Before I got married, I remember people telling me things like, “Marriage is awesome, but it’s also a lot of work.” Or, “Marriage is a wonderful institution, but you’ll be challenged like never before.” Or, “Getting married is the most amazing thing on earth, but…you’ll also uncover new levels of selfishness in your heart that you didn’t know existed.”
Well…as I look back on the past 4 years of my marriage to Zack, I realize that all of those statements are correct. Marriage is an incredible blessing from God, but it’s also one of the most “sanctifying” experiences I’ve ever had in my life.
If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past four years, it’s this: Getting married, and staying married, isn’t for the faint of heart.
It takes constant doses of love, humility, forgiveness, patience, sacrifice, and selflessness.
Living with your soulmate day-in-and-day-out has its major perks, but it also has some trials.
It’s not easy to consistently put someone else’s needs above your own. It’s not easy to regularly humble yourself and seek forgiveness. It’s not easy to show love to someone even when you don’t “feel” like it.
It’s not easy…but it’s completely worth it. Marriage has a way of exposing our sin and revealing our need for Christ in ways we wouldn’t experience otherwise. When it’s done right, marriage becomes an amazing tool that molds and shapes us into the image of Christ.
So, would I recommend marriage to you? Absolutely! Without a doubt!
However – because marriage isn’t easy, I wouldn’t recommend it to just anybody in any stage of life. Before you walk down the aisle, I think you need to have some foundational things in place.
Not everybody is in a good position to get married. In fact, these are some obvious signs that you’re not quite ready yet.
I highly encourage and challenge you to take the following list to heart. Trust me, the stronger your foundation before you get married, the better off you will be in the long run.
Here are 5 signs that you’re NOT ready for marriage yet:
1. You don’t have a strong relationship with Christ.
One of the reasons God created marriage was to reflect the image of Christ and the church through the bride and groom. A strong marriage will understand this and strive to become more like Jesus as a result. The most beautiful and joy filled marriages on the planet are the ones who center their lives around Christ.
If Jesus isn’t the center of your life right now, He probably won’t be the center of your marriage later. Spend time getting to know your Savior today, so you can reflect His character in a powerful way when you get married.
2. You look to guys to find your fulfillment.
Contrary to Hollywood’s “happily ever after” view of romance and marriage, finding your dream man will not bring you lasting happiness. If you’re looking to a guy to fulfill your heart’s longing right now, then you’re banking your happiness on sinking sand. If you take that pattern of thinking into your marriage, it will be disastrous.
By setting all of your hopes and expectations on a guy, you’re setting yourself up for constant disappointment. No man can ever fill the deepest longings of your heart, only Christ can do that.
3. You consistently disrespect your dad.
Good marriages are built on foundations of love and respect. The Bible calls women to respect their husbands: “Let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33b). If you’re constantly dishonoring your father/authority right now, you are setting yourself up to do the same thing to your husband.
Sinful patterns don’t disappear just because the circumstances change. They may go away for a little while, but they will resurface again. The best way to practice respect for your future husband is by honoring and respecting your dad right now.
4. You’re involved in ongoing sexual sin.
Sexual sin is high on the list for why married couples get divorced today. Adultery, pornography, and unfaithfulness are tearing marriages apart. If you’re currently struggling with a habitual sexual sin, don’t fool yourself by thinking marriage will fix it. It won’t.
James 1:14 says, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” If you’re lured and enticed by your flesh right now, you will be lured and enticed during marriage. The best way to build a strong foundation for your marriage is to repent of your sexual sin and purpose to live a consistent life of purity.
5. Your biggest concern is your personal happiness.
We live in a “selfie,” self-focused, all-about-me culture. Our personal happiness and pleasure is the biggest focus in advertisements today. We grow up with this mindset that says, “If you’re not happy with it, ditch it.” Sadly, this all-about-me mindset is destroying marriages. Nobody wants to give. Nobody wants to be humble. Nobody wants to lay down their life for another.
If you’re consumed with yourself today, chances are you’ll be consumed with yourself in your marriage. This is a guaranteed recipe for difficulties, anger, and unmet expectations.
Strong marriages must be built on a foundation of serving, sacrifice, and selflessness.
So, how did you do? According to those five signs, are you ready for marriage or not?
If one, two or all five of those areas reflected your heart attitude today, then I challenge you to get to work right away. If you want to have a strong marriage that lasts till death do you part, then you need to develop strong character right now.
Don’t wait until you meet “Mr. Right” to make changes. Start today. Get serious. The stronger your character is today, the stronger your marriage will be when it begins.
- Be honest now. Which of the five areas is your weakest?
- Why do you think marriage will be harder if you’re struggling in those 5 areas?
- What changes can you make today to proactively work on one of those 5 areas today?
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