How can I get ready for marriage? … I don’t know if anybody will ever ask me! … I don’t know what kind of man I might marry…. Every relationship I have ever had has failed…. There are no single Christian men who meet my expectations…. Getting married is a risk. I don’t see that many good marriages, even in the Church…. Is it worthwhile to try to prepare when it may never happen anyway? … I don’t want to waste my life waiting and wondering….
Single women have said all these things to me. Every objection is valid. Today’s young women face circumstances and problems unique to this century. From the time of Eve until our times, woman’s destiny was settled: Either she would marry and rear children or, if no one claimed her, she would stay in the extended family and help those who needed her. This has changed drastically within living memory, particularly since the “liberation” of women.
There can be no question that women’s liberation has brought many benefits. Countless women have been released from exploitation or bondage that, in some cases, could be classified as slavery. Unfortunately, the balance sheet shows as many liabilities as assets. The divorce rate has skyrocketed; the marriage rate has declined; millions of babies have been aborted; other babies are unwanted and unloved; family life has deteriorated; multitudes of women are dissatisfied and unfulfilled.
In the face of all this, it is difficult for the young woman of today to know how to prepare for marriage. In previous generations, mothers and grandmothers trained their daughters as a normal part of daily living. But this is rare today. A woman whose own marriage has failed cannot teach her daughter by example. Often the mother herself had no training because her mother’s marriage also failed. Furthermore, a woman who has worked hard all day to earn a living often has little time or energy to devote to teaching her daughter homemaking skills.
Part of the natural preparation for marriage is observing, within the family, the roles of each sex and the normal interrelationship between father and mother. The girl who grows up in a broken home cannot observe her mother in the role of wife. If she has no resident father, she is deprived of the opportunity to relate in a close and natural way to a man. A girl needs the admiration of her father as she begins to take steps toward maturity, both for her own self-esteem and to prepare her to relate to her husband.
Rather than receiving practical preparation for marriage, a girl of this generation is bombarded with humanist and feminist philosophies in the schools she attends, the movies she sees, the television she watches, the magazines she reads. She is taught how to make herself attractive. She is expected to prepare for a career and offered abundant opportunities for training—but not in how to succeed as a wife.
We may well ask: Is it even possible for a young woman to be prepared for marriage today? In a society that has changed so much, is it worthwhile to even try to prepare? Shouldn’t she just take her chances?
My answer is: For those willing to spend the time and effort, willing to “pay the price,” preparation for marriage will bring uncounted rewards. Whether or not a woman ultimately marries, preparation for marriage can enable her to find fulfillment in life.
Years before I anticipated marriage to Derek, I was challenged and inspired by the closing statement in Revelation 19:7: “And his bride has made herself ready.” The Lord had revealed Himself to me when I was a forty-year-old divorced woman and filled me with incredible love for Himself. I marveled that He could love me so much, that He accepted me just as I was, that He had a specific plan for my life.
In this Scripture, however, I saw that His plan was not just to give me some temporary happiness. He wanted to share eternity with me! My responsibility was to make myself ready to be part of His bride.
This gave me a totally new perspective on my single state. Developing my character and learning to live a rewarding, satisfying fife were not ends in themselves, but the pathway to something infinitely greater. From that time on, I found total fulfillment in serving my beloved Lord with all my heart.
A few years later, amazingly, unexpectedly, He brought Derek into my life, and soon I found myself preparing to marry my earthly bridegroom. What I discovered then, and continue to discover, is that the same qualities that make a woman pleasing to the Lord will make her pleasing to her mate.
If you will approach preparation for marriage at the earthly level with your heart turned toward the Lord Jesus, remembering that your ultimate destiny is to be part of His beautiful bride, then what you gain will be not only temporal happiness, but eternal bliss. Preparation for marriage will also prepare you for Jesus.
My primary purpose directed specifically toward women, is to help you to see your goal more clearly, and to direct you toward becoming the kind of woman who will complete—make whole—the man for whom God created you. I will offer proven, practical suggestions, taken from Scripture, from my own experience, and from other women.
These suggestions should improve the quality of your life as a single woman, whether you are still in school, living at home, or on your own holding down a job. They can be applied to your situation whether you are single, widowed, or divorced; whether you are 14 or 54. The qualities of character are ageless.
In my own case, I was actively pursuing a career and raising children when I began my preparation. Later I was a full-time servant of the Lord in Jerusalem, but the same principles applied. I hope my suggestions will stimulate you to seek ways to build your own character and enhance your own personality, in a manner uniquely appropriate for you.
First of all, let us consider how God views woman. Before He created her, He described her: “I will make a helper suitable for [man]” (Genesis 2:18, italics added). A woman’s nature finds expression and fulfillment in helping.
Throughout the Bible God continues to fill out His picture of woman. I have compiled a list of “Characteristics of a Helper” from my own study notes. Many women think that the Bible is a man’s book, about men and for men. But I find it filled with practical direction and inspiration for every person, for every aspect of life. a woman preparing for marriage should be…
Wise – Kind – Faithful – Loyal – Sober – Honorable – Trustworthy – Gracious – Courageous – Generous Home – Industrious – Prudent – Strong – Caring (for home and family) – Capable – Dutiful – Modest – Pure – Of meek & quiet spirit – Priceless – Trusting – Spiritual – Prayerful – Fearing the Lord
– GOD IS A MATCHMAKER