Choosing a marital partner

"Make the choice of a marital partner carefully and prayerfully . . . you're playing for keeps"

Who you marry will affect every sphere of your life.

For the Christian, the Bible gives clear, positive guide lines to assist you in making the most important choice a Christian will make.

Choosing a friend

  1. Their Soul – keep in touch with God.  Choosing a Christian is #1 priority
  2. Their Body – good health, fresh air, cloths, exercise, sleep, rest
  3. Their Mind – active, good books, interests, challenge
  4. Their Attitude  -  Prov 1:31-32


  1. Prov 17:17  a friend loves at all time  Eccl 4:9-10
  2. Companionship, confidence, loyalty, self-sacrifice
  3. Beware: you absorb qualities of each other -Play with mud, some of it sticks; link life with evil companions – dirty your character.  “Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.”” 1Corinthians 15:33 NLT

Sexuality and friendship

  • Glory of God to be the goal/objective in any friendship 1 Corinthians 10:31  Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God.

  • One in faith - do not marry a non-christian  2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1  Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers.  How can goodness be a partner with wickedness?  How can light live with darkness?  What harmony can there be between Christ and the Devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever?  And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:  “I will live in them and walk among them.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.  Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.  Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.  And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”  Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete purity because we fear God. [cf Dt 7:3-4]

  • Purity  1 Timothy 5:2  treat the older women as you would your mother, and treat the younger women with all purity as your own sisters

  • No sexually arousing behaviour  Genesis 26:7-9 And when the men there asked him about Rebekah, he said, “She is my sister.” He was afraid to admit that she was his wife. He thought they would kill him to get her, because she was very beautiful.  But some time later, Abimelech, king of the Philistines, looked out a window and saw Isaac fondling Rebekah.  Abimelech called for Isaac and exclaimed, “She is obviously your wife! Why did you say she was your sister?” “Because I was afraid someone would kill me to get her from me,” Isaac replied.

  • Servants  Romans 16:18; 1 Peter 4:10 “For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve.”  “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” ESV

How to choose a life long husband/wife

Proverbs 4:23  above all else guard your heart for it is the well-spring of



  1. dress appropriately
  2. don’t flout your sexuality
  3. don’t sprawl all over guy
  4. don’t be sexually suggestive
  5. standard you set will be standard meted out to you


  1. Set high healthy helpful standards
  2. Guiding rule – can I have this friendship and still retain the friendship of Jesus who said:  “you are my friends if you do what I have commanded you”
  3. Listen and obey the Bible  Prov 1:30-31  dispise self  "They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them.  That is why they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way. They must experience the full terror of the path they have chosen"

Girls- My Man must have/be - traits to be found in the ideal man

  • Disciplined temperament “He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his incredible folly.  For these commands and this teaching are a lamp to light the way ahead of you. The correction of discipline is the way to life.  To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.” Proverbs 5:23; 6:23; 12:1 NLT

  • Displays the fruit of the Spirit “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

  • Fear the Lord - “Fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. Only fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Proverbs 1:7 NLT

  • Good name - “Choose a good reputation over great riches, for being held in high esteem is better than having silver or gold.  A good reputation is more valuable than the most expensive perfume. In the same way, the day you die is better than the day you are born.”  Proverbs 22:1; Ecclesiastes 7:1 NLT

  • Honest - “But the good soil represents honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s message, cling to it, and steadily produce a huge harvest.  If you are a thief, stop stealing. Begin using your hands for honest work, and then give generously to others in need.”  Luke 8:15; Ephesians 4:28 NLT

  • Humble Proverbs 15:33  Fear of the LORD teaches a person to be wise; humility precedes honour.

  • Kind words - Proverbs 15:1, 4;  12:18  A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger.  Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.  Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.

  • Loving - as described in 1 Corinthians 13

  • Righteous - “A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.” Proverbs 29:7 ESV “You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers.” 1 Thessalonians 2:10 ESV

  • Self-control “A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls.”  Proverbs 25:28 NLT  “All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:25 NLT “Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness.”  2 Peter 1:6 NLT

Not My Man - if a man displays these dangerous traits avoid him

  • Deceitful, lying Proverbs 10:10;  6:12-13  People who wink at wrong cause trouble, but a bold reproof promotes peace.  Here is a description of worthless and wicked people: They are constant liars, signaling their true intentions to their friends by making signs with their eyes and feet and fingers.
  • LazyProverbs 10:4, 5, 26;  12:27;  20:13a  Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich.  A wise youth works hard all summer; a youth who sleeps away the hour of opportunity brings shame.  Lazy people are a pain to their employer. They are like smoke in the eyes or vinegar that sets the teeth on edge.  Lazy people don’t even cook the game they catch, but the diligent make use of everything they find.  If you love sleep, you will end in poverty.

  • Dishonest gainProverbs 21:5-6  Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.  Wealth created by lying is a vanishing mist and a deadly trap.

  • Potential alcoholic Proverbs 21:7,  23:29-35  Because the wicked refuse to do what is just, their violence boomerangs and destroys them.  Who has anguish?  Who has sorrow?  Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining?  Who has unnecessary bruises?  Who has bloodshot eyes?  It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks.  Don’t let the sparkle and smooth taste of wine deceive you.  For in the end it bites like a poisonous serpent; it stings like a viper.  You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things.  You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast.  And you will say, “They hit me, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can have another drink?”

  • GossiperProverbs 11:13;  10:14;  16:27;  18:8; 20:19  A gossip goes around revealing secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.  Wise people treasure knowledge, but the babbling of a fool invites trouble.  Scoundrels hunt for scandal; their words are a destructive blaze.  What dainty morsels rumors are—but they sink deep into one’s heart.  A gossip tells secrets, so don’t hang around with someone who talks too much.

  • UnteachableProverbs 12:15, 18;  10:8;  12:5;  16:6  Fools think they need no advice, but the wise listen to others.  The wise are glad to be instructed, but babbling fools fall flat on their faces.  The plans of the godly are just; the advice of the wicked is treacherous.  Unfailing love and faithfulness cover sin; evil is avoided by fear of the LORD.

  • Short-tempered, angryProverbs 22:24-25;  14:17  Keep away from angry, short-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.  Those who are short-tempered do foolish things, and schemers are hated.

  • Despises correctionProverbs 9:7-8; 24:9;  15:14  Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get a smart retort. Anyone who rebukes the wicked will get hurt.  So don’t bother rebuking mockers; they will only hate you. But the wise, when rebuked, will love you all the more.  The schemes of a fool are sinful; everyone despises a mocker.  A wise person is hungry for truth, while the fool feeds on trash.

  • Unable to give complimentsSome people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.

BOYS - My girl - based on proverbs 31 - traits to be found in the ideal girl

  • virtuous  "Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is worth more than precious rubies" Proverbs 31:10

  • prudent/trustworthy  "Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life" Proverbs 31:11

  • my compliment  "She will not hinder him but help him all her life" Proverbs 31:12

  • industrious  "She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing" msg Proverbs 31:13

  • bargin hunter  "She is like a merchant’s ship; she brings her food from afar" Proverbs 31:14

  • conscientious  accepts responsibilities  "She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls" Proverbs 31:15

  • sound judgement – saves/steward  "She goes out to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard" Proverbs 31:16

  • tireless, energetic  "She is energetic and strong, a hard worker" Proverbs 31:17

  • generous concern for others  "She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy" Proverbs 31:20

  • practical  "She has no fear of winter for her household because all of them have warm clothes" Proverbs 31:21

  • help not a hindrance  "Her husband is well known, for he sits in the council meeting with the other civic leaders" Proverbs 31:23

  • clothed with strength & dignity  "She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future" Proverbs 31:25

  • house no drudgery  - guides wisely  "When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule when she gives instructions" Proverbs 31:26

  • alert  "She carefully watches all that goes on in her household and does not have to bear the consequences of laziness" Proverbs 31:27

  • spiritual inner beauty  - beauty more than skin deep  "Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised" Proverbs 31:30

  • honour her all your life  "praise her in public for what she has done" CEV Proverbs 31:31

Not My girl - girls to avoid if these traits to be found in them

  • Non Christian  2 Corinthians 6:14-15  Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can goodness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?  What harmony can there be between Christ and the Devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever
  • Sexually seductive  "She threw her arms around him and kissed him, and with a brazen look she said,  “I’ve offered my sacrifices and just finished my vows.  It’s you I was looking for! I came out to find you, and here you are!  My bed is spread with colored sheets of finest linen imported from Egypt.  I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.  Come, let’s drink our fill of love until morning. Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses,  for my husband is not home. He’s away on a long trip.  He has taken a wallet full of money with him, and he won’t return until later in the month.”  So she seduced him with her pretty speech. With her flattery she enticed him.  He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter or like a trapped stag, awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart. He was like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life  Proverbs 13-23.

Engagement period

  • Honour God with your body  “And don’t you know that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her?  For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.”  But the person who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.  Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does.  For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.  Or don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price.  So you must honour God with your body.” 1Corinthians 6:16-20 NLT

  • Purity  no pre-marital sex  “Now this is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph.  But while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit.  Joseph, her fiancé, being a just man, decided to break the engagement quietly, so as not to disgrace her publicly.  As he considered this, he fell asleep, and an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary.  For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit.  And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  All of this happened to fulfil the Lord’s message through his prophet:  “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and he will be called Immanuel (meaning, God is with us).”  When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded.  He brought Mary home to be his wife, but she remained a virgin until her son was born.  And Joseph named him Jesus.” Matthew 1:18-25 NLT

  • No sex before marriage - “Jacob spent the next seven years working to pay for Rachel.  But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.  Finally, the time came for him to marry her. “I have fulfilled my contract,” Jacob said to Laban. “Now give me my wife so we can be married.””  Genesis 29:20-21 NLT

An act of sex between a couple intending to marry does not

constitute marriage in God’s eyes!


The Bible quite clearly having sex prior to being married as sin. In certain cases in the Old Testament pre-marital sex required the death penalty.  So called “safe sex” outside of marriage violates God’s law and is sin.

  • Example 1  ““If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to anyone and sleeps with her, he must pay the customary dowry and accept her as his wife.  But if her father refuses to let her marry him, the man must still pay the money for her dowry.  Exodus 22:16-17 NLT

  • Example 2  “Suppose a man marries a woman and, after sleeping with her, changes his mind about her and falsely accuses her of having slept with another man.  He might say, ‘I discovered she was not a virgin when I married her.’  If the man does this, the woman’s father and mother must bring the proof of her virginity to the leaders of the town.  Her father must tell them, ‘I gave my daughter to this man to be his wife, and now he has turned against her.  He has accused her of shameful things, claiming that she was not a virgin when he married her. But here is the proof of my daughter’s virginity.’  Then they must spread the cloth before the judges.  The judges must then punish the man.  They will fine him one hundred pieces of silver, for he falsely accused a virgin of Israel. The payment will be made to the woman’s father. The woman will then remain the man’s wife, and he may never divorce her.  Deuteronomy 22:13-19 NLT

  • Example 3  “But suppose the man’s accusations are true, and her virginity could not be proved.  In such cases, the judges must take the girl to the door of her father’s home, and the men of the town will stone her to death. She has committed a disgraceful crime in Israel by being promiscuous while living in her parents’ home.  Such evil must be cleansed from among you.  Deuteronomy 22:21 NLT

  • Example 4  “If a man is discovered committing adultery, both he and the other man’s wife must be killed. In this way, the evil will be cleansed from Israel.  Deuteronomy 22:22  NLT

  • Example 5  “Suppose a man meets a young woman, a virgin who is engaged to be married, and he has sexual intercourse with her. If this happens within a town, Deuteronomy 22:24 you must take both of them to the gates of the town and stone them to death. The woman is guilty because she did not scream for help. The man must die because he violated another man’s wife. In this way, you will cleanse the land of evil.  Deuteronomy 22:23-24  NLT

  • Example 6  “But if the man meets the engaged woman out in the country, and he rapes her, then only the man should die.  Do nothing to the young woman; she has committed no crime worthy of death. This case is similar to that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbour.  Since the man raped her out in the country, it must be assumed that she screamed, but there was no one to rescue her.  Deuteronomy 22:25-27  NLT

  • Example 7  “If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged,  he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.” Deuteronomy 22:28-29  NLT

Dr Keith Graham

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