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Are You Ready For Marriage?

I just want to ask you one question: Why do you love your mate/spouse? Take a moment and think about the reason(s) you love them. I'll give you a moment. 

Okay. Time is up. I want you to now place a mental checkmark next to the answer or answers, if any, that you've come up with out of the list of reasons below:

  • They make me feel good.

  • They tend to my needs.

  • They pray for me.

  • They love me.

  • They show me attention.

  • They're a good provider.

  • They say all of the right things to me.

  • They're always there when I need them.

  • They make me feel accepted and desired.

  • They're fine/beautiful.

  • They love God.

  • They remind me of my dad/mom or someone else I deeply love.

  • They have a great personality and make me smile/laugh.

  • They're fun to be around.

  • They're adventurous. 

  • They buy me things.

  • They're a good lover.

  • They're submissive and obedient.

  • They treat me with respect and show me honor.

  • They're a good communicator.

  • We have a lot in common.

  • They're going somewhere in life and have great dreams and ambitions.

  • My parents like them.

  • My family likes them.

  • They accept my children.

  • They come from good stock.

Now, I'm about to lay a very hurtful and shocking reality on you with this statement: If you've placed a check next to any of the above reasons, then the truth're not ready for marriage, yet. I know. That's a shocker. Stop yelling. Calm down. Just hear me out for a minute. If you can think of a reason why you love someone, then your love for that person is not genuine! For example, if you love them because they make you smile, treat you good, carry themselves in a respectable manner, and provide for you, then what will happen if they stop doing these things? What if they get depressed all of a sudden and stop making you laugh? What if they lose their job and can't provide for you? What if they find themselves under an inordinate amount of stress and facing a challenge or challenges that they've never faced before and suddenly begin acting moody and hostile due to the stress? What if they develop a sickness that alters their mood and become snappy and irritable and difficult to deal with (a hormonal or chemical imbalance occurs)? What if . . .  Do you stop loving them because they've changed? If so, then your love was never genuine to begin with. You didn't build your relationship on the right foundation.

According to the Bible, you don't suppose to have a reason for loving someone. God doesn't necessarily have a reason for loving us; He just loves because He is love (1 John 4:8). Your love for another shouldn't be based on their treatment of you. Now, just because God loves us, He doesn't tolerate and approve of everything we do. We should have standards and demand respect, but we shouldn't let our love be based on "conditions". 

Husbands are called to love their wives not "if" their wives respect and treat them right, but simply because this is a form of imitating Christ. Wives are required to honor and respect their husbands not "if" they make "X" amount of dollars and are deemed worthy of respect; but, according to 1 Peter chapter 3, the wife must honor and respect her husband simply because this is "pleasing in the sight of God". 

If, starting out, you're already hunting for "reasons" to do what you're supposed to do according to God's Word and are already blaming each other for why you're not doing what you're obligated to do according to God's Word, then you're on the wrong track and are headed for disaster. The blaming will only intensify and increase with time. The negligence will only broaden with time. The neglect of the relationship will on increase and leave the two of you feeling even more distant with time until, finally, you become perfect strangers living under one roof - or worse, bitter enemies.

Marriage is a challenge to apply biblical principles under extreme circumstances: to forgive, to overcome evil with good, to rise to the occasion and do what you're supposed to do when you don't "feel" like doing it, to do as God does and provide for ungrateful people who don't appreciate anything you do and who often take you for granted, to work at keeping your passion burning in a world filled with distractions ready to smother your fire. When you say "I do" you are agreeing to take on the challenge of imitating God day to day. Marriage begins with this understanding; with this sense of individual responsibility to God, not your spouse. And regardless of what your spouse may do or say, your promise at that altar is to please God by doing your part in that marriage to the glory of God regardless of whether or not your partner is doing their job. God's promise is that if you do your part and also pray for your spouse rather than try to change them, God will get involved and work on them. Just do your part. 

Are you ready for the challenge? Are you ready for marriage? Are you accountable enough to God for yourself to handle such a responsibility? Just asking.

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