Getting married is one of the most significant events in a person’s life. It marks the beginning of a new chapter filled with excitement, joy, and also challenges. Preparing well for this transition can help couples build a strong foundation for a lifelong, God-honoring marriage.
According to the Bible, marriage is a sacred covenant between a man and a woman instituted by God himself (Genesis 2:24). It is meant to reflect the relationship between Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:32). That is why it is crucial to prepare spiritually for this holy union. Here are some biblical ways to get ready for married life:
Cultivate Your Relationship with God
The most important preparation for marriage is developing a vibrant, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. All Christians are called to grow in their faith and obedience to God. But this becomes especially significant for those about to enter marriage. A couple’s shared love for God and commitment to follow His ways forms the foundation for their life together. They need to nurture their individual walks with God through prayer, Bible study, fellowship, and service. This will equip them to honor God in their marriage and make decisions aligned with His will.
The Bible says, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). Both partners should have a sincere faith in Christ so they can spur each other towards spiritual maturity and unite around biblical values and goals.
Single adults hoping to marry should examine their priorities and schedule to ensure God is at the center. Serving in church, attending a small group Bible study, developing spiritual disciplines like daily prayer and Scripture reading, and Christian counseling can all help strengthen their faith during this season.
Understand God’s Design for Marriage
It is essential to understand God’s intended design, roles, and purposes for marriage as revealed in Scripture. This biblical foundation will anchor the couple through the ups and downs of married life. Here are some key aspects to grasp:
- Marriage is a covenant, not just a contract (Malachi 2:14). It is a sacred vow before God to unconditionally love and faithfully serve a spouse for life.
- The husband sacrificially loves and leads his wife as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25-30). The wife respects her husband and supports his godly leadership in the home (Ephesians 5:33).
- The marital union makes husband and wife “one flesh” in a mysterious spiritual, emotional, and physical bonding only broken by death (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-6).
- God created marriage for intimate companionship between husband and wife (Genesis 2:18). It provides a safe place to fulfill natural sexual desires and build family (1 Corinthians 7:2-5).
- Marriage and parenting are prime avenues for spiritual discipleship and raising up the next generation of believers (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
Grasping these purposes will help engaged couples craft God-honoring wedding vows. It also guides them to biblically faithful decisions amid all of marriage’s complex dynamics. Premarital counseling at church can be invaluable for reinforcing these truths.
Commit to Unconditional Love
Whether newlywed bliss or difficulty awaits, couples must stand ready to reflect Christ-like love for their spouse. This agape love modeled by Jesus “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” for the beloved’s welfare (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). It perseveres despite flaws, offenses, trials, or changing circumstances.
The Bible calls each spouse to sacrificially serve the other before themselves. Husbands must nurture and cherish their wife like their own body (Ephesians 5:28-30). Wives submit to and respect their husband’s leadership (Ephesians 5:22-24). Imitating Jesus’ servant leadership and mutual submission produces harmony and selfless care, not domination or selfishness (Mark 10:42-45).
This degree of unconditional devotion requires God’s help and much spiritual growth before marriage. Both individuals must die to selfishness, pride, and unrealistic expectations that easily damage relationships. Embracing humility, patience, forgiveness, and grace will equip couples to weather marital storms.
Understand God’s Design for Sexuality
One unique and wonderful gift God designed for marriage is sexual intimacy between husband and wife. Song of Solomon beautifully portrays the sacred beauty of marital passion. Yet many couples fail to understand God’s purposes for sexuality or discuss expectations before the wedding night. This can impair bonding and pleasure in physical intimacy.
The Bible offers liberating truth about God’s good gift of sexuality. Here is some of that guidance:
- Sexual desire and intimacy are sacred before God only within marriage (Hebrews 13:4).
- Sexual union spiritually, emotionally, and physically “bonds” husband and wife into “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
- God designed sexuality for intimate pleasure, procreation, and to serve one’s spouse (1 Corinthians 7:3-5).
- Marriage offers the safe harbor to satisfy natural sexual desires without shame (Proverbs 5:15-19).
- Spouses should develop mutual understanding of each other’s needs and maintain an active intimate life (1 Corinthians 7:5).
With prayer and biblical truth, couples can develop a healthy Christian theology of marital sexuality. This empowers them to freely enjoy God’s good gift while avoiding worldly distortions of its meaning. If past sexual sin or trauma troubles one’s conscience, Christian counseling can bring healing before the wedding day.
Master Essential Relational Skills
Every marriage hits rough spots that test the couple’s relational skills. Stressful times like transitioning to parenthood or job loss especially reveal weaknesses. That is why couples should purposefully develop skills like communication, conflict resolution, listening, and forgiveness while dating. Some useful tips include:
- Practice transparent, loving communication. Share feelings and needs openly, while also speaking the truth tactfully with grace (Ephesians 4:15). Seek first to understand a spouse’s perspective when listening. Avoid angry outbursts, silence, or passive-aggression during conflict (Proverbs 15:1).
- Develop healthy conflict resolution habits. Arguments will happen, but resolve them before bedtime (Ephesians 4:26-27). Learn to compromise, seek solutions, and apologize. Most conflicts boil down to unmet emotional needs, so discuss those vulnerabilities.
- Cultivate intimacy and positivity. Prioritize quality conversation, empathy, prayer, sex, and fun dates. Uplift your spouse with words of affirmation, praise, and gratitude. Let go of grudges quickly through forgiveness.
Premarital education at church along with marriage mentoring couples can help engaged partners hone these vital lifelong skills as they learn to prioritize the marriage relationship.
Plan for Financial Harmony
Money conflicts create huge stress that can fracture marriages. Wise couples establish biblical unity and teamwork around finances before the wedding. Some steps to take include:
- Candidly discuss financial histories, spending habits, budgets, debt, assets, and credit scores.
- Seek agreement on biblical financial principles: hard work, prudent saving, avoiding debt, generosity, etc. (Proverbs 21:5).
- Create and stick to a reasonable budget that aligns with values and goals.
- Discuss large purchases, allocation of income, savings goals, insurance, estate planning, and more.
- Consider premarital financial counseling to head off potential conflicts.
Approaching finances through prayer and with openness, patience, and mutual submission will pave the way to steward resources wisely together. This prevents money from eroding marital intimacy and trust.
Along with spiritual preparation, couples should make practical preparations to ease the logistical transition into married life. Here are some examples:
- Discuss living arrangements, including location, housing options, and budget.
- Blend belongings and coordinate living together harmoniously.
- Update insurance coverage, beneficiaries, wills, medical info, etc.
- Discuss relationship with extended family and holidays.
- Agree on healthy habits surrounding diet, exercise, sleep, etc.
- Make decisions about birth control and family planning.
Tackling these decisions and changes patiently will help the couple smoothly unite their day-to-day lives. Premarital counseling workbooks help guide couples through many practical discussions.
Seek Guidance from Mentors
One of the best ways to gain wisdom for married life is by learning from those farther down the path. Older mentor couples from church can provide a wealth of advice and encouragement to engaged couples. They’ve experienced the highs and lows of married life firsthand. They can offer guidance on common conflicts and challenges to expect. Mentors can also provide perspective when wedding planning gets stressful. Some topics couples may find helpful to discuss with mentors include:
- Communication strategies and conflict resolution
- Balancing marriage, family, and career
- Sex and intimacy tips
- Managing stress and expectations
- Spiritual disciplines for couples
- Adjusting to new family dynamics
- Red flags to watch for
Learning from the triumphs and trials of veteran marriages through mentoring smoothes the path for couples just beginning. Matching engaged couples with compatible, trusted mentors should be a high priority for churches.
Allow Time for Premarital Counseling
Premarital counseling provides essential guidance as couples approach the wedding. Most churches offer counseling programs or classes to equip engaged partners. Here are some common benefits couples receive:
- Get an objective third party perspective on relationship strengths and growth areas.
- Take personality and marriage assessments to spark insightful conversations.
- Discuss expectations around roles, responsibilities, and conflict.
- Receive biblically-grounded marriage education over several sessions.
- Ask candid questions on sensitive marital topics.
- Improve skills like communication, conflict resolution, and forgiveness.
Couples often identify issues through counseling they hadn’t considered before. Counseling can allay a lot of fears or uncertainties about marriage and clarifying expectations. Ideally complete at least 3 months before the wedding. Longer counseling may benefit couples with more challenges to work through.
Include Wise, Biblical Marriage Preparation in Wedding Planning
It’s easy to get consumed by all the fun details of wedding planning like events, dresses, and honeymoons. But couples shouldn’t overlook dedicating quality time to purposeful marriage preparation. Laying a wise biblical foundation through the efforts above will reap dividends for decades to come. Couples with perhaps just a few months left until the big day can still make spiritual and relational growth a priority. The blessings of preparing well include:
- Entering marriage with realistic expectations
- Establishing godly roles and relationship dynamics
- Cultivating selfless love, patience and communication
- Uniting around biblical financial principles
- Learning to extend grace and forgive
- Developing a thriving faith and intimacy with God together
Starting marriage grounded in biblical truth and relational health through God-honoring preparation sets couples up to go the distance. With God at the center and a servant’s heart guiding each spouse, Christian marriages shine brightly as examples to others of God’s redeeming love.