BEFORE YOU SAY, I DO ~ Precious Victor Akah
Here are nine vital things to know as a man and as a woman, before you say, I do.
BEFORE YOU SAY, I DO, make sure God is taking the lead. When God is taking the lead role in directing our paths, we can rest assured that He knows what is best for us and the end will always be glorious. Where anxiety and fear of the future comes is when you're not sure God is with you on the journey you're about to begin.
So to begin this journey with joy and peace of mind, ensure God is taking the lead. This you do from the very beginning, before even starting a relationship with anyone leading to marriage. Don't do trial and error in romantic relationship, because your heart, which is precious, is involved. You also don't have the luxury of time to be testing different men or women to find out which one is right for you, because as you're doing that, your age is not constant, it is going up; moreover, such tests can leave you with lasting painful memories, indelible wounds and eternal scars.
Therefore, you want to consult God who knows everything, and make sure He is in support of the person you're considering making your husband or wife, because remember, you can only see the present, the future is yet to unfold, but God has already seen the end from the beginning - this is why you should consult Him before starting any relationship leading to marriage. Don't play with your heart. Don't gamble with your life.
BEFORE YOU SAY, I DO, you need to have a life of your own. You cannot be idle with your life. You cannot loll on your bed (doing nothing with your life) and sit around all-day building your life around the man or woman you're about to get married to, fantasizing and dreaming of how they'll spend all their time with you - attending to your needs, otherwise, you may be frustrated or lonely in marriage, because that is not reality.
In reality, your spouse has a life outside of you and a livelihood they're committed to, so they can't possibly spend all their time on you or with you. So, you need to be active and working. You need to occupy yourself with God's purpose for creating you. God did not create you for nothing, He created you because you're needed on earth. You're valuable to the world, you have something to offer to the world, so get busy with your assignment.
If you expect that your spouse will always be around to give you all the time and attention you need, you may be unhappy for the rest of your married life. Your spouse will need a time of their own, they cannot spend 24 hours gisting and chatting with you; so you must get busy with your own work, assignment, goals, to avoid feeling lonely (even if you plan to be a housewife). You may be surprised to know that some of the loneliest people on earth are those who are married. So get busy with your life and build your life as a single person. Discover your life's purpose and start pursuing it now.
BEFORE YOU SAY, I DO, it is very important you first discover your life's purpose or understand a bit of what God wants to do with your life, in order to pick the right person to marry. Your specific life's purpose may not be conspicuous now, but at least, you should have an idea of what God wants to do with your life, through the dreams, aspirations, passion and visions in your heart.
The best time to invest time to discover what God wants to do with your life is in your single years. Putting this off till after marriage may be very costly. This is one of the reasons some married men and women are not happy in their marriage, because when they finally discovered what God wants to do with their life (after marriage), the person they're married to is not in support of what they want to do or is not giving them any support.
Moreover, you should not stop at discovering what God has created you to do, you should go beyond that to actually pursuing this cause. Usually, it is at the cause of pursing this divine cause that God connects you to the man or woman He has ordained to partner with you to carry out His divine assignment. So, take some time out to find out what God wants to do with your life now. You do not want to marry someone who is apolitical and discover tomorrow that God wants you to go into politics to bring a change and they stand to oppose you, bringing division in your marriage.
BEFORE YOU SAY, I DO, you really should surrender your life to Jesus first. I know some singles think they should first enjoy life and choose whoever they want to marry, get married, have children and then, they can decide to accept Jesus. But this isn't a wise decision at all. Some married persons, after giving their life to Jesus, sincerely wish they surrendered their lives to Jesus before they got married. Why? They would have been able to choose a better partner.
You have a higher chance of choosing the right person to marry when you're a child of God (because the Holy Spirit is directing your life), and you have a higher chance of getting married to the wrong person as an unsaved person, because the devil still influences your decisions, and he can never let his victims make good decisions that'll better their lives. So if you're yet to surrender your life to Jesus, please consider doing so today, so you would not miss God's perfect will in marriage.
BEFORE YOU SAY, I DO, understand the need to embrace sexual purity. Sexual purity is both for the married and the unmarried. If it was only for the unmarried, we wouldn't be dealing with adultery today. So embracing sexual purity will benefit you before marriage and after marriage. You may think that after marriage, you'll be able to have sex with your partner anytime, anywhere, and whenever you want it, but it is not always so; there may be times when sickness or distance would not permit that, so if you've not built self-control in your single years, what would you do then?
Would you cheat on your spouse or resort to self-gratification through masturbation and porn? Of course not! That's immoral. Please learn self-control now, because you'll very much need it in marriage. The ability to control your sexual desires and fantasies with reverence to God is sexual purity, and the inability to do this is sexual impurity which makes a person immoral before God.
BEFORE YOU SAY, I DO, do your best to learn how to forgive people easily. If you learn to forgive people, it'll be easy for you to forgive your spouse easily. Because, one thing I can assure you is that, you'll need to forgive your spouse almost daily in order to enjoy your marriage and have a peaceful and joyful heart. If you're battling with unforgiveness now, cry out to God to help you overcome the spirit of unforgiveness, otherwise, it'll rob you of the blessings and the joys of marriage. Believe me, the devil can achieve a lot, beyond your wildest imagination, with just disagreement between you and your spouse. So forgiving your spouse easily, making up quick, being in agreement and unity, and maintaining harmony in your home is to your great advantage.
BEFORE YOU SAY, I DO, understand what God really wants from your union, as revealed in Malachi 2:15. God wants a godly seed. You must be ready to do all it'll take you (time, prayers, teaching, correction, instruction, attention...) to raise godly children for God, not just good children nor morally upright children, but godly children: children who are after God's heart, children who would live to please God and do His bidding, children who would uphold righteousness and godliness. You can't fail God in this regard.
BEFORE YOU SAY, I DO, understand that marriage is indeed work. If it'll work, you are the one to make it work. That God ordained your marriage does not mean it'll automatically be successful. It'll only be successful as long as you co-operate with God and do your part. Understand that divorce is not an option, so you should be willing to do all it takes and make the necessary sacrifices to see that your marriage stands, because the devil will fight to pull down any godly marriage he sees being erected.
Lastly, BEFORE YOU SAY, I DO, have the understanding that what you're about to begin erecting is a Kingdom marriage that God is very much interested in and wants to use to model a godly marriage to the world. Therefore, you have to understand what a Kingdom marriage is, how to build one and what makes it stand. This you can find out from God's Word, communion with the Holy Spirit, and through anointed materials (books, articles, write-ups).
You shall have the marriage of your dreams, in Jesus' Name.