It’s not too early to be wondering how to prepare for marriage. You don’t have to wait until you’re engaged. Actually, you don’t even need to be dating.
Can I be brutally honest? I don’t know if I’m prepared for marriage now (and I’m already married). My wife Ashia and I are still newlyweds trying to figure everything out. But we can both clearly remember the best advice we heard way before we ever met. The surprising things that helped us prepare for marriage were actually things we learned when we were single. Now that I’m married, I can look back and clearly see it wasn’t dating that helped me prepare for marriage.
I’ll say it again. You’re already getting prepared for marriage whether you realize it or not. If you think you’re too young to start preparing, too inexperienced to learn how to lead a relationship, or even too single to start thinking about marriage, you’re wrong. You have everything you need to start preparing for marriage now! Don’t worry about what you don’t have; just focus on what you do have.
And another thing—these five things to help you prepare for marriage aren’t just for those who are dating. Each of these things will hopefully lead you closer to Jesus and make you an amazing spouse in the future! Get the picture?
- Surround yourself with those whom you to aspire to be. Our pastor says, “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.” Look closely at the people you hang around, and you’ll get a glimpse of the person you’re becoming. It’s invaluable to have a married couple in your life that you look up to. A couple you can’t help but say, “#goals,” after all of their posts. These couples will show you exactly what you can aim for in your future relationship.
- Start serving now. I learned pretty early on (like the first day of marriage) that serving your spouse is important. When you serve someone else, you’re placing their needs above your own. This selfless leadership happens daily in marriage. Serving others—anywhere—helps you develop the heart you’ll need for serving your spouse later.
- Follow through with commitments. The commitment to staying pure is so much more than not having sex. When you commit to doing something and you succeed, it becomes that much easier to follow through with future commitments! Let your word mean something now, and it will mean that much more in marriage later.
- Lose the baggage. Bringing financial, emotional, or spiritual baggage into a relationship is detrimental. You won’t ever treat someone’s heart better than you treat your own. Those negative emotions you’re holding onto about that family member or your past will be projected onto your spouse. Start to come to terms with your brokenness now so you can humbly understand your spouse’s brokenness later.
- Don’t demand change from others before you change yourself. Your future spouse will absolutely do things that frustrate you—things you’ll be desperate to change. But the change you desire must start with you. I bet there are a few people you wouldn’t mind changing. You wish they were more loving, more understanding, more honest. If you start by changing those things about yourself, you’ll begin to see it in the people you surround yourself with!
Bottom line? “You play like you practice.” I heard this phrase more than any other growing up around sports, and surprisingly this advice could be equally attributed to our marriages. The things that helped me prepare for marriage surprised me. How you follow Jesus, serve others, and handle conflict as a single person will trickle over to your future marriage.