So, you’re going to get married? You mind is made up and no one can talk you out of it? Good.
God says, “The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.” (Proverbs 18:22, NLT). We can truthfully reverse it and say that the woman who finds a husband finds a treasure. I found my treasure 46 years ago.
I smile–most times–when I see two people marry in the Lord. A few times I didn’t smile, but I tried to be optimistic, hoping things would work things out. With the horrible divorce statistics, though, you want to launch into marriage with as many factors on your side as possible. God wants you to enjoy marriage, not endure it.
Someone asked me about preparing to take a life partner. So, I’ve decided to formulate a checklist for those serious about making the right choice for life. I’ve probably forgotten a few things because I was smarter 46 years ago when I started. But, at least I am more seasoned (like a good Thanksgiving turkey).
Consider these things before you say, “I do!” Can you suggest some others?
1-Know a man’s true heart before you give him yours, because after you marry him you will know it. Samegoes for the female side of the equation. “As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.” (Proverbs 27:19, NLT).
We drench our first days of knowing each other with so much aftershave and perfume that we really don’t know the person. But, as we talk, interact and watch them live, the real person peeks out from the pretended perfection.
My wife and I became friends with a family who moved to our area many years ago. We shared lots of smiles, jokes and laughter for quite a while. One night, though, he made a comment about a group of people that surprised me. It wasn’t simply prejudiced, but hate-filled. And he said it with passion.
Other very unsavory things popped up in the way he conducted himself towards those of the opposite sex. It took a while, but the real person eventually crawled out of hiding.
2-Yes, appearance is important but it’s not all. Especially at first, we’ll be attracted by the outside but it’s vital to have a relationship that based on factors deeper than good looks.
I’ve noticed my pictures have changed through the years. (Some would say they’ve deteriorated but I pay them no attention. There were the sweet smiles of childhood, attempts to smile like Elvis Presley as a young adult, and the cool and assured smiles of the older adult. Maybe at the end I’ll be smiling the close-mouthed smile of someone with no teeth. I hope not.
The point is, our physical appearance changes. You young people think you’re always going to look like that. I just laugh at you. You know what’s waiting for you? Look at you daddy and mama … and eventually your grandpa and grandma. A bit depressing isn’t it?
Your relation better be more than skin deep because the skin is going to wrinkle and maybe even expand.
3-Yes, feelings are important, but they aren’t reliable. When I got married my Grandfather told me, “The first year of marriage you love her so much you want to eat her up. After a year you wish you had.” Grandma just grinned when he talked.
Relationships navigate all kinds of weather and we have to be tough enough to surf the highs and lows. Success begins, not with feeling, but with a rock-solid commitment to God and to the person you love.
Some people are in love with “falling in love.” It takes more than falling in love to make a life together, otherwise when those feelings of infatuation fade we will go looking for someone else to fall in love with. The person like this is in love with himself and the feeling of being in love.
If that’s the only foundation for your relationship, hang on. You’re in for some rough sailing.
4- Make sure the person you’re going to marry is willing to grow and change. Humility is so important. We’ve got to be able to admit our faults in order to change. That goes for you, too.
Perfection isn’t an option. If he was perfect he wouldn’t want you, would he? Growing together is tough and wonderful.
Our personality develops all our life. Some people refuse challenges to grow. Marriage is one of the most powerful maturing factors in our life … if we let it be.
Be careful. There will always be things about the other person that don’t please us. If we’re too demanding, we’ll stay single forever.
God isn’t making anymore perfect men, ladies. My wife got the last one.
Remember, that other person is going to need patience with YOU in a lot of areas.
Sometimes, though, there are things that really bother us. Can you live with this the rest of your life? Remember, the person is on his best behavior now. It may be worse after marriage.
5- Does this person love the Lord Jesus with all his heart? Not just go to church but does he or she try to live in a way that pleases the Lord? Do they ask, “What is God’s will for my life?” Do they have a devotional life, reading God’s Word, praying and attending church services regularly? This is the principle that underlies everything. If you marry someone who doesn’t love God, you won’t become the person God created you to be.
If you’re already married to an unbeliever, hang in there. God will help you. You gave your promise before God.
6- Is this person a worker? Do they get off the couch and work towards their goals? Will they go to work every day? Consider if they are faithful to work while they are in school and on the job. Otherwise, you might find yourself the only one in the family doing anything.
7- Are they hard to get along with? If you are constantly bickering and fussing before marriage, don’t think that will magically change when you are married. Can they compromise, or do they always have to be right? Are they an encourager or discourager? Do you laugh together?
8- Are they kind and generous? How do they treat weaker people? The waiter at the restaurant for example? Do they help others?
9- Do you get along with their family? We think we marry one person, but generally we marry a family. If one of their parents dominate them, that might foreshadow future problems.
- What do your friends think about this marriage?We may blinded by love but our friends can often see things we can’t. They may not know everything, but if your friends and family are warning you, think about it.
11- Does the person pressure you to do things you don’t feel are right? Respect. Without it we can’t build a firm foundation.
12- Talk, talk, talk. Does the other person want children? One child or twelve? Where do they want to live? What kind of work do they want to do? Does the will of God weigh heavily in their decisions? How do they determine God’s will? Talk about these issues and many more before marriage.
13- Has this person ever verbally or physically abused you? If so, I’d suggest you let them find someone else. Immediately! As in “Pronto!”
I told my daughter, “If someone you go out with ever hits you, end the relationship right then!”
Someone said that the best way to predict how a person is going to act in the future is to see how they acted in the past. Physical and verbal abuse is a BIG blinking red light. If they act that way when you’re going together, trying to win you, how do you think they will act when you are married and they have you?
14- Work on becoming the person that your dream person is dreaming of. We think so much of what we want, but is the person we’re looking for looking for someone like us? If not, ask God to help you become that person.
One man tells the story of a young lady who moved to city and left her faith behind. She began to live in a way totally opposite to what she had believed.
Later she was at a function and met a serious young man who put God first in his life.
When she went home for a visit, she talked and talked about this young man to her mother. Finally her mother said, “But, why would someone like that want you?” Direct perhaps, but are you preparing yourself for your “dreamboat?” If not, she may float right on by you.
No one will be perfect. We’ve all got to grow and change, but when we think with more than our hormones, we’re much more likely to grow that beautiful marriage that we all want.