Determining someone’s character can be a bit tricky if your brain is a little fogged by infatuation, so I’ve come up with a question that helps singles look at their potential mate with a little more clarity:
“After watching this person interact with others, would you like to become more like them? Because if you marry them, you will.”
Are you risking your character—one of the most precious things about you—by spending more and more time with this person? Or would marrying this person likely elevate your character?
If you’re younger and would like to eventually have children, ask yourself another question: “Would I want my daughter/son to be just like this person I’m thinking of marrying? Would I want my son to treat women the way my boyfriend treats women? Would I want my daughter to have the same passion (or lack thereof) for God as my girlfriend does?”
When Jesus tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33), He’s making character development a key priority for His followers. Nineteenth century writer Henry Drummond wrote, “Since we are what we are by the impacts of those who surround us, those who surround themselves with the highest will be those who change into the highest.”
Choosing a person based on their character is thus one way to trust Jesus and obey His words in Matthew 6:33. You are more likely to seek first His righteousness when you surround yourself with others who seek His righteousness, especially when it comes to marriage.
Drummond goes on to say, “There are some men and some women in whose company we are always at our best. While with them we cannot think mean thoughts or speak ungenerous words. Their mere presence is elevation, purification, sanctity. All the best stops in our natures are drawn out by their conversation and we find a music in our souls that was never there before.”
Remember how astonished the religious leaders were that the disciples exhibited such bravery and wisdom even though they were “formerly unimpressive and unschooled”? And what was their conclusion? “They took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
Do your friends and family think you are a better version of yourself since you have been dating your partner? Or are they worried that you are changing for the worse? Do you like who you’re becoming when you spend more time with this person, or do you wince with regret and try to pacify your concerns with excuses: “He’s a young believer yet, but I’m sure he’ll grow.” “She’s preoccupied with worldly things now but our church will help her mature.”
With this principle in mind, here are two questions to ask. Even better, get some feedback from objective friends and family members.
Do I want to become more like this person in character and faith?
Would I want my future children to model themselves after the person I am dating?
For more on making a wise marital choice, check out Gary’s book, The Sacred Search
This article originally appeared here.