How should we guide our children when they are choosing a spouse?

If you have children, eventually you will face the day when your child is choosing a spouse. Have you considered the attitudes and priorities that will guide you in how you handle that event? When Abraham was old, he sent a servant to find a spouse for Isaac. The Bible only lists one requirement that Abraham had for Isaac’s spouse. This requirement was more important than anything else. Are you like that? Do you have one priority that trumps everything else? Do you have such a priority without even being aware that you have such a priority? Are you deceiving yourself into thinking that your priority is one thing when it really is something else? Are your attitudes and priorities about your child’s spouse helpful, wise, and Biblical, or are they selfish and worldly? Let’s observe Abraham’s requirement for Isaac’s spouse, and then we will consider what our requirement(s) and priority(s) should be.

Read the following verses. What was Abraham’s singular requirement for Isaac’s spouse?

Gen. 24:1 ¶ Now Abraham was old, advanced in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in every way.

Gen. 24:2 Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he owned, “Please place your hand under my thigh,

Gen. 24:3 and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live,

Gen. 24:4 but you will go to my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac.”

Gen. 24:5 The servant said to him, “Suppose the woman is not willing to follow me to this land; should I take your son back to the land from where you came?”

Gen. 24:6 Then Abraham said to him, “Beware that you do not take my son back there!

Gen. 24:7 “The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there.

Gen. 24:8 “But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this my oath; only do not take my son back there.”

Gen. 24:9 So the servant placed his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter.

Abraham’s most important requirement was that Isaac marry a relative and not a Canaanite. That requirement was more important than anything else. When the servant went to find a spouse for Isaac, every decision he made had to be filtered through that one requirement.

Now let’s consider what our standards for a spouse should be. What do the following verses tell us?

2Cor. 6:14 ¶ Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?

2Cor. 6:15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?

1Cor. 7:39 ¶ A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

Just as Abraham had one guiding principle for the servant to follow when choosing a spouse for Isaac, so too God has one guiding principle for those of us who believe in Jesus Christ. We must marry someone who believes in Jesus Christ. Every decision we or our children make about a spouse must conform to that one requirement.


Further Reading

What is the purpose of marriage?


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“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”