Set your standards high and then keep them. Make the other person rise to your level, do not go down to theirs.

Set standards BEFORE you even think about courting or marriage.

Set some rules for yourself about what kind of a person you want to marry and then stick to them. Don't be ridiculous about this. I am not talking about how tall he has to be, what color his eyes are or how much money he makes. I'm talking about STANDARDS of CHARACTER and CONDUCT.

Make sure they are realistic and these are what you definitely want in a mate. Commit them to God and stand by them. If "Mr. Right" fails in any one of them then, according to your PRE-DETERMINED STANDARDS, he is not worth wasting your time over. Right? Right. Don't set standards and then manipulate them. "Oh, well, he's not perfect but he's breathing and I don't have a lot of time left, I'm almost 19 years old." Honey, go back to the beginning of this book and start all over again. DON'T COMPROMISE.

If one of your standards is that the guy HAS to be saved first, before you even consider him, then don't settle for trying to save a good-looking lost person after you are married. I know of one woman who tried that twice, and failed both times, now she is on her third husband.

It is best to know how you are going to react to a situation before you find yourself in that situation. If you do not have an escape plan, by the time you come up with one, you will probably already have made a mistake.

These are standards that you want from the other person:

No touch of any kind at all until you are married.

If you decide that this is not the right person for you then you will not have any guilt feelings or regrets about anything that you did. Let's look at our memory verses again. We've already discussed the reasons why.

(1 Corinthians 7:1) - "Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman."

Make sure he respects your body. Since the body of a Christian young person is the temple of the Holy Spirit then that young person has a special reason to be careful about misuse of her body.

Turn to 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."

Make sure he is saved.

Don't marry an unbeliever. You will regret it the rest of your life. That is at least until that person gets saved. But what if they never do. You have disobeyed a direct command from God.

Turn to 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?"

IF YOU MARRY AN UNSAVED PERSON YOU ARE MARRYING A CHILD OF THE DEVIL AND YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TROUBLE WITH YOUR FATHER-IN-LAW! (The Good Ship Courtship by Dr. Hugh F. Pyle, Copyright 1969 by Sword of the Lord Publishers, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, p.35)

Don't think that you are going to marry someone, with a hope or a promise, that they will get saved after the wedding. They already have what they want, you, so now what reason do they have. Many women foolishly believed this lie only to find themselves married to a lost person who forbids them to go to church or read their Bibles anymore. Why? So they don't have to listen to the "preachin' anymore." It's too convicting for them. Now do you understand? This is serious business. For him, a matter of heaven or hell. For you, a question of obedience to God.

Make sure he reads his Bible and prays regularly.

Read the Bible and pray when you are together. It will keep you out of trouble. It's harder to do something against God's Word while you are reading it or studying it. It's harder to sin while you are praying than when you are not.

(Psalm 119:11) - "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."

Make sure he faithfully attends church BEFORE you take an interest in him.

(Hebrews 10:25) - "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."

Many times someone will go to church to please you and tell you that he realizes it is important to you and he respects you for your convictions. Your first thought is: don't let this guy get away!! What is wrong with that? It sounds nice. But wait a minute, what are his convictions. What does he believe about church attendance?

More than likely once you are married he will stop attending church, either right away or he will gradually find other things to do at that time that just can't be done any other time. What happened? Church wasn't that was important to him in the first place. His only reason in attending church was that it pleased you to have him go. And you were too emotionally evolved with him to see this.

Find out what his attendance record in the past has been like. If this man happened to be from your church, ask your preacher about him. He will know this person better than anyone. I know of one woman who married, not once but twice, on the false assumption that her husband would faithfully attend church with her after they were married. He didn't. She was miserable both times. You think she would have learned the first time but she was so desperate to get married that she didn't see the obvious. Love IS blind.

Make sure he has a desire to serve God, too.

(Joshua 24:15) - "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

If a desire of yours is to serve the Lord as a missionary abroad or in your own community, then marry someone with the same goals. Remember Amos 3:3? If your desire is to serve the Lord but his isn't, guess what, you won't be serving the Lord either. He will see to that.

A good look around most churches today will reveal that the vast majority of the congregation is made up of married women with or without children. The question is: where are all the men? The answer, unfortunately is: lost or backslidden. In some cases the more the women involve themselves in the church the more their husbands disappear into the background. Don't be a statistic. Have similar, if not the same, goals.

Don't marry someone on the promise that they want to serve God either. It must be evident in their lives at that point. Maybe they want to be a missionary, that's fine, but are they handing out tracts now or just waiting until God suddenly calls them overseas. Guess what? If they are not faithfully serving God "at home" God is not going to call them abroad.

This also applies to you. If HE wants to be a missionary and you don't, if HE wants to be a pastor and you don't want the responsibility of being a pastor's wife, if HE wants to serve God in any way that you don't want to, then by all means, PLEASE DON'T marry him and ruin his life or his relationship with the Lord.

These are some standards that you will want for yourself:

Make sure you are saved.

You cannot know the things of God if you are not His child and do not have true fellowship with Him. The Bible says you can know for sure that you are saved. It's called the eternal security of the believer. Make sure of your salvation. It is a lie of the devil to convince you that you may have lost your salvation. If you never truly were saved, then get saved. If you are saved or uncertain of your salvation, then get assurance.

(1 Peter 5:8) - "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"

Be careful whom you hang around with.

(Proverbs 13:20) - "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."

(1 Corinthians 15:33) - "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners."

(Galatians 5:9) A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

Memorize these three verses. They will keep you out of a lot of trouble. Do not listen to gossip or murmuring and complaining people. Do not be a gossip or a murmuring or complaining person. It is all SIN. God hates it. It is from the devil. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Don't let others talk you into something that you know is wrong and against the teachings of the Word of God. This is why it is good to memorize Scripture. Jesus Himself used the Scriptures to drive away the devil when he was tempted in the wilderness. Remember, "IT IS WRITTEN?" Well, during times of temptation it helps to know what was written and where to find it. Don't even begin to think that when you are tempted you will "try and find" your Bible and then "look up" a verse to help you. It will be too late.

The Bible say to put on the whole armour of God. Part of it is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. A soldier would not last long in battle with just his armour on but no weapon. Never forget that we are in a spiritual battle. We must use the weapon that God has given us.

Read your Bible and spend time in prayer every day.

Spend time with the Lord in your Bible in order to gain spiritual insight. You cannot know the things of God if you do not read God's Word. Make sure you are on speaking terms with God. Don't just call upon Him when you find yourself in a mess. Pray beforehand about the various situations in your life.

Marriage is an important step in anyone's life and you want to make sure that you and God are in agreement on a decision. Seek His wisdom and guidance in both Bible reading and prayer. God is your spiritual Father and as His child He wants the best for you in all areas of your life.

Also seek the wisdom and advice of your pastor. You are going to need all the godly counsel you can get on the subject of marriage and the character of your future spouse. The pastor is the best person to obtain this information from.

Exercise self-control.

(Galatians 5:19-23) - "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

Don't give in to fleshly desires. Purity is something that can be attained but YOU have to work at it. It is not going to sneak up on you overnight. The fact that God commands us to do it is proof that is can be done.

1 Corinthians 10:13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."

D.L. Moody wrote in the margin of his Bible, "This Book will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this Book."

Set your standards high and keep them high. Do not compromise. Stick to your standards, you will always be glad that you did.

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