I’m the first to admit that, like most women, I have a secret Pinterest board full of all things wedding. Lace, sequins, and sparkly trinkets abound on that secret “maybe someday” spot. It’s fun to dream about having a “big day” of epic romantic proportions. I remember spending entire afternoons in high school with my best friend clipping out pictures of wedding dresses and bouquets of flowers out of Brides magazine. That was the low tech version of Pinterest back in the day.
As girls, from the moment we watched our first Disney Princess movie, we started dreaming about the day all our friends would gather to watch us exchange vows in a beautiful gown. We imagine we would float around the dance floor effortlessly in the arms of our prince charming. My five year old daughter is already planning her wedding and mine, simultaneously. She loves looking at Pinterest with me and oohing and aahing at the pretty dresses and sparkly engagement rings. It’s fun and silly, but it’s misplaced energy.
We spend years dreaming of the perfect day, but how much time do we spend preparing for a lifetime of a healthy, strong marriage? A few weeks of required pre-marital counseling at best for most. Americans spend upwards of $35,000 for one day. But are unwilling to invest much time or money into the rest of their marriages. It’s embarrassing, really. No wonder the divorce rate is so high!
So how do we turn that around for our own future marriages? I’m glad you asked! I just so happen to have a few suggestions.
#1 Study what the Bible says about marriage and spousal roles. Learn about the intended design for marriage directly from the Source! God had a plan from the very beginning for marriage and family. He is the first and best resource for discovering how to prepare for marriage.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” -2 Timothy 3:16
#2 Read Christian books on the topics of intentional dating and marriage. There are some excellent books on this topic. Here are a few that I’ve read and highly recommend: Mingling of Souls: God’s Design for Love, Marriage, Sex, and Redemption by Matt Chandler, You and Me Forever by Francis and Lisa Chan, The Right One: How to Successfully Date and Marry the Right Person by Jimmy Evans If you don’t like to read, try Audible.com. All of the above titles are available and the info is so worth it!
“And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised.” -Ecclesiastes 1:13
#3 Listen to Christian podcasts and Youtube sermons on the topic of marriage. When I first started studying the topic of Christ-centered marriage and intentional dating, I binge-watched Francis Chan and Matt Chandler. Also, Pastor Michael Todd has an excellent series on the topic here. The important thing is to find biblically sound teachers with healthy views on marriage. It changed my perspective in the best ways!
“For by wise counsel you will wage your own war,
And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.” -Proverbs 24:6
#4 Pray for opportunities to learn how to be a good spouse. Even before your married, God will teach you how to be a godly spouse. I prayed for this about 10 months ago and it has changed me from the inside out. In addition to studying books and sermons, I asked God to give me real life opportunities to put marital skills into practice. And He has definitely provided!
“Yet you do not have because you do not ask.” -James 4:2b
#5 Pray for your future spouse. Ever since I was a young girl, I was told to pray for my future husband. I did occasionally, but not consistently. I never knew what to pray for him. But one of the best books I’ve read during this preparation phase is The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie OMartian. No, I’m not a wife, yet. But this book taught me how to pray scripture over my future husband. You may not know his name yet, but God does. I prayed for us to both have wisdom and discernment as God draws us toward Himself and each other. I prayed for us to choose His best for us.
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each otherso that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” -James 5:16
As a single woman, I’ll keep my secret dream wedding board. But more importantly, I now have a marriage prep board, too. It has cool stuff like how to encourage my future husband and scriptures to pray over my spouse. And of course, there are lots of biblical and romantic quotable quotes.
I want to hear from you! Single people: What things would you add to the list? Married people: What prepared you most for marriage?