On October 26, 2019, I was engaged to my favorite girl in the world. Her name is Rachel — she is also the most beautiful girl I know. She is my best friend, and I cannot wait to marry her on April 25, 2020 (that’s 63 from the time that I am writing this). Please understand that I am not married. That is not the perspective from which I am writing today. My desire is simply to share a few of the things that have been helpful for me as I’ve pursued marriage. Think of this blog post as a creative repackaging of truth people have shared with me.
One of the biggest questions I wrestled with pre-engagement is this. How do you know when you are ready to be married? How do you know when you’ve found the one?
There are at least three things that should be considered when determining if you are ready to be married — three things that should all be present before you put a ring on it.
Proverbs says, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised (Proverbs 31:30).” You want to marry a person that loves Jesus more than anything in the world — even you. There are so many things that we can get distracted by when we date, but the most important question you need to ask before considering marriage is: does she loves Jesus? Few things in life have brought more joy than running hard after Jesus with my best friend.
The second thing you should consider is compatibility. What I mean is that you should enjoy being together. There should be a level of attraction. You shouldn’t loathe evenings spent together — after all, you are choosing to spend the rest of your life with them. Most of our lives are spent doing rather mundane things. Every evening together will not be ice cream and mini-golf dates — or whatever you think sounds fun. In other words, you should enjoy conversation with them. I also think you should be attracted to the person. But, can I share with you something that I have learned? Attraction is way more connected to personality and character than we typically think. If you are even moderately attracted to a person physically and then you find out that they are on fire for Jesus, your attraction to that girl will grow. The point isn’t that we should date or marry someone we are not attracted to (please don’t do that). The point is that attraction should be the second question we ask, not the first.
The very first thing I noticed about Rachel when I met her is her eyes. My first thought, “She is way out of my league.” As in, she is the most beautiful girl I have ever met. But within five minutes, some other things became very obvious as well: her kindness and her love for Jesus. I could tell she was a person of character. Guess what? My attraction for her grew, and our conversation was great because we have something deeply in common — Jesus is our greatest treasure.
I think the last thing you need to consider before marriage is commitment. In other words, are you at a place in life where you can commit to the responsibilities of leading a family (I am thinking here specifically of men)? Paul says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” That’s a very sobering thing to consider. No one will ever be completely ready for marriage. Still, you should understand that when you say “I do,” you have accepted before God the responsibility to care for her financially, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. You are called to love her the way Jesus loved the church. You are called to give up your own rights for her, not because it is fair but because you love her and want to model Christlikeness. That thought freaks me out, but it is important to take seriously before getting married. For college students specifically, I think having a serious conversation about money is wise. You’ll never be totally prepared for marriage (or so I am told), but getting mature people in your corner who can help you think objectively about these things is an excellent place to start.
There is so much more that could be said, but these three ideas were beneficial for me as I have tried to pursue marriage in a way that would honor God. I have not been perfect, and yet God is a good Father who has blessed me more than could ever deserve with an awesome partner in the gospel to run hard after Jesus with. I want the same for you!
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I welcome any questions, sarcastic comments, or additional thoughts you may have. Please feel free to reach out HERE — seriously! If you were helped by something you read, please share it with your sphere of influence. Thanks!