When we think about marriage, typically the emphasis is on the other person – how they fit into our preferences, likes or needs.
But a good marriage or relationship is about being the the right person, not looking for the right one.
A great marriage is about what you put into it, not what you get out of it. You can’t reap what you have not sown. (Maybe you can reap for while but eventually you’ll bankrupt the relationship)
If you are single – and many of you reading this blog are – here’s 3 questions to start asking yourself as you look forward to marriage. For the married, I hope it will help with some self-inspection.
3 Questions That Can Save Your Marriage Before it Starts
1. Who am I? Why am I here?
One thing I loved about being single was the freedom. I could explore, discover, make mistakes – without an audience.
An ‘audience’ aka hubby isn’t bad. But really, there are things we are meant to discover alone. Dragging another person through your “growing up pains” is sad.
And then once married, you are responsible and committed. For example, you can’t wake up one morning and decide to relocate to Sudan “because I feel the Lord is calling me to be a missionary“.
As a single person, you can do that (hopefully with more planning!) because you have the margin to explore, test, discover, make mistakes, fail, easily jump back to your feet again. Unencumbered.
Single-hood is the best season to discover who you and why God put here. But often times the biggest challenge is learning to pursue the right things, or should I say the right One. Because the options are many and it’s easy to run down every little trail that opens up.
That’s why you need to surround yourself with the right people. Mentors, pastors, good girlfriends. People who know you and push you towards your potential, not away from it. People who can call you in the middle of the night and ask where you are and what you are doing. People who will call you to a higher life.
Nonetheless, no matter who you surround yourself with, if your ears are plugged, they cannot help you. The reason we plug our ears on others is because we first plugged them on God.
Your purpose, your reason for life is hidden in God.
The bible says “seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you”.
The other day I was talking to a friend and we both realized that when we put God and His plan for our lives first, it solved many single-hood dilemmas. We didn’t even have to deal with some stuff because our choices shut the door on those opportunities a long time ago.
If you still don’t understand what I mean; we did not have to agonize over “how far is too far” while sitting in some guys car in the middle of the night because we already made the decision to never;
– Go out or date random guys
– Hang out in dark secluded places with the opposite sex
– Kiss or get physical before marriage
Certain dramas eased out of our lives because we made other decisions much earlier.
Do you understand your purpose, why God put your here on earth? When you finally “get it”, it makes life easier because you start to live life through His lenses. You cut out distractions and hindrances. On the other hand, if you don’t know your purpose, any target is good enough. Any path works. Any man is good enough.
Sticky point: Don’t wait for marriage to get a life. Life begins now. Everything you need is found in God, your Creator. Be tenacious in your pursuit of God and discovering His purpose.
2. What do I want?
Out of life?
Out of marriage?
Out of everything?
Until you know who you are, you will have a hard time understanding what you truly want. Wanting a spouse is not a big thing. Organizing your life so that the right things (e.g spouse) finds you at your place, is.
I am passionate about growth and leadership. I served as a leader in my church for many years. Tommy and I attended the same church for years before our paths crossed. The year was 2005 and we signed up to facilitate a leadership class.
I was busy in my place – serving God, pursuing my purpose – when hubby came along.
Often times, women have a hard time following their passions and calling because they’ve been told a bold successful woman is intimidating to the guys. People say all kinds of crazy things, like “your standards are too high”, “you are too spiritual” “don’t buy a house until you get married”.
Ladies, a real man from God will not be intimidated by your gift or skills or nice house or car. A balanced man will see that for what it is – a blessing from God, not an indictment against his own ability or identity. Don’t slash your standards or cut corners in the hope that it will lower the bar for men. If you put your bar too low, anyone can jump over. And I bet you are not looking for anyone.*
Remember, you cannot attract what you are not. If you want to attract a certain kind of man, make sure you are being that kind of a woman.
Sticky point – A sense of identity that is not caught up in God will lead you down dark paths. Get a hold of God and let Him lead and teach you. Do not be afraid to follow God wherever He leads. The blessing of God is found in His service. Remember that every calling and gifting has a price. Understand yours and you will have peace.
3. Am I willing to change, to adjust?
I remember walking into my new house two weeks after our wedding and feeling like the weight of the world had fallen on my shoulders. And I couldn’t carry it.
I hated sharing my closet
I hated cleaning up after somebody
I hated being a homemaker
I hated anything that resembled responsibility.
But much as I disliked these things I had to learn how to do them. With a good heart.
Recently I sat with a group of single women and the topic of marriage and relationships came up. These were fiercely independent women (to the point of being annoying!). At the end of the conversation and after talking and learning a few things from them, I realized that experience is always the best teacher.
You can sit down and debate marriage and what you will/will not do while you are single. But when you walk into your house as a wife…well, life is a little different. Perspective changes. You begin to see how Point A leads to Point B, how to make things work so your marriage is happy.
So head knowledge is good, but one day it will jump out and demand to be lived. But first, you need the knowledge, you need to start asking yourselves certain questions.
Ask yourself How pliable am I? Can I live with me or marry me? What areas need sharpening or smoothing?
Sticky point – You can’t fully understand the ways of marriage until you get married. God will use certain experiences and people to shape you for where you are going. Once you get there (e.g marriage) God will give you a grace and ability to do things that looked impossible before.
Your turn – What other questions can a single person ask themselves in preparation for marriage? If you are single, what questions do you have? If you are married, what encouragement can you share with single women?
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*As you set the bar, remember God will marry you to his son, not to an angel 😉