The biggest decision and commitment we can ever make is the one to marry. It is a decision and commitment unlike any other. It is not like choosing a job, a career, a place to live, or making a major purchase. Marriage is a permanent and forever relationship. It allows us to become one in heart and body with another person – a relationship that once started can never be undone. Even though some marriages may end in divorce, those couples live the rest of their lives with the reminder of the life they were once one with.
Marriage has the potential for producing the greatest joys every possible this side of heaven. It is the culmination of God’s creation. After God created all, He brought man and woman together that they might experience the joy of oneness with each other and with Him! We later read in the New Testament that the relationship of a husband and wife is so significant that God uses it to picture the relationship He seeks with man!
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:31-32
For these reasons along with so many others, it is essential that we realize when it comes to marriage, there are no “do-overs”, it is not something with which we experiment, there is no room for making a decision purely from emotion, and a decision too great to avoid or reject the counsel of parents, family, leaders, and friends.
To increase the potential for great joy in marriage, here are 4 essentials for every person to consider before they consider:
1. Become confident of who you are in Jesus Christ apart from others
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. Ephesians 5:31
The greatest joy of a man or woman is in knowing who they are and what they have in Jesus Christ. In Him, there is full forgiveness, acceptance, love, favor, rightness, removal of all guilt, hope, mercy, and so much more! The needs of every person’s heart are met in receiving all that He is and has! A boyfriend or girlfriend can never meet all of those needs, neither can a spouse. We are only setting ourselves and the other person up for failure if we look to them for the deepest needs of our heart. A young man or woman must know how to have these needs met in Jesus Christ before they ever join themselves to another. They must be able to “leave” the ones who provide those things for them (parents or others) and know how to experience them personally with God, before they are joined to another.
2. Have the basics of your life established first
Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house. Proverbs 24:27
Before we consider marriage, we should seek to have the basics of our life first established. We should “prepare our work outside”. Know your educational and career direction. Get a job, have some income. Be able to independently provide for yourself and for the other person as well. Marriage is filled with wonder, but it is also filled with challenge. The transition is so great that we cannot afford to complicate by not having the basics of life first established. In the Old Testament, soldiers were given a year off from their duty so that they might spend the time developing the relationship with their wife and adjust to the transitions that it brings.
3. Be completely focused on doing what God is calling you to do
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
A person’s greatest individual joy will be in knowing and doing what God has called them to do. A person’s greatest frustration will be in not knowing what God has called them to be and do. When two people marry who both have an awareness of God’s calling and direction for their life, then there is immense joy! If you are still waiting and looking for the “one” to come along, then know that the greatest thing you can do for yourself and them is to be passionately following what God has for your life. As you do, He will bring the “one” alongside. One of the ways you will know it is the “one” is that you and they will find great joy in what the two of you are doing and being! As you are waiting, pursue what God is leading you to do and don’t…
- be pressured to be someone you are not
- be pressured to do something you don’t want to do
- give in to having to change who you are and what you do for their sake
4. Be determined to hold back your emotions & body until you have confirmation from God, parents, family, friends
Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right. Song of Solomon 8:4
The desire to love and be loved in marriage is powerful. It is a power so great and filled with such intensity that it must be kept for the day that God brings it about. He will confirm the person and the timing in many ways. It will come through circumstances, an inward peace, approval of parents, and confirmation from those who love you most. Until that day, keep the treasure of your emotions and body wrapped. Save the fullness of wonder, joy, and release for the day that is right.
The New Testament paints the beautiful picture of a groom who has gone to prepare a place for his bride. Until that day she keeps herself pure, single-hearted, and loving waiting for the day they will be one. That groom is Jesus. The bride is His church. A great marriage celebration will occur on the day that He returns. In that day we will enjoy the reality of His love and forever be with Him! Him in us. Us in Him. Eternal delight and joy!