One of the popular messages Christian singles hear is that when you are mature / spiritual / whatever enough, God will send you a spouse. If that were true, what’s the explanation for some of our high school crew who got married right after graduation? Or our friend who couldn’t even hold down a full-time job yet found their “soulmate” while standing in the unemployment line? People mean well…
Hear us clearly: You don’t have to work on yourself in order to be more suitable for marriage. After all, who of us is fully evolved before death? So you don’t have to do anything, but for us the bigger question is: Why wouldn’t we? Why wouldn’t we seek personal growth during this season, during any season?
Occasionally a day calls for us to sit in the sadness of our unmet longings, but the other remaining days? Well, He who began a good work in us also wants to use this season—and every season—to refine and sanctify us. It would be sad to look back on this single season in our lives, no matter how long or short it is, and to feel as if we wasted it because we were so busy lamenting the marriage we don’t have.
If there are things we can do now to make ourselves better human beings and potential spouses, then sign us up. (Looks around…) But where do we begin?
SingleRoots Writers Say…
For wise counsel, we asked some of our SingleRoots alumni writers to weigh in on the matter. Here’s what they had to say:
“Make a budget and keep a budget. Prioritize killing debt and building savings. Rinse and repeat. Additionally, I would talk to close friends, family members, and roommates. You might need to preface with where you’re going with the conversation, but ask them if there are good qualities you project that you often fail to recognize in yourself. Likewise, ask them what habits and tendencies you often fall into that aren’t so good. Ask these people, ‘Are there times you see that I am selfish?’ Ask for an honest answer. Self-awareness will overcome so many struggles in marriage before they turn into a ‘thing.’”
:: W. Brandon Howard, author of Discovering Who I Am
“Become adept at repenting and forgiving. If resentment and bitterness are your go to reactions when someone hurts you, deal with that now. Learn how to live with a roommate peacefully while confronting problems. Don’t go the easy route and consistently choose to live alone. First off, you save more money sharing a place, secondly it keeps us from getting set in our ways when we live with others. Both these benefit our future spouse. Start learning to budget and save money, because you will HAVE to when you’re married and that can be made much easier if you do it now.”
:: Brooke Corcoran, author of What a Difference a Decade Makes: Thoughts on Waiting for Your Spouse
“Daily devotions. I have struggled with prioritizing daily devotions for a long time and getting married does not make it easier. Making it a habit to spend time with Jesus one-on-one now will only make your marriage better.”
:: Nicole Eckerson, author of Singleness is Not a Disease and Marriage is Not the Cure
“I’m not the world’s best at habits and routines, so that’s a huge thing I’m working on. When I look at my married friends, I see the necessity of habits and routines in their lives – whether it’s cleaning or meal prep or morning/evening routines. I’m also working on becoming completely debt-free and learning to budget for the first time ever. (Kind of sad, I know. Ha!) I’m using Dave Ramsey’s EveryDollar app, and I love it so far. It’s really made budgeting make sense in my mind, and I’m finding it easier to track my spending and put more in savings! I’m also trying to learn the habit of saying ‘no’ when I need to focus my ‘yes’ on other things. As a people pleaser, it’s been a hard lesson for me to learn. I’m still not very good at it!”
:: Carrie Beth Davis, author of How My Version of Crazy Taught Me to Say “No”
“The two habits I found most helpful were learning to say ‘no’ to being busy and not resting and being financial wise to pay of debt and save money. It is hard when you are single and being asked to serve in more and more ways within your church community, or staying late at work, or even in babysitting for friends or family, but this skill is helping establish the boundaries you need to love your spouse and family well. You have to prioritize what is important work to keep those priorities in mind when request come your way. I also found it freeing to know that paying off my car and my school loans would bless my husband and free our family from burden. This allowed me to keep paying off my debt and start budgeting for travel and home improvement projects that I wanted to do.”
:: Amy Johnson, author of How I Learned to Start Trusting God
“My former church dedicates the second week of every Sunday to TwoIgnite, which is focused on marriage. I used to not enjoy them because ‘What good would it do for me when I’m single?’ But I started opening my mind and heart to the teachings and learned some very valuable information that I believe will help me walk into a healthier marriage. Staying teachable and having an open heart and mind are important.”
:: Sundi Jo Graham, author of Are You Settling for Less?
Explore the Topic Further…
For further discussion on preparing for marriage while you’re single, check out these posts:
Exhausted with “The Chase” – “I wanted a Godly wife; likewise, I knew that goal was pointless unless I also was a Godly husband. Therefore, I had to get back on track in preparing myself to be the husband which I wanted (and was called) to be. Now, I do not claim to have anything in life figured out, but let me share a few things which helped me in this journey.”
The Best Gift You Can Give to Your Future Spouse – “I got married a few years ago. My bride and I were both a little late to hop on the marriage train. For whatever reason, God didn’t have us meet until we were both in our 30s. Consequently, we both had over a decade and a half of being independent adults. We had a choice to be doing one of two things financially during that time: staying out of debt or being normal and digging deeper with each passing year.”
Keeping an Eye on the Groom at the Wedding – “She’s been preparing herself days, months, perhaps, years. Indeed, both of them have been preparing themselves for each other. Clothes have been picked out, flowers decided upon, friends and family notified, tears shed, prayers prayed, and so much more. A lot has gone into the moment, and the occasion, when the bride enters the wedding ceremony.”