By: Anthony Williams
Marriage. Wedding. Matrimony. Nuptials. Union. These words often terrify even the strongest men and women. On one hand you have the privilege of spending the rest of your life (til death do you part) with the one person who loves, understands, and is willing to sacrifice for you more than anyone else. Conversely, the single life you grew to know and love so well, to some degree will vanish. You will soon be joined with another person whose faith, feelings, culture, morals and values you must consider when it comes to decisions being made within the household. Being ready for marriage is about having realistic expectations, understanding what marriage is all about and knowing that you are able to honor your marriage vows to this particular person because your love for them compels you to seek his/her happiness over your own. No couple has ever done this perfectly and neither will you. However here are a few characteristics that are imperative for couples to have a in a marriage relationship.
1) You know you’re ready for marriage when…You’re ready to put yourself last.
Marriage takes extreme acts of unselfishness on a nearly constant basis. Having Christ as a divine source of strength, love, and unselfishness from which to draw is something that is necessary to keep marriages together.
2) You know you’re ready for marriage when…You can be committed to one person for the rest of your life.
Sounds easy right? “I love him/her, I would never cheat.” Like anything else in life we do to the glory of God, the devil relishes any opportunity to cause Christians to succumb to worldly desires. He will send all manners of temptation your way to veer you towards the path of unrighteousness. Any and all bad habits need to be eradicated well before you consider “tying the knot” with your significant other. Make the decision in your heart that you will remain committed to this person no matter what the future holds. It will give you great confidence that you are ready to take the next step.
3) You know you’re ready for marriage when…You understand how to compromise.
Ladies and gentlemen marriage is not a fast food restaurant where you can order what you want, when you want it, and how you want it. This aint Burger King yall! Men and women please understand, compromise doesn’t make you “soft” or a “punk;” nor does it make you vulnerable or weak. Pick your battles! Cooperating, and making sincere attempts at meeting the other person halfway goes a long way to showing how dedicated and committed you are to the marriage. (See #1). What do all pre-school teachers tell their kids? “Sharing is caring!” Well this can apply to two adults in marriage as well.
4) You know you’re ready for marriage when…You’re ready to give love and to be loved.
In order to give love you must first love yourself. Be happy, extremely happy with the person God created you to be. Rejoice in the fact that you were made in his image, skillfully crafted to do His good works; destined for greatness and excellence (Ephesians 2:10). Now, it’s time for you to give love. I mean really give love. That means expect nothing in return. That’s right! Not fair-weather love, but unconditional, unwavering, unparallel love! Christ died so that we may have everlasting life (John 3:16.)
5) You know you’re ready for marriage when…You can’t imagine life without this other person. One of the things that confirmed for me that I was ready to marry my wife and that she was my destiny was because I couldn’t imagine living my life without her. Imagine living without your eyesight or your arms. Could you do it? Of course technically you could live a very fulfilling life without both, but could you IMAGINE living without either? If you hesitate in your answer to that question regarding a particular mate is “perhaps,” “probably” or “of course,” you are not ready to marry; at least not this person.
6) You know you’re ready for marriage when…You realistically understand what marriage really is. Marriage is forever! God ordained it and the devil hates the very sound of it. Condition your mind to have a realistic understanding that marriage really is “for better or worse.” This commitment means that you’ll feel great when things are better, but you may feel like escaping when things are worse. Learn to look beyond each other’s faults, and be there for each other when the other is weak. Most people within their first year of marriage find themselves thinking, “What did I get myself into?” If you understand that marriage means sticking it out through the “worse” times when it would be easier and less painful to leave, I’d say you’re ready.
7) You know you’re ready for marriage when… You pray and listen to God’s voice. Perhaps, the most important step in deciding if you should proceed to marriage is prayer. God created us and knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows which person will be the best match for us, and He will let us know, if we are willing to listen to Him. The key is that we must also be willing to be obedient to what He tells us. Surrender your relationship to God from the beginning and be willing to trust His guidance for it. Have you asked God in prayer if this is His will for you?
Disclaimer: No, I am not a marriage counselor nor a relationship guru.
That being said, these are just a few key points in my experience that help foster and cultivate an environment conducive to happiness, longevity and success in a marriage relationship.