I've had the thought for a long time to write a blog post to the young, single women in the church. There are so many things to consider when it comes to getting married, and unfortunately our emotions tend to get in the way of our brains... I can say this because I've been there.
I'm not writing this to tell you the perfect way to pick a husband in order to live happily ever after... I'm not qualified for that. In fact this post is quite the contrary... I'm really writing this to tell you what NOT to do. Plain and simple. I've been there, I've made bad choices, and I don't want to see anyone that I love make those same mistakes. I am simply here to say - don't be like me.
I wish someone would've told me these things when I was younger.... but then I wonder if my young, foolish mind would've listened. I was the kind of young adult that felt I had the world on a string, and that I knew it all.
Yeah right. Gimmie a break...
I can honestly say, it's now 15 some odd years later and I still don't know jack squat.
Let me start off by telling you about my background...
Growing up, my church didn't have very many women to model myself after. It was mostly older ladies, and then my Mom. My Mom married my Dad almost 43 years ago. When they got married my Dad had never even stepped foot in a Primitive Baptist church. He was raised Methodist, and was frankly weirded out by my Mother's religion. But over time, he grew to believe and joined the church ten years later. Three years after that he was ordained as a minister.
It was never stressed to me that I should marry a Primitive Baptist. I always had faith that if I married outside of the church, the Lord would show them my faith and he would one day believe... Just like my Dad. I have learned now that that doesn't always happen... For this to happen for my Mom is either a crazy streak of luck... or a blessing from God. I'll let you decide which one I think it is.
The lesson in all of this is that you should seriously reconsider going into a marriage hoping he will one day convert to your religion.
My personal experience has other lessons as well... Let me just list the red flags you should look for:
-If he will only go to church with you once every month or so - This is a red flag.
-If he was not raised going to church and does not currently go to church at all - Please consider dating someone else...
-Or if he tells you on one or more occasion that he believes the Bible is a hoax, and doesn't know what to believe - Run!!! Run away!! fast!!!
Yes, ladies, this was what I encountered when I was dating my ex-husband. Please don't be stupid like me and think that love will conquer all. Don't get me wrong, I know the Lord is powerful enough to turn even the stoniest of hearts to Him, but that didn't seem to be in the cards for me. So please proceed down that path with extreme caution, and lots and lots of prayer.
Which brings me to my next point. Pray. This was something that was stressed to me growing up, I just didn't do a good job of heeding the advice. You should always, always pray for your future husband.
Don't do what I did, I was already engaged when I started to wonder if he was the right man for me. And unfortunately, that's too late!! Well not technically, but when the invitations have been sent out and the dress is hanging in the closet, it's really hard to say "I wonder if he's the one." It's much easier to break up with a boyfriend than a fiance. Seriously.
I decided a few months before the wedding that I should pray about whether or not he was the one for me. I didn't know very much about praying at the time, so I just prayed about it one time. I got up the next day and still felt like I loved my fiance, so I thought that was my answer. Don't be like me. Pray, pray hard, pray without ceasing! This is a very important decision you are making. Make that decision with the Lord's guidance. Pray till you know what the Lord's will is. Pray till you can look at the man you love and truly be at peace with a lifetime with him. It's hard to imagine your entire life, but when it's right, the Lord will tell you. Listen to Him.
Pray about every boyfriend you have. If you know he's not the one, move on. It will be better for both of you in the end. If you are single, pray for the kind of man you are looking for. Pray for the qualities that will be good for you and good for your future family. If you are unsure of what those qualities are, pray to know what kind of man would be best for you. Pray, pray, and pray again. I'm begging you, please let the Lord be involved in the entire process. I made the mistake of not praying enough. Don't be like me.
Lastly, I want to tell you what I feel are the most important qualities to look for in someone. I never knew to look for these qualities! No one told me (bad excuse by the way). I didn't learn the importance of these attributes till just the past few months.
First of all, look for someone with serving heart. A heart that serves the Lord, as well as his fellow man. Look for someone who can esteem others higher than himself, and make sure he can be the religious head of your household. If you can find these qualities, you will find a man that will love you and be faithful to you, and lead your family according to God's will. He will be able to fix problems the right way, say he is sorry even if it's not his fault, and wipe your tears even when he doesn't know what is causing them. He will be a GOOD man.
I admit I completely looked for the wrong qualities in someone, and as it turned out, I married someone that was very selfish... which I will say is the one quality you need to steer clear of. Selfishness doesn't seem like a big deal in the beginning, but it will grow into the biggest problem in your marriage. A selfish person will always put what he wants in front of what you need. Yes, I worded that right..... his WANTS are more important that your NEEDS. It may not seem like much when he's wanting more material things, or extra time with his friends, but those small selfish wants, in my case, turned into the affair he never intended on having. He was so used to having his way, and getting what he wanted, he didn't have the self discipline to tell himself he couldn't have another woman. Please stay away from selfish men.
I know I have probably only hit the tip of the ice burg with this post. It's such a broad subject, and it can have many variables and twists and turns. Not every situation will fit the perfect mold. That is why, above all things, pray, pray, pray. The Lord will help fill in whatever holes I have left in my messy little blog post.
I pray the Lord blesses you in your futures.
Just don't be like me.
I love you all, and I only want the best for you!