This will be my last post on this series on marriage. Most people spend all their time preparing for their wedding day but not their marriage. And most married people spend all their time trying to improve their marriage by their own strength and not loving their spouse through the Gospel. To better prepare you to love your future spouse, I think it’s helpful to get some advice and counsel before you get engaged. It can help provide direction and guidance for the future of your relationship. Here are some questions you can work through on your own:
1. What’s your vision of marriage?
What do you think married life will be like? Does it correspond with reality? Have you asked a married person about what their marriage is like? Does it correspond with the Bible’s vision of marriage? Have you asked a godly married person what their marriage is like? If you need some help thinking through this, I recently read a blog post that can point you in the right direction written by Jean Williams. You can read it here. I would also recommend reading some books on marriage not dating. I would commend to you Paul Tripp’s What Did You Expect? for starters. That’s the most honest book I’ve read on some of the more difficult realities of marriage.
2. Do you share the same vision and values in life?
Compatibility is often an issue people try to think through before making a decision about marriage. Although sharing common interests and having complementary personalities is helpful, I don’t think it’s essential. I think what’s more helpful is sharing the same vision and values in life. I think this is where compatibility matters more. If one person spends money lavishly and the other person saves money frugally then there’s going to be some real trouble in marriage. If one person envisions serving the church several times a week and the other person envisions having a schedule more free to do other things then there’s going to be trouble in marriage. You don’t share the same vision and values in life. The Bible says that marriage is about two people becoming one (Gen 2:24; Matt 19:5-6; Eph 5:31-32). I believe this includes our vision and values coming together in unity. For Christians, we need to consider whether our vision and values reflect God’s and evaluate how this is reflected in your relationship. Some basic questions to start with include: 1) How do you want to spend and save money? 2) How do you want to raise your kids? 3) How do you relate with your parents?
3. Do you see God’s sovereignty over the circumstances of your relationship?
Where is God in your relationship? Is he in the center or the periphery? Do you see him arranging circumstances to allow you to move towards marriage? Or do you find yourself trying to manipulate circumstances to make things happen? I think God is concerned not just about who you marry but also about how you pursue that relationship. Sometimes, circumstances might call for a break or an end to the relationship. Sometimes, they might call for greater commitment. What’s your sense of God’s timing in the relationship?