Just ahead of Valentine's Day, renowned evangelist Billy Graham has encouraged those eager to find the perfect spouse to trust God to guide their path instead of relying on their significant other, as God ultimately knows what's best for those He loves.
In a Q&A published in the Kansas City Star on February 8, the 97-year-old preacher helped a reader, by the name of E.N., understand that strong relationships are founded on a firm relationship with Jesus Christ.
"I admit my boyfriend isn't perfect, but he says that once we're married he'll stop drinking and find a good job and everything. My parents say I shouldn't believe him, but how do they know? I think he really loves me," the reader wrote.
In response, Graham first quoted Proverbs 2:12 in explaining that if the young man really loved her, he would make every effort to change his life right now.
"The Bible says, 'Wisdom will save you ... from men whose words are perverse,'" he wrote. "Over the years I've received countless letters from men and women whose spouses promised to change once they were married but never did. Instead, they turned out to be concerned only for themselves, and once they were married, they didn't see any reason to change. They also had little respect for their spouse's needs and concerns, and in many cases proved unfaithful to their wedding vows. They ignored the Bible's teaching that 'Love is patient, love is kind. ... It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking' (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)."
The evangelist went on to offer the "most important advice" for his readers: seek God's will for your marriage.
"If God loves you (and he does), can't he be trusted to guide you in this all-important area of your life? Of course he can, because he knows your needs, and he wants what is best for you," he explained. "Don't go down the wrong road, no matter how tempting it seems right now. Instead, turn your life over to Jesus Christ, and seek his will for your future. Then have the courage to confront your boyfriend with his need for Christ, and to break off your relationship if he refuses. God's way is always best, and he can be trusted to lead you to the spouse of his choice."
Graham, who has made the annual "Most Admired" list a record 58 times, frequently shares his thoughts on love, marriage, sex, relationships and God's love.
In an earlier commentary shared on his personal website, Graham explained that there is nothing wrong with possessing the desire to give love and to be loved, as God has given us the ability to do so.
"The Bible says, 'We love because he first loved us' (1 John 4:19). Think of it: Love is a gift from God!" he wrote.
However, it's easy to misuse such a gift, causing it to become destructive, the evangelist warned.
"True love isn't just interested in what someone will give me; instead, it seeks to help them and serve them. Sadly, however, love easily becomes selfish and twisted, and instead of being beautiful and joyous, it becomes ugly and hurtful," he writes.
"The greatest discovery you'll ever make is that God loves and wants you to become part of His family," Graham concluded. "You are very valuable to Him-so valuable that His only Son was willing to give His life for you. Don't stay on the road you've been on; it will never bring you happiness. Instead, by a simple prayer of faith confess your sins to God and ask Jesus to come into your heart and put your life on a new path-His path."