“You guys are such goals.”
“You’re the cutest couple ever.”
“I hope I get a relationship like that.”
Words. They will fill your engagement with confidence. They will spark a sweet pride in this once-in-a-lifetime stage of your life.
“Your wedding will be the best day of your life.”
“You’ve got your life so together!”
You may be falling for some of these words. You may be thinking, if I can just get to my wedding day, everything will be good. I will finally be where I am supposed to be.
You may think that marriage magically makes you love better and harder.
You may be under the impression that you will spend your life in a giddy state of mind.
Hear me say, marriage is wonderful. When someone looks you in your eye and promises before people and God to love and cherish you, to hold you most dear of anything else, you will melt into them.
You will love them differently because you chose them for the rest of your life. I would even go so far as to say that becoming one will be easier than you can probably imagine right now.
Staying one is where it gets tricky.
In your first month of marriage, you may think, I don’t know how I could ever consider divorce! This is the best relationship ever. In your second month of marriage, you may discover that the choice of loving becomes a little harder when your spouse takes the last sip of coffee. It sounds so small, but soon enough, the little stuff starts to seem much bigger. The things you ignored blissfully last month become your greatest frustrations this month.
It will be gloriously frustrating. You will wonder why it’s so easy to hold grudges. Why you become unhinged in the most random of moments.
Without care and intentionality, Christian, these things will not stop.
As you enter into your covenant bond, know that there will be days where you seem to be on a totally opposite page than your spouse. Know that he or she may not get where you are coming from. Know that you will be caught in your most vulnerable state: your sinful state.
Know that your marriage will not be perfect.
No marriage is.
It’s is not a fairy tale. It’s not a Rom-Com. You will take off the white dress and the suit and tie and step back into street clothes twelve hours later. The sparklers will fade out and the cake will go into the freezer.
Marriage is not about the beautiful, fun, extravagant day you spend so long planning.
It is two sinners who come together that God might be glorified, disciples might be made, and they might be sanctified.
We cannot plan for the perfect marriage and neglect to prepare for the hard days–the days your sin will show.
Think about it. At no point in our lives do we think, “okay today is going to be the day! Today is going to be the day I do not sin.” We know that we fail. So we get up early in the morning and we prepare for our sinfulness by counteracting it with His Word.
Have you ever noticed how the enemy attacks right where we have our guard down? If we think we are over our anxiety, he shows us something to be anxious about. If we think we are out of our lustful stage, he dangles something enticing in front of our eyes.
And if we think we will have a perfect marriage, he will make sure we see our spouse’s sin all the more.
My friend, preparing for the perfect marriage is just like preparing for a day without sin. It is pointless and silly. When we know our weaknesses, we make war on them. We go before the Father and beg for His mercy where we fail. We tell Satan that He cannot have this part of our lives.
Think of your engagement period as the morning before a big day that you know you will need God’s help to get through. Think about it as your time to get before your God and get personal with Him. Tell Him of your insecurities. Tell Him where you know you will fail. Unleash your heart’s desires for your soon-to-be union.
Marriage will test you. It will beckon you to love and respect another when they don’t deserve it. It will beckon them to do the same for you.
You will fail often, and so will your spouse.
So prepare now, my friend. Ask that God would greatly expand your ability to love unconditionally. Pray that he would strengthen your joy in trials. Ask that you might have peace when nothing is going to plan. Plead for patience. Seek to emulate His kindness. Recognize before the Father that only He can impose true goodness, self-control, gentleness, and faithfulness beyond measure.
Don’t prepare for a perfect marriage because you know you are not a perfect person. And neither is your fiance.
Prepare for the marriage that depends on Jesus to survive. Prepare for the marriage that spends most of its time on knees asking for forgiveness from a perfect Father. Prepare for a marriage that holds no records of wrong though wrong prevails.
Prepare to forgive often.
Prepare to choose your spouse.
Prepare for how you will disagree.
Prepare for how you will love regardless.
Prepare to be just as sinful as you are today, but to strive for sanctification all the more. Prepare for a sweet marriage full of trials and bumps and celebrations and emotions.
Prepare now, and enjoy then. With the right spiritual tools, this will be the very best time of your life.
Prepare for the best choice you will ever make. Know that you will have to choose often, and even when it is hard. But it is good, all the more.