Preparing For Marriage: Get Ready
I’ve been talking about preparation a lot lately – especially with regard to the LORD’s return. The Bride of Christ has been given a mandate to be found ready. That mandate implies intense preparation in advance. In this we find an appropriate example of what it means to properly prepare for marriage. It’s not something we just jump into. We must prepare for it – and that preparation needs to be appropriate. So how does that happen? There are numerous ways.
Yet, we’re not preparing appropriately. How do I know? Simple: The divorce rate in the Church. It’s astounding and shameful. And if our idea of preparation is the crash course with our pastor and a prenup – then we’ve got a long way to go, folks.
The Principle of Preparation
Truly, I have room to talk here. I’ve prepared for marriage my entire adult life, beginning with my first degree in college. I received a Bachelor’s in Family and Children, and I’ve invested hundreds of hours reading books, attending conferences, and praying for my spouse. I took that preparation seriously. And I have also had the privilege of being raised in a family where marriage was sanctified in God. My parents and grandparents have been wonderful examples to my sister and I of what marriage should be. Through Christ and His Word, a formal education, and my personal investment, I’ve done all I can as far as it depends upon me to be responsible toward this preparation. I will be honest: I have yet to meet another individual who has done the same.
We all make preparations in life. We prepare for everything from meetings with our boss, to driving our first car and getting our first job. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an education that lasts four to eight years so we can obtain the career or profession we desire or feel called to perform. Why? Because we want to be productive with our lives in society. We crave purpose and we desire success. Those preparations require great investments of our time, money, and energy accounting for a significant portion of our life. They include many people and diverse resources of every kind. The greater the aspiration, the more preparation is required.
Yet, it is amazing to me that people do not prepare for the biggest decision in life that they will ever make (aside from receiving Christ). So, I want to get beyond the gooey romance, and the blazing passion. Those elements of marriage are both wonderful and very real, and they are from God. But they are not going to prepare you.
Marriage is a lifelong covenant. Despite this fact, preparation for it is very much an after-thought. This one decision involves the person you will spend the rest of your life with, become one with, and have children with. This decision will be what ultimately gives you a legacy and heritage in the earth. It’s what grants you the ability to live beyond your own lifespan through your lineage in the generations yet to come.
I think that decision deserves proper preparation, don’t you?
Proper Preparation Begins with Priority
Where do you place marriage on the scale of priority?
Marriages are failing in the Church as much as in the secular arena. Just humor me. You can look at any statistical data of your choice and find that to be true. Why? There is very little investment toward proper preparation. People simply are not prepared. They give very little thought toward that preparation until the last minute. They wait until they find the right person before that happens, and take a crash course with their pastor on the basic skills that parents should have been instilling on a consistent basis throughout life. When we neglect the most fundamental relationship God has given us, upon which society is built – marriages will inevitably fail. And that is exactly what is happening.
We are no longer putting marriage first. Not only this, but we are no longer preparing for it. Instead, we are putting it last and treating it with very little regard. The investments toward marriage are slim to none.
So why are we surprised our marriages are failing? We are inadequately prepared and we don’t know what we’re doing. Parents are no longer mentoring us in this arena. The Church is not teaching us how to do this until we reach the engagement. There is virtually no investment on the part of single adults who aspire to marry. So why are we so shocked?
We shouldn’t be. It’s very simple: When you don’t prepare there will be inevitable failure. Let’s stop investing in the one-day wedding and start investing toward a lifelong covenant.
The Foundation of Marriage
Marriage was instituted by God. It’s the most sacred covenant relationship of any. And it’s the only relationship He does not permit us to leave. It is the only relationship wherein we become one with another individual and have the power to create new life. For these reasons it is the very foundation and framework of society. Yet we have somehow come to drink the kool-aid in believing that economy is the foundation and framework of society instead. We build our careers before we build our relationships. We are a money-driven society. As a result, many parents are forced to hold more than one job, spending less time with their children. In turn, children do not have the parental examples they once did when they stayed at home. The economical drive behind this is very sad, and it strips families of the time together that is necessary to build a strong stable unit. We have obtained more at the expense of our families. Many times this economic drive is self-inflicted by lifestyles we cannot rightly support, and single parents must work harder to earn legitimate wages for basic needs.
Marriage has taken a huge demotion and it’s been hit on every front. The enemy is hard at work to both destroy marriage and prevent it. But how he goes about doing that isn’t always recognized until it’s too late.
Do you want to be married?
So, are you preparing for it?
Falling in love is wonderful, but it’s not enough. Heads up: You’re going to need to prepare. And you’re going to need to do so properly.
The crash course with your pastor and the prenuptial agreement are not the answers. If you’re single and desire marriage, you must invest. Otherwise, the possibility of failure increases.
We invest in what is precious to us. Where we put our time, money, and energies speak volumes to what we truly value in life. You can know someone by looking at what they invest in. That is the absolute truth. When you invest in preparing for marriage, you are investing in another human being: your spouse (your beloved).
Do you value marriage?
Marriage is not an entity in itself, as if it’s something to obtain. Marriage is a covenant you live out. It’s active. It’s not about a piece of paper. And it’s not about the wedding. It’s a blood covenant instituted by God with another human being to whom you will be morally, spiritually, socially, emotionally, and physically responsible. It’s a life of sacrificial love and service. You will be held accountable for the stewardship of your spouse’s life, their soul, and their well-being in every respect. Marriage is about a beautiful and sacrificial stewardship of your beloved that is motivated by pure unconditional love. Your life is no longer your own. It belongs to another human being. This individual is a living, breathing soul who is born with purpose and created in God’s image. Part of your duty within marriage is to uphold the calling and purpose of your spouse unto God, even as your own.
Perhaps you’ve come from a broken family. In this generation, most people do. It’s the rule rather than the exception. Very few people come from a traditional family according to biblical standards, and if they do, many times that family is not healthy. Yet the biblical standard is the one God upholds, and it hasn’t changed. But if you haven’t been raised within a loving marriage and family, it’s simply not going to be familiar to you. In fact, it may even seem strange.
The modeling of parents and the teaching they provide in this area is only one piece of the pie. The preparation for a healthy marriage starts in the home with your parents. If you haven’t been prepared for marriage through the example of your own parents, the only true example you will find is in the Bible. There is no greater guide that God’s word. However, other traditional marriage relationships in your life through grandparents, aunts and uncles, and distant relatives are all excellent opportunities for possible mentorship in this area. And although no marriage is perfect, the goal is to learn from each one, gleaning the truths that are biblical and aligned with God’s word.
Taking classes, reading books, attending marriage conferences, and spending time in prayer are all ways to invest toward proper preparation for marriage. To what degree you invest will determine your success. The goal? You should be able to walk into a marriage covenant having a full understanding of what you are doing. You should clearly understand your obligations and responsibilities toward this individual. You should have a clear set of expectations for yourself in this regard, because marriage is not about getting – it’s about giving and serving another person and your children (if you have them). It’s about building a loving, stable, and godly home and family within society that will glorify God. By the time you walk down that aisle or stand at that altar – you need to know how to do that faithfully.
So, aside from all the romance (which is amazing), there is a very real and practical side to preparing for marriage. The love and passion are wonderful gifts from God, and they are truly incredible. But they will not prepare you.
So start preparing for marriage. Invest where your future truly lies – in the person with whom you will spend it, in becoming one as God intended.
You want to be married? The answer to success is simple: Prepare. And do so with the intent of being found ready. Your spouse (and children) are worth it.
Cheers & Shalom,
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