1 Corinthians 13: Wisdom for Choosing a Good Spouse

Oct 15, 2007
1 Corinthians 13: Wisdom for Choosing a Good Spouse
Genesis 24:4 But will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.

This story of Abraham, his servant, Rebekah, and Isaac is a beautiful account of a father who wanted the best for his son, a servant who honored his master and prayed for direction, a woman who was willing to go on an adventure, and a son who received the gift of a wise wife that his father provided. Each person trusted God, facing the challenges that came their way.

In his old age, Abraham sent his servant to find a bride for Isaac from among his relatives in the city of Nahor in the land of Mesopotamia. When the servant arrived there, pausing at a well, he prayed for God’s guidance and immediately met a very helpful woman named Rebekah, who offered to water his camels from the well. To his delight, he discovered that she was Abraham’s great-niece – the granddaughter of Abraham’s brother, Nahor. The servant proposed marriage to Rebekah and her family on Isaac’s behalf, and she left her family and country to become Isaac’s wife. When they were united, Isaac quickly fell in love with Rebekah.

How Others See It
David and Heather Kopp

“Isaac and Rebekah went on to have struggles in their marriage, mostly over their children. This doesn’t mean they were wrong for each other. It simply reminds us that even a marriage “made in heaven” must be lived out day-to-day on earth – with and in spite of our human shortcomings.”

The story of finding a wife for Isaac can also be viewed as an analogy for how God makes his children a bride for Christ. God the heavenly Father sent his Holy Spirit to the church so that it would become the bride of Christ. In like manner, God wants to guide each of his children to the spouse of his choosing.

Love Barometer: How Does Your Beloved Measure Up?  

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always  perseveres. Love never fails.

If you’re wondering what kind of spouse you’ll make or whether the fiancé or financee you love will be a good spouse, check out the wisdom of God’s basic description of love. He characterizes love in such a way that you can evaluate whether you’re giving and receiving true love.

How Others See It 
William L. Coleman

Sometime when you are asking yourself what kind of a partner you will make, read 1 Cor. 13: 4-8. It is the world’s greatest description of love. Take a brief survey of what love does and apply it to your coming marriage.

Mary Welchel

Remember that when our emotions are involved in a situation, it’s very easy to lose perspective. Someone once told me, “Emotions and feelings have zero IQ,” and I think that’s a good thing to remember. You cannot trust your emotions. They’re dumb sometimes! Those juices get flowing, those romantic notions start whirling around in your head, and you can lose perspective in an instant.

“Love is blind,” someone once said, and actually, it’s true. When we’re dating and falling in love, we tend to overlook the characteristics of our loved one that could potentially create difficulty in our future marriage. We might think:

  • ”Oh, they’ll change and become more patient.”
  • ”It can’t really be bad to be jealous, can it?”
  • ”He seems so insecure at times, but my love for him will overcome that.”
  • ”She sometimes overreacts to my suggestions, but she means well.”

If negative characteristics are deeply seated in your spouse-to-be, you may be in for very difficult times.


If we’re wise, we will diminish the “love is blind” syndrome by comparing our potential spouse’s behavior to the characteristics of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Take each characteristic of love named in that passage and rate your future spouse on a scale of one to ten, with one being negative and ten being positive. Be aware: Assessments like these are difficult when struck with the love bug. You will need to think clearly, so pray beforehand, asking God to help you be honest and fair.

1 Corinthians Love Test

Love is patient

Love is kind

Love does not envy

Love does not boast

Love is not proud

Love is not rude

Love is not self-seeking

Love is not easily angered

Love keeps no record of wrongs

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres

Love never fails

If you rated your beloved a whopping 120 points, grab that person and run! If he or she scored between 84 and 119, you’ve got a great person. If your potential spouse’s score falls between 60 and 83, talk these weaknesses over with someone you trust – you could be heading into some struggles. If you rated your sweetheart 59 or below, you could be dealing with a very immature future spouse. Putting your relationship on hold so that you both can grow in maturity and wisdom would be a good idea.

If a single area is 5 or less, consider that this weakness will not improve by getting married, and it may even grow worse since we all are on our best behavior while courting.

This is not intended to be a scientific test; rather, it is a general indication of whether the love-is-blind syndrome is clouding your perceptions of your potential spouse. You can also use this test to reveal some areas you might want to work on before you tie the knot.

God desires the very best for you. Consider getting wise counsel in order to discuss these issues before you marry. Engaged people should be honest about the weaknesses they see in their potential spouses. The heartache of a broken engagement will pale in comparison to the agony of an unhappy or failed marriage. God will strengthen you to do the right thing as you seek him.

Every year in the United States, about half of all marriages end in divorce. That’s a staggering number that might be diminished if men and women more carefully chose their marriage partner.

 Excerpted from What's in the Bible for Couples © 2007 by Kathy Collard Miller, D. Larry Miller, and Larry Richards, Ph.D.  Used by permission of Bethany House Publishers.  Excerpt may not be reproduced without prior written consent.


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