Almost everything I’ve learned about marriage came after my wedding. Yes, we had an excellent premarital counselor who gave us the tools to thrive, including toothpaste tube etiquette. And, yes, I read some solid books on being a godly husband (one of the best being I, Isaac, Take Thee, Rebekah). But when it came to the daily give and take of dinner conversations, scrubbing toilets, and taking the dog out on cold nights, I had no clue.
My own family background had been parents whose marriage revolved around the blue glow of the TV and frequent cold shoulders. Not exactly the recipe for intimacy.
So, early on in our marriage, I sometimes sat outside in my car, selfishly wanting to drive away, but yielding to the nudge to head back inside and do the hard work of reconciliation. I wasn’t marriage material until after God sanded down the rough edges over years of prayer and crying. (He’s still sanding, actually.)
For those hoping to avoid some of those types of mistakes, the recently married Jarrid Wilson shares five steps for becoming marriage material:
3. Learn how to manage.
- Understanding how to manage your time, money and energy will not only help you as an individual, but could also help you avoid potential arguments on these topics in the near future. Having management skills will not only show people you are diligent, but that you also put time and effort into the things you care about. Most married couples will tell you that money is the biggest topic of discussion when it comes to arguments. And although these arguments can’t always be avoided, going in to a marriage or relationship with management skills will always be a plus on [someone’s] radar. Read (Proverbs 21:5)
4. Admit when you are wrong.
- This is one of my biggest pet-peeves, and also one of my biggest flaws. Although I still struggle with admitting when I am wrong, the struggle is nothing compared to how I once was. Pride can be something that can ruin a friendship or relationship before they even begin. And although not everyone is perfect, nobody wants to be with someone who thinks that they are. The reality of life is that you are going to be wrong sometimes! Even though sometimes it’s really annoying to admit it, confessing your mistakes will show a sense of humility to those around you. Drop the pride. Nobody wants to marry an arrogant know-it-all.Read (Proverbs 11:2)
His tips certainly would have helped me, as I struggled to get a handle on finances and forgiveness after the wedding. Debra Fileta also recently shared her own “10 secrets” men and women should know before getting married:
2. Marriage reveals selfishness, but can cultivate selflessness. I knew I had the ability to be selfish, but I didn’t know I actually was selfish, until I got oh…about 6 months into my marriage (probably more like 6 hours, but I’m being generous). From the silly moments of choosing where to eat and who get’s the remote, to the more significant things like apologizing and putting his needs before mine– you learn that true selflessness is something that has to be lived out. It’s a hard lesson that has stretched my spiritual life more than anything else ever could- and through that, a beautiful reminder of a God who selflessly gave His all for me. I’m learning to be more like Him through this part of my marriage.
3. Oneness literally means…one. We all think of the deep spiritual and physical benefits of oneness, but do we ever consider these things: One house. One bed. One bathroom. One mirror above the bathroom sink. One bank account. One budget. In marriage, you relearn the preschool lesson of “sharing,” but you learn it in a very non-preschool kind of way. You learn to let go of the mine and yours mentality, because in marriage, everything is truly ours. There’s something really hard, but something really beautiful about that. It’s a reminder that at the end of the day what’s mine is yours…but everything we have, is actually His.
Now it’s your turn. What tips do you have for those hoping to get married someday? Or for those who are already married?