How Should I Pray for My Future Spouse?
Recently a young man at Summit Ministries asked me a question I have been asked frequently over the years, namely, “How can I pray for my future spouse?”
Here are three simple points I encouraged him to consider. And I would encourage young woman in the same way:
First, pray that God forms you into the kind of person worth marrying. If you are a young person, it is human nature to begin by focusing on the kind of spouse you want to marry. But a better approach is to first look at your own life and ask if you are the kind of person someone else would want to marry. Do you have integrity? Do you have the fruits of the Spirit, such as faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)? Do you have healthy relationships with peers and adults?
If not, begin to work on these areas in your own life through prayer, Scripture study, accountability, and spiritual disciplines. Start by looking internally rather than externally. And remember, the character you are developing now will carry into your future marriage.
Second, pray for someone with godly character, not merely outward beauty. In other words, don’t value external beauty over character. Proverbs 11:22 says, “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion.” Of course, similar wisdom applies to an attractive man who lacks discretion.
The key point Solomon is making (which I challenged this young man to prayerfully consider) is not to sacrifice character for external beauty. Given that our culture so deeply values outer appearance, this is an easy mistake to make. But if you start praying now for a spouse with character, God can help guard your heart in advance.
Third, pray that you can trust God regardless of the results. The Bible doesn’t promise a spouse to those who ask. Yes, Psalms 37:4 says that if we delight in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts. But the Scripture doesn’t say when or how God may do this. And it could be that God recognizes deeper desires in our hearts than we do and ultimately fulfills them in ways we cannot imagine.
The Bible does talk a lot about how we can expect to suffer for doing what is right (1 Peter 3:17). We live in a world deeply broken and ravaged by sin (Romans 3:9-18). This brokenness can manifest itself in a variety of ways. At some point, the question all of us have to ask is: Will I trust God even when things don’t work out as I planned?
This last point can be hardest for young people to accept. In fact, it is hard for all of us to accept.
If you are a young person who wants to be married, I encourage you to lay out your requests earnestly to the Lord (Phil 4:6). And yet amidst your requests, ask God for the strength to trust Him regardless of what the future holds.