Emotional Health Creates Relational Wealth
“The righteous choose their friends carefully” (Proverbs 12:26a NIV).
If you wait for the perfect wife or the perfect husband, it isn’t going to just happen. Let me tell you why: We’re all broken. That’s why we need a Savior. We need Jesus.
God loves you, but you need to understand that anybody you marry will be broken too.
Everybody’s broken, but some people are a lot more broken than others. And you need to avoid them no matter how good-looking, rich, or nice they are. You have to figure out the emotional health of your potential partner before you enter into a long-term relationship.
Why am I saying this? Study after study has shown that 80 percent of all separations and divorce happen because one or both of the partners are emotionally unhealthy.
I’m going to give you a partial checklist of emotional health factors to keep in mind. These aren’t my opinion; this is what God says you need to avoid.
Look for someone who isn’t nursing uncontrolled anger. Proverbs 22:24 says, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered” (NIV). Do you know why? Because uncontrolled anger reveals deep insecurity and low self-worth.
Look for someone who isn’t stuck in an addiction. The Bible says, “Don’t associate with people who drink too much wine or stuff themselves with food” (Proverbs 23:20 TEV). Only two things are mentioned here, food and alcohol, but there are thousands of ways we can become addicted.
Look for someone who isn’t harboring bitterness. Bitterness is like a poison — it eats you alive. Whatever you resent, you begin to resemble. To stop resenting, you’ve got to release it. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:15, “Guard against turning back from the grace of God. Let no one become like a bitter plant that grows up and causes many troubles with its poison.”
Look for someone who isn’t selfish. Why? Proverbs 28:25 says, “Selfishness only causes trouble.” When it comes down to it, the number one cause of conflict in marriage is simple: selfishness.
Look for someone who isn’t greedy. Proverbs 15:27 says, “Greed brings grief to the whole family” (NLT, second edition). If you marry someone who is greedy spouse, you will be in debt your entire life.
Look for someone who is generous and kind. The Bible says, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25 NIV). And, “Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves” (Proverbs 11:17).
Look for someone who always tells the truth. Proverbs 20:7 says this: “A righteous person lives on the basis of his integrity. Blessed are his children after he is gone” (GW). Love is based on trust, and trust is based on truth. If you don’t tell me the truth, I can’t trust you.
You might be thinking, “This sure is a long list, Rick. I’m not sure if I’ll ever find someone who matches this list.” The truth is you can because God cares about you, and he cares about who you marry. The thing to do while you’re prayerfully waiting on God to show you who to marry is to do the things that God tells you to do in your own life. In other words, obey God in the things you know to do and start preparing yourself to be the person your future spouse is looking for.
And no matter what your situation, remember God is a God of Hope. Do the thing you know he wants you to do, and watch to see how he works in your life.
Talk It Over
What are some other emotional health factors that you think God wants you to consider when looking for a potential partner?
Regardless of your situation, ask God to guide you through a self-assessment of the list above. Then ask God to help you heal in the areas where you need to heal. But don’t forget to accept God’s grace. He knows you’re not perfect, and he knows you’re still growing. And he’s well aware of (and pleased with) the places where you’re already emotionally healthy.
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This devotional © 2016 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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