WiW: Engagement Advice

Monday, October 3rd, 2011 at 6:40 am

I have a friend who is in human resources and one of her jobs is to conduct engagement surveys. Her roommate teases that this involves going about to all of her employees and asking them:

“Are you engaged? Are you engaged? Are you planning on becoming engaged?”

I am not engaged (to be married, that is), nor am I planning (er…expecting) to become engaged anytime in the near future.

But I’m all for storing up little bits of engagement advice–and it just so happens that I’ve read some this week.

From Lane Maitland in Grace Livingston Hill’s Maris:

“Yes, that’s what I’m saying,” broke in Merrick. “….That’s why I say marriage is a mess and I hope I never fall in love.”

“Say, you know marriage wasn’t meant to be a mess, and God planned the first marriage to be helpful to both the man and the woman. It wasn’t till the man and woman tried to be independent of God that sin came into the world, and happiness was spoiled. It’s somebody’s fault when marriages go wrong.”

“Oh, is it! And whose fault would it be?”

“Well, people ought to be careful who they pick to fall in love with in the first place. You don’t have to fall in love with everybody you admire. You have to watch yourself. You have to choose the right one. You have to get the one God planned for you.”

“Oh, yeah? And how would you know who that was?…”

“Well, in the first place, if I found I was getting really interested in a girl I’d find out whether she was a real sincere Christian or not…That would be my first step in deciding….In a true marriage both parties would have to qualify, wouldn’t they? It’s only as two people are dominated by the same Spirit, and are surrendered to the same Lord, that they can live together in harmony, isn’t it?”

Such good advice for anyone considering marriage. I think that last bit is so important.

I see so many people who are content to say that the person they are interested in professes Christ. But the Christian man or woman who is looking to marry someone should be concerned that whoever they marry be dominated by and surrendered to the same Lord.

I think that if this condition is met, matters of preferences and temperaments and hobbies become much less important. One could marry someone who is otherwise “incompatible” (by the world’s standards) so long as both are completely surrendered to the same Lord–the Lord Jesus Christ.


It just so happens that my pastor is blogging on the topic of preparation for marriage–and I think he’s got some really great insights. You can find his posts at justinerickson.org. Please pass them along to someone who could use them.


The Week in WordsDon’t forget to take a look at Barbara H’s meme “The Week in Words”, where bloggers collect quotes they’ve read throughout the week.

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Reader Comments (5):

  1. Hmm. Well, I definitely agree that if you are dominated and surrendered to the Lord, your “chances” of success are much greater. Certainly I agree that that is most important. However, I do think temperaments and hobbies can strain or strengthen a marriage and so they are important to pay attention to. I don’t think you are dismissing their importance by what you are saying. I just don’t know if I’d knock the examination of those qualities too far low because they can play such a role in how close the married couple remain. (I would LIKE to think that hobbies don’t matter at all — but having seen a few couples divorce recently because they were pursuing separate life interests make me hesitate before dismissing.)

  2. bekahcubed says:

    Thanks for mentioning that, Carrie. I’m certainly not arguing against carefully considering who you’re marrying–and I think that considering compatibility of lifestyles is valuable.

    The people you know certainly provide an example of the importance of having the same life interests. At the same time, if one’s consuming life interest is God’s glory, does that not rather eclipse every other interest?

    My guess (if I may be allowed to presume) is that you and I actually agree quite closely on this topic, but are choosing to emphasize opposite sides of the coin :-)

  3. I love this advice. Sometimes people settle for at least “he goes to church with me” as good enough. But if two hearts are really going to become one, Jesus needs to be at the center of each.

  4. Susan says:

    Some good observations! Being controlled by the Holy Spirit is the ultimate goal for anyone truly surrendered to Christ, and for a husband and wife to be on that same page is wonderful! My husband, by the way, says that men and women – all of them – are incompatible! That’s why marriage is always a work in progress as each spouse learns to give and take – it’s a lifelong process! We’ll celebrate 27 years of that lifelong process next week! ;)

  5. Barbara H. says:

    I read this yesterday but decided to wait a bit before commenting and think on it. I was all set to agree until I thought about the wife with the unsaved husband in I Peter 3. I would definitely say that Christian people before marriage need to look for someone who is not only saved, but actively growing and who loves the Lord as much as they do. But if someone finds themselves in a spiritually unequal marriage — either they weren’t Christians when they got married or weren’t walking with the Lord or their partner professed to be a Christian but isn’t currently living for the Lord — it’s important to live as harmoniously as possible with their mate, though it is not going to be what it could have been if they were both on the same page spiritually to begin with.

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