There are a lot of questions when dating or talking to someone you are interested in.
In the beginning stages, you might think:
Do they like me?
Do they think I’m attractive?
Will they call me again?
Will they run the other way when they see the worst sides of myself?
Do I have something in my teeth?
At the beginning of a relationship, the world around us says to: “Date around, don’t tie yourself down, don’t commit, make yourself happy…”
But then you have the Bible teaching us about love, not lust. And it’s described as being patient, having self-control, not being boastful, not being jealous (sorry, Nick Jonas), and not pursuing the lust of the flesh (so, “the shape of you” shouldn’t be what you are in love with, Ed Sheeran).
If you have been dating awhile or even a few weeks and you think you want to put a ring on it, how do you know you are ready to be married? Because marriage is way more than feeling strong emotions or fluttery feelings in your stomach . . . It’s about lasting through the long haul and having a ship that won’t sink at the first sign of rain.
First off, to be ready for marriage, we need to understand what marriage is and what it’s not.
It’s both people being all-in, 100%, for better or for worse, till death. NOT, “Till I find someone more attractive, or until I fall out of love, or until I am just tired of sharing the same everything with you.”
Marriage is not the key to finding happiness in life.
If you are not content with yourself as a single person or a dating person, know now that a spouse can NEVER complete you, only God can.
Marriage was created to be a partnership between a man and woman to last a lifetime, and to be a stable environment to raise a family. Marriage is way more than sex, too. It’s about commitment.
Marriage is about sacrificing yourself and becoming a whole new entity with someone else.
For me, personally, Melody Siebenmann no longer exists. Melody Turner does, and although my husband didn’t change his last name, we are one team and one family.
Before you propose or even think about dropping a knee or accepting a ring, you should ask these questions about your partner and also about yourself:
1. Are they trustworthy? Am I a person of integrity?
2. Does this person encourage me in my faith? Do I encourage them?
3. Am I more preoccupied with myself than others? Are they?
4. Do I have a good work ethic? Can I hold down a job?
On top of these questions, it’s also good to have a list of qualities that you are looking for. Now, obviously, this is more than needing your spouse to have green eyes and a six pack . . . or being able to sing and play the guitar. Although, you could have an it-would-be-nice-if-they-had column. But first, it’s best to have a list of non-negotiables.
On the top of the list should be shared beliefs. In order to have a healthy marriage, you both need to be aiming in the same direction theologically since, if you believe in Jesus, your purpose comes from him and telling others about him.
Secondly, physical attraction is important. God isn’t asking you to marry someone you don’t find pleasing to look at or be around. Because if you marry them, you will be looking at them for a long time!
Also, it’s important that y’all are actually friends and have things in common to do together. Like for me, my husband and I both love to watch movies and play sports and board games.
Keep in mind, if you are dating someone and you, “think they will change,” it’s not going to happen! Don’t think they will change and don’t try to force them to be someone other than themselves.
Another thing to keep in mind is to be the person you would want to marry.
So, do you want to marry someone who can’t manage their money?
Who cusses every other word?
Who listens to inappropriate music or other entertainment?
Who doesn’t show up to work or gets fired often?
Work on yourself first.
Be a person of character who is dependable and loyal to your friends and family.
Be a godly person, seek God first before anything else in your life.
Here’s the big secret to making a relationship work too: Every man needs to be respected and every woman needs to feel loved.
This is not sexist; it’s just how God has created us. Women need to feel wanted by their husbands, to feel beautiful, to feel provided for and protected and safe.
Men need to feel like their wife trusts them and will always be loyal to them, never tearing them down or making fun of them in public or private.
If you are single, where are you seeking dates?
Are you’re swiping right on Tinder or trying to get to know people at church or Bible study?
“There are many fish in the sea…” Except you need to know where to go fishing if you want to catch the fish you are looking for!
In conclusion, you know you are ready for marriage if you:
- Are ready to be completely committed to someone and understand it’s for LIFE.
- Are content and complete in Christ alone.
- Are financially independent and stable.
- Are a good and godly friend who challenges your person to grow closer to God.
- Are at peace with God regarding your significant other.
- You have a solid foundation of a relationship already built meaning: ya’ll know how to communicate, to share feelings, to fight well, to be vulnerable and to share a mutual purpose.
And honestly, it’s important that y’all pray together on a regular basis. If God is at the center of the relationship and prioritized first by both sides, then that, my friends, is a pretty sturdy foundation to build a life, a home, a future and a family with.
So, men, if you have read this and have that special lady in your life and everything lines up, stop waiting!
Ladies, if you have read this and are thinking, “This guy I’m dating or I’m crushing on smells like a bad fish…” Don’t buy it! You wouldn’t eat bad seafood, would you? Then don’t marry a bad fish or even date one.
To the singles who are still fishing, make sure you are using the right bait (godly character) in the right pond.
To the married people, you have your swimming buddy already, so keep on swimming.