How can I as a single man best prepare for marriage and my wife, according to the Bible?
Preparation for Marriage from a Biblical Perspective for a Single Man.
It is important for men and women to take inventory of their own lives and individual roles in preparation for marriage.
A Man’s Preparation for Marriage, some key points to consider:
- Be a man of God. Lead the relationship. Set the pace and set the boundaries.
- Spend time in the Word of God, prayer and worshiping Jesus.
- Demonstrate a high level of trust, character and integrity.
6 Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. (Titus 2:6-8 NKJV)
- Serve well. Put other's needs and desires before your own.
- Clearly communicate intentions with her parents and potential wife. Ask God for wisdom with the words and timing.
- Study the subject of marriage and family in the Bible.
- Walk in total purity before getting married. No pornography, no physical sexual engagement or encounters with the woman you are courting. Consider not kissing until the wedding day. Holding hands and short hugs in public is best. Spending time one-on-one, especially at night, is ill advised. Protecting this arena of relationship on the front end, will pay priceless “trust dividends” on the other side of marriage.
- Be a standard bearer of purity for the next generation. What testimony do you want to share with your children? They will follow your example. Think about a future conversation with your children about how you walked out your relationship. This ought to put a healthy desire for a high standard in your heart.
- Involve parents in the courting process. Ask them to help with accountability. Doing this, helps communicate that you are mature, a man of character and shows a level of commitment even in the early stages of courting. Keep in mind, that until the marriage is official, this girl is "your sister in Christ" and may end up being someone else's bride. Your main goal is helping her draw closer to Jesus. If it becomes clear that you are not going to get married, she ought to be a better individual, more free and healed in Christ. Imagine yourself as a protector of this young lady. As much as possible, protect her heart and who God has made her to be.
- Involve your pastor or elder in the courting process.
- Invite feedback and counsel from older, trusted men and women of God. The marriage relationship is much bigger than the two of you. A community of believers will help you walk this out in holiness. (If you are not prepared to approach a relationship in this context, consider stopping right where you are, because you may not be ready for the challenges or have the maturity required to lead a Christ-centered marriage. The objective is to go the distance, which will require perseverance. When a couple isolates, in most cases, this can be a sign of an unhealthy relationship.)
- Understand sometimes “Christians” can and do offer poor advice. People you know, love and look up to, may give bad counsel. They will be influenced by their worldview, experience and perspective on the Bible. There will be “testing” on whose advice to take and whose not to take. A great indication is to look at the person’s character. Is their walk with God something to be admired? Are there areas of sin they continually operate in? How are their relationships? Be discerning as to whose counsel you receive. Do not let someone's age influence as to whether or not the advice can be trusted. There are individuals much older, who may sincerely, give poor advice and counsel. Encountering poor advice does not necessarily mean telling the individual their advice is bad. Simply thank them and put the advice on the back burner.
- Be prepared, you will be greatly tested in your leadership of the relationship. In fact, the woman in your life may say or suggest things that are sinful. You will be tempted to sin, just like Adam, but you do not have to. Women are different creatures than men, so it might seem okay to them, to move forward with the suggestion. Do not fall for whatever way this suggestion might be "packaged." If she cries, because you say "no" to an idea because it is sin or could lead to sin, stand strong and be as compassionate as possible. She may not get it or like it in the moment. Leading as Christ would lead, showing compassion, mercy and love in the midst of the situation, is the right way to proceed. If she is a woman of God and you are right, she will respect you in the future even more than she does at the moment. That is what is referred to as, "Winning a girl’s heart." The Lord will show Himself strong. He will reveal to her that you are trustworthy, a credible leader and capable of protecting her as well as the relationship. When God does back you up, try to avoid gloating, boasting or acting prideful. Stay humble and thank God for redeeming you in the situation.
- God is developing your character. If you make a mistake, repent. Confess your sin and depending on the depth of it, involve others. Please know there are varying degrees of making mistakes. Set your eyes on the beauty, excellence and perfection of Jesus. The Holy Spirit gives us the grace to be perfect as He is perfect, not the grace to dive head-first into sin. Ask God for wisdom and self-control.
- Ultimately, you are accountable before God and His Word. Let the fear of the Lord reign supreme over all of your decisions. Be the head of your household. Be the impeccable man of God that you are called to be. Follow the voice of the Good Shepherd. Ask Him for His counsel. His leadership is best
- Walk like Jesus. Be holy as He is holy. Realize Ephesians 5 is what is required:
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. (Ephesians 5:25-29 NKJV)