Steps to Becoming a Person Worth Marrying
- 2009 10 Mar
So let’s say you really want to become a person worth knowing and marrying. How do you do it? What do you have to do – what do you have to be – in order to surround yourself with decent people?
Here are some steps you can take to become a person worth knowing and marrying.
Step #1: Become passionate about God. This is more than becoming a Christian or going to church or Bible study. This means making God the center of your life. The alternative is that you try to make other people the center of your life, with a potential spouse your bull’s-eye. Or worse, you could make you the center of your life, and you’re just too little to be God. But someone is going to be in the center – if not God, somebody. You are not ready to be married until God is in the center and you are already intimate with Him. In spite of popular ideas to the contrary, marriage by itself is not likely to bring you closer to God. If you develop a unique, passionate relationship with the living God, He will bless you richly in your life and relationships, and you will become attractive to people who think their own souls are also valuable.
Step #2: Know the truth. Babies don’t get married, and baby Christians shouldn’t either. You certainly don’t want to get married if you’re not a Christian. Life is hard enough without trying to do marriage on your own. But you also don’t want to get married until you’ve grown up a little in Christ. Quite a little. It’s what you know about life through God’s lens that makes all the difference. Do you know the truth? Do you love it? Do you know that perception isn’t reality? Are you aware of where you are reality-impaired and need a strong dose of truth to get well? Are you ready to lay aside the illusions, including common “Christian” illusions? Most people don’t really want to know the truth unless it is pleasant. You can be one of a kind. You can want to know all of it. If you know the truth – really know it and love it and believe it – “you will become free” (John 8:32).
Step #3: Live in freedom. Even if you know the truth, are you really free? Do you really believe and experience the fullness of the truth that “Christ has liberated us into freedom” (Galatians 5:1)? Are you living in freedom – free of the power and plague of sin, free to say “no” to temptation, free to think for yourself, free of the always-lurking Christian Pharisees and their petty rules? Most people aren’t free. Someone who walks in freedom will be attractive to anyone else who wants to be free. You weren’t put here to place people in the bondage of a bad relationship. You were put here “to proclaim freedom for the captives” (Isaiah 61:1).
Step #4: Become passionate about others. People talk about crowns in heaven. Do you know what they are? According to the Bible, your crowns are other people. Are you spending yourself in service to others? Are you investing in others? Is the world around you — at home, at work, at school, at church, in the community – at least a little better because of your drive to make it so? Are you practicing on your parents and siblings, who can probably be rather unlovable at times? Even if you have a lot of head knowledge about the Bible, do you have the heart knowledge that goes with it? Do you know that “knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1)? If you don’t have the humility to “consider others better than yourselves,” you’re not ready for serious relationship. Most people who get married don’t have that humility, so their relationships are all about rights and resentment. You can do a lot better than that.
Step #5: Become passionate about your responsibilities. Mark Twain said, “I never let my schooling interfere with my education.” Are you pouring yourself into your studies, both in school and otherwise, so you can say, like the people said to Nehemiah, “We assume the responsibility” (Nehemiah 10:32)? Are you looking for the work and career that will resonate with your soul? Have you refused to absorb the lies, like the idea about “full-time Christian work” (if you’re a Christian, all work is), and “I’m just working to get money so I can serve God”) (the work is a big part of your service; see Colossians 3:17), and “it’s not all supposed to be enjoyable – that’s why the call it work” (joy is a choice, not just an emotion)? Have you learned that your work can be an expression of the best that is in you? If you’re waiting for teachers or parents or bosses or friends to give you a push on your responsibility, you’re ready for training, not serious relationship. God wants you to “be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your process.”
Step #6: Find a greater cause. Have you found something bigger than yourself that you can devote yourself to? Have you at least made a stab at the questions about impact (“what am I here to change?”), significance (“what am I here to build?”), and legacy (“what do I want to leave behind – when I graduate? When I leave my first job? When I die?”)? Are you certain that the daily drumbeat of life and the friction and demands of relationships won’t take you off your deepest reasons for being here? These reasons can change or blossom over time, but if you want to be someone special, someone whose life counts for something, the time to start is now – not after high school or college, at some unidentified time down the road when you’re older. If you don’t have some outstanding reason to be here, your life will be too insignificant to have any outstanding relationships.
Step #7: Learn the power of redemption. Have you learned how to make a comeback? Have you learned that mistakes aren’t fatal, that you can learn and grow and improve, that failure comes from quitting rather than from making mistakes? Do you know forgiveness – how to experience it and how to grant it? Do you cut people slack when they foul up? Are you a person of the “second chance”? Have you learned how to meet in the middle?
Relationships are about failure and redemption. Many people don’t know how to fail and come back. They hide when they make mistakes and pout and hold grudges when they’re hurt. And most people don’t know how to let others fail and come back. They can’t make themselves apologize when they’ve caused the problem, and they can’t forgive when the other person has messed up big-time. If you don’t know and practice the power of redemption, you will never be able to build a serious relationship with another complex and fragile human being.
If you can work on these seven powerful steps, you will indeed become a person worth knowing and marrying. You don’t do it to find a marriage partner, though. You do it to find a life.
But here’s some exciting news: If you become this type of person, you stand a good chance of being interesting to a person of the opposite sex who is becoming the same kind of person.
Get out of the way, world!
Excerpted from "Am I the One? Clues to Finding & Becoming a Person Worth Marrying" by James R. Lucas. Copyright © 2002, James Lucas. ISBN 0-8054-2573-X. Published by Broadman & Holman Publishers. Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.
James R. Lucas is the Executive Director of the Relationship Development Center and a noted international speaker. He has authored ten previous books including the Broadman & Holman titles: "A Perfect Persecution" and "Walking Through the Fire."