At only 18 years old, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would marry Austin Groves.
It probably seemed crazy to my mom when I sat on her bedroom floor and told her that I had found the guy that I was going to marry. I’m sure it sounded crazy to my friends—especially since they had only known Austin a few months. Yet something inside of us knew. We just knew that we were one another’s person.
As soon as this realization washed over me, I began making my list. I had to ask every question. I thought it would be at least four years before we got married, and I didn’t want to leave any question unanswered until the last minute.
The following list is some of the key things I wanted to know before making the promise of engagement or considering the covenant of marriage. The difference between this list and any other is that they are questions directed toward myself.
You see, marriage is an everyday choice. It requires much of us. Yes, there are logistical things we need to ask the other. I hope that in your dating, you’ve already asked these questions.
But if you feel that you and the person you’re dating are moving toward engagement, I want to challenge you to take a long hard look at yourself. I want to challenge you to spend some time with a pen and a notepad and meditate over these questions. Be honest. Put yourself in the hardest of situations. Consider how you might respond and how you would rest in the Father in the process.
Don’t respond how you think you should. Respond with the deepest, darkest truths of your heart.
- How would I respond if this person needed a full-time caregiver?
- Do I think he/she will encourage me when I am struggling spiritually?
- Am I ready to give of myself completely?
- How will we handle the responsibility of finances?
- Are we on the same page with tithing?
- What were my greatest strengths when it came to relationships with my family at home?
- What were my greatest weaknesses when it came to relationships with my family at home?
- Are we on the same page when it comes to our Christian doctrine?
- Are we able to talk out our differences in doctrine in truth and love?
- How do I fight? Do I avoid conflict or jump into it?
- What is my greatest insecurity?
- How long do I want to wait to have children?
- How many children do I want to have? Am I willing to compromise that number as God wills or if my spouse desires it?
- Am I open and willing to go to marriage counseling when things get tough?
- What do I admire about my parents or someone who raised me? How do I want to emulate them in my marriage?
- Am I willing to live simply in order to be generous?
- Am I willing to change my plans to support the dreams of my spouse?
- What shuts me down?
- What kinds of things am I willing to give up in order to be a better steward of my money?
- Am I willing to admit when I am wrong and apologize often?
The thing about each of these questions is that they’re easy to answer in the way we think they should be answered. It is easy to say I am willing to admit when I am wrong. Even so, I don’t do it often. It is easy to say that I will put my desires aside for my husband’s dreams, and it’s easy for him to say the same about me. But what happens when push comes to shove?
If your answers are not perfect, it does not mean that God is not preparing you for marriage. As I look back at this list and consider my answers, then and now, I still see many sinful flaws in my marriage. I am embarrassed to say that I have a hard time not pushing my husband’s buttons. I am embarrassed to say that I do not apologize quickly enough or often enough. I am embarrassed to say that I sometimes do not know when to walk away from conflict and meditate with the Lord.
When I confess these things to myself and to other believers, I can begin to ask how I might move forward. It won’t always be easy, but I do have a starting place. Ask these questions. Hand them to the person you want to marry. Start somewhere, and rest on the Lord in all weakness.
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Would you add any questions to this list? If so, what questions?
What do you find to be the hardest question to answer honestly?