How To Find The Right Spouse Part 2

In the first instalment of this post (How to Find the Right Spouse Part 1) I introduced you to several people who had different reason for taking interest in the person who became their spouse.

The point is to look behind the process to see the essential elements involved. I want to draw out a key element from what I have already said, adding insights gained from the process of an arranged marriage.

In Review

Dawn chose to pursue her Mr Wright, because he had wealth and charm, and promised her a life above her current situation.

A Swedish woman determined who had won her heart by considering if she was prepared to darn the man’s socks for him, which is a process she detested.

An Indian couple suggested the Cheese Test, to find an economical bride for sons.

And Pastor Richard Holland chose to marry his wife, Garry, because she had great looking legs.

Now let’s look at what happens in an arranged marriage situation.

A Family Ordeal

My Greek neighbours were married through a family arrangement. The parents scouted around for eligible marriage partners, talked with the other family and then set up a big family get-together. This way the couple could meet and size each other up.

Both Don and Kaliope had been presented with several prospective spouses over a period of several years. Each time they advised their parents that they did not think they could marry the person in question. Or the other person did not wish to follow up with them. Then, when they were introduced to each other and found that they were open to the possibility of marriage they were escorted though the courtship process, on the journey to the altar.

They did not really get to know each other until after they were married.

Common Elements

Note that in each of these cases the end result was a decision about proceeding or not. Whether a couple married through personal choice or family selection the matter of the marriage was their willingness to go ahead.

So, whether you are attracted to someone because of their looks, their station in life, their personal qualities or your family’s recommendation, the final element will be your decision to marry that person.

Impossible Find

The Bible suggests that it is not really possible to find a virtuous wife. And that could well be presented in the inverse, that it is not really possible to find a worthy husband.

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” Proverbs 31:10

The point of the question is not that virtuous women do not exist. Nor is it that you should give up hope and take whatever comes along. The point is that you should not rely on your own abilities in order to find an ideal spouse.

What you should do, to find the right spouse, is ask God to find that person for you.

Wild Card Selection

Everyone is a potential “wild card”. By that I mean that everyone has unknown qualities and can produce unexpected developments over time.

I recently heard a pastor’s wife, in tears, ask for prayer that her daughter would marry a man who proved to be good value in the long term.

Many a fine young man has proven to be less than fine. And many a lovely young lady has proven to be less than lovely. Some young wives have found themselves married to a drunkard, abuser or irresponsible husband. Some young men have found themselves married to an argumentative, controlling or emotionally unstable woman.

Then there’s the issue of the bumps along life’s journey. Some people who seemed to have it all together came unravelled when they faced a death in the family or similar traumatic event. Post natal depression, economic hardship, injury and loss can turn a person’s personality in an unexpected direction.

So, even if you take the greatest possible care in selecting a spouse, you cannot control the ‘wild card’ factor. Once again, you really should be trusting God.

Trusting God

God wants you to be blessed. And God knows far more about you and all the people around you than you could ever imagine. Trusting Him to lead, protect and bless you is the smartest thing you can do for any and all aspects of your life.

So, how do you find the right spouse? You get God involved in the process and you let Him lead you to the right person who will deliver into your life the blessings which God has for you.

But, remember, God won’t give you what you don’t deserve. If you are selfish, demanding, proud, arrogant, irresponsible, intolerant, jealous, greedy or the like, you can’t expect God to place a precious jewel into your hands, since you will only abuse that precious blessing.

God will probably match you up with someone whose own personal problems are a good match for yours. Then, as you humble yourself before God and find His grace, that grace will work in you both and you will rise out of your mess together.

You can trust God to rescue you. And which ever way you look at it, Trusting God is the smartest thing you can do.

How To Find The Right Spouse Part 1

Here is some advice to help you find the right person to marry. At least, I’ll give you some things to think about to help you move forward. This post comes in two parts, so make sure you look out for Part 2 posted later.

Being confident in the choice of spouse is important for people getting married. Many people struggle in indecision and some remain uncomfortably single because they baulk at the challenge of finding the right “one” for them.

Finding Mr Wright

Dawn was a lovely Christian lady in Tauranga, New Zealand, who told me about the time she met her man. As a young woman, she and some friends were walking along the road one day, back when cars were not common. A handsome young man pulled up and offered to drive the girls to their destination.

At that very moment Dawn decided “This is Mr Right!” And it was true. His name was John Wright. So she made it her business to catch his eye and gain his attention in the weeks and months that followed. And so, in time, they courted and were wed and she lived out the rest of her life as a happy wife, mother and grandmother, with her Mr Wright!

Darning Socks

Samuel Brengle wrote about a Swedish lady who told him how she knew she had found the right man to marry. Over 100 years ago she told him that as a child her family was poor and she had to darn stockings for her family, mending the many holes that occurred each week. She detested this task, which enabled her to use it in a unique way.

When she had blossomed into a lovely young woman many young men paid attention to her, hoping to be her husband. With each one she simply asked herself the question, “Would I be willing to darn his socks?” In each case she felt revulsion, which settled the fate of each young man’s hopes.

When she met the man was wed she applied the same test and found that her heart rejoiced at the thought of darning his socks. “She felt she would gladly spend her life darning his socks, and she longed to begin at once on whole drawers full of them.”

The Cheese Test

I have written about the Cheese Test in my book, Marriage Horizons. This test was originally suggested to me by an Indian family I met one evening. When they learned I had five sons (at that time) they proceeded to tell me how to select the right bride for the boys.

The idea is to invite a girl to visit the family and ask her to help in the kitchen. Then give her a block of mouldy cheese, asking her to slice cheese for the dinner.

If she throws the cheese away she will be a wasteful wife.

If she serves up the mouldy cheese she will be an unhealthy wife.

If she carefully cuts away the external mould and then slices the fresh cheese underneath, she will be an economical wife.

Good Looking Legs

Pastor Richard Holland, who recently passed into glory after a fruitful life of Christian ministry, once told me how he was drawn to his bride because he thought she had lovely legs. Richard was quite a character (larrikin is the word I would use) and he delighted in teasing and having fun. But he assured me that when he saw a lovely pair of “pins” (as he called them) pass his desk one day he took special interest.

Richard and Margaret (known widely as “Garry”) created a happy home, enjoyed a long and loving marriage and touched the lives of thousands around the world.

Something Clicked

Notice in each of the cases I have cited here that the people involved came to a point where they made a decision. The reasons for the decision vary from case to case, but the effect is the same.

When a person makes that decision that they are going ahead with their interest in another person it is usually because something clicked for them.

They come to a conclusion that they have found the right spouse, either because the person offers stability, has a special place in their heart, or simply catches their eye.

In Part 2 of this topic I will introduce the element of an arranged marriage, to help Westerners think about the bigger issues behind falling in love. My neighbours were wed through a family process. Go to How To Find The Right Spouse Part 2, by clicking this link: http://chrisfieldblog.com/family/marriage/right-spouse-2

Wives Walking in Authority

I recently counselled a single mother about the authority she was able to operate in within her own home. She had been uncertain (double-minded) about how much authority she had and what she would be able to do in leading her home, since that role is set aside for the husband.

In order to clarify her situation I reviewed God’s authority structure with her, then pointed out how she fits in to that structure, as an abandoned wife raising her children. For the benefit of others in a similar situation I am sharing my instruction here. I trust it is helpful.

Authority Out of Order

When we do not live in the authority God has given us we are easily overcome or at least sidetracked by obstacles and challenges. We can even be made to feel out of order if we are too confident or assertive about what we believe and what authority we have. When we face constant opposition we can weaken and compromise our authority, giving up the rights God has given us. Many mums can find themselves in such a place, especially if they are challenged by their children who resist their authority. Some mothers give up their claim to responsibility and relegate themselves to the caring domestic servant, unable to speak into the lives of their children.

God’s Authority Principles

God has created authority principles which we are to live in. We need to be single-minded about where we stand and what God requires of us.

There are two principal places of authority revealed to us in God’s word. These are not the only places where authority operates, but they are key places, as revealed in 1Corinthians 11:3.

“But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” 1Corinthians 11:3

God’s authority hierarchy, then, is first God, then Christ, then the husband and next his wife. We know that the children come under the authority of both the father and mother, from the commandment to “honour your father AND your mother” (Exodus 20:12). I the husband has abandoned the home that may tend to undermine people’s respect for the wife and even her own self-esteem. But God does not have a separate authority structure in that case, where the children can live as they please or boss their mother around. The mother remains a head over her children, whether she has a husband or not.

Two Key Places of Authority – Heaven and Home

The 1Corinthians text shows that the two principal places of authority are God’s Throne in Heaven and the Domestic Home. Note that the King’s throne is not in the list, nor the Houses of Parliament. Priests and power-brokers do not end up on that summary of divine authority. God and Christ have their seat of authority in heaven and the husband and wife have their seat of authority at the dinner table (so to speak).

All other expressions of authority must be either put in place by the will of God or by the will of the people. If not, then those other contenders for rule do not have true authority. No other authority can violate or overrule each person’s authority to stand before God’s throne or to take their place of godly authority in their home.

For people to properly operate in the authority given them by God they need to be sure that they have first set themselves right in the two principal places of authority. They must be bowing the knee to God’s authority, doing what He wants them to do, since God’s throne is the source of all authority.

Then they must properly exercise authority in their home. If they are under authority, as a wife or child is in a home, then they must not violate that. If they are a husband then they must not have abdicated or abused their domestic authority. If people fail to be under God’s authority in heaven and the authority which God has placed in their home, then they are out of order and are disqualified for any other authority.

Widows and Abandoned Wives

Now, here is a special word for widows and abandoned wives. The husband is the head of the domestic home, under Christ. However, if the husband has abandoned his post or has died, the responsibility for domestic authority falls to the wife.

An abandoned wife or widow can exercise the same authority in the home as her husband would otherwise have done. Her two authority challenges are to be under God’s authority, obeying all that God requires of her from heaven, then standing firm in those things that she believes are important for her family.

Her authority in the home is thus firm. She can stand in it and rule the home as God directs her, without fear of censure and without regard to the opinions of others.

Resisting Invalid Voices

Well meaning or just domineering people can take it on themselves to push their way into a home and start giving orders. They may think they are doing the wife a favour by filling the void left by her husband. However, those voices, whether well meaning or wrongly motivated, are invalid. They do not have the right to speak with divine authority into the home.

Suggestions, encouragements, advice and godly counsel can be helpful, but when an advisor asserts their advice as an imperative in the home, they are outside their jurisdiction.

Wives who must lead their home can choose whatever support and counsel they see fit. There is safety in counsel from a wide range of people. A wise wife will seek out godly advice and prayerfully weigh up the counsel given, since she is responsible for the outcome of her decisions.

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14

Wives have God’s authority to resist invalid voices which try to speak assertively and dictatorially into the home. They also have God’s authority to stand firm in the face of their own child’s defiance or contentions.

A Prayer for Single Mums

“Lord God, I present before you the single mums who are reading this article. I ask You to place Your hand upon them and lead them to Your wisdom for their situation. I pray that You protect them from the evil one and from the weaknesses and folly that may be a part of their life. Deliver them and their children from evil, lead them in Your righteous paths, and keep them in places of blessing and protection. Encourage each mother to rise to the place of full exercise of their divine authority under You. Give them fearlessness in standing up for righteousness. Give them boldness to lead their homes as You direct. Pour out Your love and grace upon them and their children. Be a husband to the widow and the abandoned wife and be a Father to the fatherless and abandoned children. I ask this in Jesus’ powerful and lovely name. Amen.”

The Second Ring Poem by Chris Field

In early November I wrote another poem, dedicated to my wife and to all those lovely women who are a blessing to their husbands. Enjoy.

The Second Ring

“With this ring, I thee wed….”
So, many years ago I said.
And now another gift I bring.
I bless you with this second ring.

That first gold band wed me to youth;
To grace and beauty, love and truth.
It tied me to your every charm
Resplendent there upon my arm.

Now with the passing of the years
Richer charm and grace appears
Until it surely must be said
“You’re double all that I had wed!”

Twice the virtue all could see,
And twice the pleasure, brought to me.
So now I pledge a second vow;
A double blessing to you now.

Take now my dear, this second ring
As token of the pledge I bring;
With this I wed, til death us part,
Your richer virtues to my heart.

Those virtues whose unfolding fame
Brighten life with love’s warm flame;
Those virtues, which were once untried,
And now shine from my lovely bride.

I found an archaic poem from the Gentlemen’s Magazine of 1780 which spoke of a husband giving a second ring to his wife in honour of her being double the woman he thought her to be when he first married her. So I took the concept and turned it into the verses you find here.

I present it in honour of those lovely and gracious women whose devotion and personal commitment excel everyone’s expectations. Whether your husband appreciates it or not, be assured that the Lord sees your devotion and you will receive His “Well done, you good and faithful servant”, when your life journey is ended.

To all those who give more than they expect in return and who bless even those who do not deserve it, you are precious and a pure blessing on the earth. May the Lord richly reward you.

The Neglected Wife

A beautiful young wife recently asked me how she could resolve her feelings of being neglected. Her husband is a delightful chap who is actively serving the Lord and who also works part-time to supplement the family income. The bride is caring for a baby and the husband enjoys his sport as a way to unwind.

Feeling Neglected

The young wife struggled with feelings of being neglected, yet she knew that her husband is a wonderful man. He is serving God, helping others, working to meet their own family needs and enjoying life with his friends. He loves her and helps her out with the baby and her other needs when he can.

Still she felt neglected and at times became angry toward him and said things that expressed her frustration and hurt feelings.

Now she was feeling guilty about being such an unworthy wife. She felt that she was out of order to carry the feeling of being a neglected wife. She did not want to burden her husband but to bless him. However she just could not get past the feelings of being hurt.

She asked me what I would suggest she do.

The Husband’s Challenge

I appreciated the heart of this delightful young lady. What a sweet attitude, considering herself to be wrong and willing to do what she could to change. I commended her approach, but I then directed my comments toward her husband.

I pointed out that one of the common crimes men commit against their marriage is to ‘neglect’ their wife. The tendency to neglect the wife is so strong and natural for men that if they are not consciously avoiding it then they are almost certainly doing it. Men are compulsive neglecters. It comes naturally to them and they will dismiss or justify their actions, despite the way they are hurting their wife.

This young man was very willing to receive my instruction so I ventured to point out what he needs to do.

What is Neglect?

Husbands are commanded to love their wife, and when they do not do this they are neglecting her. Neglect is what happens when a man does not make the wife the centre of his attention.

If the husband is distracted, absent, uncaring, dismissive or otherwise failing to focus on his wife he is neglecting her.

Some men are busy. Others feel that their wife’s concerns are of no real substance and are unworthy of the attention they demand. Some don’t want to have their time with their wife dominated by the wife’s emotional issues, but would rather pursue physical intimacy and her joining in their interests.

All of these things constitute neglect.

The Opposite of Neglect

Neglect is possibly best seen by looking at its opposite.

When a husband stops what he is doing to give his total attention to his wife and then engages all his powers to meet her needs as the highest priority in his life at that moment, then he is loving her and not neglecting her.

When a husband is attentive to the real needs his wife is struggling with and does all that he can do to meet those real needs and bring her to a place of security, feeling his total love and commitment to her, then he is not neglecting her.

My Advice to the Neglecting Husband

I suggested to this young husband, in the hearing of his wife, that he needs to be attentive to her needs. Even though he is busy he must allocate special time that belongs to her, where she has 100% of his life. He will not always be able to give that to her at the time she feels the need for it. So he must find the first opportunity, such as in three hours’ time, when certain processes or meetings are completed. When he commits to give her his undivided attention at that time she will feel secure and be willing to wait. She will appreciate the elevated status in his life that his commitment gives to her.

When she comes to him he is to give total attention to her needs. He is to concentrate on listening to what she is saying and hearing her underlying emotional needs. He is then to offer her his understanding and care.

Sometimes all the wife needs is to have her emotional tank topped up. The husband is her best source of emotional recharge. A loving hug and assurances of his care and commitment will do much to lift her over her emotional hurdles and give her energy to press on.

A Quick Top Up

A wise husband will look for opportunities to give his wife a quick top-up, to keep her emotional reserve tank full and ready for life’s challenges. When a husband sees that his wife is a bit distracted or a little titchy he should be attentive to her inner needs.

When he asks her how she is going she may well say that all is fine. But if he thinks that is not the case he should persist to encourage her to tell him what she is thinking or struggling with.

He can then hug her and share in her concerns, offering whatever help he can. It may be that he can only join her in prayer for God’s wisdom. He may have nothing to offer from himself. But that very act of caring enough to join her in prayer over the unsolvable problem will be very precious to her.

Regular input from the husband, investing his 100% attention to meeting her inner needs, understanding her thoughts, feelings and concerns, and then doing what he can to help her resolve them, will give her the quick top-up that will keep her in a healthy emotional state.

Strong hugs, caring words, supportive attitudes, attentive listening and expressions of affection are very valuable to a wife and will help her overcome the feelings that she is being neglected in the competition for her husband’s time and energies.