What about age differences?
What if a young lady is older than the man who wants to marry her? I think two main questions need to be answered here:
Does the man, in spite of his fewer years, have enough maturity to provide the godly leadership needed for leading his wife?
Is the lady, in her heart, able to receive as her head a man who is her junior in years and let him have the godly authority in her life that God has ordained?
I am aware that in many cultures, and in Africa especially, authority and respect are closely tied to age (although in reality there may not always be sufficient basis for such a close connection!). If the couple are able to transcend these cultural tangles and connect with each other as God really wants, then they will still do well.
Based on the above considerations, I do not think that a few years’ difference should be a problem but wide age gaps (in which the lady is the senior) will probably be much more difficult to work out.
What about differences in tribe and race and caste?
In certain parts of our world, this is a common obstacle that prospective spouses face within themselves and from their parents. Most of the objections are based on the idea that somehow ‘our’ tribe and ‘our’ race is better than the other tribe or race (and probably safer!).
But this is simply not true. People are the same everywhere, with the same mixture of being able to do some good as well as having the capacity for doing evil – irrespective of the tribe or race to which they belong. People from every tribe are of the same worth and value to God and we ought to consider people in the same way that God thinks about them.
Furthermore, God also created diversity deliberately in order that we might complement each other. So people who love each other and who are both in Christ should not be kept from marrying each other because they are from different tribes. They are free to marry.
Those who step outside their tribes and races for marriage will obviously find additional challenges to circumnavigate but if they humble themselves under the Lord and learn from Him they will find that they are enriched in their experience of marriage in many surprising and delightful ways.
What about money?
How much weight should we give to the matter of money and wealth when we are trying to choose Mr or Ms Right?
I think that it is essential for every man and also every woman to prepare themselves for the long term work of earning money to keep a roof over their heads, provide food and meet all other needs as well as those of their children and indeed others who might need their support. Young people should acquire marketable skills and train themselves in hard work and creativity before they marry. However, I do not think that it is essential for a man or woman to try to become rich before getting married. Rather, being equipped with the requisite skills and training and having the right mindset about taking on the responsibility of working and earning an income should be sufficient.