When to say, ‘I Do’
Van Walton

“Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; then stick to the path and stay safe. Don't get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.” Proverbs 4:25-27 (NLT)

I recently decided I needed a pair of earrings to match a dress I would wear to a wedding. Determined to find pink earrings to set off my special-occasion attire, I drove to the mall. I did not need another pair of earrings. I had some classic jewelry to wear, but I wanted to make a fashion statement. The latest fads dictated that eye-catching, fun-loving, color-coordinated accessories were necessary. While at the mall, I found some earrings that ”would do” or so I thought. Days later, I put on my new jewelry. Just the right color, they dangled correctly and made an appropriate fashion statement, but they just were not me. I was no longer satisfied with what had once charmed me. I wanted to return them, but they were now used goods.

This was not the first time I had made a choice I regretted. Many times I have thought a new “accessory” would truly improve me or change my life. Later I’d learn that what I thought was essential was only a romanticized notion.

Sometimes, to a woman, a man is that romanticized “accessory.” If you are a typical single woman, your future dreams probably include a man with whom to share your life. This is not unusual. God created us with that desire.

Thirty-five years ago, I married my man after a college courtship of two-and-a-half years. We met on the phone, sort of. He overheard his roommate talking with me and decided we should meet. After many phone conversations we agreed to get together between classes. That was the beginning of a life-long friendship.

I use the word “friendship” rather than “romance” purposely. Over time I grew to enjoy the company of this young man. Over the months we increasingly chose to spend time together. As we became more and more acquainted I knew we had a lot in common. I came to admire him. His intelligence, calm spirit, love-of-family, and clear respect for me made an impression. Eventually I realized I was no longer content in his absence.

I’ve seen so many relationships fall apart after the wedding. Like the earring purchase at the mall, women sometimes make passionate, impulsive, or desperate “purchases” at the altar without truly considering the long-term reality of marriage. Like rushing to buy a pair of earrings that are socially in fashion but just not really you, a lovely wedding is planned with a dazzling color scheme and an impressive dress but not long after regret sets in.

Each time I look at those earrings I ask myself why I bought them. Unfortunately I have friends who feel the same about the men they married. They wonder why they settled for someone who “would do.”

I believe it was God’s grace and many prayers that allowed me to date my husband for a long time before we married. I like to think I made a wise decision, but I can’t take all the credit. The Holy Spirit guided me in my choice for a life-long partner. Let me share three consistent thoughts I had as I dated:

  • Marry for friendship, not romance. Romance is nice but like a pair of earrings, it can lose its luster. A friend is someone you connect with, appreciate, and respect. Save physical intimacy for marriage.
  • Marry someone you know well. Allow the attraction that unites the two of you to be rooted in your minds, hearts, and souls - where true intimacy develops. The development of a deep relationship takes time. Don’t rush into a decision that can’t be “returned.”
  • Marry for honest reasons. Marriage is God’s design. It is a union between two people who promise before God to take care of each other, to encourage one another, and to help each other grow towards Christ. Marry a man who loves his Lord more than he loves you! Marry a man who has learned from God how to love his wife. Don’t marry for status or money. Also, don’t fall prey to the notion that you can “fix” him once you are married.

Heavenly Father, I long for a relationship with a man who will love me and cherish me. I know You have a perfect plan for me and I pray for patience and trust to wait for that husband. Give me the wisdom and strength to accept only Your best for my life, in Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Additional Resources:

Dreams of a Woman: God's Plan for Fulfilling Your Dreams by Sharon Jaynes

Becoming the Woman of His Dreams, Seven Qualities Every Man Longs For by Sharon Jaynes

Application Steps:
Describe your notion of perfect husband. Ask God to show you what His notion of a perfect husband is. Do the two lists match up?

As you wait for Mr. Perfect to come along, remember there is only one perfect Man. Allow your relationship with Jesus to grow and develop to the point that know Jesus alone satisfies.

Prepare yourself to offer the purest gift of all to your future husband, a treasure no other has encountered.

Reflection Points:
Am I allowing the world to influence my values and dreams?

Am I in danger of settling for a man who doesn’t fulfill my dreams?

Do I believe marriage is God’s perfect plan for man and woman and am I willing to wait for the right man of God to come along?

What is the best that can happen if I wait for Mr. Right? What is the worst that can happen if I settle for a man who might not fit my needs?

Power Verses:
Song of Solomon 5:16, “His mouth is altogether sweet; he is lovely in every way. Such, O women of Jerusalem, is my lover, my friend.” (NLT)

1 Corinthians 6:18-20, “There's more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, "The two become one." Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never "become one." There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for "becoming one" with another. Or didn't you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don't you see that you can't live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.” (MSG)

Philippians 4:6-9, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. … whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (NKJV)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this devotional and every devotional your ministry faithfully posts. I read them every morning, and God has used your ministry mightily to encourage and guide me. I am so thankful for this resource. Specifically, this question of waiting for the man I am to marry has been on my heart for a while. By the way, it's so nice to see a devotional geared toward single women. Please keep them coming! God bless you. Your sister, Michelle in California <><

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this devotional. It was God sent in my time of need. I am a leader and teacher in a singles ministry. It is so difficult to stay positive and patient, but it is essential in our daily walk but a must in our search for a mate. I have a supervisor positon at work, 3 children and am very independant but all the confidence in the world seems to disappear in the dating realm. Our first romance but must be with God, then all else will fall into place. God bless your ministry.
Dawn in Texas

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting that article on 'When I say I do'. It is a word in season. Like Michelle and Dawn I am a lady -in -waiting too and therefore I agree and thank God for their comments. For myself I am just grateful that God is strengthening me to choose his perfect will rather than the permissible one in Marriage- dating as shown by the article is very God inspired and I must confess it has affirmed what has been happening in my life. All I pray to you- lover of my soul, my first love and Lord- Yeshua, is that you do not change your mind this time. Thanks to all of you at proverbs 31 and keep being so faithful, loving and graceful in your service. May God enrich my life so that I may be able to support such awesome minsitries this one. Kate.

Blogger Renee Swope said...

Hi Michelle, Dawn and Kate,

Thank you so much for taking time to log on and leave your words of encouragement. I know they meant a lot to Van, the devo writer, but also to all of us who write on the team. It encourages our hearts to know that God is using our lives to touch yours.

Be blessed as you trust Him and let Him love you richly friends!! His love is deeper still.

Blogger Critical Dreamer said...

I am a young woman who recently moved back to her hometown after spending a long time in the States...been thru alot of hard times...which include a most amazing relationship turned sour and ended...I can honestly say that no matter how loving, forgiving, tender, and amazing a guy is, no one can fill that Jesus space...
as I venture out in the dating world, in a diffirent culture, I am trying to focus on God's standards and on His perfect gift that will come in its own time...
Meanwhile, like Rebecca, I am to go about my business drawing water and be generous to strangers.

Thank you for the reminder to take it slow, I am struggling w/that concept right now...

Can we discuss what excately seems to be a reasonable speed to go at when dating? especially when you've been close to commitment before and just can't handle another long term relationshp that would end sour...

I love Provers31...reading "what happens when women walk in faith" changed my life in a really critical time...

in Christ.
Critical Dreamer.

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