Every few months I take a detailed look at my blog stats, and for several years I have had one unexpectedly popular post: “How to Get Married.”
The post was actually a joke. My advice was to get Parallels Desktop for Mac software; pretty soon you’ll be married (worked for me).
But as I kept seeing this post near the top of my hits rating, I got a sense of sadness that so many people (guys? girls?) would be turning to the Internet for advice on this topic.
So imagine I’m not the Internet but an actual person sitting down with you and giving you some counsel. It’s better than nothing. I have a very happy marriage and a beautiful child. Maybe my advice will help you. It’s pretty simple. Three points.
- God invented marriage, so learn what He has to say about it. Genesis 2:18-25 is the main passage, but you would do well to study the first three chapters of Genesis. I’m reading a book right now on the history of marriage, and I can tell you that without God’s direction people come up with all sorts of crazy ideas about how marriage ought to work. (Supplementary advice: Boundless.org has a lot of good articles on how to apply God’s design for marriage to your situation, and Josh Harris’ two dating books contain a lot of good scriptural advice, too.)
- There are some things you can do to your world that will help you prepare it for a dating relationship: work out your dating philosophy in advance, writing down what your motives, goals, and standards will be (another Harris book, the one on lust, is very helpful here). Talk openly with your parents about that philosophy—and your desire for their involvement in any dating relationship you have. Rarely can you honor your parents without obeying them (Ex. 20:12), so discussing expectations in advance would help. Also, practice now the kind of courtesy toward the opposite sex which your spouse will appreciate in the future: be a masculine man or a feminine woman (here’s a book for that, especially John Piper’s chapter!).
- Opposites don’t usually attract. Quechuas rarely go for Canadians. Usually it will be someone like you who likes you. So you have to be the kind of person you want to marry, and check back to point 1 to see what kind of person that should be. Jesus said in Matthew 22 that the most important commandment in Scripture is to love God with all of you and the second most important is to love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. If you’re that kind of person—something only God through Christ can make you into—you’ll attract that kind of person.