Nothing quite gets a Christian's gender appropriate knickers in a twist like the issue of guidance. Partly, this is because we all love to cloak our decisions with spirituality. I well remember being romantically rejected with the line: I feel God is saying no. There is no worse line - for rejection is bad enough without it coming from the mouth of the Almighty! Ladies, please, for the sake of men everywhere, don't use such language (God only speaks through Scripture anyway so it's not even theologically correct!)
I can't claim to have my theology of guidance sorted out in my head. Give me another fifty years and I might have something close to one. But the issue has been on my mind a lot over the last year because of having to choose what to do after university and so I figured I'd share my thoughts.
There's a book written by Kevin DeYoung called Just Do Something: How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc. As the title gives away the book is a reaction against Christian mysticism. His basic point is that God made us intelligent human beings, capable of making decisions and that as long as we are immersed in God's word, seeking advice and praying faithfully about things then we are free to make the decisions that seem best. I read the book around three years and was quite struck by it. Now though, I feel it goes too far and throws the baby out with the bathwater. While Mr DeYoung rightly decrys the sort of Christian mysticism that puts great store in dreams and little in the wisdom found in the Bible he leaves little room for the guidance of God.
There is a regrettable tendency in Christian circles to make too much of marriage and relationships so to correct the balance here's a collection of hard won wisdom on singleness. I call it hard won because I learnt most of these lessons the hard way and I call it wisdom because not a single piece of it is from me! All of it has dropped, like the proverbial pearl, from the tongues of others and it is all routed in biblical wisdom.
The Superiority of Jesus Christ over the opposite sex
The four great words to remember here are: no marriage in heaven. Well, that's not entirely true, there is marriage in heaven but it is the marriage of Christ and the church. This should remind us that Jesus should be first in our hearts for that's where he'll be when we're in heaven! It's good to keep this sense of perspective: human marriage is finite and only a picture of the eternal union of Christ and the church.
Likewise, Jesus died for your sins, he is your High Priest, you have no better friend, when everything is taken from you then through Christ you can still have lost nothing. Compared to your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse, well, it's not a competition. You can lose a human relationship; you can't lose Christ, he will not allow it.
Don't make a relationship an idol. "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. (Jeremiah 2v13) Don't dig a marriage cistern, keep in mind that God is the spring of living water.