A Q&A on Marriage

Hey, girls! Since it’s the day after Valentine’s Day and love is still in the air (or at least on our minds), I thought I’d share this interview with you from GospelMag.com. I hope my responses will help you as you think about someday possibly moving from singleness to marriage. Enjoy!

Q. Since you wrote Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl, you got married. Congratulations!

A. Thank you. God gives great gifts. I was starting to think I’d be single for the rest of my life; I’m still amazed I’m married . . . and to a wonderful man!

Q. What changed in your life when you met the man who would become your husband?

A. At first not a whole lot, other than that I spent a lot more time on Skype. As I look back over the past two-and-a-half-years since I’ve known him, though, I can see that I’ve changed a lot. Trevor has challenged and changed the way I think about a host of issues. He has pushed me (in good ways) in areas where I felt fearful and inept. He has been a tangible picture of God’s steadfast love for me, even when all that is ugly is stripped bare and out in the open.

Q. How did you meet him?

A. Seven months after publishing Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, I inadvertently started following a guy named Trevor Marsteller on Twitter. At the time, I was reaching out to bloggers asking for honest reviews of my book in exchange for a free copy. When I followed him on Twitter, I saw he had over 1,000 followers and had also done book reviews on his blog. I asked if he’d like to review Confessions, he said yes, and we kept talking from there. (You can read all the juicy details here.)

Q. Did things change right away, or has your relationship gradually become special?

A. I’m not the only one who has changed. Trevor has become more and more kind and affectionate since we first met. In fact, he puts me to shame with the way he loves me! I’d say our relationship has become more special over time, through tears, hard conversations, forgiveness, kindness, and love.

Q. Did God show you in one way or another that Trevor was the man you should marry?

A. I believe God communicates to us through His Word. In the Bible, He has made it clear that believers are not to marry unbelievers. But other than that one stipulation, He has given us freedom to make our choice based on wisdom.

God didn’t “speak” to me and tell me to marry Trevor. But as I got to know Trevor, as I asked others who knew him well questions, as I saw how he loved me and how I could just be myself around him without needing to impress him, it became obvious. This man loved God, loved me, and was pursuing me. It was a no-brainer.

Q. What would you say to girls who want to marry and don’t know on which basis to make their decision?

Stop looking for handwriting in the sky telling you that this guy is “the one.”

A. Stop looking for handwriting in the sky telling you that this guy is “the one.” Is he a believer? One who is serious in his pursuit of God? Is he pursuing you? Are you comfy with him? Do you communicate well? Do your family and friends think he’s great?
Make a wise decision based on the Word of God, wise counsel, and common sense. God has given you a ton of freedom. Choose wisely, and as you do, be blessed!

Q. We often tell people who aren’t yet married that they need to date, meet more people, and subscribe to dating websites. In this, we lead them to understand that they have to do more to make it happen. What do you think?

He is the One who gives us every good gift. Pursue Him. Serve Him. Trust Him.

A. I was given the same advice over the years, but I think it falls short. Ultimately, most of us underestimate God’s sovereignty. He is the One who gives us every good gift. Pursue Him. Serve Him. Trust Him. This area of life is not ultimately something you control; it is all under His wise, good, sovereign control.

Q. We often say to girls that they will find someone when they least expect it. What do you think?

A. I think it’s very unhelpful advice. People probably mean to be encouraging when they say it, but as a single I always felt this enormous pressure to somehow trick my emotions out of longing for marriage. It sounded like if I could succeed in that, then marriage would somehow just fall in my lap. But there’s no such prerequisite in God’s Word. He gives us undeserved gifts freely; we do not earn them.

Q. How did you find your smile (joy) back when you went through moments of discouragement regarding romance?

A. It took a long time, but as I got to know God’s character through His Word and by sitting under solid sermons Sunday after Sunday, I grew in my knowledge of God. And as my knowledge of God grew, so did my trust in Him and my enjoyment of Him.

Whenever I sign my books, I include Psalm 16:11: “In your presence is fullness of joy.” True joy is not found in our circumstances but in spending time enjoying God, which we can do anytime, anywhere.

I’d love to hear from you. Did you learn anything new through this interview? Anything you disagree with? As you think about marriage, are there any questions you want to add?

About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York.

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

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  • Simone

    I enjoyed reading your answer to knowing if he was “the one”. I have the same view on God giving us the choice to marry a person we are dating, based on wisdom, prayer, talking with others, etc. one day I’ll write my story about how I meet the guy I am dating now and be able to encourage women in dating. There are so many false ideas out there about dating even within the Christian community, that need to be thrown out. Anyways, thank you for sharing your story.

  • arba

    I have other questions:
    – How do you overcome those hard situations in your marriage like for example: in a debate, when you have misunderstandings? Because when I sin against someone, anyone. I feel horrible. I wish I could take it back( Like for example, today I sinned against my brother. And I told him horrible stuff and mocked him.) When you go through these hard situations, or when you sin against someone, don’t you feel miserable? And how do you overcome it?
    – Do those thoughts about other boys/crushes disappear when you are married? I am not talking about willfully committing adultery, or emotional adultery. But as in your book:’ Those boy-crazy girl feelings about someone else?

    It was a beautiful interview 🙂 I enjoyed it

    • ChristianGirl

      arba, I’m not sure how good of a response I can give, since I’m a single girl, but I do know that Paul tells us that believers should marry believers. If you think about what believers do through hard times, it makes sense that he would say this. Non-believers don’t really turn to God during the hard times. As for feeling miserable after sinning against someone, this is where forgiveness comes in. Once you make a sincere apology and ask for forgiveness, you don’t need to carry the burden of your sin. You don’t need to dwell on it. As for having boy-crazy feelings during marriage, I think Eric and Leslie Ludy have answers in their book “When God Writes Your Love Story.” In their book, they say that you can’t base a relationship on emotions and feelings. They also talk about practicing being faithful to your future spouse. I’d recommend reading their book “When God Writes Your Love Story.” Hope this helps.

    • Hey, Arba,

      Great questions. I’m considering writing a post about your second question. Either way, I hope to respond to your questions soon. Thanks for your patience,

      paula

      • Hey, Arba,

        I wrote a post addressing your second question; it should go LIVE March 22. In the meantime, I’ll see if I can email you a copy of it for a sneak peek.

        Re. your first question, humility, good communication, owning your sin, and forgiving the other of their sin. 🙂 It’ll be messy at first, but if you marry a humble, teachable man, and if you’re willing to do this, you’ll both grow together in this area over time.

        Hope that helps,

        paula

  • fiona

    Thank you for answering those questions, they really put my mind at ease.

  • Avigail

    Thank you so much for this article! Some great insights here! It’s so true about not pushing the dating thing too much, it really is only in G-ds hands, I’ve watched my uncle being single for over a decade and then marrying a girl that lives across half a world(not sure if that’s a term😉) And now having a beautiful family! It’s really amazing how G-d just puts it all together when he’s says it’s time! https://avigailife.wordpress.com/

  • ChristianGirl

    Thank you! So, when God bring me my future husband, it’ll be obvious that he’s the guy for me? I do have a question about a crush: I like this Christian guy at my school. He’s really nice and gentle and I do feel comfortable around him. Talking with him isn’t awkward. He doesn’t give me butterflies anymore, but I still feel drawn to him. Is it possible to have feelings for a guy without having butterflies in the stomach?

    • Dear ChristianGirl,

      I wouldn’t say it will necessarily be obvious immediately that he’s the guy for you. He might not be what you’re expecting. And it’ll take time to get to know him.

      Re. your other question, butterflies aren’t everything. They’ll usually only be there at the beginning of your relationship.

      Hope that helps,

      paula

  • Jade

    Hi Paula, I read that your husband loves God, loves you and pursues you. He is kind and he builds you up. What advice can you give for someone who’s husband does not love God and who does not pursue me? We have been married for nine years and I became a Christian on year 3. Soon after, he joined the navy and our marriage has never been the same. He doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus and he has separated himself from me emotionally and physically. He treats me badly in front of our children and tries to divide the family. He tells me I shouldn’t be going to school/shouldn’t have a job, things like that. I have prayed off and on about this for years. What am I supposed to do?

    • Dear Jade,

      I’m so sorry for the pain you live with–and also so proud of you for persevering in it. God will not waste your suffering. Even now, He is preparing you to be His Son’s beautiful, spotless bride!

      Do you have a solid church you’re a part of? I so hope so, as you need that support–and possibly even intervention at some point with your hubby.

      I’m sure you’re praying regularly for him. Don’t give up!

      I’m also sure you’re familiar with 1 Peter 3, which is written to wives whose husbands do not obey the Word of God. While you ultimately are waiting for God to do what only God can do, you can help and not hinder that work by your respectful, pure conduct: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Peter+3&version=ESV.

      Praying for you, your hubby, and your kids now,

      paula

  • Paula,

    Thank you for this! As a single 31 year old who talks and writes about singleness myself, I’m always encouraged when my thoughts are “validated” by someone who has been there. I especially appreciate your response to the whole “stop looking and poof! God will bring him” argument. I remember years ago, I bought a purity ring and thought, “I’m going to take one year off from dating” and I figured that would be the “trick” to make God bring Him. Didn’t work 😉 Thank you for keeping it real.

  • marls4life

    I just entered into a relationship but I do remember thinking that as a single person, I wasn’t allowed to desire being in a relationship. As a lot of other people also thought, I believed that God would just poof him into my life but that’s not true: you do have to put yourself out there. it kind of makes me think of getting good grades in school. You want good grades but if you think it’s going to magically happen without putting in any effort, you’re going to get nowhere. Dating similar concept: being in a relationship requires that you go out, meet new people, put your feelings out there (running the risk of rejection). Obviously, putting God into perspective (this relationship isn’t guaranteed until we’re married, this relationship isn’t my be-all-end-all, etc.) Point taken: it’s OKAY to desire being in a relationship but it’s not going to magically happen

  • Jessica

    Hi Paula 🙂

    I have just read through a few of your posts and am very encouraged, praise God. 🙂 I am a 25 year-old, single woman seeking to love and serve Jesus above all else. I’m going to try to clearly articulate my thoughts and hope that you respond, though this blog was posted some time ago!

    So, I have been content as a single woman for the majority of my life, never having dated(only a brief, long-distance courtship which by God’s grace ended- this was the right thing!), and have often pondered if this is the life-long gift God has given me. As I have gotten older, however, I have seen the beauty of the Gospel in marriage and have truly grown to desire this gift. The past 2-3 years have been an off and on wrestling between choosing contentment in Christ and at times deeply longing to serve the Lord with someone. I serve in vocational ministry and often long to have that protective spiritual covering. I have received so much wise counsel regarding my responsibility to pursue and to trust the Lord, as well as consolation that a desire for marriage is not at all sinful, and that I can choose to be content in Jesus even as I hold loosely the desire for a God-glorifying marriage.
    Sometimes I want to be bold to ask the Lord for a partner in this way- sometimes I do- but I know that I must bring my own will under His control with a submissive heart, ultimately saying that I want HIS will, not my own!

    1) What would be your encouragement to me in this season of life?
    2) I have a friend, who is a guy, and has expressed to me that he has pondered our relationship as friends and the possibility of dating. He is a very godly man, though we talked about this previously and decided that some of our interests, hobbies, even convictions in what some would call “gray areas” of the Christian life were different and thus pursuing relationship would not be ideal. Well, he has pondered this more and has shared this with me. As I stated, he is very godly and passionate about living for the glory of God. We both are passionate about evangelism, and overall share the same desires for life and ministry. Here’s where my guilt comes in- I am not physically drawn to him, and I have a hard time allowing myself to think of him as anything more than a brother in Christ. Physical attraction is CERTAINLY not the ultimate in a relationship, perhaps the least important, but I don’t “feel” that way for him! I have wondered if the Lord is trying to “give me the desire of my heart” as this man has pursued me, but I don’t know that I desire to be anything more than friends. Yes, I want the Lord’s will, but I have freedom, too, in this sense, no?

    Wow, this is a long post! I am thankful for any wisdom you have from the Word and from the experiences in your life through which He has used to sanctify you!

    • Paula is not available right now to be able to answer your questions, so we hope you don’t mind if we jump in here for her.

      There is nothing wrong in asking God for a partner, Jessica. Where it becomes wrong is when we demand it from God or believe wrongly that He is withholding something from us if He doesn’t answer this prayer the way you want. Expressing your desire and then surrendering it to the Lord may be difficult but will be the best thing to do in the long run.

      We are confident that Paula’s encouragement would be for you to focus on your own personal relationship with the Lord and in faithfully serving Him where He has you during this season of your life. By doing this, you are ready for whatever He brings your way. Surround yourself with people who love the Lord and will pray and support you in your journey.

      Physical attraction is not everything but only you can decide if it is a deal breaker or not. We encourage you to pray about this and if you’re still not sure, you may want to give it more time. If the lack of physical attraction is just something you can’t work with, then you need to let him know. If you need more time, it’s okay to ask to slow down so that you have time to process your feelings. Either way, you need to be honest with this guy so that you are guarding both of your hearts and are not leading him on.

      We have paused and prayed for you this afternoon, Jessica. We’ve asked the Lord to give you clear direction and to pour out His wisdom (James 1:5) as well as His grace as you process and work through your thoughts, emotions and feelings. May God bless you!