Hope to Marry: Proactively Pursuing Marriage
Marriage is a calling from God. It’s the natural design for fulfilling our deep human desire for companionship and sexuality. If you aren’t called to celibate service (1 Corinthians 7), a significant priority for this season of your life is preparing for and moving toward the Sacrament of Marriage. An intentional path to finding a spouse begins with recognizing God’s sovereignty over the whole process. He has a plan for your life, and it is a good plan! So, how does a person who feels this calling to marriage become faithful and intentional to God’s plan?
This should seem an obvious first step, but too often prayer is put on the back burner as an afterthought until a relationship has gone wrong. Philippians 4:6–7 tells us not to be anxious, but to pray about everything. We are encouraged to “let our requests be made known to God.” Pray that God would lead you to the right person. Pray also that He would help you to become, even now, the godly person that someone else is looking for. Pray for the single men and women in your life, and for God to be glorified in each step of your path toward the Sacrament of Marriage.
Seek Direction Within Your Christian Community
We live in a day of hyper-individualism where people feel very little sense of obligation to others. God calls us, however, to vibrant community within the Body of Christ. This community is the source of much of our growth as Christians, and it is one of the best means for meeting a potential spouse and receiving guidance and support toward marriage.
Move Beyond Recreational Relationships
The Church’s teaching to all people, men and women, married and singles, young and old alike, is chastity. Chastity is based on the idea that human bodies are endowed with incredible dignity from their Creator. Part of this dignity is the gift of reason, which human beings alone possess. That means that we are not victims of our emotions and desires, but can have mastery over them. Chastity is the use of the sexual desires in their appropriate context. Sex is an incredible gift from God, the outward sign of the invisible grace received in the Sacrament of Marriage—two literally becoming one. It is a good thing! For Christians, there can be no such thing as casual sex, because we have such a high view of our bodies and their dignity. Christian singles are called to wait until marriage to have sex. Married people are called to purity and faithfulness to their spouse. This teaching will not change with the changing culture, because human dignity will never change. We are created in the very image and likeness of God.
Ephesians 5:21–33 reminds husbands and wives that their bodies belong to one another, and that sexual relationships are an integral part of sacrificial love. Your commitment to your future spouse can begin even now while you are seeking your soul mate. Your future spouse will thank you, and they will be worth the wait.
This dignity also brings a seriousness to the process of dating. For Christians, dating is done for a purpose: to prepare for and find the person who God has in store for you as your future spouse. Moving beyond recreational relationships means taking seriously the fact that dating is a gift from God for us to use with wisdom.
Seek The Right Kind Of Soul Mate
A study by the National Marriage Project found that 94% of young adults believe the person they marry should be their soul mate. This belief often leaves many looking in vain for the person who is specially designed to “meet their needs”. However, both the Scriptures and current research on marriage show that the more important soul mate to seek is someone who shares your values and spiritual commitments. As Saint Augustine writes in The Confessions, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.” Our ultimate desire to know and be known can only be met in Him. During this season as a single person, know that instead of merely waiting for the perfect match for your needs, you can focus your attention on strengthening your values and spiritual commitments. You are a beloved child of God, and as you grow into this identity, you will be more able to love and be loved by others.
Living a chaste life in the midst of Christian community makes it easier to find a mate who shares your spiritual values, but there’s more you can do as a steward of your future marriage. Titus 2 strongly encourages young men and women to learn from older men and women. In addition to Christian discipleship, you can also ask mentors for candid feedback about how you might improve in a variety of areas to be more prepared for marriage. Having relationships that provide accountability can be massively important for you to live a life of purity. Additionally, there’s nothing wrong with asking mentors to keep you in mind as they become aware of other singles seeking a godly spouse.
O God, you manifest in your servants the signs of your presence: Send forth upon us the Spirit of love, that in companionship with one another your abounding grace may increase among us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, 125
O God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light rises up in darkness for the godly: Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what you would have us to do, that the Spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in your light we may see light, and in your straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, 832
- Seasons of Waiting: Walking by Faith When Dreams Are Delayed By Betsy Childs Howard
This book addresses the spiritual side of waiting for one’s deepest desires. The author also published the article, “Should I Be Content with My Singleness?”
- Real Love: Answers to Your Questions on Dating, Marriage, and the Real Meaning of Sex By Mary Beth Bonacci
She provides insight on a godly single life from a Catholic perspective.
An evangelical website by Focus on the Family that offers young adults encouragement to live abundantly as singles while seeking God’s best in either celibacy or marriage. boundless.org
- The Meaning of Marriage By Timothy Keller
This is a great resource for learning about the biblical foundation of the institution of marriage from a celebrated author and pastor.
- The Sacred Search: What If It’s Not About Who You Marry, But Why? By Gary Thomas
Thomas explores the idea that “marriage is designed to make you holy more than it is to make you happy.”
- The Book of Common Prayer
The BCP contains all of our services, prayers, and many resources for private devotions. It can be purchased on Amazon or at the Incarnation Bookstore. bcponline.org
- Get Connected.
Join with others from our church who are meeting together to study and connect and pray. Go to the Growth Groups web page for more information. Church of the Incarnation has a thriving young adults ministry. It is comprised of both married and single people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. View the Youth Adults page on Facebook.
- Get Involved.
Use your gifts! Take our Spiritual Gifts Assessment to discern ways to get plugged into the life of Incarnation.
- Serve the Poor.
Go to our local outreach page to find out how your gifts can change lives.
- Talk with a priest.
If you are particularly bothered by anything in your past, sexual sin or otherwise, feel free to schedule a time to talk with a priest and confess your sins. Voicing your confession in complete confidentiality can be incredibly freeing. It is a great way to make a break with the emotional and spiritual baggage of your past. Any of the priests on staff at Incarnation are happy to meet with you for direction, counsel, or simply just to talk. Email a priest to set up a meeting. Or call the parish office at 214-521-5101.
- Need help with a sex addiction?
You are not alone. Go to saa-recovery.org .