Are you marriage material? So often in the pursuit of love we get so caught up trying to find the right person, that we end up losing ourselves.
But just as important as it is find someone who is marriage material, it’s important to take some time to look inward, making sure that we are meeting the very standards we are looking for in a partner.
So what does it take to become marriage material? Here are a few characteristics that we need to strive for as we seek to become all that God wants for us:
There is nothing more vital to the life-line of a healthy person than being rooted in relationship with Jesus. Through this relationship, we learn what it means to really love, and are enabled to pour that same kind of love into our romantic relationships as well. Don’t ever neglect your faith through the process of dating, because it’s the most important aspect to achieving a rich and meaningful love-life.
Like I expand upon in my book True Love Dates, the only way to know what you want, is to know who you are. Self-awareness is such a crucial aspect to becoming marriage material, because you are 50% of your future relationship. Knowing your strengths, your weakness, your struggles, your talents, and your flaws has everything to do with the health of your future relationship because healthy people attract healthy relationships. Become marriage material by taking the time to look inward. Deal with your baggage, and strive to become the best version of yourself.
It is said that a person’s level of security and confidence is actually more attractive to the opposite sex than their physical appearance. A person of confidence knows that their value is not rooted in their relationship status, but rather, their identity in Christ. People of confidence are enabled to love out of their desire to give, rather than simply out of their desire to get.
Honesty, Loyalty, Respect, Purity…living a life of integrity means that we resolve to develop the qualities of godliness in our lives. Integrity is something that begins long before we’ve entered a relationship, and has everything to do with how we act and interact with the people that God has placed in our lives here and now.
From how you deal with your finances, to how well you keep your word, and everything in between, being marriage material means that you take responsibility for your life. When you are responsible with your life, you will also be responsible with their heart.
We live in a generation that’s absolutely afraid of commitment. From choosing a career, to making plans for a Friday night, our culture tends to live paralyzed by fear rather than take steps of faith and move into action. Take a look at your life and ask yourself this: what has been your track record when it comes to the area of commitment? What fears, insecurities, and anxieties have been holding you back from living your life and making commitments? To become marriage material, it’s important to be a person that’s driven by faith, not by fear.
7. Significant Relationships
A person who is marriage material recognizes that there is so much value in relationships – above and beyond romantic ones. Healthy people have learned the art of making deep friendships, learning from wise mentors, and discipling those who are in need of direction. One way to know how someone will engage in a romantic relationship is by taking a look at how they interact with the people in their lives. Are your significant relationships marked by drama and conflict, or by communication and respect? Work on nourishing the relationships that God has given you here and now in order to prepare yourself for life-long love.
To put it simply, to be marriage material – you need to grow up. And the thing about “growing up” is…it has nothing to do with your age. We live in a culture that allows us to remain children for far too long, never asking us to plan ahead or set goals; blaming everyone else instead of owning up to our life choices and responsibilities. But the quality of our life is determined by no one else and nothing less than the choices that we make day in and day out. Recognize your role in your life and in your relationships, by learning to grow up and take action.
Believe it or not, all the things you struggle with as a single, you will likely continue to struggle with in your marriage. So there’s no better time to become marriage material than before marriage! God’s word reminds us that one of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. What are the areas of your life that are in need of some self-control? Your spending habits? Your emotional world? Your sexual struggles? Your leisure activities? How are you spending the precious minutes of your life, and are you building habits that will benefit your future marriage, hang-ups that will poison it?
The truth is, marriage is a life-long conversation. But so many of us go into it without any knowledge of how to converse or manage conflict. We hold our feelings in, give the cold shoulder, or spew venomous words when we’re angry and upset. We don’t know how to recognize our feelings, much less share them with someone else. But to become marriage material, you need to learn how to communicate in a healthy way. What is your communication bent? Are you a passive, aggressive, or assertive communicator? Are you superficial in your conversation, or do you have the skills to go deep? (Learn more about communication styles and conflict management in Section 2: Dating Outward of TLD).
Here’s the thing about having a healthy marriage – it starts long before the marriage begins. Take inventory of your life and ask yourself if you’re learning and growing in the ten areas mentioned above.
And then, do your future marriage a favor by using this precious time in your life to work on becoming the best version of yourself. Here’s to a healthy you, and in turn, to becoming “marriage material.”
Article originally appeared at True Love Dates. Used with permission.
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life as well as the 21-Days To JumpStart Your Love-Life Program, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 100+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of the True Love Dates Blog! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!
Publication date: May 20, 2015
Read more about preparing for a blessed, Biblical marriage in our Marriage Guide.