If you have read my first “Things I wish I knew when I was young” post you would understand that I am not against good advice but I do believe it can be harmful if not prioritized correctly. First and foremost I believe that you must understand the Gospel and look to Christ first for your hope and everything. That is our life long lesson and struggle. With that in mind I am going to share some things I consider wise and helpful but they are not to be taken as “law” but as thinking and talking points. No one is going to be perfect and we all fail.
The real question is do we get back up because our eyes are on Christ, or do we pout and stay down? Do we persevere through trials because our joy is found in Christ and our eternal hope set in Him or do we give up because life becomes hard? Do we complain at pain and suffering because we wrongly think God saved us to make us happy earthlings or do we persevere knowing that Christ endured more and has promised us eternal joy and bliss while making us into Christ like people?
First I think one needs to judge whether Christ or marriage is first. In other words if you didnt get married (or even specifically to this person) do you think your life is over and hopeless? If you do then Christ probably isn’t your true hope. The desire to marry is right, but it shouldn’t supersede our loyalty and joy we have in Christ due to his Gospel. When you realize that you have access to Christ’s inheritance and heaven through the Gospel, then having marriage or not doesn’t seem as big as deal. First things should always be first things.
I would suggest that one considers their true state in life emotionally. Are you still in the “taking” stage where you require emotional input from others or are you participating in the “giving” stage where you are able to poor into others lives?
Love is mostly a choice that develops feelings. God choose to love us while we were sinners and not lovely. This is why people in arranged marriages can have happy and loving relationships. Attraction often helps us choose who we want to love, but attraction isn’t what keeps us in love, a choice is. This may sound harsh and not “fun” or “romantic”, but when you understand that your spouse loves you because they have chosen to (and committed to in marriage before God) you will fill up with love feelings for them. Just like knowing that God has chosen to love us no matter what creates in us loving feelings for Him. If you are not willing to love the other person no matter what…then don’t get married. No one falls out of love, they just simply choose to stop loving the person. Yes, their feelings of love might wane, but that isn’t an excuse to stop loving.
Attitude is more important than possessions. Houses, and jobs can come and go, but ones attitude to trust Christ and persevere (knowing He provides all we need) while working hard to do the right thing is the most important thing to have if one wants to marry.
Know that Christ is the one who provides every good thing for you: Jesus makes sure that your sex needs are taken care of, your food needs, your housing needs, your clothing, your money, everything comes from His hand through usually secondary means. Do not trust in your ability or drive to provide for your family, but Christ (but don’t be lazy). God does ask us to use wisdom and wisdom doesn’t include a category for “testing” God.
Just because God is in control doesn’t mean you lose any personal responsibility for your actions. If you are not “ready” for children and are not practicing the wise methods of birth control (including not getting married), but rather are of the attitude: “if God wants us to have children then He will give them to us” placing all the responsibility on God and not yourself, you are being foolish and will possibly reap the unwise consequences of your irresponsibility. This attitude is likened to the attitude of jumping out of an airplane without a parachute saying: “if God wants me to die I will die” and not thinking you are not responsible for your own suicide (even if God miraculously saves you doesn’t mean He approved of your actions). God didn’t create the laws of physics just so you can irresponsibly break them and expect God to miraculously intervene. Likewise God didn’t create the natural way that people get pregnant just so you can expect him to make virgins pregnant and those who have unprotected sex to not get pregnant all because “He wills”. God usually fulfills His will through natural means, and although His Will ultimately is for our good, doesn’t mean that every thing that he allows or visually wills is good in and of itself. God wills good things to happen and bad things to happen but that doesn’t take away the fact that bad things are still bad and still the responsibility of those who do them. God does no evil even when He wills evil to happen. By this I do not mean that God forces evil to happen, but chooses to use evil men’s decisions to fulfill his good ends while hating the means (evil). It is a mystery why God chooses to allow and use evil for his purposes, but we know for sure that just because he turns an evil thing into an ultimate good thing doesn’t make the thing no longer evil.
Don’t get married if you don’t ever want kids, God might have different plans than you for your life.
Don’t get married just because you want kids. God might have different plans than you for your life.
Men and women change a lot from their teens to their mid 20s. Wanting to marry your high school sweetheart is a risky thing and you should take it very seriously and make sure that you have both grown together and not apart. It is normal for people in this situation to have “buyers” remorse and want to date some other people because they are not sure what they really want. What you wanted as a teen probably isn’t a good thing for you in marriage.
Both of you should equally want to get married. If one has big doubts try to work through them and talk through them while being willing to call it off.
If your life dreams do not involve your spouse or potential kids, perhaps you shouldn’t get married yet. I.E you want to be in an industry that is unhealthy or very difficult to have a family in. When you get married your dreams and decisions need to be first for the good of the family and not your ego or pipe dreams.
There are other things I might add later but these things came to mind and I hope people will think about them. If you are married and were unwise it isn’t too late. There is still hope. First seek to understand the Gospel, and then how it applies to your life. As you seek to find your all in Christ then you will have the strength to love your spouse the way you need to, and give up of yourself.