It amazes me the number of people who do little to nothing to prepare for marriage. We’ve all heard the old saying, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” This is often true for marriage, especially today. Perhaps there was a day and time where the culture at large shared enough of the same values and view on marriage that preparing simply wasn’t as needed; however' those days are long gone. As I meet with couples in crisis, the common factor I see is a painful lack of proper training related to marriage. Marriage is not easy, but can be VERY good. The couples who have the best marriages take key steps to prepare for marriage and carry an ongoing value for growth in marriage.
Here are 4 reasons why you need to prepare for marriage or take regular steps to grow in marriage.
1. You are selfish.
You are more selfish than you think. There are pockets of selfishness you don’t even know exist that will rear their ugly heads once you get married. Selfishness is not a switch you can just turn off. It takes practice. Most people have grown up with their selfishness uncontested. In fact, the concern I have about delaying marriage to late 20s or early 30s is the ever-increasing rut of selfishness that develops living the single life. Good marriage prep will not only warn you of your selfishness but equip you to build more healthy patterns of selflessness and giving.
2. Your parents left gaps in your training.
No parent is perfect. Some better than others, but all have their strengths and weaknesses. Literally every couple I meet with in crisis deals with gaps in training that should have come from Mom and Dad. This may be the result of growing up in a divorced home or simply the absence of a parent or something even more traumatic such as, abuse or neglect. Either way, we all enter marriage with gaps in our training. This is why we need to submit ourselves to trusted voices of wisdom in order to shore up those weaknesses and continue to grow up in our relationships. I assure you, no matter what your background, you still have room to grow.
3. Your "soulmate” is a sinner.
So, Mr. or Ms. Perfect ain’t all that perfect after all. You married a sinner and so did your spouse! Most couples are so “in love” as they are moving toward marriage that they are blind to the faults of their “soulmate.” Suddenly, the honeymoon is over and you come face to face with the sinner you married. Broken expectation upon broken expectation introduces the reality that you will not get everything you want. In fact, you will get some things you definitely did not sign up for…this is marriage. However, please don’t read this like marriage is some kind of prison sentence. Marriage, even with all the faults sinners drag into the deal, can be wonderful through the process of forgiveness. My advice is, don’t get married if you don’t know how to forgive. In fact, make forgiveness something you constantly work on. I think this is one of the reasons why Jesus left us with the sacrament of Communion. Communion is a reminder of the forgiveness Jesus gave to us through his death on the cross. It is this act of remembrance that empowers our forgiveness of others - including our spouse.
4. Your marriage will take hard work.
Without good preparation for marriage and good coaching throughout married life, you simply will not put in the work needed to thrive in marriage. Most of us avoid the hard roads. We want the path of least resistance. Marriage is NOT that path. If you want a good marriage, you need to regularly face your inconsistencies and “growth areas” to keep marriage fun and fulfilling. When couples start having those challenging discussion early in engagement and married life, they build a pattern of dealing with the tough stuff instead of avoidance.
At Highpoint Church
we strive to help couples start married life right and strengthen marriages for the long haul. If you are interested in joining our next semester of Making Marriage Make Sense please click here