These principles are to make you stop and think as you work toward finding a truly healthy, fulfilling relationship. Understand that if you ignore them, many people (future children, in-laws, etc.) will suffer—but not as much as will you and your potential spouse!

Physical Health

It has been said, “You are what you eat.” How true! Having grown up in a family that has owned a natural food business for over thirty years, I have seen firsthand the degeneration in diet of the western world. The results have been devastating—increased disease and corresponding increase in health care, obesity, depression, dependence on a host of drugs, lost work, lost school days, lost energy and stamina, and loss of zest for life.

Modern society moves too fast. This has bred a reliance on junk food and the fast-food restaurants that make it readily available. This alone has produced a predictable result, described as “globesity,” the new term researchers have coined for the exploding obesity problem now sweeping the world. This has happened because, from early childhood, most children are given “foodless” foods that fill them with “unmeritorious calories,” instead of regular fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Few seem any longer to even remember the fact that healthy bodies are largely built on these foods. Instead, most live on fats, “sugar-bomb” desserts, soda, potato chips, too much meat (particularly red meat), and insufficient water intake.

And then there is the decline in—or total lack of—regular exercise with so many. Similarly, very few, including youth and teenagers, exercise even close to as much as they should—the daily 30 to 60 minutes that studies recommend.

All these factors and others contribute to the huge and growing health problems now worldwide in scope. The physical health and vitality of the world generally, and western countries in particular, is diminishing rapidly.

Have you looked closely at the health of the person you are courting? He or she should be doing the same with you. What do you see—and what does your potential spouse see in you? Less by words, and more often by actions and habits, people most accurately show who they really are (Matt. 12:34).

Be conscious of the following:

Is your prospective mate health-conscious? Does she continually try to think of areas in which she can improve? Will he care and be diligent with the health of your children? What does she eat? How much sleep and exercise does he make time for? Discuss these things thoroughly to be sure there is practical agreement, remembering to think of how you can apply these questions to yourself!

In addition, consider physical heredity. Do his parents have physical impairments or ailments that may be passed on to their children? Are you willing and capable to accept those possibilities and live with them—not only now, but later, when there might be much more stress in your life?

It has been said that if you are interested in a girl, you should look at her mother, because you are probably looking at your future wife in 25 years. This same thing could be said about fathers and sons. While it may not happen exactly, and should never be the sole determining factor, this is an important reality check, not to be overlooked or ignored. Genetics, coupled with the ingraining of health and dietary habits, play a big role in body type, physical tendencies and future health.

When describing their out-of-shape, overweight bodies, some choose to hide behind the modern cliché of “I am comfortable with my body,” but with such people, what you see now will only grow worse after marriage.