Often when I read reflections on men who are married the common thing I find reflected back from them is, "I wish I did this before marriage." My hope in writing this piece is to self-identify reasons why it's a good idea to prepare for marriage, even if single. In a nutshell: It just makes sense. I already wrote about in Part I why I think this makes the most sense; now let's examine how this looks practically.
So it seems that one of the hurdles for young married couples seems to be the area of money. That is why it's good to start planning for it now. This way, I am clearly setting a goal that will help cover the cost in the future. By setting goals and establishing a budget, I have a better handle on what my finances look like for my personal spending. This means that I need to actually look at how much I am spending on dining out and movies (TIFF was definitely worth it, though...). The best part is that if a wedding ceremony doesn't come my way, that money pile can be renamed or divided into areas that costs money, such as mortgages or charities.
This means that yes I put money aside for two people instead of one, and look at how much I'm spending by the cent. I make my lunches and eat out only when I deem appropriate (weekends! woohoo!). Saving with purpose allows me to enjoy and appreciate the little things, rather than taking them for granted - like $1.99 bubble teas!
So abstinence before marriage and fidelity in marriage, essentially saying that sex is a gift which is expressed only within marriage. Practically was this means is honouring women around me. Gentlemen, it's cool to be friends with the ladies but remember that you will only share a bed with one, and your integrity must reflect that. That being said, I think that the way relationships look when you're single are still as tricky as if when you are married. As a guy I don't want to send any wrong signals or mixed messages, and the way I go about minimizing this is treating all women I know as if they were family. Because if I'm married that's all they ever would be anyway - boom!
It means getting to bed early enough to feel rested to wake up early enough to conquer the day. It means not lying in bed for 5 minutes after hitting the snooze button twice. It means instead of watching an hour-long show I can watch two 25-minute ones!
I mentioned prioritization is the key. I think discovering what time of day which gives you most energy helps. For me, because I work in the evenings I find that I am still alert when I come home so that's when I typically get a lot of my blogging done (even if they're not posted, a lot of the drafts get written during this time frame). Usually I'm left with a choice: do I watch a movie or blog an idea? Sometimes sacrificing what you want for what you love is the most rewarding decision, if not for the moment then at least for the long-term.
Seriously, have you read the biblical calling for a husband? Wives have it easy in comparison, that's what I think. And even if I'm not called to the role of husband, I am still called to the role of leader. This means becoming self-aware and also aware of others. If I want to protect my wife, I want to not only protect her from the physical realities of this world but also the intangible hurts. I want to protect her emotions and pursue her character. There is a lot of spiritual application that consists of prayer and scripture reading, truths that I must remind myself on a daily basis.
So that's all, folks. Not really, there is more that can be said on the topic but I'll leave it at this for now. I think ultimately we have to keep in mind that marriage isn't the ultimate goal anyway, but in preparing for it it does make you a better off person. Sound off in the comments to share your thoughts, or I'll just think you agree with everything I said :) (silence is one of the greatest form of self-affirmation! haha)