Trusting God with Relationships, Part 1

Trusting God with Relationships, Part 1

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I've recently been thinking a lot about God's participation in my love life. Mostly, I've been wondering to what extent He cares about it. There was a time when I believed that the Lord was carefully preparing and refining my future spouse and orchestrating the exact events that would bring us together. I still want to believe that, but it's a struggle.

Does God really care about who I marry? Is my waiting period part of His plan or just a side-effect of a culture confused about marriage? Is marriage a standard-issue arrangement ordained by God or is He interested in my specific choice? My theology on this will deeply affect the way I view my Heavenly Father and His involvement in my life. It will impact how I go about relationships. It will affect the way I live while I'm waiting.

As I considered my current state of disillusionment with my former view, I thought it would be helpful to consider again some of the basic truths about God's purpose for and involvement in human relationships.

One foundational truth about my singleness is God sees my need. Moments after creation, God takes a personal interest in Adam's lonely state. "It is not good for the man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). God did not create humans to live in isolation. He designed us to long for and experience companionship and love. And if He had compassion toward Adam's loneliness, I can trust that He sees and understands mine.

Not only did God see Adam's need; He responded to it in a specific way. "I will make a helper suitable for him" (Genesis 2:18). As a remedy to Adam's loneliness, God created Eve. God designed her to be Adam's helper. It's true that we don't know if "helper suitable for him" was simply talking about Eve's complimentary attributes as a woman. But this declaration seems to show God's detail in providing a perfect match for Adam.

I know a lot of singles who wish they were married. For most of us, these circumstances seem out of our control. It is easier to trust someone when you believe he cares. The Lord is compassionate toward singles. Adam started out as one. It seems a little unfair (to me) that Adam's match materialized almost immediately while mine is slow in coming. But in God's dealings with Adam, we discover two realities: 1. God established marriage as the antidote to a basic human need ("It is not good for the man to be alone"); 2. God was concerned about the individual fit of the relationship ("a helper suitable for him").

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  • Comment by  Paul:

    I'm of the belief that God does not have one ideal mate chosen for each of us, and gives us the freedom to make choices in life, within His revealed will -- e.g. we're not to marry an unbeliever (2 Cor. 6:14, 1 Cor. 7:39).

    *However* that in no way means that He isn't profoundly concerened with our lives, including the trials and tribulations of single life, our unfulfilled longings, our lonliness, etc. He's affected by all of it. Further, He cares about the decisions we make in life, especially one so important and life-changing as whom we marry. Not all choices are equally wise, even if they don't violate any clear Biblical injunction. He wants us to ask for wisdom concerning these matters and He promises to grant it: James 1:5 (NKJV): "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him."

  • Comment by  MicahJamesLugg:

    I definitely believe that God has chosen our spouse. He is sovereign over all things and has pre-ordained all things. If God has not chosen my future spouse, then that means the decision is in my hands. I would rather trust God for choosing my spouse than trust myself, any day. He knows me better than I know myself and He knows my future spouse better than she knows herself and thus He makes matches better than any human could. If God has not chosen spouses, then the possibility is up to chance and that strips God of control over human lives. He orchestrates all things for His glory.

  • Comment by  Jeni:

    I think your statement: "It is easier to trust someone when you believe he cares" is so true.

    Sometimes the fact that God cares is easier to believe than others.  Yet even when I'm in doubt, He is faithful. The two points you've brought up are very good reminders of how God does indeed care.    

  • Comment by  Erin:

    "Is my waiting period part of His plan or just a side-effect of a culture confused about marriage? "

    it is in His plan that you will wait and marry amidst a culture confused about marriage. :) although our culture is confused about marriage, it does not exist out of His soveriegn plan. neither does your (and my)active pursuit of marriage!

    a lot of people discuss marriage within Christian circles as unrealistic. statistically, there are twice as many girls in a church as there are single men. statistically, it doesn't work out quite right. i thought about Jesus feeding the five thousand, with five loafs of barley and two fish. statistically it doesn't seem plausible, but the Lord provides for all who are willing to believe He does.

    just because we can make an active choice about who we will marry doesn't mean our spouse is not pre-ordained. the choices we make, as long as faithful to Scripture, are all in the Lord's sovereign plan. blessings to your future marriage! :)

  • Comment by  brx:

    Suzanne, why do you conclude that Adam's match materialized almost immediately?  It looks to me like Adam was pretty busy for quite a while before that.  It crosses my mind that CS Lewis' didn't recognize a marriage partner until quite a ways into his life, either.

    I hope that's not such a downer.  You do write some pretty insightful pieces sometimes.  That could be challenging/intimidating if that reputation preceedes you.  

    Keep making choices -- and rest assured God knows the choices you're going to make - not because we don't have free will, but because He knows us so well.  And being God, He can handle our choices, the wise ones AND the not-so-well-thought-out ones.

    Grace, peace & adventure to ya!

  • Comment by  rachael:

    God DOES care about us (1 Peter 5:7b), but I think it can often be easier to passively believe certain Biblical truths than to feel them emotionally. He cares about our concerns. If we are concerned about our singleness, He cares. But will He provide for us a spouse? Not necessarily. That's the tough truth. Will He provide for us in other ways? I need to struggle to believe...even though I don't always feel...yes. He has the power to make us content in any and every situation; we can do everything through Him who gives us strength (Phil. 4). Am I at a point where I've reached that complete contentedness? No. I struggle in this as well. That being said, I guess the beautiful thing about trials is that God can work in us and refine our faith through them.

  • Comment by  Claire:

    I used to believe that we were supposed to wait on God's timing for that "one person." While I still believe we wait on God's timing, I think there could be a lot of people a person is compatable with. On the flip side, of course there are certain ones that are the "wrong one" that we aren't compatible with. Think about it, if there is "the one" for everyone, it just doesn't work. Here is the line of reasoning for this: If one person makes a mistake and marries the "wrong one" (and we know we are human and make mistakes) then it messes up everyone else. It's a trickle down effect.  After marriage, that person has become "the one" and you stay with them. I think it's a romantic notion of "the one" and all, but God wants us to do our part as well, seek His will, use our minds - basically, He gives us a choice, but wants us to seek His choice. As I said, I think that there is more than one person that we could be compatable with (think about people who remarry after divorce, death, etc) but God knows what is the BEST. We can choose one from the group that would work and God is still sovereign and He is still glorified, but he wants us to choose His BEST for us because it will bring HIM the MOST Glory. Hope this makes sense...

  • Comment by  Rina:

    Yes, I think we need to trust God in this area, that He cares and He will provide. That He will lead us to know what to do while we wait.. if not it would feel kinda hopeless doesn't it? Yet He is a God of Hope... and if He seems to care in all other areas of our life, why not this?

  • Comment by  Christina:

    Your post is really encouraging. Along with the truth that "it is not good for the man to be alone," I like to remember Psalm 130:5, which says, "I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope."  The Hebrew for "wait" means to "wait expectantly."

    We are waiting for the Lord to return, we are waiting on Him to direct us and we are waiting on Him to reveal His plans...all with expectation. We also can wait with expectation for a spouse. His word says it is not good to be alone. We were meant for relationships. We have to trust and hope in His word!

  • Comment by  Kelly:

    And if He had compassion toward Adam's loneliness, I can trust that He sees and understands mine.

    Really?  I am thoroughly in the state of disillusionment at the moment.  Women who are so lonely, hurting for YEARS.  My heart breaks for them, every time I meet a beautiful woman who is 35+ and never married.

    My own heart has been hoping and hurting for 15 years now.  15 YEARS.

    And yet... this pain is nothing compared to the pain others go through.  Those who suffer abuse, starvation, the list goes on.

    How can God just sit back and watch?!

  • Comment by  davebeldon:

    I dont think there is one person that we are compatible to marry. Human beings arent that complicated and different. I think God has plans for us (jeremiah) and will lead us as he so chooses. He love and acceptance of us and delight in us is infinite. Like Jacob we are often unaware of his presence. I think the temptation for single is to look at marriage as something that God made as good and to make it best. Marriage can be an idol and is an idol in a lot of people lives. Jeremiah 2:13 has been quoted to me a million times. This site does a great job of exposing the intentions of people who are hiding from God's plan in their life (marriage), but focusing on constantly can steal the joy the God has for us where we are right now. Unfortunately it can also make us less attractive to other people. For a people marriage is like a screen door, the flys on the outside want to get in and the flys on the inside want to get out. Anytime we question God love for us, or we start using phrases like I will be happy when _____, that is a clue that whatever is we want is becoming an idol in our lives. The key to getting rid of an idol (especially ones that our good for us like a job, working out, or marriage) is growing closer to the love and acceptance of Christ. It is only by experiencing the warmth and fire of his love that the idols in our lives lose their grip and are able to be put in their proper place.

    I do sympathize with you Suzanne. My girlfriend broke up with me a few months ago. Im not sure what waiting is like for a girl. When Im ready I will go for a again. For a guy the frustration can be like looking under a million rocks and not finding any gold (maybe that is a bad illustration but hopefully you know what I am getting at). Its amazing that when something does go great I am really shocked that God would want something good for me.

    My pastor told me to run the race as best I can and marry the one who is running beside me. It sounds like a bunch of hokey, but I think it is really good advice. The great thing about life is that there is only one life giver and that is God. Everthing else is just a gift. To often we worship the gifts and think that they will give life.

    It is really hard for me to imagine what life would be like if I was still a single virgin at at 50 or 60. What the heck would I do with myself? Who would I hang out with? I know though that if that were my lot and I was seeking God and nothing ever came about that I could be joyful and God would bring people in my life that would bless me and that I could bless. I could have a full and meaningful life without a family! This is coming from a guy that only really wants a family. I just think God is that good and we have nothing to fear.

    I dont mean to rant on on but only to encourage.

  • Comment by  BDB:

    So, if God is in control of the details, does that mean he's also in control of how much dental floss and chapstick we collect?  Or is that "free will?"

  • Comment by  AdamSloope:

    I am with you all the way, I think the thought of their being one person made for me is cute, but I struggle with it.  I have recently started dating a girl and it was suddenly brought to a screeching halt because she thought we were pursuing it to much, she thinks that God will just open Heaven and put a spot light on the man she is supposed to marry.  I think Christian dating is such a joke because of this thought.  I think God gives us standards to look for in a companion and there is work on our part involved.  God is a very involved God, but we cannot sit around and try to figure out His next move or rely on Him to do things for us that we are supposed to do (I'm speaking to myself and other guys on this one, because I wish it weren't my responsibility to pursue because then I risk rejection).  

    All in all, I think we should all see each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, when there is attraction, pursue it, and if it is not something, then still be friends, none of it is personal, it is just a bunch of confused people looking for the same thing, a companion under/within God's will.

  • Comment by  Paul:

    Claire said: "Think about it, if there is "the one" for everyone, it just doesn't work. Here is the line of reasoning for this: If one person makes a mistake and marries the "wrong one" (and we know we are human and make mistakes) then it messes up everyone else. It's a trickle down effect."

    Bingo.

  • Comment by  Carrie:

    BDB:

    So, if God is in control of the details, does that mean he's also in control of how much dental floss and chapstick we collect? Or is that "free will?"

    Yes.

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