Does God have a say in whom we choose as a spouse?
I have a question concerning finding a wife (or husband for the woman). Does God have any say in whom we choose as our wife? Does God help us in any way such as leading us to a particular woman as if it was destined? Or does God bring us to a particular woman to at least make a choice on whether or not to pursue marriage?
On a related note, how do you explain in terms of God's creation and ordination of marriage, how certain people seem to meet their spouse at a least expected time, and they seem to have this "connection" that eventually succeeds in a marriage? Some people claim that they knew they were going to marry each other around the time they first met. It makes me wonder how these marriage situations make sense from God's way of things.
Much of what you ask deals with the providence of God. In other words, you are asking how much God does "behind the scenes" to affect our lives. It is a question no one can answer since we cannot detect when God is doing something or whether events are unfolding in their natural order.
We do know that God does have goals in mind and manipulates the world to accomplish His will. God's providence is well illustrated in the book of Esther. Though at first, it appears that God had little to do with the events in the book of Esther, we realize in further reading that there were far too many coincidences than can be explained by random events. As Mordecai states to Esther, "Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:13-14). Though man cannot know for certain because God didn't say, we still can suspect that God's hand is involved in various events.
The Bible states that such providential work continues, such as in the raising up and bringing down of nations and their leaders. "Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure,' calling a bird of prey from the east, the man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it" (Isaiah 46:9-11).
God also promises to answer our prayers and those answers often are seen in the providence of God. "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it" (John 14:13-14).
Once in a while, I run across individuals who are afraid of making a choice because they might choose someone that God doesn't want them to marry. My response is that God gives us the right to choose between right and wrong -- to be righteous or to sin -- but we cannot, in our choices, defeat God's plans. "There are many plans in a man's heart, nevertheless the LORD'S counsel - that will stand" (Proverbs 19:21). We make our plans, but ultimately it is the Lord's decisions that will come about.
If I'm following God's teachings, then I don't have to fear that I'm making a bad choice. There are numerous instructions in the Bible, such as in the book of Proverbs, regarding what we should look for in a spouse. And there are numerous people with whom a person could happily live. See "Do you think God created one special person for you?" for more details. But God does tell us who to stay clear of if we want to have a happy marriage. Sadly, many people ignore God's common-sense instruction.
The love at first sight concept is based on selective memory. There is interest at first sight, but what does a person know about the other at that moment? Absolutely nothing! Thus, it isn't love but infatuation. That interest may develop over time into true love, or it may disappear when you realize the other person isn't what you imagined them to be. Since we tend to reject far more people than we accept, guess which people remember? The one that is more unusual. I've talked to numerous people who are positive the person they are currently dating is "the one." Most of the time it doesn't work out. But that's all right. In a few months they will find another person who is "the one," and since they are more knowledgeable about who they like or dislike, the next one is more likely to work out.
Eventually, they find someone to marry. Do they remember all the people they rejected? No. But they remember the details of the one they selected and they can remember the time when they were first interested in the other person. But it doesn't mean there weren't other people they were interested in earlier. That is what I mean by saying people have a selective memory.