My grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary a few years ago. That is an incredible feat—especially today! It’s not only a sign of true love and commitment, but it’s also a proof of lasting integrity. I’m so proud to have that in my heritage.
I desire my marriage to be the same—solid enough to last through sixty years of happiness and challenges. I know that dream doesn’t come without a price. It requires the effort of building the relationship on a solid foundation…the foundation of God’s Word.
Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall (Matthew 7:24-26).
Any smart builder knows that in order for his construction to stand, he has to lay a good foundation; otherwise, when the first little storm hits, he might as well wave goodbye to his handiwork. It’s gone with the first puff of wind.
It’s the same with your relationships. No relationship can stand unless it’s built on something lasting. If two people are not solid people alone, then they won’t be solid together. Neither of them will have the strength—even together—to stand when life’s storms hit. That’s why it’s so important to allow time for personal development before a relationship starts. You want God’s Word to become the foundation of your life so it can hold you up through every season you go through.
As you walk with Jesus, He will be constantly developing you. He’ll work on the inside of you and challenge you live in a way that is honorable for someone who belongs to Him. When I say “challenge,” I mean challenge. Such a stance may not be comfortable at first. In fact, it would be easy to look at your growth and get discouraged. You can relax, though, because when you’re faithful to pursue Jesus, more is going on inside you than you know. You will never be perfect, but submitting to God’s discipleship is well worth it! You will become more and more like the virtuous woman whose husband rose up and called her blessed!
Develop Your Relationship with God
When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek” (Psalm 27:8).
In the end, it’s all about you and God. Not one relationship on this planet could be more important than your relationship with Jesus. If you really want to develop as a person, hang out with the One whom you most want to be like. Spend quality time seeking His face every day. Make reading His Word your favorite hobby. Go to church and get involved by serving. His nature will unfurl in your life as you work to make Him your first love. Your efforts will make obvious what kind of girl you are. You’re not struttin’ your stuff; you’re struttin’ His.
Develop Your Character
He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known (Proverbs 10:9).
When I say “character,” I’m not talking about that eccentric old woman that walks down the street picking up cans and chattering everyone’s ear off about “the good ol’ times.” You know the one—the guy that everyone says is “a character.” I’m talking about letting God’s nature show up in every decision you make, in the way you treat people, and in the way you work. One definition I like for character is “the unconscious doing of right.” In other words, it doesn’t take a lot of thought before you make the right decision. It’s in your nature to be honest, kind, and forgiving. You’re full of attributes like the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and the characteristics of love (I Corinthians 13). God’s nature colors your life and makes you who you are.
Set Your Standards
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night (Psalm 1:1-2).
As a Christian, you should have a way of living that you’re not willing to compromise. Your standard is keeping your life pure in every area. The kind of movies you watch, the music you listen to, and the people you hang around should all be decided by your relationship with God. You should dislike the things God hates, and love the things He loves. Once you know what those things are, you will be challenged to keep those standards. Plenty of temptations will come your way, enticing you to let your guard down. A desire to “just this once” have a good time like everyone else will always be around. You must have a standard for your life. In keeping that standard, you will not be willing to budge on conviction because you have too much respect for God and His plan for your life. (You’ll hash through this in Chapter 10.)
Learn the Role of a Wife
Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. (Proverbs 31:10)
So you want a relationship, a lasting one. More than fuzzy feelings and sweet kisses go into a relationship. Getting married and being a good wife takes work! The better understanding you have about marriage and the role of a wife, the smoother your relationship will be. Being a wife is for life! It’s never too soon to read up on the subject and ask questions of your mom or other godly women leaders. They’ll have plenty advice for you!
Learn Home Skills
The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hand.
Once you’re married, it’s not just about you and Mr. Brave. You’ll have a home to care for, money to manage, and kids to look after. If you start learning about these things now, you’ll be more prepared for them in the future. Get some experience in the kitchen and put your hand to housework (you just thought you could avoid the toilets!). It’s never too early to learn to balance a checkbook, and babysitting or teaching kids goes a long way in giving you experience for what’s to come.
Sow Some Seed
Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).
Anytime you do anything, you are sowing a seed into your life. Whatever you give away—a good deed or something you own—will eventually come back to you multiplied. For years I’ve given time and money toward people and ministries. Every time I do, I see what I gave come back into my life through gifts and raises at work. One time God specifically told me to give $50 toward someone’s wedding. I’ve also spent time assisting and coordinating wedding. I know that the time spent in these activities will show up when I need it most—at my wedding!
For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister (Hebrews 6:10).
One of the greatest attributes you can have is having a servant’s heart. Out of that servant’s heart is a willingness to give of yourself to see God’s Kingdom fulfilled through you. When serving others is more important to you than seeing your own needs met, God notices and rewards it. He won’t forget where you are or where you’re going!
Pursue Your Calling
Therefore you also, since you are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let you lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares you, and let you run with endurance the race that is set before you… (Hebrews 12:1).
Believe it or not, your calling is not to be married. Yes, your support for your husband is extremely important, and the children you will train up to serve God are wonderful. But marriage was never meant to be a “calling”; it was meant to support the assignment God has placed on your life. When two people come together, they are a greater asset to the Kingdom of God. Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor (Ecclesiastes 4:9). As you’re “getting ready,” seek God about what He’s called you to do in life. It may be to be a teacher, a lawyer, or a missionary. Whatever it is, pursue that vision, letting God guide every step.
Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing.” Do you consider yourself a “good thing”? I hope you do, because as a child of God, you are more than good—you are very valuable (I Peter 2:9). It’s not that you have attained perfection in every area of life and have no more room to grow. No one on the planet has reached that level. On the other hand, the born-again nature on the inside of you is as perfect as it will ever be. Though you may need some work on the outside, you are no less “good.” If you’ve made Jesus the Lord of your life and are committed to Him, you can rest knowing that God is not going to withhold you from the man of your dreams. Psalm 84:11 says, “… no good thing will He [God] withhold from them who walk uprightly.” God wants to, in His perfect timing, help that man find you!
Unfortunately, anything worth having takes preparation, and a time of preparation for anything takes time. You like to see the results now. You want your boyfriend now. You want to be ready now, but God has a special time in your life that is preparing you for something wonderful in the future. The challenge is appreciating and making the best of that time. The best mindset is to take advantage of every learning and growing opportunity. Though not many are strong enough to wait, the longer you wait, the more polished the package (you) will be for the man God has for you. It’s all a part of allowing God to develop you into a “good thing” from the inside out.
1 Corinthians 7:34 -35 shows you the perks of being single: There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.
When you’re single, it’s much easier to continue in your “Jesus-Is-My-Number-One” status. Family distractions and obligations keep you from serving with everything you have, so take advantage of your life as a single person. Absorb the blessings. Impact your world like only you can for the Gospel. The Bible says that God’s blessings come and “overtake you” (Deuteronomy 28:2). As you focus on God’s dream, the blessing of marriage will overtake you in a special way that you weren’t expecting. That blessing will be in the form of someone who will love and appreciate all the time and hard work you have put into developing the part of you that really counts.
By focusing on the inside—the real you—you won’t need to feel pressured to impress a man when you already have the attributes he’s looking for. Just be yourself. God is defining who you are. Don’t let any man change that; instead, focus on writing your song, the song of your life, by centering your lyrics and melody on the godliness that makes you who you are. God will give you favor with your man-to-be, favor that goes beyond what you can do to attract him on your own. All this will happen because you chose to be a woman who loves to please her True Love, Jesus.