Five Friendly Pre-Marriage Advice from A Thrift Shop Owner

After my three straight classes today, I went into a thrift shop to buy some blouses. I don’t mind having secondhand clothes, as long as it fits me and my style. The owner, whom I knew through my mother, greeted me with a smile and surprise. She was wondering what am I doing here. I told her that I’ve been back since June. While I was looking at the clothes, she kept on talking. She told me that it is better for me to stay with my parents so I can save money. I nod and smiled. After some time someone she knew came in and the two of them chatted for a bit. I was relieved. Now I can focus on what I went there for.

As I was picking up a shirt, she asked me this question: Aren’t you planning on getting married? I was stunned. But I laughed and said, “I have no plans yet. Maybe next year.” At the back of my mind, I didn’t speak of the whole truth. My boyfriend and I have plans, of course. Then again, I am not totally comfortable at talking about my personal life. ūüėČ

She said, “That is good, it’s better if you enjoy being single first. You are still young. Nowadays it is hard to find a good man who has a stable job and without vices. It is also important to choose someone is of the same religion as yours, and someone who won’t hurt you, right?” I nodded. I was listening to her with admiration. She has wisdom and joy as she speaks. I’ve never encountered a woman whom I barely knew speak to me like that until now. I guess it’s a divine set-up. After paying, she recalled her love story with her husband. (And that could be another post!)

Her words echoed in my mind. I felt like it was a perfect timing for me to hear. And here are my reflections that I would like to share with you.

1. ENJOY SINGLEHOOD

As I reflect on it. She’s right. It is important to enjoy this phase in my life — singleness. Because once I am married, there is no turning back. I know my life would completely change. My priorities will be altered. Instead of thinking about my family, my church, and my self alone, I will have a husband and a future family to put above all else (except for God of course). Moreover, there is a huge possibility of losing my career. Merely thinking about it, hurts. I only turned 24 last month and I wanted to grow more, I want to explore what I can do — my potentials. Then again, I am asking God to teach me how to let go of it when the time comes.

For now, it is needless to say that my life should be solely devoted unto HIM. That is I believe what matters most, whether single or not, our lives must be knitted unto God.

2. FIND A MAN WITH A STABLE JOB 

Everyone I know would agree to this. It is imperative for someone to be have financial stability to provide for his family. In fact, this was emphasised in the book of 1 Timothy 5:8, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

Each man, before thinking of getting married or even before pursuing  woman must therefore must be responsible enough to get a job, business, or any profession so as to prepare him for his future family. After all he is not only building a house for himself, but a home for the Lord.

3. FIND A GOOD HUSBAND WITHOUT VICES

This one is significant. I know she is talking about drinking, smoking, gambling, and womanizing.  Still, there is more to it. Vices can be larger than this. Men were created to take dominion of the earth, for leadership. Their lives are supposed to be on the right track not only for themselves, but more importantly for their family so they can give glory to God. If men would be enslaved by these things, how then can they lead properly?

Our hearts must deeply be rooted in the Lord, in His words, so we can live out His ways. It isn’t and won’t be easy, but it is worth it. Nowadays, it is normal to see broken families, children drawn into illicit drugs, teenage pregnancies, etc. There may be many reasons for this but certainly this is not part of God’s design. His will is for families to live together in harmony and peace. His vision is a world where children are following the footsteps of Christ. And that is the responsibility of the parents.

4. CHOOSE SOMEONE WHO HAS THE SAME RELIGION/ CHURCH AS YOURS

Having a partner who shares the same spiritual belief, values, and convictions as yours is very important. It is written in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

This is crucial. And women and men, we got to¬†get this right. Obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). There are non-negotiable qualities when it comes to marrying and this should be one of them.¬†As someone said,¬†it is better to not marry than to marry and suffer for the rest of your life. Being in a relationship¬†is hard enough, how much more if¬†you are in a relationship with a person who has¬†a different religious belief as yours?¬†In the future, what will your children believe in? This can pose a lot of conflict and confusion in the family. And of course, we don’t want that to happen.¬†That is why, I’m saying it again:¬†Obedience is better than sacrifice.

5. FIND SOMEONE WHO WOULD NOT HURT YOU

It is so wonderful to be loved and to love. I am not a relationship expert though. I can only speak of my own experience and those around me. My relationship with my boyfriend is far from being perfect. My parents’ 25-year relationship isn’t perfect either. Even my church mates’ relationships and families have their own ups and downs. Being a Christian doesn’t exempt one from having a flawless relationship and marriage. The only certainty that I know of is Christ. He is the only one that can hold things together despite the earthquakes in each household, or that deep wound in one’s heart.

So can I/we find someone who won’t hurt us? Maybe we can find someone who is gentle and won’t even lift a finger to hurt us physically.

However, one cannot be free from being hurt emotionally. Our hearts are sensitive. Especially women who are coined as emotional beings. And we have fragile hearts lest we surrender it to God and let Him take care of it.Nonetheless, I know finding someone who loves us enough that hurting us would mean disobeying God’s word cannot be easy, but possible. That is why it is important to follow number four. Being patient enough to wait for the right man will come (if it hasn’t yet). Rushing things or going ahead of God’s plan can bring irreparable damage.

For men out there, keep this in your heart: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25).” Christ gave himself for the church, for us. Thus, God is calling you to do the same. To do everything in your might to protect, provide, save, love, sacrifice, everything… for your wives.

It is surprising to be advised by a seemingly random person. That was both weird and surprising. Nevertheless, I was glad to have heard from her wisdom and input some of God’s words and principles I have learned from my mentors and friends.

P.S. Tell me of your thoughts. Can you share some advice for me or young women/men out there who are waiting or probably praying for a future partner? Hope to hear from you!

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