Friday, April 11, 2014
An Ounce of Prevention: 'Christian Marriage Preparation' (for Single Women)
You know the saying: "For a man to find a good thing, the woman needs to be a wife once he sees her." That said, here's a good read on how single women can prepare for marriage. During their meantime. It's a straight copy and paste:
The goal of most Christian single women is to be married. However, that does not mean you should wait until you’re engaged to start preparing to be a wife. Married women told me this for years before I began to heed the advice. However, once I realized God prepares us to receive blessings I realized I needed to prepare to receive the blessing of my husband.
I love the way Ayiesha Woods puts it in her song, The Only One. My favorite line of that song goes...
"Oh out of all the people in this world, You were meant for me
And out of all the plans He has for you I'm a part of your destiny."
Doesn’t that just give you a whole new perspective? God has someone just for you and He’s preparing you to be a part of your husband’s destiny. With that being the case, ladies we need to get ready!
Here are seven steps I’m using to prepare for my husband. Use it to begin your Christian marriage preparation or let it inspire you to develop your own plan.
The 7 Ps of Christian Marriage Preparation
Christian Marriage Preparation Step 1: Pray for your husband
Many Christian single women pray to be married and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But this first P is not about praying to be married, but rather praying for your husband. I will admit, I had never thought of this until I read Stormie Omartian’s book, The Power of a Praying Wife. I can’t even remember why I bought the book, but I’m sure there was some reluctance (being single and all).
Nevertheless, I found valuable truths within the pages of this book. I first love that her husband wrote the foreword and in it he writes, ‘I can think of no better way to truly love your husband than by lifting him up in prayer on a consistent basis. It is a priceless gift that helps him experience God’s blessings and grace.’ A powerful truth, every woman needs to know.
This book gave me a new perspective that my husband, the one God is preparing just for me, needs my prayer. She shares how God strengthened her marriage once she began to pray for her husband. Key areas she mentions include, his spiritual walk, his emotions, his role as a father, leader and decision-maker, his security in work and finances, his health and physical protection, and his faith and future.
While reading this book, I realized my future husband is currently struggling or will struggle with these same issues, so what better gift than to pray for him and prepare for oneness with him.
Tip: Ask God to teach you how to be a godly wife.
Christian Marriage Preparation Step 2: Prepare
I read a book entitled When God Writes Your Love Story, by Eric and Leslie Ludy and yet another truth that I had never considered was revealed to me. Your family is your training ground for marriage. They share, you must train yourself to model Christ now to those most familiar and close to so you will be great at it when you get married.
This was really a shocker for me, but the more I thought about it, it really makes sense. We can’t treat our family poorly and then assume once we say ‘I do’ we will all of a sudden know how to treat our spouse.
They state in their book, 'family is our practice field'. We take into our future marriage what we learn in our life with them here and now. If we learn to snub or disown those closest to us now, we’re setting patterns for broken trust and emotional heartache in the future.
If we train ourselves now to be verbally abusive to our family members, we will be conditioning ourselves to bite rather than bless in the future.
I don’t know about you, but after reading that chapter I had to call home and apologize to some folks. Your family is your training ground. Learn how to treat them in preparation for your future marriage.
Tip: You’re only as holy as you are at home.
Christian Marriage Preparation Step 3: Practice
Yes, it’s true, during this time of singleness we have some freedoms that married women don’t always enjoy. However, that is not to say we should be footloose and fancy free. In fact, the opposite is true. We can and should be practicing submission. Yes, I said the ‘S’ word.
Submission has gotten a bad rep over the years (often because I Peter chapter 3 is misunderstood), but every child of God should be submitted to Him. Submission is all about yielding in love.
God has designated that the man is the head and as such the woman is to be submitted unto him. Now you can choose to look at this as a negative, but I view it as a positive. I didn’t always feel this way, but I now understand that submission is not so much about submitting to your husband, but rather about submitting to God’s design for marriage.
There is much more pressure on the man since he is held responsible, which is all the more reason why you should be praying for him. Remember the story of Adam and Eve. Even though Eve is the one that actually took a bite out of the fruit, God called out to Adam for an account and response (Genesis 3:9).
God’s Word tells us our role in marriage and you can choose to obey or not. However, it would be worthwhile to practice during this time. God is your husband for now. Seek His guidance and ask His permission before doing or committing to various activities.
If you begin this now, it won’t seem so foreign to you when you become married and you will not likely have a fit when your husband asks ‘where are you going?’ or something similar.
Practice submission now with God, so you can discover the joy of God’s plan and learn to view it as a positive.
Tip: Jesus Christ is our ultimate example of submission, He submitted to His Father’s will for us. (Matthew 26:39).
Christian Marriage Preparation Step 4: Praise
Why do we always wait until we see the blessing to praise God? If you believe in your heart that God has promised you a husband, then thank Him for the one He is preparing just for you. Praise God in your waiting and thank Him for the lessons He’s teaching you and how He’s maturing you.
I for one can say, I’m glad I did not get married when I wanted to. He was a great guy, but in all honesty, I was not ready to be married. I was selfish and wanted everything to revolve around me (only child syndrome). However, I have grown so much since then.
That’s not to say I would not have grown in the marriage, but I wouldn’t trade anything for my walk with God right now. It took me being all alone to understand who God is to me and develop a relationship with Him and I will never regret the time I’ve spent just getting to know Him.
Also rejoice with others. I know this can be difficult for a lot of single women, but when God blesses one of your friends with a God-fearing husband, rejoice!
For one, a Christian marriage is a blessing and we ought to rejoice when we see the blessings of the Lord. Secondly, know that the same God that blesses them, blesses you. Praise God for how He’s growing and maturing you and rejoice when you see God blessing others.
Tip: Rejoice, your blessing is on the way!
Christian Marriage Preparation Step 5: Pray for a Discerning Spirit
I know I’ve already mentioned prayer, but you can never pray too much (prayer is always in order). This time, our prayers should be focused on having a discerning spirit so we can recognize our prince when he comes.
Or more importantly, recognize the frogs when they arrive. Unfortunately, most of us encounter a few frogs before meeting our prince, so it’s critical to understand the difference.
To discern is to be able to separate the things of God from the things of the world or to distinguish between good and evil. Now this has nothing to do with what he looks like, but rather looking to his heart and his spirit. My married friends tell me I’m too concerned about the packaging, so I’m still working on this too.
However, as Christian single women we must realize that everyone that demands our attention does not deserve our attention. Just because a man requests your phone number does not mean he deserves to have it.
Now I’ve heard this before, so let me state this is not being judgmental. Rather consider yourself a fruit inspector. In John 15:5, Jesus says “…He who abides in Me and I in Him, bears much fruit.” So you ought to see some evidence that this man is spending some time with God and bearing fruit for God. If not, just move on.
Think about it, a pear tree cannot produce oranges and vice versa. Neither can we. If we claim to be Christians, our lives should be evident of that. Regardless, our life tells the story of who we really are so look for the fruit his tree bears (and he should do the same for you).
God’s desire to reveal will always be greater than your desire to know. Seek His guidance in your decision making.
Tip: Pray and ask God for discernment, then act accordingly.
Christian Marriage Preparation Step 6: Perceive
It’s quite easy to be focused on the glorious day when you will marry the one that [God] has for you, but don’t lose sight of the here and now. Just because God is preparing you for marriage does not mean we are to do nothing in the meantime.
Ask God what it is He would have you to do during your time of singleness. You need to understand (or perceive) this so that you do not remain idle. My grandmother always said, 'an idle mind is the devil’s workshop'.
Just as you will when you’re married, you have an assignment and a ministry in your singleness. Could it be that you’re not progressing towards marriage because you’re not completing the task at hand? I don’t know, and in actuality I can ask myself the same question.
God has a purpose and a plan for each of our lives, so we need to seek His face and ask Him to reveal His plan for us during this season. There is work to be done, so you can rest assured that your role is not just sitting around waiting to be married. Perceive who God is to you, get to know Him better and serve Him wholeheartedly during your season of singleness.
Tip: A mature Christian seeks God’s will and wisdom daily.
Christian Marriage Preparation Step 7: Pause
Pause or wait on God. Philippians 4:6 clearly states, be anxious for nothing and pray about everything. God knows your desire, but more importantly He knows and loves you. Know that He has not forgotten about you, He’s just working things out for you.
Have you ever wanted something really bad and you prayed and prayed for it, but when you got it you realized it wasn’t all that great? Most times in these cases, we finagle our way to get the thing rather than accepting God’s no or waiting for God’s best.
I implore you, don’t do that with marriage, wait on God. Who knows better how to prepare you for marriage than the One who designed marriage?
In this fast paced world, take time to pause and make sure you’re making choices that are pleasing and honoring to God in every area of your life.
So there you have it, my seven step plan (or the 7Ps) to Christian marriage preparation. Use these steps to help you prepare for your Christian marriage in your singleness.
Also, read books about marriage and talk to happily married Christian couples (20 or 30+ year veterans) to discover what marriage is all about and how they have managed to make it work all these years.
Be blessed, my sister, someday your prince will come.
“I can learn with God’s power and motivation, to daily make choices that will lead me toward my goal of being a godly wife.” - Linda Dillow
Selah. And amen!