“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” – Titus 2:3-5
It’s me and I’m writing a blog post at 2:21am. EEK! Crazy girl, you may say, but when inspiration hits, I write.
(Caution: This blog post is more so written for the ladies but men can learn from it as well, as well as the suggested resources at the bottom of the page)
So, I was having a conversation with one of my Christian brothers about courtship this evening. Our conversation shifted towards being intentional about building great character and personal discipline before pursuing romantic relationships, and it made me wonder how many other people our age actually think this way.
What I’ve noticed lately is a trend of single Christians in their 20s who are so excited about what marriage has to offer, but who are not intentional in preparing for it. Let me paint a picture for you.
Lindsey is a 25-year old young woman in decent shape who decides that she wants to run a marathon in 6 months. So Lindsey goes out and buys new running shoes, short and tops. She buys healthy food so that she can eat clean. She even gets the Nike running app on her phone so that she can track her results. After all that, Lindsey only trains a few times during the first 5 months but runs every other day in the month leading up to the race. She eats whatever she feels like eating for the first 5 months and then when she’s a month out, she decides to start eating well. She barely even looks at the app on her phone until one month before the race. When she gets to the marathon to run, she is dressed well and looks well-prepared for what’s in front of her, but guess what? Lindsey doesn’t make it past the 5th mile. Why? Because she wasn’t intentional about preparing to get where she wanted to go.
Many of us are like Lindsey. We talk a good game, but when it comes to training for what we want, we don’t do it. We want to be married, but we don’t want to work on the attitudes and character flaws that we have now that could be potentially detrimental to a marriage. We also don’t spend our time learning about what marriage is really about, why it exists and how God created it to work.
I’m very blessed with a community of intentional women. In addition to phenomenal single sisters who challenge me to be deliberate in preparing myself for the future, I’m blessed to have a group that I call my “Titus 2” women. They are my married big sisters and they disciple/mentor me so that I can one day join their ranks as a phenomenal, Godly wife. These women are very honest about what it takes. They have made it clear to me that marriage is not all about cuddle sessions, constant sex and always having someone to watch movies with. All of those elements have their place, but marriage is so much bigger than that. It’s about a covenant made before God that will reflect the love that He has for His people to the world. Marriage is a ministry. Although I knew this (in theory) before, learning the lessons that marriage has taught them has made it real to me. These women are challenging me on everything from how I spend my time and energy, how I manage my money, how I take care of my body, how I submit to authority and how I regard others in my decision making to how I spend time with God and how diligent I am in praying for others. They leave no area untouched because they want me to be as equipped as possible to enter into marriage if the Lord so graces me.
Not only do I have these women, but I have a sincere desire to learn everything that I can myself, and to improve my character. Since last summer, I have read countless books, articles, blog posts, I’ve listened to sermon series, speakers and everything that I could get my hands on to prepare myself for what I want in the future. I don’t believe that I can teach myself everything. I believe that there are many lessons that I can only learn from marriage, but how unwise would it be for me to go into it blindly without at least having tried to glean wisdom and insight from the experiences of others?
Being intentional is the difference between knowing where you want to be and getting where you want to be.
When it comes character, how many of us are aware of the character flaws that we posses and are working to improve them? I have seen people boast about their character flaws as if they were okay and then go on with life. We don’t become better people by boasting about our issues; we become better by acknowledging them and consciously working to correct them. Another huge part of this is asking God to reveal the areas of our character that need to be fixed. I’ve prayed this prayer and God has shown me things I didn’t expect to see, but I thanked Him because then and only then could they be worked on. One of my favorite pastors, Dr. C. Wesley Knight recently said, “What you never confront, you will never conquer.” Don’t laugh your issues off. Be upfront about the fact that they exist and ask God for help correcting them. You don’t want those to cause issues for you (or your relationships) later when you could work on them today.
What you never confront, you will never conquer. – Dr. C. Wesley Knight
So ladies, here are some great questions to consider before considering marriage:
Am I faithful to God daily by consistently spending time with Him?
Am I willing to serve even though I may not feel like it?
Do my words build up or do they destroy? Can I be a source of encouragement?
Am I ruled by my emotions and feelings?
Am I lazy?
Am I disciplined?
Am I taking every opportunity to learn from the Godly wives around me?
Am I able to submit to authority? Am I able to submit to God and my parents now?
Am I intentional about how I handle my finances? Am I preparing myself to make wise financial decisions for a family?
Do I take every matter to God in prayer?
Do I have Christian character? Am I preparing myself to instill Christian character in my children?
Do I know how to take care of myself? Would I be able to take care of the basic needs of my family?
Have I tamed my tongue or am I quick to lash out when angry? Do I have a pleasant attitude?
Am I considerate of others?
Why do I want to be married? Is it for my own validation, the need to feel loved or the desire to belong? Are any of my reasons selfish or self-seeking?
Am I preparing myself to be a great helper to a man of God?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, you’re a lot like me. I don’t know anyone, single or married, who can say that they have checked all of these areas off their list. But the key is to be asking yourself these questions regularly so that you know you aren’t being idle and so that you are living an intentional life. Let’s not be Lindsey. Let’s start training now for where we want to go.
I have some reading and listening suggestions as well.
Captivating by John & Stasi Eldridge
Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot
“Boy Meets Girl” sermon series by Louie Giglio (check the Sermon Series resource page)
Everything on the Singleness, Courtship and Marriage resource page. Yup. Everything. It’s all great.
And let me say this.
I didn’t write this post because I’m obsessed with marriage. I’m not. I LOVE singleness. I’m living life like it’s golden right now. I am, however, obsessed with glorifying God in every area of my life. And to me that means preparing to do everything well so that others can see Him when they see me. I think that if Christians were as intentional about preparing for marriage as we were about talking about it, there would be more of them that actually fulfill God’s intended purpose for creating it. But that’s another post for another day.
Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear any thoughts you have on this. Comment below!