It’s a shocking statistic when you wake up to realize that less than half of the adults in America are married; down over 34% from 30 years ago. This is unacceptable and we need to do something about it.
There are two kinds of people: those who are married, and those who want to get married. Now I know there are exceptions to that so don’t email me or hate me. I understand there are people who are single, called to be single, and love being single. But this is by far the minority and the exception, not the rule. And so therefore we should never make the exception the rule. We should be encouraging men and women to get married.
The problem is, we don’t ever really tell them what to do in the interim between wanting to get married, finding the right person, and actually getting married; much less the skills it takes to be married. But that’s a whole other story.
So let me make this offer. Here are five things if you’re single and want to get married (and you should), five things you should be doing while waiting for mating.
- Get real clear as to what you believe and where you stand. It’s important to settle the issues of ethics, morals, and values. Beliefs are incredibly important. They become the base on which a future relationship will be established. You’ve heard people say, “We’re not on the same page.” When they say that, what they’re talking about is this issue of beliefs. As you look for a mate, make sure you understand what beliefs are non-negotiable, what things you simply will not compromise in order to get a date, or get someone to agree to marry you. Establish those things, stand on them, and don’t compromise them. Determine what you can compromise and what you can’t, and stand right there.
- Establish a career path that will allow you to take care of a wife and a family. One of the most important things for a woman looking for a mate is that he have a job, and not just a job, but a career that has long-term prospects; that promises that this family will be financially viable once it is established. We criticize people for making money and spending time in a career, and yet it takes both to be able to provide the security that a family needs to grow and be happy.
- Work on being the right person. Often we’re so fixated on finding the right person, we fail to understand that first of all, we have to be the right person. If you are not happy before you get married, you are not going to be happy after you get married. If you’re a sad dog spreading gloom before you’re married, you’ll be that after you get married. Work on your personal issues. Grow strong. Have a strong spiritual, emotional life. Take care of yourself physically. Keep in shape. Be the right person. You’ll be amazed at how you’ll attract the right person.
- Establish a strong support base. Often we seek to get married and we think we have a kingdom of two. A man and a woman get married, cut themselves off from their family and friends, and move on “conflict island.” They live in a world all by themselves and when trouble comes, as it surely will, they have no strong base for support, counsel, and advice. So, right now, begin to build a strong base of family and friends that will continue to be with you after you’ve entered the blissful land of matrimony.
- Never, never, never, ever date a person you can’t see yourself marrying. Now what I mean by dating is going out with someone consistently over a period of time. I’m not saying you can’t go out with someone, hang with someone, have coffee with someone, go skiing with someone and enjoy someone’s company. But when you start dating, you should be starting to get serious. If you’ve done the first four things I’ve asked you to do, then you’ll be able to see those other qualities reflected in this person. The second you see that this person doesn’t share your beliefs, doesn’t share your sense of value and direction in life; once you realize you’re not on the same page, stop dating. No mercy dating. Don’t worry about hurting their feelings. You’ll hurt them a lot less now than you will later. So never, never, date someone you can’t see yourself marrying.
Marriage is God’s idea and ideal. The Scriptures begin with a marriage, end with a marriage, and almost everything in between is learning how to either be married, parent children, or live in a family. Relationships are key to life. Being connected in loving, lasting relationships is God’s will. We grow them like in a garden, and build them like in a factory. There are things you can do, skills you can learn that will make your life and your relationships and your ultimate marriage as great as you dreamed it would ever be.
Check out the upcoming study for guys at Gathering 4 Guys: Tuesdays @ 7:00 – 8:15 AM, April 6- May 11.