Back in the day, after a heated discussion about relationships, a friend asked if I expected the heavens to open and drop my husband-to-be at my door step. She insisted that I wasn't trying hard enough to find a mate. She thought that my cool demeanor and choice dates, basically amounted to faith without works. She was convinced that I should be visiting more social clubs and events to gain more opportunities to meet Mr. Right.
She was mistaken. I was busy living my life to the fullest, walking in full alignment with God’s purpose. Eventually, I got married.
How did I know it was time to walk down the aisle?
I consulted the Lord through prayer, fasting, and sought godly counsel, before I gave a resounding “yes” to my marriage proposal. Actually, celestial songs played in my head and butterflies danced in my heart…the greatest thrill of my life as I choked out a jubilant, “Yes, I will.”
Marriage has far reaching implications for your life. It is a covenant relationship not to be entered lightly. Here are a few things to consider before you commit:
1. Review God’s word on marriage and your role in a marital relationship
Ephesians 5:20-33 is a great place to start. God desires that the relationship between a husband and wife be a reflection of God and the church. Jesus Christ gave His life for the church, so marriage requires dying to self to bring forth oneness. This oneness is deep and beautiful. However, you can only achieve this oneness with the help of the Holy Spirit.
2. Pray and fast
Marriage is a life-changing decision, so it warrants spending time in prayer and fasting to get clear directions from the Lord. Pray for wisdom. It is extremely important that you have peace about your relationship.
Ask God to teach you His definition of love and how to love your potential mate. We use the phrase “fall in love”, but all things considered, love is a decision with an emotional component. It is your pledge to operate in the best interest of that person.
Love is not the adrenalin rush, the butterflies in the stomach, the fluttering heart and the senseless giggles. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NKJV)
3. Seek godly counsel
Throughout my life, I have been blessed to have great examples of godly women, beginning with my mother. I have also benefited from having six older sisters and many other godly women and men in my life. The scripture encourages older women to teach the younger women (Titus 2:4). Further, “Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” Job 12:12 (NIV).
In preparation to be a godly wife or husband, surround yourselves with godly women and men. Ask them questions and learn from them. Godly big sisters and brothers help you keep things in perspective.
4. Assess your potential mate
The scripture reminds us, "Keep thy heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life." Proverbs 4:23 (NKJV). You are a beautiful garden, not everyone can have you. Be sure to spend enough time assessing your potential mate. Make sure you and your potential mate are on the same path. “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers…” 2 Cor. 6:14 (KJV)
I decided a long time ago that I would only enter a committed God-centered relationship. I was rather pleased to hear my husband articulate the same thing, while we were dating. In fact, he was adamant about it.
Now that I am married, I am so glad I waited on the Lord. Wait, I say on the Lord. God knows what is best for us. He loves us and means us only good. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." Psalms 84:11 (KJV)
Understand that if God calls you to holy matrimony, He will equip you with the requisite skills to make your marriage successful. Importantly, whether you are married or single, He is still God.
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Ann Marie Bryan
CEO & Founder, Victorious By Design
Author, Encounters of the Heart series