It’s impressive to observe what all a bride-to-be, and usually her mother, go through for several months to get ready for her upcoming wedding. In fact, it’s almost mind boggling to consider all of the minute details that go into planning a wedding.
A bridal gown, how many bride’s maids and groomsmen, bride’s maids dresses and shoes, tuxes for the groomsmen, flowers, decorations, locations for the rehearsal dinner and the reception (they won‘t be the same), rehearsal, food for the rehearsal dinner and the reception (it won‘t be the same), location for the wedding, an officiator, pre-marital counseling, a marriage certificate, wedding showers, transportation, invitations, napkins, thank you cards, honeymoon arrangements… Truly, planning a wedding requires an enormous amount of preparation.
How ironic that so many couples prepare so little for the marriage that follows the wedding! A big reason so many marriages fail is lack of preparation before the couple gets married. Greater care, by far, needs to go into getting ready for marriage than getting ready for a wedding.
Preparation for marriage begins with Mom and Dad demonstrating to their children, by example on a daily basis, what a good marriage is. Parents then need to purposefully teach their children about marriage and instill within them values that will guide them to be a good husband or wife and to look for the right qualities in a prospective spouse. Most basic of all, parents need to raise their children to follow God faithfully.
A person needs to be careful whom they date, for they will almost certainly marry someone they date. They should have a check list in mind as to the qualities they are looking for in a mate, and they should not date someone who does not measure up. What would some of those qualities be?
Most crucial, will this person help me get to Heaven? Our bottom-line goal in life should be to get to Heaven (Phlp. 3:11-14). I should not want to be yoked together, in the most intimate relationship I will ever experience, with someone who will hinder rather than help me spend eternity with my Lord (2 Cor. 6:14-16).
I should look for a potential mate who is genuine and whose life exhibits high values and character- in a word, godliness (1 Tim. 4:8). Is he/she neat, clean and orderly or sloppy, dirty and unorganized? Respectful or disrespectful? Reasonable or overbearing? Loving, kind and thoughtful or uncaring, thoughtless and rude? Hard working or lazy? Do we have similar likes, dislikes and goals? Are we compatible, do we get along, or do we argue continually (Prov. 27:15)? Self-reflection is also in order. I should examine myself as to my readiness for marriage.
These fundamental issues need to be considered before getting married. Marriage is a twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week commitment, but it’s a joyous commitment because of the happiness and fulfillment realized through the relationship. A great many marriages needlessly end up in drudgery and despair largely because too little attention was given to preparation for marriage before getting married…
Gary L. Hutchens