HOW DO I KNOW THE RIGHT MATE?
The Holy Spirit will clearly guide you. It is His job.
Choosing the right person to marry is an extremely important and far more difficult business than the Hallmark movies would lead us to believe. One of the biggest problems I see in this is most singles are looking FOR the right person rather than choosing to grow in maturity to BE the right person. Yes, a wonderful giving person can get stuck with a selfish predator but that isn't what I'm talking about. If you are looking for a mate to meet all of YOUR needs rather than thinking how can I meet their needs then you are starting down a destructive road. So with that issue settled first, lets look at five "P's" that may help. You must answer these for yourself as well.
There are certain principles of life in the Bible that must have a yes answer for the right mate.
Equal Yoke- Is this person not just a believer in Jesus but are they whole heartedly His no matter what? Are they headed in the same direction you have been called to? Do they even know what their calling is? "How can two walk together unless they are agreed?" Amos 3:3
Equal Maturity. I have seen mature, giving people attracted to immature selfish takers because they like being needed. But this dependence grows old fast and the immature adult is often likely to stay that way. Think very carefully about this.
We are often attracted to outward personality but it is the inward character that we must live with. Has this person gone through difficulties all the way with resolution and no bitterness? You will want them to stay the course in a trial and forgive you someday. Do they clearly evidence this character? Are they loyal? Someone who will break God's laws of morality will never be loyal to you because they choose pleasure over responsibility. Look carefully at this quality. Do they quickly lift others burdens? You are going to need that quality as life hits you along the way.
As your friendship grows ask God for a Rhema. This a portion of scripture that the Holy Spirit causes to jump out and hit you personally from the pages. God gave me Philippians 2:20 when I was praying about marrying Lew. "I have nobody else like him who will genuinely care for your state..." After you are married during the hard times you will need to look back through these steps sometimes to realize that you didn't make a mistake. Going back to my Rhema has been a great encouragement to me.
You have to be very careful with this one. If you are struggling to make a decision and then finally make one there will be a feeling of release from the anxiety that will seem like peace. True peace, God's peace, is a quiet assurance and confidence from His Holy Spirit that you have found His will. If you don't have experience in finding God's peace ask Him to give you some exercise in this before the marriage issue comes up.
If you are God's child it should be your life goal, as well as the goal of your mate, to produce fruit for His kingdom. As you look for a mate ask God to show you that He can use you better as a team for fruitfulness than as singles. Lew and I did this. We were quite a distance from each other in different states and we wrote letters to each other. In those letters we included what God was teaching us personally. It always happened that what I shared in my letter was exactly what someone needed who was with Lew miles away from me. This worked the other way as well. I was in the right place with the person but Lew had the answer. Together we ministered effectively in this person's life. That's what you look for.
Stay close to God. Study His word and the Holy Spirit will clearly guide you. That is His job and He does it well.