If you had asked me when I was twelve years old what I would be at twenty-four years old, I would have never said "still single." As a little girl, I thought that meeting Prince Charming, falling in love, and living happily ever was (basically) the entire point of my being a woman. Not being married by at least nineteen would have been in a disaster in my little girl mind. Could there be more to life than romance?
As the years have passed, I’ve spent countless hours reading and studying God’s plan for this season of my life. I have read many books by great Christian authors on the topics of singleness and preparing for marriage. Through personal experience and trial and error as an unmarried woman, I want to share with you what I have learned from my own life—the good and bad—about singleness and marriage preparation.
Whether you are a girl who desires to be married one day or a girl who views marriage as burdensome and unimportant, the things that I am about to share with you apply and relate to all of us.
When I was younger, I viewed marriage in a very selfish way. I thought I understood the truth of what it took to have a godly marriage, but in my heart I had an "all about me" mindset. I viewed my future husband as someone who would fulfill my longing and make me happy. He would love me, cherish me, whisper sweet nothings in my ear, and always be aware of my every need. (Those things aren’t bad things in and of themselves, but if you are putting your hope in them, you will be miserable.) Instead of viewing my future husband as a man I would love and serve, I viewed him as someone who would mostly love and serve me. Yes I would serve him, but he would be such a "Prince Charming" that he would insist on serving me more.
It has taken me into my twenties to realize my thinking was wrong. When we choose to focus all of our thoughts on ourselves, we will never be satisfied. Focusing your attention on what you want, what you need, and what you like all of the time is depressing. It only sets you up for disappointment and heartache. I can testify from personal experience. Self-focused people are never truly happy individuals. They are always looking for more, and what they have is never enough. One of the best ways to get out of depression, sadness, or loneliness is to focus your thoughts and actions on praising God and serving others. If you don’t believe me, test it out for yourself and see what happens.
All that to say, I’ve now learned that the best way I can prepare for a happy and fulfilling marriage is to choose to regularly serve those around me. Just like Jesus who came to serve and not to be served (Matt. 20:28), my mindset for marriage should be to love and serve my future husband.
Ever since I have chosen to view my future husband and those in my life right now (my family and friends) with a servant’s mindset, life has been so much happier and joyful. Instead of getting upset at those around me when they don’t fulfill my expectations, I can focus instead on what I can do for them. How can I help them? How can I make their lives easier?
In the past, I had thought that getting married would turn me into a little angel, "practically perfect in every way" as Mary Poppins phrases it. I would automatically be the perfect wife who would have unlimited patience and love for my husband. I now realize that the attitudes and characteristics I have in my life right now will follow me straight into my marriage one day. I will not be transformed into a little angel just because I get married. The character qualities I need to have to make a successful marriage will only be there if I choose to work on those now in my single years.
Don’t make the mistake of waiting until you are married to work on becoming a great wife (like I almost did). Use your single years wisely, and work on those things now. Be purposeful with these years, serving those God has placed in your life right now. These years could soon be over. Work on becoming the person God wants you to be—a godly woman who will be a crown to her future husband. "An excellent wife is the crown of her husband" (Prov. 12:4).
How can you serve those God has put in your life right now? Can you relate to anything I shared from above? I’d love to hear your comments.