How does one know if one is ready to consider marriage? Is there such thing as being ready?
If you listen to the Say That podcast, you know that I am not married. I have, however, been skydiving. I’ll explain why I draw that parallel. You can’t be fully prepared for your first skydive. It’s so different from anything else you have ever done that you can’t know what its like until you experience it. There are, on the other hand, a million and one ways to be unprepared to jump out of a plane, with disastrous results. It is the same with marriage, you will never be 100 percent prepared, but it is possible to know that you are unprepared to take the leap.
Some of the things people use as indicators to be “ready” for marriage, such as having finished school, or achieved certain career goals, or having a certain amount of financial security, have nothing to do with being ready for marriage. There is nothing inherently wrong with waiting for those things, but none of them will make you more prepared to be a spouse.
The actuality of being prepared for marriage is about work you have done on yourself. Addressing your own insecurities, to know how to communicate, to have worked out issues around trust and intimacy, those are the kind of things that prepare you to be married. Marriage is the act of joining your life with someone else’s, so you need to make sure that your life is something you would want someone you love involved with. If you are swirl of drama and insecurity, then would you be comfortable involving someone else with that?
Genesis says that, before the fall, Adam and Eve lived “naked and unashamed”. Marriage is as close as we in this fallen world get to that, to be able to be yourself without the fear of someone giving up on you. So you have to put in the work to be someone who is capable of being exposed and not being ashamed of who you are. It is kind of a crazy state of being.
Marriage is kind of a ridiculous concept. It is hard, and complicated, and takes a massive amount of sacrifice and energy. So those are the costs, but there is the reward as well. Marriage is an all encompassing decision. It is passionate, yet also practical. You definitely take your time and take it before the Lord. And when you can look at your relationship realistically, not in a romantic haze, and see that the reward of being with this person is worth all of that hard stuff, then you can take a deep breath and take the leap.