by Rick Warren — May 21, 2021
From You Make Me Crazy
“Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?”
Amos 3:3 (NLT)
And that’s okay. God loves you, despite your brokenness. But you need to understand that anyone you marry will be broken too.
That’s one of the many reasons it’s so important that you have spiritual unity with your spouse. If you’re a follower of Jesus, you should choose a spouse who is a believer too.
The Bible is very clear on this: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and [the devil]? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-15 NIV).
Spiritual unity makes it possible for you to enjoy the physical, sexual, and emotional intimacy that God desires for your marriage. But it doesn’t guarantee it. And here’s where you need to be careful.
Although everyone is broken, some people have a lot more healing to do. They aren’t ready for a relationship. And—whether or not they’re believers—you need to avoid them as life partners no matter how good-looking, rich, or nice they are.
Before you enter into a long-term relationship, you need to understand the emotional health of your potential partner. Study after study has shown that 80 percent of all separations and divorces happen because one or both of the partners are emotionally unhealthy.
Here’s a partial checklist of emotional health factors, drawn from Scripture, to look out for:
Whoever you marry must not be nursing uncontrolled anger. Proverbs 22:24 says, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered” (NIV). Uncontrolled anger reveals deep insecurity and low self-worth.
Whoever you marry must not be stuck in an addiction. Proverbs 23:20 says, “Don’t associate with people who drink too much wine or stuff themselves with food” (GNT). Only two things—food and alcohol—are mentioned here, but there are hundreds of ways to get addicted.
Whoever you marry must not be harboring bitterness. Bitterness is like a poison. It eats you alive. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:15, “Guard against turning back from the grace of God. Let no one become like a bitter plant that grows up and causes many troubles with its poison” (GNT).
Whoever you marry must not be selfish. Proverbs 28:25 says, “Selfishness only causes trouble” (GNT). When it comes down to it, the number one cause of conflict in marriage is selfishness.
Whoever you marry must not be greedy. Proverbs 15:27 says, “Greed brings grief to the whole family” (NLT). If you marry a greedy spouse, you will be in debt your entire life.
Whoever you marry must be generous and kind. The Bible says, “A generous person will prosper; he who refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25 NIV). It also says, “Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves” (Proverbs 11:17 NIV).
Whoever you marry must tell the truth. Proverbs 20:7 says this: “A righteous person lives on the basis of his integrity. Blessed are his children after he is gone” (GWT). Love is based on trust, and trust is based on truth. If you don’t tell me the truth, I can’t trust you. And if I can’t trust you, how can I love you?
You might be thinking, “This sure is a long list, Rick. I’m not sure if I’ll ever find anybody who fits this.” But I did. And you can too.
When Kay and I got married, Leonard Ravenhill, the great 20th Century evangelist and author, sent us a wedding card. I’ve never forgotten what it said: “God always gives his best to those who follow his wisdom.”
And God will give you his best as you seek his guidance and follow him in obedience. “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT).