Articles

If you have one or more of these concerns, consult your pastor.
If you have one or more of these concerns, consult your pastor. (Flickr )

We first started to converse one day in the cafeteria lunch line—Bible college students from the same hometown. It was not a star-struck, "love at first sight," enamored moment, à la Hollywood style, but over the weeks as we became friends, attraction was in action, and by the end of the semester, we were dating.

Now the serious vetting could begin. For me (Mike), the question loomed: Is she the one?

My criterion was a woman with a heart for God who was willing to follow me anywhere. (At that time I was planning to return to the mission field in Asia where I had just served for two years.) This was a portal through which a potential wife in my world must pass.

While for me this was a very narrow and specific criterion, a wider principle can be stated thusly:

Is the person you are considering as a lifelong partner a person of vision, and is that vision compatible with yours?

Beyond a particular ministry assignment, we are all called to the vision of becoming Christ-like: to be "transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory" (2 Cor. 3:18).

This is "Vision 101" and serves as a foundation for all of life's aspirations, whether in the home, church, or workplace. What you do (assignment specifics and locations) may change over the seasons of a marriage; who you are (the fruits of inner refinement) will always be at the forefront of God's directives over your life.

It is imperative that you discover and weigh in your heart the spiritual history of your person of interest. Is he a person acquainted with restraint? "Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint" (Prov. 29:18, ESV). Does she display the self-discipline necessary to turn from lesser pleasures and follow the supreme path of allegiance to Christ? Now is the time to evaluate before you choose; once married, you forfeit that luxury.

I once heard this illustration: when you stand before the entryway into marriage, there is a banner overhead that says, "Whosoever will." Naturally, we pray, proceed at a moderate pace, get counsel, and pray some more; but on this side of the door, we get to choose whether he or she is the right one to marry. Once over the threshold, we turn and see a banner that reads, "Predestined and foreordained from the foundation of the world." God knew who your choice would be, and now it's a covenant pact for life.

In our premarital manual, Vertical Marriage: A Godward Preparation for Life Together, we recommend couples consider fifteen potential caution flags. The need for caution may not necessarily mean that you shouldn't marry each other, but it may indicate the need to slow down the relationship.

Caution Flags

  1. Uneasy gut feeling that something is wrong in our relationship.
  2. Frequent arguments.
  3. Jealousy or irrational anger when one of us interacts with someone of the opposite sex.
  4. Apprehension discussing certain subjects because we are afraid of the reaction.
  5. Extreme emotional expressions; unpredictable mood swings.
  6. Controlling behavior—I feel like I'm being manipulated.
  7. Feeling trapped—not wanting to hurt each other by even suggesting that marriage may not be for us.
  8. Lack of respect—I'm constantly being criticized and treated with sarcasm.
  9. Lack of personal responsibility—My fiancé struggles to hold down a job and pay bills.
  10. Pride—He/she has difficulty admitting when wrong, thus we never fully resolve conflict.
  11. Dependent on parents for emotional and financial security.
  12. History of failed dating relationships.
  13. Addictions—Do either of you struggle with alcohol, drugs, or porn? If you struggled in the past, how long have you been free?
  14. Selfishness—overly self-centered, always wants their own way, tends towards narcissism.
  15. Bad habits—Yes, we all have some, but are there any major trouble spots? Are there any pet peeves that drive you crazy?

If one or more of these caution flags is evident in your current dating relationship, bring those concerns to your pastor or a mature married couple that you trust.

God always brings couples together with refinement in mind. The "right" one for you is the one you can do pilgrimage with, holding core values of surrender and transformation central to your union, while you envision a God-glorifying life together.

Mike and Anne Rizzo have been in pastoral ministry for over thirty years and currently serve as directors of Marriage and Family Ministries at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri. They carry a passion for personal mentoring, teaching, and raising up marriages that exalt the name of Jesus. Mike and Anne have three grown children and one grandchild, and are the authors of Longing for Eden: Embracing God's Vision in Your Marriage.

For the original article, visit ihopkc.org.

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    I have been puzzled about the subject of inner healing for some time.

  • 2017 is the year that swords will clash.

    Prophetic Word: 2017 Will Bring a Clashing of Heaven and Hell

    "This is a time to cross over and not pull back."

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Cindy Jacobs

    2017: Year of the Breakthrough

    "There will be a significant increase in miracles and signs and wonders."

  • Foot washing

    Shaking the Gates of Hell With a Basin of Water and a Towel

    "When I saw His foot, I knew He had come to take back territory the enemy had stolen from His ...

  • Growing relationship

    2017 Prophetic Word: The Supernatural Key to Growing Your Relationship With God

    It's vital that we understand what comes from God and what comes from the devil.

  • Are you willing to volunteer for God's offensive army?

    Prophetic Word: Preparing for God's World War 3

    God is searching for soldiers of the cross who are willing to volunteer for His offensive army.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit