Have you ever been to the grocery store and not known what you were shopping for? Have you ever gone to a car lot without first setting your purchasing budget? As consumers we recognize the foolishness of such activities.
Why, then, would we dare send our precious sons and daughters into the world of romance without advance planning of their selection process?
I'm often asked by parents for tools we can use to assist our children to make selections of godly mates. Today I want to give you two practical tools that we have found helpful in our home.
1. Pray for the Future Mate
Perhaps this one seems obvious. But it is one we can easily neglect. Include your child or teen in some of your prayer times. Pray specific prayers, not just general blessings. Such as…
Father, today we come to You and lift up Micah's future wife. Lord, please protect her from every evil influence of this dark world. Draw her heart close to You so that she would know You personally, trust You and hear Your voice. We pray for her family that their relationships would be strong and healthy. Help her with her education so that she receives everything she needs to be a godly wife and mother. Protect her from every counterfeit relationship with boys that would steal part of her heart or damage her soul.
Lord, would You prepare Micah to be the strong and sensitive leader that she will need. Help him to be patient as he waits for the day he will meet his wife. Protect him from sexual temptations and emotional traps that could steal from their marriage. Please give his dad and me the wisdom to teach him and lead him so his marriage will be blessed, happy and strategic for the Kingdom of God. Amen.
Can you feel what effect this prayer has? Not only will our God go to work on our requests, but the force of our prayer causes Micah, our 15 year old, to know what he is waiting for! When the counterfeit girls who are not his wife flow through his world, he will more easily recognize that they do not match his long term prayer.
2. Dream and Record a List
Sometimes it feels like we need a crowbar to get inside our teens' hearts on matters related to the opposite sex. But if we build a foundation from an early age of dreaming about and talking about their future husband/wife, we can help keep the communication lines open when the selection is truly being made!
Be willing to hear their dreams of their future mates. Ask them about what they want in a future wife or husband. Begin that conversation as soon as possible. But be aware that the younger you start, the more immature their answers will be! Do not be quick to pass judgment on their ideas.
Remember these are just dreams they are beginning to fashion, not the final qualification list. So if your 12 year old daughter is hung up on needing her mate to be rich, blond-haired, and a guitar player, don't hit the panic button. Time, wisdom, and more conversations will help to shape her priorities. Perhaps even watching some appropriate "chick flicks" together and conversing afterwards will naturally open her eyes to the effect of her immature priorities. Or look around you and discuss concrete examples of women who made either wise or foolish choices.
Our goal is to have a mature, well thought out qualification list ready before they enter officially into the world of romance. For our family, we have chosen that to be when they are of marriageable age and stage. The list needs to be discussed together and held in a safe place so that whenever a prospective marriage partner comes along, the list becomes the "shopping guide."
Obviously, it will be unlikely that any candidate would meet all the criteria on the list perfectly, but this list helps your son or daughter carefully consider the risks and sacrifices they may need God's grace for as they enter into marriage.
For example, if “comes from a strong home life” is on the list, and the prospective life partner being considered was raised in a divorced home, extra prayer and consideration will be needed. Your son or daughter would need to count the cost of managing holidays and consider the effect on their future children before they go on to fall madly in love with this one!
All of us hope that our children’s marriages will succeed and they will escape the pain of divorce. But we must realize that about half of all prospective marriage partners may be affected by their own parents’ divorce.
This exact situation happened to our son, Nathan. When Nathan who had no personal understanding of divorce became interested in Tara whose family had suffered many pains, he would need to develop extra sensitivity, compassion, and flexibility. That advance consideration of his list has helped him and Tara tremendously as they have established a strong marriage and learned to avoid relationship errors.
A few ideas to consider for your list....
Strong, personal relationship with Jesus
Manages anger well
Honors his/her parents
Knows the Bible well
Manages money diligently
Polite to others
Sensitive to others’ feelings; not harsh
Is ready to provide for a wife
Neat in appearance
Strong birth family
Has a strong vision to serve in the Kingdom
Has a strong prayer life
Gives tithes and offerings joyfully.......etc.
Do you get the idea?
What would your family put on your qualification lists? I'd love to hear your ideas. Click here and scroll to the end to comment.
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Thank you so much to all who commented on Frontline Moms during our contest! We entered your name in our drawing for the free Hot Romance resource. Our winner of the drawing was Jaimie, who commented on The Top Ten Things I Want my Daughters to Know about Boys. Congratulations Jaime! I’ll email you today to ask for your mailing address so we can get your DVD to you.
God bless you and your family. Be watching for another giveaway that we will announce next week on Frontline Moms!
This post is part of my series Will Your Kids Find the Right Mate? Here are the rest of the posts in this series: