Through our youth, we are faced with many different decisions—some with long-lasting effects and some with a lot less. The decision of a life partner is one of the biggest decisions we will ever make. This, sadly, may give us the most heartache we will ever experience. So what is the best way to sail around the rocks into the sunshine? I am certainly no expert in this, but I do have a few guidelines to offer.
When we are young, we always think that we are ready to make our own decisions, ready to go out into life, find our true love, and start things off. When I was 16, this is what I wanted to do, but I thank God He allowed things not to work out as I intended.
It is best to wait for God’s timing. But what is God’s timing? Obviously, this depends on the person, but we do have two areas of counsel to follow.
- Are we old enough? A decision as important as marriage should be postponed until we have fully developed both physically and mentally.
“A youth not out of his teens is a poor judge of the fitness of a person as young as himself to be his companion for life.” The Adventist Home, 79.
- Have we finished our education? This may be a weird question, but we do not want to divert brainpower from our studies for something that requires so much emotional and psychological energy.
“Young people are sent to school by their parents to obtain an education, not to flirt with the opposite sex. The good of society, as well as the highest interest of the students, demands that they shall not attempt to select a life partner while their own character is yet undeveloped, their judgment immature, and while they are at the same time deprived of parental care and guidance.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 62.
“Gather all the efficiency you can, making the most of your opportunities for the education and training of the character to fill any position which the Lord may assign you. You need so much a balance-wheel in judicious counsel. Do not despise advice. Bear in mind that the school is not a place to form attachments for courting or entering into marriage relations.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 10, 74.
Even when we are old enough and out of our studies, we may want to rush on before God, but my first instruction is to wait. Consider whether the person with whom you want to unite your life has the traits that are worthy of your attention. Take time to analyze this person to see if he or she has what you really need in a life partner as per the instruction we have been given in The Adventist Home, 211–224 and 231–273. I would encourage you to read this first from the angle of how should I be, and then read it from the angle of for what should I be looking.
Ask yourself, Am I ready to play my part in the family role? Have I come close to God? Am I willing to take up my fair share of life’s burdens? Am I willing to be that perfect husband or wife? Am I willing to work at a relationship, accept someone for who they are, and, with God’s help, have a happy home? Or will I be the sort who will want everything my way? These are hard questions, if you answer them honestly.
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to wait upon the Lord, but if we will trust God, then He will work things out for us—maybe not in the way we think we want them to be, but in the way that He knows is best for us. When we learn this lesson and let God rule supremely in our lives, then we are ready to progress in finding a life partner.
Let us make sure we wait for the right time in our lives and also that we do the preparation work before we enter into such a relationship.
Jeff Samuels is a pseudonym