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Ten Questions to Ask before Getting Serious with Someone

Next to your relationship with Jesus Christ, nothing in life is more important than your relationship with your spouse.

Luther agreed: “There is no bond on earth so sweet as that which occurs in a good marriage.” (I’m sure his wife, Katie, was glad to hear him say that!)

When I have the opportunity to speak to young people who are, shall we say, “single and love to mingle,” I cannot stress to them enough the importance of finding a partner for life who shares their faith, their values, and their worldview.

As I would share with any of those who are “single and love to mingle,” here are 10 questions that I would encourage people to ask about those they are dating prior to “getting serious”—that is, seriously considering the lifelong commitment of marriage.

  1. Do they trust in Jesus Christ and seek to put Him first in their life?
  2. Do they recognize the difference that their words can make, both for good and for ill?
  3. Do they prioritize their time well, structuring their schedule around what matters most?
  4. Do they respect (and have the respect of) both their parents and family and mine?
  5. Do they keep their emotions in check, not letting anger take control of them?
  6. Do they honor their body and my body as sacred spaces where the Holy Spirit lives?
  7. Do they know the value of hard work and of taking care of what they have earned?
  8. Do they apply “best construction” practices when speaking about other people?
  9. Do they find contentment in who God has made them to be and in what He has given them?
  10. Do they rejoice with you in your successes and struggle with you in your trials, showing themselves prepared to share with you in all things?

If you take a close look at each of these 10 questions, I think you’ll notice something: They’re nothing new!

These 10 questions are drawn from the timeless treasures tucked away in God’s Word. For millennia, people all over the globe have found our Maker’s Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1–17) to be the most succinct, spot-on instructions for all aspects of life. They apply not only to our relationship with God but also to every other relationship we have.

“I do not turn aside from Your rules, for You have taught me,” the psalmist says to the Lord. “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding” (Psalm 119:102–104).

Shouldn’t something so sweet as the pursuit of a good marriage be guided by something so sweet as God’s Word?

(P.S. For many more excellent questions to ask, take a look at the explanation of the Ten Commandments on pp. 54–101 in Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation.)

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