Before You Say “I Do”
What type of marriage do you want? One lady said that she got married looking for the ideal, but ended up with an ordeal and now she wants a new deal. The good news is, if you do marriage God’s way, you’ll be blessed with the ideal, and you won’t be asking for a new deal.
Tony Evans writes, “For many people, marriage is like a three-ring circus. First, there is the engagement ring. Next comes the wedding ring. Then, there is suffering.” That’s not what God has planned for you. Instead of suffering, he wants your marriage to be an offering to Him, and a blessing to you and others.
Now, if you want a marriage that will honor God, one built on a foundation strong enough to weather the storms, one that like wine will get better with time, one that pursues holiness instead of happiness and ends up with both, one that your children and grandchildren will be proud of and want to emulate, the best time to start working on it is before you say I do. You may have heard the statement “Everybody will end up somewhere. Only a few get there on purpose.” How true! You are going to end up somewhere, but if you leave that to chance, you will most likely end up where you do not want to be.
Applying this truth to marriage means you need to be wise and purposeful in making decisions regarding your relationships now, and not leave this to chance. Start paying attention to yourself and to your decisions before marriage, because paying attention will determine your direction and your ultimate destination. You should be intentional in choosing your friends, but extraordinarily so in choosing your spouse.
Do not marry someone just because he or she is good looking, or popular, or you have “fallen in love.” Emotional decisions are seldom good decisions. Be led by wisdom and let your emotions follow. Otherwise, you are likely to end up with buyer’s remorse.
Several weeks ago, I needed to be in Houston. It would have been crazy for me to have gone to the airport, and boarded the first plane because it was the nearest and easiest one to get on, or because it was the prettiest of all the planes–the logo, paint job, and external design were just superb. No, when I am planning to fly, I am not concerned about the external paint job of the plane, and I don’t care what colors it is painted with or the design of its logo. What I am concerned about is the internal structure and mechanical engineering of the plane, the skill of the pilot, the time it departs and arrives, and the airport it is flying to. It would be crazy to decide to board a plane based on the paint job.
It is also crazy for you to be willing to get on board the “love plane” and “take off” with someone on a journey in marriage, just because he or she has a good “paint job”, and you like the external design. Wisdom would dictate you be far more concerned about their internal structure and engineering to determine whether or not they have the character and relationship skills, not only to “take off” with you, but to be able to fly in good weather and through turbulence, and that you know in advance at what “airport” they intend to land. It is crazy to be willing to embark upon a life-altering journey with another person and not be certain about the direction he or she wants to take you in, or the final destination he or she has in mind, but to hope that that somehow you will arrive where you need to be, just because you “love” or are “attracted” to that person.
I have met and counseled too many hurting people who decided to marry on the basis of a “paint job” and “external design” and now are utterly miserable. Too many make up their minds without seriously taking into account the wisdom and counsel of the Lord in choosing a mate, and when they do “consult” the Lord, it is only to get His approval for what they have already decided.
Let me give you some personal advice to help you. God is a lot wiser than you. He’s been around much longer than you have, loves you more than you love yourself. The best thing you can do for yourself is to pay attention to what He says and the guidance He has already given in His Word about many issues regarding you, including the ones relating to marriage. And start paying attention now, before you say “I do.”