So, the woman who commented on our last post about marriage preparation has gotten me thinking. She commented that the things I suggested were good to hear but general. And the general part has me bugged.
Mostly, because I agree with her. I was being general on purpose because I think there's really no way two people can be totally prepared for marriage. We Christians put marriage up on this lofty pedestal, try so hard to live up to it's ideals and then woefully fail at it. But I kinda think that's the point. It's like church. Church is Godly and we've been given biblical instructions about how to go about church and love others and so forth. We try really hard to make church the way God intends, but we're a bunch of sinners and no matter how hard we try, we'll always screw it up. But do we quit church? No, we should stay and plant ourselves firmly in the middle of the messiness of relationships and conflicts of church and work through it together.
Marriage is the same. We have Godly guidelines and wisdom but we'll always fall short. Marriage will never be the way you expect it to be. It will be way more wonderful than you expect and way more horrifying than you expect!
You can be the most Godly, sane, devotions-doing, people-helping, praying-together, and not having sex dating couple ever and still have a hard time with marriage. You can always get out of a dating relationship. Nothing can prepare you for the fact that at some point, you'll desperately want to get out of your marriage. All God's wisdom and love won't seem to be helping and yet you'll be expected to stay and honor your promise to your spouse. It's a whole different ballgame.
So as a dating couple you can ask yourselves: "Am I prepared to deal with _____?"
Am I prepared to deal with farting? The real kind where the other person actually enjoys it and calls your attention to the smell? Am I prepared for one of us to lose our job? Am I prepared to move to another state? Am I prepared to miss my spouse on business trips? Am I prepared to get pregnant unexpectedly? Am I prepared to have fertility problems? Am I prepared to have the most amazing mind-blowing sex? Am I prepared to not have sex for weeks at a time and wonder why? Am I prepared to make a budget? Am I prepared to take on my spouse's surprise credit card debt that they've hidden from me? Am I prepared to like my spouse's best friend who has the personality of a shoe? Am I prepared to have the feeling of being in love disappear? Am I prepared to have that same feeling come rushing back at unexpected sweet and peaceful moments? Am I prepared to have completely nonsensical screaming matches about things like the proper way to slice an onion or clean a sink? Am I prepared to be called out on my most shameful habits? Am I prepared to find out my spouse is not the person I thought I married in a bad way? Am I prepared to find out they're not the same person in a wonderful way?
Am I prepared to clean my spouse's toilet? Even if it looks like World War III happened in there? Am I prepared to face tragedy with my spouse? Am I prepared to laugh so hard I almost pee my pants? Am I prepared to find that my spouse is my polar opposite? Am I prepared to change and grow as an individual? Am I prepared to wonder if my spouse is cheating? Am I prepared to feel like I want to cheat on my spouse? Am I prepared to work long hours and only see my spouse on the weekends? Am I prepared to create new traditions together? Am I prepared to give up those idealistic new traditions to placate my spouse's family and do things their way? Am I prepared for snoring? Am I prepared for buying my spouse's tampons or foot odor powder? Am I prepared for how slow my spouse eats? Am I prepared for nights where there is literally nothing to say to each other? Am I prepared for nights where we can't stop talking? Am I prepared to go into debt together? Am I prepared for poopy odd colored diapers and sleepless nights? Am I prepared to feel a warm rush of love when I see my spouse play with our children? Am I prepared to feel ashamed of a decision my spouse makes? Am I prepared to feel proud about decisions my spouse makes? Am I prepared to have all my expectations shattered but also to find that marriage is way more powerful and strong than those expectations?
If you can answer, "NO! No, I'm not prepared for any of that and there is no way I could ever be. But I love my potential spouse and I know that I can commit to life together. Whatever life throws at us, good or bad or completely nonsensical, we'll grow together and stick it out together. Well then...that's as prepared as you'll ever be!