Before You Say “I Do”

Dear Lovestruck Ladies,

Alright, let’s hit the ground running. You know that list of ‘100 Things You Need In a Mate’? Girl, throw that thang out the window. You’ll never find anyone who possess all those qualities and you know good and well you don’t possess alllllllll that stuff yourself. Ok, now that we got that out the way, let’s take a look at what really matters in matrimony. Love, trust, respect… I know you got all that covered. I’m talking about the stuff that is- more often than not- overlooked. Marriage is designed to be a wonderful life-long commitment (not a death sentence!) and it should never be entered into lightly. Walk down the aisle with your eyes wide open, not blinded by love. Focus on addressing these questions and you’ll be off to a great start!

6 QUESTIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR BOO… BEFORE YOU SAY “I DO”

1. WHO’s your Daddy?  Every now and then, we all need a spiritual paternity test to determine if our spiritual DNA supports who we claim our Heavenly Father to be. This is more than just saying you’re a Christian. It’s about whether or not your relationship with God is a genuine priority in your life. Anyone can say they put God first, but not everyone is living it. Where someone puts their faith and trust is a good indication of whether or not you two will be equally yoked. Who are each of you spiritually committed and accountable to? (See my last post for more insight).  It’s easier to submit to a man who is fully submitted to God. You won’t mind following his lead when you know he is following the Lord. For best results, make sure you’re both submitted to Him now, and not just hoping things will change once you say “I do.” Does Daddy agree with your concept of “marriage material?”

2. WHAT’s your problem? Everybody has something wrong with them. Everybody. Anger issues, addictions (drugs/alcohol, food, shopping, sex and love, gambling, etc.), insecurities, poor financial management, pride, fear, unresolved trauma, low self-esteem, mental/medical disorders, criminal behavior… what vice do you struggle to gain victory over? Being saved, sanctified, fire baptized, and Holy Ghost filled doesn’t mean you’re perfect or incapable of grappling to do what’s right. What’s the worst, most frustrating/annoying thing about your future spouse? Now multiply that by 100. ‘Cause once you’ve been married for a little while, all those problems and pet peeves will intensify. It’s been said that “marriage puts a magnifying glass on one’s character flaws [not just his but yours, too].” True that! Those cute little quirks will likely turn ugly and unbearable. What is that one thing you wish you could change? (PSA: You can’t change anyone but yourself). Will you remain committed even if it never changes? FYI: Never is a long time. Can you handle it?

3. WHERE are you from? If you want to know where your relationship is headed, take a look at where you and your fiance are from. Childhood experiences within our family of origin will absolutely affect how we communicate and relate to our significant other. Family values, financial stability, and emotional competence (just to name a few) are usually rooted in what we learned as children.  And don’t neglect to discuss the patterns in each of your past romantic relationships. While accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior means that you are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), it doesn’t necessary turn off the power switch to your past. It’ll be much easier for the two of you to become one if you each fully accept where the other is coming from.

4. WHEN’s the wedding? Seriously, what’s the date? Are you two rushing down the aisle? If so, why? Or will you get married at some open-ended point in the future, with no timeframe in sight? Girlfriend, if he really wants to marry you, he will set a date! Don’t allow a little bling bling to satisfy you into settling for a 10 year engagement. The longer you wait, the  lower your standards will likely become. Look, if he pops the question and you say “Yes!”, setting a date should just be a matter of planning… not procrastinating. Dahling, don’t fall for the okie doke!

5. WHY do you want to get married? Love is a many splendored thing. It’s also not the only reason to get married. Hey, if I married everyone I loved, I would have either been divorced or locked up several times by now! Love has great intentions but it doesn’t create a hassle-free life, pay the bills, or make problems, baby mamas, baby daddies, or STD’s disappear. It doesn’t cure depression, reverse loneliness, or improve sel-esteem. And being “in love” is a great excuse but not a good reason. Look, you may not always get goose bumps and butterflies when you think of your spouse. Emotions are fleeting, often irrational, and just not enough to base a lifelong commitment on. If you find yourself saying, “Our relationship is perfect. We have love and that’s enough for us” then you have lots of work to do!

6. HOW do we resolve our conflicts? First of all, do you have any conflicts? Here’s a hint: you do. You may not have recognized them yet. The absence of love isn’t why more than 50% of marriages end in divorce (Christian marriages included); it’s the presence of unresolved conflict. Your marriage will be as strong as your ability to communicate your cares and concerns, and reconcile your differences. How one handles havoc and times of turmoil will either give your relationship a glowing green for GO or a raging red for RUUUUUUUN! Don’t miss the crucial signs. Do you solve your problems biblically? Do either of you avoid conflict just to keep the peace or do you confront it head on?  If you and your boo have never been faced with a disheartening dilemma that you’ve successfully overcome, then you may not be equipped to create wedded bliss. Pre-marital counseling should help with that (assuming you both are honest and up-front ;-)). Just don’t start picking fights to test your resolve, mmmkay?

I’m not trying to scare you; just trying to empower you to take a good, hard look at the state of your relationship before you say “I do.” Think you know it all and I can’t possibly be talking to you? Then I’m talking to you. 😀

Of course, there are a million more areas to be addressed before walking down the aisle. Just don’t miss the forest for the trees.  Marriage isn’t about frequently getting your freak on (but that sure doesn’t hurt!), gaining a sugar daddy, putting someone on lock down, or any other such immaturity. Contrary to pop culture, holy matrimony is a covenant between you, your husband, and God. It’s not a breachable contract between two parties looking to have a good time until the good times roll out. Oh no, girlfriend! Marriage is beautifully blessed union between best friends- through thick and thin. With dedication and commitment to your marriage, your mate and your Mighty God, the two of you will walk as one, move mountains, and make a huge impact in the Kingdom.

In the meantime, become the woman of your dreams and you’re bound to attract the man of your dreams (if you haven’t already). Just make sure you focus more on doing what’s necessary to create and maintain the “happily ever after” than you do on having the fairytale wedding. 🙂

Practically Yours,

~The Practical Chick

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4 thoughts on “Before You Say “I Do”

  1. Thanks, First Lady. I enjoyed that piece very much. I know that your wisdom is giving from God and yes that is a blessing to so many women ( the man can get some too). Lady J. Continue to reach out with your words that provide insight and encouragement to God’s children. Oh. Most important, thanks for keeping it real. Love u.

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