, but try to make them reasonable. Let God know how precious His thoughts and opinions are to you (Psalms 139:17 Psalms 139:17How precious also are your thoughts to me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
American King James Version×).
Trusting God to manage the clock
Knowing if he or she is “the one” takes time! If you find yourself rushing the process, or being stirred by emotions or fueled by physical attraction, by all means, throw water on that fire before it wrecks the whole house! This is one of the most difficult challenges in modern dating, where it’s become socially acceptable for many to engage in physical intimacy before marriage as a way to check “compatibility.” That logic is terribly twisted, since compatibility has many more factors than that unreliable, hormone-driven one.
It is important to take time to consider how others view our close friendships.
Family and friends can be a particularly valuable source of advice. Ask them if they see any red flags that you may have missed, and be ready to take what they tell you to God in prayer. If you find that a developing friendship isolates you from your immediate circle of trusted support, then you’re probably on the wrong track. A healthy friendship should be comfortable to share with family and friends.
Most people in their dating relationships are on their best behavior so you have to be very careful. You need to see this potential spouse in a variety of situations, including stressful situations. How do they deal with being late for an appointment because of congested traffic? How do they react when they don’t get what they want? How do they treat their mother or father—with honor, or disrespect? How do they treat children, or the elderly? Are they still humble when participating in competitive sports? How do they respond publicly or privately when someone wrongs them—do they hold a grudge, or forgive easily? If you’ve never seen each other in stressful situations you are not fully informed of true character.
"How" versus "how long" you are preparing for the prospect of marriage is what matters the most. Trust God’s timing for you. There may be some character that you need to grow before entering into a relationship with someone else. It’s okay to wait, even if it feels lonely. Use that time to seek God and work on your own character.
Desiring a union with greater purpose
Just as you are committed to growing in your relationship with God, so must anyone you consider. Look for someone who is already serious about growing in grace and in knowledge of Jesus Christ, not for your sake, but because they value it for themselves.
The Bible is clear: do not intentionally seek being unequally yoked. To be unequally yoked is to have different standards or opposing goals, especially in religious belief. Abraham sought a wife for Isaac among those who believed in God. Many women closer to home could have been chosen for Isaac, but they were non-believers. God warns His people not to marry outside the faith for their own sake. The closeness of that relationship will have great influence—either toward or away from God. Marriage is enough of a challenge in the longterm without this extra layer of hardship for everyone involved.
When a future marriage relationship comes, recognize that whatever imperfections each of you has, or challenges you will face, that the marriage covenant is created by God. It is a space in which you both will have the opportunity to grow, to learn, to make mistakes, to see God’s strength perfected in weakness, all for a higher purpose!