Hope to Marry
Are You Ready for Marriage?
Reggie Jacob, Director of Young Adult Ministry
With Kurt Bruner, The Center for Strong Families
If you aren’t called to remain single (1 Corinthians 7) then a significant priority for this season of your life is preparing yourself for a biblical marriage. Finding a mate recognizes that God is at work, but we also have a responsibility to be faithful in our part of the process.
Self Check: Helpful questions to ask yourself
Are you ready spiritually?
- Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?
- If not, please contact one of the ministers here at our church who would love to talk with you about this decision.
- Does the person whom you are interested in marrying have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?
- If not, then as a Christian, you should not pursue the relationship with an unbeliever any further. (2 Cor. 6:14-15)
- Over the past few years, have you been growing in your relationship with Christ?
- Are you seeking God’s direction from the Bible & praying regularly?
- Are you growing in a community with other Christians?
- Do you attend church and church activities regularly?
Are you ready physically?
- Are you currently involved in a sexual relationship with your boyfriend/girlfriend?
- If so, you are not only outside of God’s design for healthy relationships and a biblical marriage, but statistically have a higher chance of getting divorced.
- The Bible says in 1 Cor. 6:15-20, “Flee from all sexual immorality… you are not your own, you were bought with a price. Honor God with your body.”
- Are you ready emotionally?
- Is there a relationship that you are still emotionally involved in or have not fully resolved that would prevent you from moving forward into a serious relationship?
- Are you ready financially?
- Do you have a stable job?
- Can you provide for yourself and a spouse?
STEP 1: Be the person you want to marry
- As a Christian, if you are looking for someone who is pursuing after Christ, you need to be pursuing Christ.
- If you want a prayer warrior, be a man/woman of prayer!
- Are you looking for someone whose foundation and blueprint for life is The Bible? You need to be in The Word.
STEP 2: Find someone with spiritual compatibility
Both the Bible and marriage research show that it is most important to seek out someone who shares your spiritual commitment. Paul writes in 1 Cor. 7:39 that a potential spouse “must belong to the Lord”; that is, they must be a follower of Jesus Christ. Further, in 2 Cor. 6:14-15, Paul warns that “a Christian should not enter a partnership with an unbeliever because it will be a relationship built on opposing values and goals. Building relationships on Christian values, trust and love is essential to the Christian life, especially in the most intimate of all human relationships: marriage.” (“Preparing for Marriage”: Boehi, 113)
STEP 3: Create a checklist you are praying for in your future spouse
Be careful when creating this “perfect” list because you may not find your future spouse meeting every single item. That’s why it’s important to be firm on the non-negotiable items on your list (ie. he/she must be a believer in Jesus Christ; he/she must attend church) and differentiate those from the negotiable items (ie. he/she must have blue eyes, drive a Ferrari and love all sports & fishing). As you seek the Lord through prayer, you will be able to better determine what those checklist items should be, and which category they fall into.
STEP 4: Be a part of and serve within the Church and Christian community
We live in a day of hyper individualism where people feel very little sense of obligation to others. But God calls us to vibrant community within our families and within the body of Christ. Living in a Christian community makes it easier to find a mate who shares your spiritual values. The church provides connection with others, through worship, Bible studies, and small groups, and is the source for much of our growth as Christians. As you develop your relationships and grow within the community of faith, God can use those opportunities to connect you to some wonderful people.
STEP 5: Be proactive and seek godly counsel
Titus 2 strongly encourages young men and women to learn from older men and women. In addition to Christian discipleship, you also can ask mentors, trusted family members and your Bible Study leaders for candid feedback about how you can improve in a variety of areas to be more prepared for marriage. Some of your best opportunities to be proactive will grow out of faithful prayer. As you pray—about your role in finding a mate, for the single men and women in your life, for the help of parents and mentors and for God’s glory in your path to the altar—He will open your eyes to opportunities to take proactive steps toward marriage.
GOING FURTHER – Resources
The Sacred Search: What If It’s Not about Who You Marry, But Why? by Gary Thomas
“Gary Thomas looks at the heart of a subject that many consider him an expert on—successful marriage. Anyone who is dating, engaged, or hopes to be one day needs to read this book!” - Ed Young
Sex, Dating, and Relationships: A Fresh Approach by Gerald Hiestand and Jay Thomas
The authors are pastors who communicate a new, almost provocative voice to the conversation that, with straightforward theological insight, pleads with Christians to get serious about honoring Christ with their sexuality.
Get Married: What Women Can Do to Help it Happen by Candice Watters.
This book explains why marriage is an honorable pursuit and shows how women can live like they are planning to marry.
A Guy’s Guide to Marrying Well
A practical guide for men to help them become proactive about whether, how and who to marry. (Available as a free download)
Focusonthefamily.com Marriage, God’s design for marriage
Familylife.com My Marriage, Choosing a spouse
Boundless.org is a webzine for young adults. Its most popular articles are those about finding a godly spouse and dating according to biblical principles.