Today, people are getting married later in life than at any other point in American history. That means that many young adult Christians are single longer than young adults from previous generations. For those singles who have a desire to be married, the time to prepare for the journey of marriage is while you are waiting to be blessed with a mate. Spiritual preparation is essential for a thriving marriage. 2 Peter 3:18 instructs us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The characteristics that make a good Christian are some of the same qualities that make them a good husband or wife. Here are some areas of growth to consider.
Unconditional Love (agape). To love is to give of yourself, make sacrifices, and care for another like you care for yourself. When we love as God loves us, we treat others right in spite of what they do. Remember that the command isn’t to just love someone you are interested in with unconditional love. It is to love everyone unconditionally.
Forgiveness. Know that true forgiveness is behaving as if you have forgotten (that’s what God does). We shouldn’t say that we have forgiven someone then keep reminding them of what they did. In order for marriage to be enjoyable, there must be forgiveness. When we forgive we are seeking restoration of the relationship, not revenge. We should also grow in asking others to forgive us.
Selflessness. Realize that it ain’t all about you. Compromise is critical in a marriage. Regard others as more important than yourself (Philippians 2:3-5). Practice putting the needs of others ahead of your own. If you always have to have your way, don’t get married.
Patience and long-suffering. Remember that God isn’t through with you yet, so don’t expect Him to have perfected anyone else. Contrary to what you may think, you are not flawless. We all have some things about us that are difficult for others to deal with. Learn to resolve problems in a way that pleases God. Don’t run every time there is a disagreement, and don’t blow up in anger.
Self-control. You can’t say everything you think. Control your tone, and beware of sarcasm. Remember that when people are yelling, nobody is really listening. Control your temper. Control your hormones. Don’t get yourself worked up. Create boundaries and avoid putting yourself in situations where you are tempted to give in to your sinful desires.
These are just some of the areas in which singles should examine their spiritual lives. What areas would you add? Where are your opportunities for growth?
Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.