Getting Ready for Marriage
Reggie Jacob, Director of Young Adult Ministry
Many of us spend hundreds of hours planning and thousands of dollars getting ready for that one special day, our wedding day. But how many of us spend a fraction of that energy and invest time talking with each other about cultivating our lifelong marriage commitment? Here are some insights to help lay a strong foundation for a godly marriage:
The relationship must be Christ-centered.
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 that we, as Christians, are not to be bound together (unequally yoked) with unbelievers. The difference between a believer and an unbeliever is the contrast between “light” and “darkness”… one cannot co-exist with the other. As a Christ follower, you should only enter into a marriage relationship with another Christian.
You are entering into a covenant not a contract.
For many of us, we understand marriage to be only a “contract” which can be easily broken. When we recite our vows to our spouse on our wedding day, we make the pledge, “until death do us part.” Unfortunately, in today’s culture, we’ve twisted that sacred pledge to mean“… until I feel like giving up, until the sparks stop flying, or until I fall out of love and I’m getting out.”
In contrast, God’s design for marriage is for it to be a holy covenant. “Because the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth…though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.” (Malachi 2:14)
A covenant is an agreement and a vow one person makes with another. And not just any agreement, this is a solemn vow before God! We need to realize that the consequences of breaking a covenant we made before God are very serious (Proverbs 6:20-29). Once we understand this, then we realize that leaving the marriage is not an easy option for us.
“When you make a vow to God do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it”. (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5)
What are your expectations of your fiancé?
Talk about your expectations of the marriage during your engagement so you can address issues now. Discuss things like: splitting household chores, budgeting and finances, sex/intimacy, time with friends, time with family, and where you plan to spend your holidays. Unspoken expectations can seriously injure intimacy and your relationship, so it is crucial that you discuss all of these with each other.
Are you the one who wants to discuss the issue right then and there? Do you want to get it out in the open and come to a resolution pronto so you can get back to living life? Or are you the one who likes to internalize the issue, and then talk about it later after you’ve had the chance to think about it? Remember that you are on the same team. Work together through issues and come to a resolution with the mindset that no one wins if someone loses.
Have you both talked about and dealt with your baggage?
Don’t enter into the marriage expecting that your issues will suddenly disappear just because you are married. If you are not prepared to talk about and deal with your baggage, it could potentially wreck your marriage relationship! Often, issues of the past that haven’t been addressed and resolved prior to marriage get magnified during the marriage when the stakes are much higher!
Learn from others
Find a mentor couple and meet with them regularly. Spend time with an older married couple whose relationship you admire and would love for yours to be like. Take them to lunch or have them over for dinner. Ask them what makes their marriage so successful!
Get godly counsel
Before and during your engagement, seek out those who can give you pastoral or clinical counseling. It’s never too early to get counsel, especially as you make one of the most important decisions of your life. Research demonstrates the long-term value of making time now for marriage education classes or premarital counseling.
GOING FURTHER – Resources
Preparing for Marriage by David Boehi
This book is eight sessions of fun, romantic study that will help couples identify areas for growth in their relationship and start them off on the right foot before they walk down the aisle. Couples will learn how to discern God’s will for their relationship, to handle finances and plans for the future, to clarify their roles and responsibilities, to develop a loving sexual relationship, to deal with family histories and past issues, and much more!
The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman
Does it seem as though you and your spouse are speaking two different languages? By learning the five love languages, you and your spouse will discover your unique love languages and learn practical steps in truly loving each other.
The Marriage Masterpiece by Al Janssen
The Bible opens and closes with a wedding and in between God uses the metaphor of marriage more than any other to describe His relationship with His people.
Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs,
Discusses a powerful biblical model for each spouse understanding and meeting the other’s most deeply felt need.
Before You Say “I Do” by H. Norman Wright and Wes Roberts
Explores how to clarify role expectations, establish a healthy sexual relationship, handle finances, and acquire a solid understanding of how to develop a biblical relationship.
GOING FURTHER – Church Support
Our Young Adult Ministry offers a class specifically designed for those who are engaged or newly married! The focus of the class is to help couples understand what it takes to have a biblical, Christ-centered marriage. You will engage in a solid curriculum that addresses various topics that most, if not all, new couples face. This class is invaluable. It provides a Christian community for you to grow in as you prepare a foundation for your marriage.
The Center for Counseling and Enrichment
This fee-based service is available to anyone who needs professional counseling, especially in the areas of premarital and marital counseling. Contact 817-276-6412 to make an appointment or email for further information.
Associate Pastor of Educational Ministries
Director of Young Adult Ministry