I have four young adults. Three daughters and a son. My son has been married for two years. Many of us pray for and about our kids’ future spouse.

Many young people are delaying marriage and are not meeting their mate in high school or college. According to an article in the Huffington Post  the average age for first time weddings for men is 28.7 and the average age for a woman is  26.5. These ages have increased by one year since 2007.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I attended a wedding. Both the Bride and Groom talked about putting Jesus first and shared how they “found” each other at church. A beautiful thing!

Here are a few more how they met post-school examples:

One couple met while leading a youth group at a church.

One woman prayed that the Lord would pick her husband. Then she and her man met at a dog park.

Another gal met her guy on a Christian dating site.

So how can we help our kids guard their life and their heart as they move into this complicated phase of life?

1. Encourage intentionality. Have your young adult evaluate  the places he or she spends time. If it is at the clubs or bars, those patrons are most likely interested in the party scene: alcohol, casual sex, and maybe drugs. They are looking for “the catch of the day” rather than finding a “husband or wife for life”. One woman met her husband in a bar. As it turns out he was an alcoholic and now they are divorced. (Of course this isn’t everyone’s experience.) While focusing on God and being involved in wholesome godly activities an individual will be more likely to find others doing the same.

2. Encourage the practice of dating marriage material. The “bad boys” or “wild girls” are not the type of person who would make a great spouse (unless, of course, they have been redeemed.) Talk with your young person about the kind of person he would like to marry then encourage him to date that type of individual. Your young adult may even want to write down a list of qualities that are important to him. Choose good character over chemistry. Deliberately look for that man or woman  who loves the Lord and has integrity. One friend told she prayed for someone who had a great sense of humor first and  second loved the Lord. She laughs now and says she had the order mixed up, but God blessed her with a funny and faith-filled man anyway!

3. Encourage your young adult to be the type of young man or woman someone would want to marry. This is the same idea as..if you want friends you need to be a friend. The young adult may want to list the qualities that make up a person of good character then work on personally developing those qualities. This list may be very similar to the one above. Participating in and thinking about God’s whatevers in Philippians 4:8 increases discernment.  Whatever is true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praise worthy. This will help the young person avoid getting caught up in superficial or detrimental relationships.

Lately, I’m finding my prayers are more about God drawing my kids to Himself and less about the future spouse. I believe if  faith is intact and maturing, the Lord will lead them in and to their future – marriage or singleness.

 Above all else guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 4:23

© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13Parenting.com. She has written 5 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home. and her most recent book Messy Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family ConnectionsContact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.