Preparing for marriage. There is a bible story that I simply love. I mention it in other articles, but the story starts off talking about heaven and then compares it to ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. It’s found in Matthew 25:1-13 and is called The Parable of the Ten Virgins. You can read the full story when you have time, but in essence, five of them were wise, the other five, unwise. What separated their wisdom?
Since being single and then dating, I have learned a few valuable lessons. One is that some do not do the basics to prepare for the future they want. In the parable above, it was a simple as bringing extra oil.
More specifically, Christian Singles, who want to be married, fail to act now to prepare and just assume God will place someone in their life. When it doesn’t happen, there is a clear sign that there are misaligned expectations on who does what, as blame becomes the mantra.
One of those mantra’s I answered some time ago in the article “Where all the men at…?” In it, a friend was discussing how there were no men for her beautiful girlfriends. I flipped it back to the same topic, get prepared, and opportunities come.
Don’t get me wrong, God does give us opportunities even during times of unpreparedness. From my experience, when we are unprepared, we might not see the opportunity, appreciate it, or may pass on something that would have been life-changing.
I can say with certainty that I passed on some Godly women who might have made excellent partners because I wasn’t prepared. You can read about that in my article, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
There is a certain level of peace and confidence that comes alongside making life-altering decisions where you can sit back and trust that you are ready for whatever comes your way. Like the story in Matthew, those that choose not to prepare miss out.
It’s time to stop watching the bachelor and bachelorette and focus on what really matters… your preparedness. Here are five things to focus on as you are preparing for marriage:
1. Get emotionally healthy – Preparing for marriage
We all have things in our past that need to be addressed. I have seen some singles stalled in this one area, who have a deep desire for marriage and a future family. Emotional health is so vital that if left covered up, it would ruin a relationship and marriage. If you don’t get this area under control while you are preparing for marriage, you will be giving your heart away without any boundaries.
Here are some questions I ask.
- What situations, people, or things disrupt my emotions and why?
- Am I allowing those who are trusted to really know me?
- Do I harbor unforgiveness in my heart against anyone?
- Am I selfish with my time and attention?
I ask those specific questions as a check to see where I am at. You may come up with others. What I have found is that selfishness, unforgiveness, and lack of self-control are the destroyers of most relationships. Take control of your emotions now, go to counseling if necessary, and give the things you can’t readily change to God in prayer, and watch what he does on your behalf.
2. Get Spiritually healthy – Preparing for marriage
We are all at different places in our walk with God. For the single, we have time that even with children in our lives, we would not have if we were married. The big game changers for me spiritually have been being consistent in prayer, worship, and study. The bible says in Psalm 37:4 that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, he will give us the desires of our hearts. Another translation, which to me, is more accurate, is that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, he will give our heart, what it SHOULD desire. He changes our desires to what is on his heart for us.
Psalm 37:5-6 affirms how this happens that if you Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will do this: 6. He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Start small. Maybe you can only do 10 minutes of prayer, worship, and study each day. To see God do extraordinary things in your life, you must be willing to put the time in to strengthen your spiritual perspective. When you are connected to God, you hear and see better, and as bonuses, you get wisdom, joy, and peace. If you are seeking to have a relationship that leads to marriage, then spending time to grow spiritually will only benefit the relationship.
3. Get Financially healthy – Preparing for marriage
Financial health is such a massive area for so many and can really cause many relationships and marriages to fail almost immediately. Getting financially prepared looks like living below your means, paying off any debt that you can, and saving for the future. Anyone who is operating in wisdom will want to ask you some of these basic questions: Can you support yourself without the help of family and friends? How much debt are you in? What’s your credit score?
I have observed couples marry where one was in large amounts of debt, and the other not. A friend, who married nearly a decade ago assumed the nearly six-figure student loan debt of the other. Fast forward till today, and they are still paying them off and have had to put off future opportunities hindered by the other spouses’ past debts. Candidly, I saw some resentment there as the years progressed which has shown up in conflict. If you want to find someone you can build an awesome future with, then getting financially healthy is paramount to success.
4. Get Physically healthy – Preparing for marriage
Physical health provides one the ability to actively participate in life. It also helps enhance emotional and spiritual health. Eating right and exercising is really good for your future. At one point in my life, I had let things go. I was 40 lbs overweight. My doctor said I needed to make a change or my future would be in jeopardy. Subsequently, I changed my diet and started walking 30 minutes a day on the treadmill.
Within four months, I had lost 40 lbs and fell in love with running. I didn’t allow my love for ice cream or excuses to get in the way of change. There are some things, which no amount of eating right or exercise will correct. I have lost friends and family to cancer. Outside of those types of extreme health issues, you can take control as you start to pursue a future mate.
5. Get out and serve someone else – Preparing for marriage
Serving others is the icing on the cake as it prepares us to share and partner with others. Nearly five years ago, I started to serve again. My first opportunity was at a big church event. I was paired with a church staff member who was a “my way or the highway” type of person. Quietly, I was getting so mad as orders were being barked and wanted to just quit.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was so used to setting my own pace and being in charge of my life, I forgot what it was like to serve someone else. I had forgotten what it was like to just show up, partner, do what I was asked to do, not receive any kudos, and leave. When I show up to serve today, I do just that. I have had the experience to serve others in such a way, it has given me a picture of what it will look like to serve again in marriage. Subsequently, the church staff member is someone today who I highly respect and has the faith of a giant.
Preparing for marriage
Don’t forsake the simple moments of being single as you are preparing for marriage. You have the opportunity now to prepare for relationship and marriage. People are never looking for someone to fix, but rather someone that has the tools already. Now is your time to prepare emotionally, spiritually, financially, and physically while testing your ability to partner with others by serving. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the best things in life are the ones you work toward, not the ones easily given. Preparing for marriage.