As a Christian, and in choosing your life partner, is matchmaking a sin?
Matchmaking: Matchmaking is the art and practice of connecting two or more people of opposite sexes together for the purpose of marriage. People of different religions, cultures and societies follow diverse kinds of customs in marrying off their boys and girls. Some of these customs are considered primitive and weird; others are thought to be refined, civilized and sophisticated. Primitive Days: In the primitive days, particularly in most parts of the world, parents do consult oracles, fortune tellers, star-gazers, witchdoctors, palm-readers and priests for divination in order to discern whether intending couples are ‘divinely meant for each other’ in marriage.
Every society has her unique way of going about matching their young adults for marriages.
Later, in the Middle Ages, as societies became more complex, some families usually employed the services of intermediaries called “go-between” who will skillfully “arrange” marriage proposals between couples-to-be, consents of both parents as well as rituals and ceremonies preceding weddings.
Modern Days But these days with the advancement of technologies and their resultant enhancement of social interactions, many people take the advantage of social media and interconnectivity through internet to get acquainted with their would-be-spouses. These have created a lot of opportunities of escapades for young boys and girls and through which some of them get hooked up in marriages.
With the advent of Christianity, however, and since religion doesn’t exist in vacuum, the teachings and practices of the Bible have seriously impacted the societal norms.
Old-time conservative Christian values seem to advocate complete reliance on God for the choice of marriage partner. This is conservative Christianity. Thus, the Holy Spirit must be hundred percent responsible for choosing your life partner. Any young man who wants to marry, for instance, should pray; and continue to pray until God “reveals” his would-be wife to him. Until then, he shouldn’t make any move in approaching any opposite sex for marriage. In addition, the young woman seeking to be married too must equally pray; and continue to pray until God also “reveals” to her who exactly is her would-be-husband. She also makes no move until there’s positive correlation and confirmation between the revelations of the young man, “Mr. A”; and the young woman, “Miss B”. This view is of the far left!
Liberal Christianity: But modern liberal Christianity preaches that God can use any way (including matchmaking) in meeting the marital needs of His people. After all, the Bible says God has more than a thousand ways whereas we have none! This view is of the far right!
Liberal thinking always frowns at orthodox and conservative interpretations of Biblical injunctions especially as it pertains to marriage issues. This has caused a lot of divergent views amongst young Christians as well as those intending to marry. Between these two views are many conflicting, opposing and contradictory doctrines, dogmas and beliefs: some a little to the left and some a little to the right!
The real posers are, of course, not which of these views is correct or which is wrong. Rather, it has to do with what exactly is the mind of God concerning using the services of matchmakers in deciding the choice of who to marry? The following are my views:
In my experience, I have often observed that most Christians don’t want to be identified as matchmakers because of the fear of being blackmailed or blamed should in case the relationship between the husband and his wife later turns sour. Thus, some of the people stopped a little short of being a matchmaker; they rather introduce someone to the other with a strict warning: “please, I’m not a matchmaker… I’m just introducing you…. pray and if the two of you found yourself to be compatible… then you can commence the process of marriage…”
This phobia is understood in the light of what happened in the Garden of Eden when God asked Adam why he ate the forbidden fruit. His response was as if he had no choice other than to accept ‘the woman Thou gavest to be with me…’ He was sort of blaming God and shifting responsibility on Him for giving him the wife. It was as if he wouldn’t have chosen “the woman” if God had not given him! Genesis 3:11-12 says, “And he said, who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat
On the other hand, a few couples who happened to have been “introduced” to each other and whose marital unions are blissful have always been eternally grateful to the “introducer.” In Genesis 24:62-67, despite the delay in child-bearing, Isaac never blamed his father’s eldest servant through whom he got Rebekah, his wife. In fact, he was graciously relaxing and meditating at the cool of the day, when the eldest servant, “the matchmaker,” brought the wife to him.
Conclusion: Therefore, it does not necessarily mean that matchmaking is evil or sinful. It’s just that some people who could have joyfully acted as matchmakers are afraid since most beneficiaries often shift and heap blames of any misfortune in their marriages on the matchmaker.
*** Please watch out for another post dealing with ways in which God can lead someone to know his or her future partner.
This is a BLOG dealing with Questions & Answers on marriage and relationship matters. You are free to ask any question and air your views in the comment section on any of the answers.
Pastor Williams Akinbamijo, Pastor in Charge of Ogun Province 4 of The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Redemption Camp, Ogun State, Nigeria