Judging with righteous judgment in the area of marriage can be tough. Especially in modern times when the only requirement is that you “love” the other person. Modern love however is lacking in righteous judgment almost completely. The main consideration is strong sentiment or romance only, which we get from the Greeks. Some are even so stupid as to think they should be “sexually compatible” so they jump in the sack before marriage. I don’t think you can get much dumber than that, because of course we are all “sexually compatible.” God made it that way.
But what God wants is almost never a consideration. Then later people want you to “pray” for their marriage. Really? Ignore God and do what you want, then pray for God to get your ass out of a sling of your own making? Sorry, baby. You poured the wine, you drink the cup.
In several places in the Law believers are instructed to avoid marriage with Canaanites. This law seems to have been in place long before Sinai. Isaac was directed not to marry a Canaanite (Genesis 24:3), and Isaac in turn charged Jacob with the same prohibition (Genesis 28:1). Some of Jacob’s sons didn’t pay attention, so Judah had trouble with sons from a Canaanite woman (Genesis 38).
God formally charged His people not to intermarry with Canaanites (Deuteronomy 7 for instance) because they would turn the hearts of Israel away from God. Solomon proved this (and many others did too) with his 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11).
Okay, so what’s a Canaanite? We don’t know for sure today who is and isn’t one, because there is no country or tribe called Canaan anymore. Some think that a Canaanite has dark skin. This is wrong, because the Bible doesn’t mention skin color in connection with it. Besides, the Canaanites had the same father as everyone else – Noah. Skin color was never an issue. According to creation ministries such as Answers in Genesis and Creation Today Adam and Eve very likely were dark brown, and not just from running around naked in the Garden either. Jesus was probably dark brown. Recently there was a story in the news about a black couple in England who had a white baby (and it has happened before too) and there are white couples who had black babies from what I understand. There is only one race – human. Skin color is a consideration, not because it is wrong but because the prejudice of other people will make things more difficult. But God never said not to intermarry with people of different skin colors.
God’s concern was intermarriage with people who followed their own hearts. Pagans. Idolaters. Unclean. One of the hallmarks of Canaanites, besides idolatry, was sexual immorality. The father of Canaan was Ham son of Noah, who was the one that “saw the nakedness of his father” while he was drunk (Genesis 9). This gives us a clearer picture of the identity of modern Canaanites, even if there is no tribal or geographic area attached to them. They are the ones who don’t follow God. They have no heart for Him at all. They’re everywhere. They might even be in the church. Ezra says they are impure with their practice of abominations that have filled the land end to end with uncleanness (Ezra 9). Paul tells us not to be “unequally yoked” in a partnership between righteousness and lawlessness (2 Corinthians 6:14). He doesn’t mention skin color, though some want to twist the meaning of light and darkness into merely skin color. He references the temple of God and idols instead.
So the application of the Law about intermarriage is to make sure the possible partner has a heart after God’s. This is a much greater consideration than idiotic romantic love. I’ve always told my kids that almost any two people can make a good marriage if they are committed to God and to each other. There are other considerations too, but this is the most important. If your prospective mate does not have the same faith as the one approved by God, it is more likely they will pull your heart down to the pit rather than helping lift you up to heaven. And no amount of prayer will change that.