It’s a given that once we’re married, we should honor our spouse by being faithful, prayerful and supportive. What most of us may not think about in our singleness is that we should have those qualities even before we meet this amazing guy. Take a look at your current mindset regarding marriage, and ask yourself if your actions are leading to a successful relationship. Are you using your singleness as an excuse to hold on to friendships, relationships and habits you know you shouldn’t have?
I purposely stopped dating in high school and made a commitment to God that I wouldn’t enter into a relationship with anyone until He confirmed that he was my husband. Several years later, my now-husband walked into my life. I’m so glad that I didn’t dive into dating like so many of my peers told me to just because I could. It really helped me to submit my love life to the Lord, but that doesn’t mean it was perfect. There are some things I would keep the same and others I would do differently, but hopefully I can help you to avoid a few pitfalls by sharing my own experience.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
An important thing to focus on during this time is your walk with The Lord. Many single women think that once they get married, they can take their prayer life and Bible studying a lot more seriously. I know from experience that what you do—for good or for bad—while you’re single is pretty much the same once you get into a relationship and prepare for marriage. You can honor your future spouse by living a life that is pleasing to God and having an earnest desire to spend time with Him. Once you are married, your husband will appreciate your accountability to God and the fervent prayers you lift up on his behalf.
Do not be misled; “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
Have you ever heard of the saying “You are the company you keep”? The Bible says that corrupt company will corrupt you, and the opposite is also true. It’s possible think of our current friends, examine their behaviors and come to the conclusion that they’re not sooo bad. However, instead of dealing with friends who are on the borderline of good and bad, it’s better to seek out friends who are living lives full of purpose, righteousness and intent. If you plan to stick with these women long term, you want to develop close bonds with those who will fight for your marriage just as hard as you will and who will be trustworthy when you need a confidant. This is another way of protecting your marriage before it even begins.
Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you. (Job 22:21)
We wonder why divorce rates among Christians are so high, but dating and having multiple long-term relationships trains us for divorce because we believe “If I’m not happy, I can always leave and find someone better.” In the eyes of our society, we have to test something out to see if it’s right for us. Ultimately, our culture assumes we know what’s right for us. Sampling from a buffet of men and hoping you can piece together the ideal partner is a way of taking your life into your own hands instead of trusting in and submitting to The Lord. As young women, you’re still in a stage of figuring out the near future and there’s no way to know what you’ll need in a spouse 20 years down the line. But God does. By allowing God to set you apart, you leave yourself open to His timing and the best husband for you.
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (Hebrews 13:4)
Many people assume that lust is defeated once you become a wife. The truth is as long as the enemy can tempt you, this will be a pitfall even after marriage. If you’re looking at pornography, having premarital sex or even masturbating, you’re already defiling the marriage bed. The reason why all of these can be dishonoring to your future husband is because God wants you to be sexually content with your husband within the confines of a covenant. By inviting in other people or fantasies instead of submitting yourself in virtue and purity, you are setting yourself up to deal with these things long term if you don’t take action to repent from them ahead of time.
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)
When I was in high school and decided to stop dating, I asked God to take away my lust for guys I had crushes on. It actually worked! To my surprise—and relief—the next day at school I could feel the shift in my heart and I was no longer dealing with that emotional tug of war. However, I had to consistently keep my mind focused on pure thoughts and not allow myself to go back and forth with lust.
To some, crushing or flirting is a harmless thing that’s fine to do as a single woman. It may seem innocent as long as it’s not leading to anything physical, but it’s still opening yourself up to temptation and allowing you to become emotionally attached to someone who isn’t yours. This could lead to forming a habit that doesn’t stop on your wedding day, and it has become the demise of some marriages because the harmless flirting with the guy at work turned into something much deeper.
Speaking of guys, you may have a few very close male friends that you couldn’t imagine parting ways with whether you’re single or married. Analyze those relationships and ask yourself why you’ve become so attached to them. As a married woman, I don’t invest in close friendships with the opposite sex, and neither does my husband. When I was single, I thought it was okay, but it wasn’t until I started dating my now-husband that those relationships felt inappropriate to me. I understand now that confiding in a close male friend emotionally was never a healthy choice if I wanted to set up my marriage to have a proper support system in place. If there are any guys you confide in regularly, consider taking those emotional discussions to a close girl friend instead.
With all the above being said, I would never ask you ladies to do something without expecting the man God brings into your life to uphold the same standards. Through your practice and personal development, it will be very easy to recognize the fruit of someone who is mature in their faith and able to add to your life in an abundant way. If you haven’t already developed these life traits, it’s never too late to begin.