When I was a young Christian man, I'd read what the Bible said about divorce and remarriage. I knew I wanted to be married. I wanted the love. I wanted the sexual fulfillment. I wanted the companionship. I did not want to be in a situation where I didn't have these things in my life. Just considering myself in light of I Corinthians 7, I could tell marriage was a good match for me long-term, rather than celibacy (which I was doing while single.)
I also realized that there were situations I could get into where conscience might keep me living in a functionally single state when I did not want to be. If I married a woman and she divorced me and just lived single her whole life, I might feel obligated to eventually reconcile with her and not marry someone else. The same thing could happen if she just separated from me. Even if she remarried, I could have an issue of conscience with this. (Whether one agrees with my theological concerns about these things, one should accept these as issues related to keeping a clean conscience.)
Since I knew I wanted to have a wife in my home, in my life, sexual companionship, love from a wife, etc., I needed to find a woman who would stay with me. I knew I had to be careful to find a wife who did not believe it was okay just to divorce if she wasn't happy, for example.
I needed someone who was not prone to have affairs. Her faith and values system had to be inconsistent with committing adultery. And, of course, I needed to live consistent with my beliefs on this matter.
I also knew I wanted to marry a godly wife with the same or very similar beliefs or values. I had some criteria.
I was reading over a journal I kept while dating, and I wrote about some of our conversation, and I did check and see if the woman I married shared certain values. My ideas on these things have been refined, but it was good to see that I was actually doing this in my 20's.
Anyway, with all the divorce, and with all the posts we see on this forum, which are so typical nowadays.
My question is, how can we teach single Christian people to make wise decisions when choosing a spouse? What should we teach them and how do we get them the information and get them to consider these things?
Here are some areas I can think of for discussion relating to criteria for a spouse long term:
- same beliefs
- church attendance
- attitudes toward adultery
- attitudes toward divorce
- substance abuse issues
- work ethic
- expectations of roles of husband and wife in marriage
- sexual expectations
- expectations related to children
- expectations related to parents and extended family
- life plans