But if you do get married, it is not a sin. And if a young woman gets married, it is not a sin. However, I am trying to spare you the extra problems that come with marriage – Romans 7:28NLT
In preparing for marriage this is the first question that comes to mind; ‘Am I ready to get married?’ A sincere answer to this question will determine your level of preparedness to start a home. The marriage institution like any other requires adequate preparation before venturing in. The more prepared one is for marriage, the better the marriage experience one is likely to have.
When to Start Preparing for Marriage
Even though answer to this question is relative, varying from person to person, and culture to culture; the time to commence preparation for marriage is when you become aware of what marriage is, and the fact that you need to marry. If your preparation for marriage must be effective, then the need to have a basic understanding of the marriage institution is inevitable. Many people want to get married but are not prepared to shoulder the responsibilities that come with marriage. Several others prepare for ‘wedding’ which is a day’s event, rather than preparing for ‘marriage’ which is for a lifelong commitment. Looking at the failure of many marriages today, one wonders if the parties involved were fully prepared for this sacred institution called “marriage” before venturing into it.
Some Areas which require Preparation for Marriage
In preparing for marriage, there are some areas of preparation over which we have control such as spiritual, financial and mental aspects of readiness for marriage. Again, there are other areas where we have little or no control, such as physical maturity. In all, readiness for marriage should be approached from a holistic view rather than a partial view. Readiness in one area without the other can still be catastrophic. Some areas of preparation for marriage are:
Spiritual Preparation – In spiritually preparing for marriage, one has to establish an intimate relationship with the Author of Marriage – God. This begins with the acknowledgement and confession of one’s sin, and accepting Him as Lord and Saviour. When this relationship is established, it becomes easier to discern the will of God for your life in all areas, including marriage. Spiritual maturity is initiated as we maintain steady fellowship with God in prayer, Bible study and fellowship with other believers. Your spiritual readiness for marriage enables you to have the right perspective of marriage – God’s point of view based on His Word. When you’re spiritually prepared for marriage, it helps you understand your biblical role as a husband or wife towards your spouse, children and the home. It is also important to note that a marriage built outside Christ is very prone to crash. Approaching marriage from this perspective also helps you understand and maximize the mystery of two becoming one in marriage. Spiritual preparation for marriage is very necessary because there will surely be times of battle when the enemy tries to intrude into the family’s affairs. At such times, it’s the relationship you’ve built with God over time that will matter.
Physical Preparation – Physical preparation entails physical or bodily maturity. Age may be a factor here, but not all that matters. This level of preparation for marriage is more natural than it is deliberate; therefore, the individual has little or no control over this area. For instance, the growth and development of the various parts of the body – especially the sex organs and the activities of body hormones are some natural factors in which the individual has no control, and whose development requires time. In women for example, development of the pelvic is very important to ensure safe delivery of baby. So, do not be in a rush, allow time for physical maturity before entering into marriage.
Mental Preparation – This has to do with your mind. Your attitude towards marriage and life generally is a clear indication to note whether you are ready for marriage or not. The thought that marriage isn’t working or it’s only meant to be endured not enjoyed, puts you far from readiness for it. You can’t think that way and succeed in marriage. You need a sound mind to be able to enjoy marriage, for this purpose there is the need to work on your mind by diligently studying the Word of God. A good sense of reasoning, ability to think ahead and having a positive mindset about marriage are all important in your mental readiness for marriage. This is achievable by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and setting your mind according to God’s Word. The Apostle Paul cautioned, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and, meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse” – Philippians 4:8MSG. As part of your mental preparation for marriage, read good marriage books, attend marriage seminars, listen to messages on marriage that will prepare you for your future home, and ask the Holy Spirit to help your mind to be able to accommodate the one He is sending into your life – your spouse.
Emotional Preparation – In getting ready to marry, the need to master your emotions by the help of the Holy Spirit cannot be overemphasized. You are not to be ruled by your emotions but controlled by the Spirit of God – “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” – Romans 8:14. As humans, moments come when we are expected to express our emotions; not expressing it at all makes us inhuman, and extreme expression makes us do things out of control, which may eventually lead to damage. In marriage, emotions should be expressed within helpful boundaries – that is, the right emotions. Any emotion that is capable of destroying rather than building your home should be brought under control by the Holy Spirit’s help. Learning to tolerate, forgive, express love, manage pressure, control anger and respond calmly to tense situations are emotional virtues that should be coveted and mastered as you journey into marriage.
Financial Preparation – This area is also very important especially for men. Financial preparation means such a man should have a legitimate source of income before getting married. Your source of income could be a job or business that enables you to earn money either on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Closely related to that, you should have a home where you and your wife can start your marital journey. You need money to settle the bride’s price, for the wedding, and to start your new life as a couple. In preparing financially for your marriage, it is important to save or invest for that purpose. It is irresponsibility to completely rely on friends and family members to be married. If they are able to sponsor your wedding ceremony, they may not be available to sponsor your marriage; that is why you need a legitimate source of income before venturing into marriage as a man. Women are also not left out in this regard; they can have one or two sources of income by which they can support the man.
Finally, it is noteworthy to say, the need to prepare for marriage is not a call to perfection. If you were perfect, you wouldn’t need the other person. It is rather a call to responsibility so that when you are married you don’t become a liability to your spouse but a blessing. The marriage institution is too important to just stumble into without conscious and deliberate preparations. The level of your readiness for it will determine to an extent if you will enjoy or endure your marriage. Once again, are you ready to get married?