My wife and I got married almost 2 years ago. Yes I know, we are still quite new in this “business”, but on the other hand I recently read somewhere that the 2 first years of marriage are critical for a successful marriage – so I’m glad to say “so far, so good!”
But let’s rewind a little; life also happened before I got married, so I would like to share 3 thoughts about the time leading up to our wedding.
Practice and prepare
We practice for pretty much everything in life: To improve Tennis skills some people watch Federer and Nadal and try to imitate them on the court; to get over fear of public speaking people might take a course in “rhetoric & composition” and practice at home in front of the mirror; and in order to be a good leader someone could read the book “Leadership 101” and put those principles into practice.
How is that connected with “getting married?” Well, I wondered, if we can practice pretty much anything, is there also a way to practice to be a good spouse?
Yes, I believe there is one. Let me share two thoughts here: My wife and I did a few pre-marriage counselling sessions. Did that fix everything? No, that was never the point or the idea. The point was to learn from a couple that has gone before us, a couple that has been married for some decades. We talked about a handful of different topics and questions including family, finances, spirituality, future or and sexuality. Honestly, it was really helpful. For example, in the area of finances we discussed questions like “how much money can I spend without telling my partner?” or “is it okay to go into debt with your credit card?” In the area of family, we talked about values and priorities of our immediate families. Looking back, I’m really glad that we met with this experienced couple. I believe a strong, healthy marriage doesn’t just happen. There are a few things in life that you want to prepare and practice well, and marriage surely is one of them. So if you are engaged, don’t waste your time and go for it!
My second thought on practising and preparing is the following: no matter if you are single, in a relationship, engaged or already married, you can always practice the conditions of what it means to be a good friend. The development of becoming a consistent friend before you get married teaches us many qualities which are helpful in a marriage: learn to listen, learn to be faithful in your prayers for someone else or learn to love, even if you don’t understand your friend. So, if you are single, be positive, seize the season, grow as much as you can and become the best possible marriage partner.
Getting married brings two families together
A man and a woman coming together by means of a marriage covenant is an exciting thing! It’s a once in a lifetime experience, “until death do us part”. It is two individual persons becoming one, which creates a beautiful, new entity. However, this is not only true for the couple, but also for the two families. In the same way that two unique persons come together, two unique families come together. I believe it doesn’t matter if you take two families from the same tiny, little village, or two families from completely different parts of the world. The beauty of it is that these two families blend in a way, that they never would have without the couple’s “yes, I do.” All that to say, the common proverbs “you not only marry a person, but a family and their culture” surely carries a lot of truth. The fusion of two families is a great opportunity to learn and grow from each other’s differences, so let’s make sure we don’t miss the beauty and the vitality this new bond brings.
Marriage is a picture
A picture? Don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about Art, but more about a prophetic picture for Christ and his bride – the church. Believe it or not, this part is very exciting! Did you ever wonder why the atmosphere at weddings is always so positive, joyful and carry a heavenly atmosphere? I believe the reason for this phenomenon lies way deeper than the simple fact that “a wedding day is so special.” One day, there will be a wedding feast like no other, a supreme one, one that is too glorious to explain with our limited words. With an atmosphere so pure and overflowing with joy, Jesus will embrace his bride, the church. It will be a celebration that lasts an eternity – I promise, your taste buds will be ecstatic. So, as a couple gets (or is married), they reflect the covenant between Jesus and the church. What an honour, what a privilege! For me, this is a key reason to do everything I can to be a good husband, and reflect the divine covenant the best way possible.
Getting married is something very beautiful. Wherever you stand (somewhere before or after your wedding day), there are always things you can do to become a better spouse. Since God loves us so much he keeps giving us opportunities to grow; he’s a maximiser and he has the best intentions for each one of us. If your desire to be married is not yet fulfilled, then you have a great opportunity to grow in trust and become that good spouse. If you already have a spouse, seek ways to reflect God’s marriage covenant in a greater way. Wherever you stand, embrace what you have and bring glory to God through it!
Marcel, from Switzerland, completed his DTS in New Zealand and leads our July DTS with his wife Cecilia here at YWAM Lausanne.
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