Recently I had the privilege of writing a guest-post on ‘Principles of a Godly Marriage‘ on the GTH Blog, (Please feel free to read, share and comment on the same, if you haven’t already gone through it.)
In this post, I discuss about some key areas a person can prepare himself/herself in as he/she works towards marriage. As I have always taught and mentioned to youngsters waiting to get married, it is not always about finding and getting married to the right person, it is also about preparing and becoming the right person that you are supposed to be in a godly marriage!
This preparation would need you to go through the following steps before you can go on into your search for the right person and saying an irrevocable ‘I do’!
1. Build ‘Self Foundations’
Sometimes, one is caught up in a very wrong understanding of marriage and married couples, especially when you hear them talk of their “better half”, or when they say, “I am still in search for my better half”. That is a wrong understanding about yourself. You are not incomplete without your partner. When God created Adam, he didn’t create him as incomplete person, but as a complete, independent and self sufficient person. Eve was given to him for communion and as an additional help.
Hence, it is very essential to know who you are, to know the purpose of your life, the calling of your life, where you are headed to, to know all the things that define you as an individual before you head out into your search for a life partner. It is not your age that defines your maturity or readiness for marriage, but the knowledge and awareness of your self. If you get married without having a clue of who you are and what God wants you to do, chances are that you will be carried away in mundane rituals, without ever giving a thought to what God has called you as a person for.
Seek God’s will for your life. More often than not, you may not get immediate answers to all such ‘self’ questions you have. But as long as you have a vision in life, and have heard the call of God for your life, you are safe and you have solid foundations to build your self on. Marriage is not two incomplete people joining together to become one complete person, it is two imperfect yet, whole individuals who join together to become one.
2. Study Marriage
If you go to a Bible believing church, you would surely be taught about marriage in a premarital seminar/counseling. It is very essential that you attend and submit to these teachings and studies. I remember going for seminars and reading books, but people would say things like “It’s all useless”, “Marriage is different from books”, or “It’s only till the honeymoon”. But I would have been a fool to say yes to marriage without learning about the concept of marriage, if not the actual description of it. I am so glad I didn’t believe them.
I remember how my wife Rashmi and I read through the book ‘Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together‘ by Pastor Mark Driscoll before our marriage. And I reckon that is an awesome resource to read through and study before or even after your marriage.
Such a study will not give you all the answers to your doubts, but it will surely set up your foundations of heading into a godly marriage.
3. Know Your Role
This is a personal assignment you have to take up by studying all the verses that the Bible teaches about your individual role in marriage, viz. Husband or Wife. You can also read through the stories of all the husbands and wives in the bible, and take your own lessons of what to do and what not to do from their lives. Under this comes the part where you model godly husbands or wives that God has placed around your life. If you don’t have one around you, ask God to bring someone in your life who can be an example for you in these matters.
Most issues in marriage happen because we over focus on each other’s roles than our own roles. May God give you the grace and the humility to change, so you can be a godly husband or wife in your marriage!
4. Plan Your Finances
Please don’t misunderstand me when I say plan your finances to mean budget your finances. What I mean by plan is, to spend time with the wisdom of God to organize your finances well to know your current state and to know what more it would take for your wedding, for your life post the wedding, etc, so that you can begin to work towards it or even probably save up.
Saving up is something I could never do since I always had ministry expenses that took the priority in my premarital days. In fact, it still does at most times. But God will always be faithful in being able to provide for all your needs according to His riches in glory. (Phil 4:19) Planning your finances is not about figuring out where all the money will come from and or how it will come. Planning is about sorting out your finances in order to know where you stand and how much you have to depend on God for.
Any financial planning that does not include leaning on God, is very much like trying to build the Tower of Babel. It won’t stand tall enough for long. But any plans and dreams made leaning on God and his help and provision will stand the test of time.
5. Prepare To Die
Derek Prince puts it this way in his teachings and writings, “When you say ‘I do’, you are in fact saying a ‘I die'”! If you are not willing to die to your self completely, you are not yet ready to get married. Marriage can kill you like nothing else. Somebody comically said that it’s God’s last resort to kill a man’s ego. Trust me when I say this, it is 100% true. 🙂
As much as you would be self rooted in your callings and desires, you would have to make your adjustments not on principles but on preferences. In fact Jesus said “Divorce happens because of the hardness of our hearts.” (Matthew 19:8) I remember this story of Billy Graham, on how he wanted to travel the world and preach the gospel while his then fiancé and now late wife Ruth wanted to be a missionary in Tibet. Their marriage wouldn’t have been possible without one of them giving up on their wills to say yes to God’s will for their family.
The same applies to every area of your life, if there is one thing that you would say you would never be willing to change, marriage will put it to test. The harder you resist, the easier will you break. But the faster you will yield, the better will be your process of being molded.
Does this post speak to you? If yes, please let us know with a comment below. Married couples, we would also love to hear from you on what you think one could do to prepare towards marriage apart from the above.