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Four ways to mess up your future marriage

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1. Don’t face your need to mature

We have a tendency to believe that the passing of time will magically mature us. We say to ourselves, “I know I’m immature right now, but a few years from now I’m going to be a spiritual rock star.” While God does use marriage to sanctify us (make us more like Jesus), and mature us, don’t put off facing your need to grow. Why? You will most likely attract to yourself someone who is a lot like you. In many ways opposites attract, but in this instance like attracts like. If you are spiritually and emotionally unhealthy and you begin to date a healthy person, they are going to eventually move on from you (by definition). But, the opposite is also true! So if you are single and unattached spend this season seeking to grow in the gospel and becoming as rooted and mature as you can be. Seek out a church and entrench yourself in that community. Listen to feedback. Go to counseling. Read good books.

2. Date someone who doesn’t share your faith

How does the Bible define love? Romantic love includes feelings, passion, chemistry, emotions, and Eros, but at its highest-level love is a COMMITMENT. Looks fail us, health is not constant, money comes and goes, chemistry waxes and wanes, and feelings change like the seasons. While love includes these, it has to be more than these-it is fundamentally a commitment. Only seriously explore marriage with someone who defines love in this way. In Ephesians 5:21-33 Paul gives practical teaching on marriage. As he begins this section (5:21) he says, “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ”. While this is a call for all believers to submit to one another, his focus here is in relationship to marriage where each spouse is called to make Jesus preeminent in their marriage and to put the needs of their spouse ahead of their own needs. Because God loves you, he is calling you to only attach yourself in marriage to someone who is capable of living out the reality of Ephesian 5:21.

3. Be impatient

While it may seem like a statistical miracle to find someone who loves Jesus and is emotionally secure, ultimately this is a chance to exercise your faith. If God intends you to be married (singleness is not a curse), is he able to provide what is best for you? Who are you trusting to fill up what is lacking in your life? When you realize that God is enough, you will be freed up to be patient. Why? Because when God is enough you don’t need marriage in the same way you did before. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Marriage is no longer your god (idol) and you can wait for what’s best.

4. Live together before marriage

But you say, “I actually agree that marriage is a life-long commitment, and that’s why we are living together. I want to commit for a lifetime, but how will I know if I can make that commitment if I don’t live with her first? We need to practice marriage before we commit to marriage.” Here is the problem with that logic if you are a follower of Jesus. You can’t live together or sleep together and also “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Sex is an amazing gift from God to be enjoyed between a husband and wife in marriage-the Bible is clear on this. When you choose to live together before marriage you have started your relationship by not putting Christ first in your relationship-your desires have come first. When you live together before marriage you are beginning your relationship on a foundation of consumerism instead of commitment:

“If you meet my standards, I’ll commit.

If we get enough money together, I’ll commit.

If I can get over my fear of commitment, I’ll commit.

To quote the great theologian, Beyonce: “If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it.”

Building on consumerism over commitment is the wrong way to start, but its not too late to turn from that foundation. If you aren’t yet married face it and discuss it. If you are already married, explore whether that mentality of consumerism is causing problems in your relationship. Begin by looking to Jesus who didn't come to be served but to serve.

by Scott Brown 

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