How to Prepare for a Victorious Married Life in Christ
Keys to Success
Many people happily enter into marriage with the hope that it will last a lifetime. Unfortunately, some couples are so preoccupied with the immediate benefits of marriage that they fail to thoroughly weigh the realisms involved in a lifetime commitment. Upon examining my own premarital experience, I offer the following suggestions on how to prepare for a victorious married life in Christ:
Seek God’s Approval: Daily strengthen your communication with God by praying, meditating, and reading the Bible. Ask God for insight and listen for God’s answer. If you are being open and honest about your relationship with that special someone, you will know in your spirit whether or not God approves. Be obedient to God’s instruction because lifetime decisions without God’s direction can lead to disastrous results.
Evaluate The Relationship: Consider your motives in marrying: Are they the right ones? Have you developed a real friendship, and do you communicate with one another or is most of your time spent getting physical? Do the similarities between the two of you outweigh the differences?
Have you truly accepted those undesirable characteristics of the person you are considering marrying or do you falsely believe that you and marriage can change them? There is a saying that “you never really know a person until you’ve lived with them.” Consider, however, that previous minor annoyances have a tendency to become major irritations when combined with unknown traits that surface with each passing year.
Discuss Major Issues: Personal expectations, finances, and in-laws are three universal issues that can cause serious problems if not addressed beforehand. Observe the actions and reactions of your spouse-to- be when these issues are discussed. This will give you some idea of what to expect after the wedding.
1. Personal Expectations – Do you have realistic expectations for your mate and your marriage? Have household responsibilities been mutually agreed upon? How many children will you have, if any? What responsibilities will be shared in the care and rearing of the children? What methods of discipline will be used? Consider your openness to rethinking together some of those pre-agreed upon actions if the realities do not meet the expectations (for instance, you agreed on a certain number of children and later find that you are physically unable to have your own).
2. Financial Matters – How will premarital debts be handled? How will major buying decisions and investments be made? Should you have individual or joint accounts? Do you know if your intended manages money poorly; is deep in debt, or has bad credit? Review credit reports of all three major credit bureaus together.
3. In-Laws – Keep your mate informed about all extended family situations that involve you. Genesis 2:24 says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (NIV). Your mate becomes your immediate family and should be treated as your priority; do not neglect your mate’s needs. Determine to maintain control of your home when relatives come to visit. Relatives can play one spouse against the other when a lack of communication exists in the home.
Seek Premarital Counseling Early: Part of the traditional wedding service states that “holy matrimony, which is an honorable estate, instituted of God … is not to be entered into lightly or unadvisedly.” You and your fiancé should get professional counseling, both jointly and individually. Early counseling will evoke thoughts and allow reflection and response without deadline pressures to influence decisions. Individual counseling will allow you both to freely express any doubts or problems that may arise.
If In Doubt, Don’t! – If you are having second thoughts, postpone the wedding. Talk openly and honestly about your feelings with your spiritual advisor or counselor. Do not pretend that everything is fine; inform your fiancé and work through it together. Taking time to be sure is far better than spending a lifetime being sorry, miserable, and angry with your spouse or yourself.
Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into marriage by people or circumstances. In spite of warnings and personal doubts, people have gone ahead with their weddings for fear of embarrassment, other people’s expectations, and money spent. Keep in mind that memories will fade, apologies can be expressed, money can be remade, and some deposits can be refunded. Your future and peace of mind are worth more than these, and if that person is truly for you, then dates can be rescheduled.
Know What God Requires Of You: God expects you to honor your vows and will hold you accountable to them. Realize that the commitment is “for as long as you both shall live,” not until the better gets worse, the health becomes sickness, or the money gets scarce. God’s plan is for lifetime commitment.
There are no fifty/fifty percentages in marriage, both persons must determine to give one hundred percent regardless of the return. Making a lifetime commitment means that you cannot just conveniently change your mind if communication goes bad, your needs go unmet, your mate gains weight, or your feelings change – not if you want to maintain a right relationship with God. At those times when the glow of romance dims, trust God to provide you with sufficient grace, wisdom, and guidance to see you through.
Take time to prepare honestly and prayerfully for a lifetime commitment of marriage in Christ. It can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
Rebellion, Repentance, Redemption
The Marriage Life Lesson is a poem that illustrates the consequences and lessons I learned from not following through on the keys to success in preparing for a victorious married life in Christ or fully comprehending the gravity of the marriage commitment.
MARRIAGE LIFE LESSONS
On my journey, I chose to do it my way,
even though God tried to tell me what was best.
I leaned to my own limited understanding
and rationalized myself into an unfortunate mess.
Fleeing unresolved issues and heart-wrenching loneliness,
I married in spite of Spirit’s warning and fearful doubts.
Although he was a good man, a minister, and a hard-working provider,
you can be unequally yoked to a Christian is what I found out.
It took me ten years to confess and repent my disobedience;
emotionally and spiritually, I had slowly begun to die.
The following year, my release came after crying out, “How long Lord?”
For years I thought, “I made my bed, I have to sleep in it, and stuff the cry.”
I am grateful for second chances and new beginnings;
I now know: regardless of situations I try to create,
God’s process of my development and intended purpose
may be delayed or adjusted, but cannot be escaped.
I’ve come full circle to face my fears and trust God;
it is not an option, some things occurred I did not expect.
To achieve my dreams and keep my steps directed,
God orchestrated the removal of all my safety nets.
I walk by faith, stumbling to my divine destination,
desperate to learn from past mistakes and to follow God’s lead.
I can snuggle in God’s warm embrace of unconditional love now,
and increase through the eternal covenant promise, as Abraham’s seed.
God, the Father, always desired to give me the kingdom.
He ordained it before I was formed in my mother’s womb.
His plans are to prosper me, give me hope, and a future;
not to harm me with evil, fear, or irrevocable doom.
I learned to be content, even when I appeared lacking
because long-term finances had yet to become mine.
Through the Word, I attained prosperity of soul and spirit,
realizing the physical manifestation must first begin inside.
I am wealthy with immeasurable bles-sed riches;
I have God’s favor, fellowship, power, joy, and love.
I have family, friends, a church home, and God’s promise
that He will perform the good work in me until Jesus comes.
I don’t have to figure out all the details of tomorrow.
I don’t have to worry about, “What if I fail or fall?”
I can repent, speak God’s word, and trust Him
to fix whatever the situation, great or small.
I am a wonderful creation made in God’s image and likeness,
created to love, worship and give praises to Him;
a chosen vessel and laborer, building up the kingdom;
without God, I can do nothing; I need God in order to live.
The Word is eternally relevant for all generations.
Jesus paid the price that holistically sets me free.
Therefore, I rejoice throughout all trials and tribulations;
I am more than a conqueror, the victory is guaranteed!
(Psalms 30:11) “Thou hast turned my mourning into dancing:
thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness.”
Jo Anne Meekins
Inspired 4 U Publications
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2009 Jo Anne Meekins