There are many of you who are searching for love. Marriage is a calling; a holy covenant between God, your spouse, and yourself. Many times we become so focused on finding the right person that we forget that in the meantime our job is to BECOME the right person.
You wouldn't walk into your college semester final without doing any of the studying the material, right?
Likewise, don't walk into marriage blindfolded. In order for your marriage to be all that God designed it to be, make the decision to start preparing yourself NOW.
Ask God to help you become the husband/wife you are called to be, even if you are not already in that position.
To us, waiting may seem like wasting. But to God, waiting is preparation. He has a big work to do in both your heart and the heart of your future spouse before He calls you both together. With that being said, here are ten important ways you can start preparing for marriage.
1. Conquer your insecurities
Many men and women don't see the full potential God has created them to be. I definitely didn't. I constantly put myself down and struggled with insecurity, letting it rear its ugly head in my marriage. I was always afraid I wouldn't be good enough for my husband and gave into the lies of the enemy instead of relying on God's promises to me.
I had to take hold of the fact that my husband loved me for me. He was crazy about me and no one else could even come close. So if a man makes you feel anything less, don't marry him. You are worth more than you know. Be secure in yourself, and it will show in your marriage. Start by going an entire week without saying one negative thing about your intelligence, body, beauty, etc in anyway and see how this will transform your mind in just ONE week. Now is the time to rid yourself of negativity and insecurity in your heart and mind not only for your future marriage, but for your present self and well-being.
2. Get rid of selfishness
When you are single, all you have to think about is yourself. You pay your own bills, buy whatever you want, and do whatever you want. When you get married, you have to put the needs of your spouse and your children above your own, so right now start thinking of ways to give of your time and resources. Don't make life all about you. Give freely and think of others. Only thinking of yourself can cause huge problems in your future marriage, so start changing your mindset now.
What are ways you can work on being selfless? Volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, take time out of your day to take out your elderly neighbor's trash for her, buy someone's coffee and write an encouraging note. Start with making your life more than just about you, and this mindset will flow into your marriage as a result of the changes you make now.
3. Give more than you receive
Throughout your marriage, you will learn the art of compromising. We cannot enter marriage with a mindset of "me, me, me." How would you feel if your partner only cared about their own feelings, wants, desires, and needs? Enter marriage with the mindset to give 100% and expect nothing in return. When both partners give 100%, the result is a beautiful, selfless, love-filled marriage that becomes a sanctuary for both the husband and wife.
4. Put aside pride
Raise your hand if you know of a family member, co-worker, or acquaintance who does not know how to say "sorry."
Okay everyone, you can put your hands down now.
They throw away every friendship, family relationship, and romantic relationship that they have been blessed with because they are too proud to ever be wrong. Being humble takes an awful big person and those aren't easy shoes to fill.
No one likes to be wrong, but we are all human and mess up. If you do something wrong, learn to say sorry, put aside your pride now and pray God helps you to be humble enough to admit your trespasses. It is easy to assume that in a God given marriage there are no fights, arguments, or issues. But we are mere human beings who sin on the daily. We cannot obtain perfection and to think we ever could is pointless. Learn to say sorry now so that you and your spouse can both keep bitterness out of your marriage.
5. Learn the value of commitment
Marriage is not something to be taken lightly. God's design for marriage ultimately did not include divorce as a cop out. When you get mad at your spouse, you are supposed to fix things, not throw them away.
While there are instances where divorce may be the best thing (adultery, abuse, etc) maybe you should just take a step back, breathe, and work through your problems. Don't throw away your marriage based on a temporary feeling. Decide to set your mindset right now that when you say, "I do," it is not temporary. Take your vows literal, til death do us part.
6. Practice purity
No matter what culture tries to sell you, purity is always best. Sex ties your spirit with your partner, and I don't know about you, but I don't want to be tied to every man I've slept with long after I've found my Boaz.
Even if you haven't saved yourself, purity begins the day you decide it to put aside your human nature and culture's ideas. Purity truly is a higher calling that is so hard to maintain, yet not impossible. But don't be fooled, purity of the heart and mind is just as important as physical purity. Don't allow your mind be full of lust. Don't engage in what the sex industry is trying to sell you. When you practice purity now, it will be beneficial to your marriage in ways I can't even begin to explain.
7. Learn to manage your money
Money is one of the biggest things that couples argue about. If you learn to manage your money now while you are single, it won't be so difficult when you get married. (you also might want to rethink marrying someone who is reckless in their spending habits.)
When you have poor money management skills, it makes your life and marriage much more difficult, lets not even mention when kids come along. Learn to manage your money now will literally lower your cortisol level in the future and provide both you and your partner a more stress free marriage.
8. Study God's idea of marriage
The Bible is jammed packed with advice on marriage. Learn God's design for marriage now to benefit you later on down the road. When you pray and ask God to make you into the kind of wife your future husband needs, you are preparing yourself for a better marriage. Instead of focusing so much on finding the right person, focus on becoming the right person.
9. Managing the home
Little things like cooking may not seem like a big deal until you get married. The young Tiffany burned a microwave dinner and watched her poor husband eat it, but I've come a long way since then. (Just this last Thanksgiving and Christmas I hosted the family dinner and didn't burn anything!) I wish I would have tried cooking one new meal a night, and prepared in every way I could for marriage.
When you are young, poor, and married, eating in means a lot more money in your pocket for other things. (You can gather short, simple recipes from sites like Cooking Tips & Secrets for example.) Budgeting was also a lifesaver, because you know where your money is going. I was a tad clueless in this department so I'm telling you, this area matters more than you realize, start preparing Now!
10. Become a praying husband/wife
Right now, even if you don't have the slightest idea who you will marry someday, you can start praying for your partner. They are the other half of your heart, and prayer is what will get you both through the hardest times in your life.
Whatever life throws at you, you can face it hand in hand, down on your knees in prayer. Prayer connects you with your partner, long before you meet them and paves the road to when you both come together. Pray also to become the kind of husband/wife that your future spouse needs. Prayer is the most powerful thing you can do to prepare for marriage.
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