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. This is going to be a short post where I point out the areas in which this makes the most sense. (disclaimer: Some of these are raw ideas, I may flesh them out down the road).
Usually the biggest reservation (young) couples have with marriage is the wedding. Too expensive! And that is true; I'm told the average wedding is roughly $30,000 - a modest salary - and even doing one for half that number is still very intimidating.
Also it's not just the wedding I want to prepare for, but the marriage run. The excitement of our first place together. A roof over our heads and food in our bellies. Maybe a car if we need it. Repairs that I will need to learn how to do myself to save some coin. Learning how to save just makes sense.
Preparing in the area of finances helps me steward what I've been given wisely. If it's not going to support another person, at least I will have saved enough for it to be used for a greater good beyond myself.
I subscribe to abstinence before marriage and fidelity in marriage. It helps keep hearts in check and establishes a good foundation down the road. It allows me to remain friends with the opposite sex without them thinking that I want anything more from them than their friendship. And as a side note: guys, if you like a girl then tell her!
Do I stay up until 2am catching up on all the missed episodes of my favourite tv show or do I use the remaining hours of consciousness to prepare for tomorrow's work day? A marriage-oriented mentality means that I know my free-time hours will crash to almost non-existent, which is why it's important to get used to it now so that the transition won't be an uphill battle. The best method is prioritization.
My role of husband includes the call to protect, provide, and be a suitable priest for my family. Even without a family to lead, the qualities of leadership play significant parts in professional and personal development anyway, so it's just a good idea to continue developing them. Stand up for the little people, be a person of integrity and respect. There is always someone looking up to you :)
I admire the sacrifice that I see in husbands devoted to their wife and children. I think single men can learn from that, which is why I think marriage does paint a beautiful portrait of God and his church. I didn't mean to turn this all theological, but as my friend Kathy pointed out, we are all theologians, and there's no denying that simple truth - God loves us.
So, anyway, in my next post I will write out how I am preparing for marriage while single, a shot at what this actually looks like for me as I make a conscious effort to put childish things behind me. And an opportunity for you to give me some pointers!