I have friends that are single. I pray for them. I hate that they are lonely at times, but I’m glad they choose to remain single and not let loneliness force them into settling. I take marriage seriously. It has not been without its challenges, temptations, ‘isms or problems. I am a living example of “For Better or Worse, for Richer or Poorer, in Sickness and Health, till…” If not directly by me, it’s through the lives of those I share the marriage experience with that these vows come to life. God willing, I will be embarking on 15 blessed years of marriage short of a month and a few days. I call it a honeymoon, and that’s what it has been. A Christ-centered marriage is all I know because I have seen what it takes to make a marriage Built to Last and I have witnessed what it takes to make a marriage destined to fail. As I look at the mystery of marriage and how it is biblically linked to Jesus and the Church I can only think of the devotion God has to his children. Even through our most intentional and devious sin, the Lord still grants us grace, and it is this grace through forgiveness that marriage must be founded.
I must say that I have had to overcome many challenges of my internal struggles. I have learned a marriage cannot heal old wounds, it can’t cure self-esteem issues, it won’t make you forget an old romance, and it won’t make you better in and of itself. Long before you say I do you must journey into pre-marital counseling to ensure the foundation in which you foster your relationship is Built to Last. Pre-marital counseling set me on a journey of not only to co-exist with my wife but steered me down a road of challenges to prepare me for marriage. I encountered weekly grueling, piercing, and self-reflective questions in my quiet time that made me cringe.
- Dare you go into marriage with secrets?
- If you don’t love yourself how can you expect her too?
- So, you expect someone else to make you feel good about yourself?
- So…why are you getting married?
- Yo, that anger problem, how shall you every conquer that?
Surely, all of those questions were not fully answered when I got married. It took lots of prayers, mentoring, and study to amass enough strength and courage to tackle half of this list before marriage. Through my covenant, I have a partner in life that will help me with my struggles, and I assist her with her struggles. “Your success is my success, and your failures are my failures.” Those were words my wife shared with me when I was only her fiancee. I thought if this is her mentality now this is going to be great. It is still her mentality. She works to out-love me, and I work to out-love her. Imagine, two people that don’t try to out-shout, out-talk, out-argue or out-win an argument. Imagine a single goal to out-love a the modifier to enhance your marriage.
What ails your relationship? Are you getting ready to say “I do” with trepidation? Are you at the door of your wedding in the morning and have grave doubt that this should not be? Well, I encourage you, no matter how far along in your planning, to stop the process. I guarantee the money you forfeit from the reception and honeymoon will not outweigh you entering into a marriage without a solid foundation.
To my friends that are single I say know you are more than your weight in platinum and gold combined. Never settle, never dumb it down, and always be truer to yourself than the person you expect to be faithful to you. The journey to marriage may be long, but it takes that to ensure the journey in marriage is Built to Last.