PREPARING FOR MARRIAGE
By: Paul Anderson
Karen and I work with young adults. They hear a variety of voices. We want them to hear ours.
1. Give yourself to God. It’s a great way to prepar for marriage. To find the right mate, focus on being the right mate. If you are putting all your marbles in the marriage basket, you’re off your marbles.
2. If you are at point A, ask a B question, not an E question. The Christian life is described as a walk. You get to point E by first going to point B. An appropriate question: “God, I’m interested in Marsha. Unless I hear “no,” I’m going for it.” Passivity is like paralysis.
3. Make a wish list. Tell God what you want. You may think that God isn’t interested in your list. Wrong. Ask—don’t demand. It helps you to think through desires.
4. Stick with plan A. Don’t settle for plan B. You may feel that you are not that special to God, that your past has disqualified you from plan A. Ever heard of the blood?
5. Keep your morals high. If a friend requires you to loosen up, drop your friend. Know what gives God pleasure, not your friend.
6. Keep believing in God, even with difficulties. This does not mean that you hide your feelings from God or close friends. Being transparent allows you to live with hope. God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Tell Him that you agree. The fact that you are not married says one and only one thing about you, that you are—single!
7. Give yourself away. People who are living for themselves are not as attractive as people living for others. Happiness is found in God—not in marriage. Take advantage of your single status. Don’t grab anything with skin on.
8. Join the 3M Club! Who will be our Master, what will be our mission, and who will be our mate. Don’t be independent as if you can make the third commitment on your own. Trust in the good counsel.
9. If you see yourself married, God does, too. The single life is meant for those called to it. If you don’t think you are, you aren’t.
10. Demystify the guidance process. Don’t worry about finding “God’s perfect will.” That might put stress on you and make you think that you could make the wrong choice. Look for the special mate that you can love. Waiting for “God’s best” might mean waiting a long time.
11. Find a vital church home. You may think that you need to hop around looking for a mate. That could get frustrating real fast.
12. Let God heal you. The process of moving from single life to marriage often includes wounding. Keep your spirit open to God by forgiving people who hurt you, who give you advice that you don’t want, or who give the impression that married people are automatically more mature. Don’t expect marriage to solve problems—it intensifies them. Work on your issues now and get healing prayer.
13. Check out values. The most important thing to find out about prospective mates is their values. Those are often hidden in a dating relationship. A guy sweeps a girl off her feet with his charm and generosity. She had better find out if he can hold down a job.
14. “Do not arouse love before its time.” Paul says that “it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” Stay friends. You will have a lifetime to enjoy the physical side. A dating/courtship relationship allows you time to get to know your friend personally, psychologically, and spiritually. Set good boundaries.
15. Compartmentalization creates problems. Singles add as much to the life of a local church as do married people. “God sets the solitary in families” (Ps. 68:6). Families who include singles are enriching their own lives as much as the singles, so don’t isolate yourself.
16. Invest in the kingdom. Young adults have been largely responsible for many of the major missionary movements in the last six centuries. And yet they are largely an un-reached people group in the church. You as a single person can help turn around this unfortunate condition.
17. Don’t compare yourself with others. The foot doesn’t look good when it compares itself to the hand (I Cor. 12:15). Your station and gifting is right for you now. Comparison brings discontentment.
18. Advantages of the single life: a) Greater potential for single-mindedness. b) Good historical tradition for singles. c) Restraint helps bring maturity. d) Freedom and independence. Disadvantages: a) Living singly is not the norm in Scripture nor society. b) Stigma attached to living singly. c) Need to deal with many potential feelings (loneliness, self-pity, jealousy, resentment, insecurity).
19. Questions to help you evaluate potential mates:
a. Do they share my strongest convictions? Are life styles compatible?
b. Do they treat their family and my family with respect?
c. Are they committed without question to the will of God? Do they listen to God and can they hear Him? (Don’t think they will change when you marry them).
d. Can I live with their values? Do I know them, how they handle money, how they work, how they treat children? Have I known them enough to see their values?
20. A word to young men: The Bible says that “he who finds a wife finds a good thing” (Prov. 18:22). Finding means looking and pursuing.
21. Expect God to surprise you. He will anyway!
God has proved able down through the centuries to bring together a man and a woman. And He can do it for you as well. Our prayers are with you that God will demonstrate His love for you in this important area as well and lead you into a satisfying married life!