How To Pick A Spouse? Here’s How

Having counseled thousands of singles over the years, Pastor Dan Chun offers practical tips for a successful marriage in his new book

Let’s be honest. Obeying relationship advice is sometimes like hearing a doctor’s orders — we know we’d be better off listening, but we end up doing the opposite.


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How To Pick A Spouse. Photo by Nathalie Walker

Yet at a certain point in our lives, most of us will be in a serious relationship faced with deciding if marriage is the next step. And in a time when divorce seems to come too easily, choosing the right partner for life couldn’t be more crucial.

In his recently released book, How To Pick A Spouse, Dan Chun seeks to provide singles and couples with a resource of knowledge and advice to guide romantic relationships.

“Marriage is so hard as it is,” says the pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu at Ko’olau. “If you start off picking the wrong person, right off the bat you’re in deep trouble.”

True, anyone could provide advice on dilemmas of love. But Chun’s diverse background as a pastor for more than 30 years, counselor, former journalist and even divorcee has resulted in a uniquely practical and relatable book, complete with pop culture references to popular TV shows like How I Met Your Mother.

“Whether a person is religious or not, there are just some basic principles that will help people determine if a person is marriage potential,” he says.

The decision to write a book came after working as a singles pastor in Menlo Park, Calif., over the course of six-and-a-half years until 1991, when Chun returned to Hawaii. After compiling a list of those who got married between 1985 and 1995, Chun and other leaders of the group discovered that out of 261 marriages, only 25 had ended in divorce — its 9.7 percent average much lower than the national average of approximately 20-40 percent.

“That’s when I sort of decided to put all these principles in a book because I really wanted to help eradicate divorce,” he explains.

Completing the book took more than two years, with Chun utilizing his journalistic background to provide hard data from organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others, to support his claims.

Though it hasn’t been on the market for very long, it already has received acclaim from the likes of Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, and author Shaunti Feldhahn. Neil Clark Warren, founder of, provided the foreword for the book, which Chun was especially happy about because of its implications as a must-read.

“He said it’s the best book out on the topic, and he guaranteed for people that, if they read it, it will help them,” he says.

In the book’s introduction, Chun shares his experiences as a pastor. Also included is a very personal history of the divorce he experienced at the age of 25 right before he entered seminary in California.

What follows are 12 easy-to-read chapters detailing concepts as simple as looking for someone with character and the same core values, how to approach online dating, and the necessity of allowing friends to be honest in their opinions of whom you may be dating. Others address unreasonable wish lists of what we expect a future husband or wife to embody.

“The problem is a lot of people want to offset their checklist of whether this person will measure up,” he says. “But the real question is: Are you the kind of person you (would) want to marry?”

Each chapter ends with a set of study questions intended for use in book clubs or small groups, to allow people to think analytically about the decisions they are making in relationships.

Most importantly, notes Chun, is people really need to invest their time in getting to know the person they may marry.

“You want to see that person when they are at their best and at their worst,” he advises.

Ultimately, it isn’t about just finding anyone, it is about finding the right person.

“Singles may think they can be lonely and that’s horrible, and they wish they were married, but a loneliness in marriage is far worse,” he adds.

Should anyone still have doubts, Chun has been happily married to wife Pam for 33 years.

“I do know how to pick a good spouse,” he says.

How To Pick A Spouse is available from websites including Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and also is available as an audio and digital book. For more information, visit