Photo of a couple on a date
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From Dating to Marriage

From Dating to Marriage?: The stepping stones you need before you make the step from love to marriage.

1. Is this the person God wants me to marry?

Although today you may not be able to imagine living without this person, if they are not what God has intended, you’ll only be miserable in the long run. So make each dating relationship a matter of prayer.

2. Will I have to make some compromises to marry this person?

Yes, we all have to give and take, but look at little deeper. Will you have to relinquish major goals to spend the rest of your life with him? It can be OK to give up your dreams in exchange for other dreams. But make sure you really want to surrender those goals, or you’ll hold it against your partner later in life. Also — make sure it’s God’s will and pray for wisdom and discernment.

Some things should never be compromised. For instance, if the person you’re in love with isn’t a Christian and won’t go to church with you after you’re married, you’ll be giving up the dream of having a mate who is involved in the Lord’s work with you. Even though you’re in love now, it won’t be worth it later. Surrender the relationship to God and trust Him to give you someone else — or allow Him to fulfill you in other ways

3. Does this person have my best interests at heart?

If they love you because you enhance their image, their career or self-esteem, you’re not in love with the right person.

Bottom line: It’s possible to fall in love with the wrong person! Again, you must get back to letting God control your dating relationships. He has higher purposes for you and your relationships.

4. Can you trust God to guide you in and out of your dating relationships?

Will you place your faith in His direction, believing He’s big enough to bring just the right person along at just the right time? I’m single and have never been married. Am I worried? Have I panicked? No. I’ve found real freedom in trusting my future to Jesus Christ. Do you know what that does? It takes all the pressure off me! Whenever I meet a new person, you don’t have to think, “How can I get their attention? I wonder if they like me? Will I be asked out?” I can relax in just being myself (friendly, fun, approachable) and trust God to work it out if it’s His will for anything to happen. But what am I going to do until He does bring the right person into my life? Sit around and think, “Why am I not married?” No way! Enjoy every moment of your life! Don’t miss any opportunity for joy and pursuing what God is doing in your life right now. If you are not fulfilled now, a person, or relationship will not do it for you.

Gary J. Oliver, ThM, PhD
Executive Director at Center for Healthy Relationships | + posts

Dr. Oliver is the Executive Director of The Center for Healthy Relationships, and professor of Psychology and Practical Theology at John Brown University.  He has authored over 20 books and more than 350 professional and popular articles.  Dr. Oliver has over 40 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage  & Family Therapist and Spiritual Director.  He leads seminars & workshops both nationally and internationally on a variety of counseling-related issues, healthy relationships as well as Emotional & Relational Intelligence (ERI).

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