There is the person (as they are now), and then there is the person they are becoming. We’re all on some trajectory, with a million people and things attempting to shape us into someone else. Parents, spouses, friends, pastors, teachers, schools, Hollywood, news, Internet, and many, many more. We’re all on the move, and without an anchor these other forces will push and pull us in unexpected directions. And don’t forget, the devil uses every wind of doctrine to toss us about as well (Eph. 4:14).

Most people who marry one another start out “in love.” But there must be more if it’s to last. Too often I’ve heard a man or woman lament that the person they’re married to today (or divorced from), is not the same person they married. Of course they aren’t. This is true for every couple. What they mean is that they don’t like what this person has become. The shaping forces are molding them in one direction or another. They are either moving in the same direction or else they’re moving apart.

It’s critical that our first love is God, who will then do His own shaping and will conform us to the image of His Son. He might use all the other people and things as His tools to accomplish this (positively and negatively), but at the center of the construction project is Christ. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). Parents, who are established in their own love for God, are also diligent to teach their children to love God as well (Dt. 6:4-9). Husbands and wives that have Christ as their first love will likewise shape or sanctify one another so that, as they each grow in Christ’s likeness, they will, thereby, influence each other and unite in their love for one another. Without this anchor they drift apart.

So, if you’re not married, the most important questions you must answer about the person you’re thinking about marrying is: Do they have the right anchor? Do they love God first and me second? Are they committed to Jesus Christ and to His word? The answer to these questions can’t be, “I think so,” or “I hope so,” or “I’m pretty sure.” The answer must be a resounding, “absolutely, without a doubt.” Now you may safely move forward because you know where you’re both going. Allow me to change the metaphor: You will still have to learn to dance, but now you’ll both be dancing the waltz; not the waltz and the watusi.

But why do you call Me “Lord, Lord,” and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great. —Luke 6:46-49