This is what you need to know before you propose:
- Marriage is God's ideal. His plan was for Adam to have a mate, remarkably different from him, yet a perfect complement to Adam. His desire is for a man and woman to live together in harmony in spite of their differences.
- Men and women are different. The more you understand and accept the fact that God made men and women differently, the easier it will be to handle marital conflicts later. God made each gender different for a reason, and it's best to appreciate those differences rather than trying to change them.
- Singlehood is hard to give up. When you're single, the only person you have to worry about is you. When you get married you share everything you have and everything you are with this other person.
- Marriage is a magnificent way to learn about yourself. In the first few years of marriage, the blind spots of your character - that love previously overlooked -
become exposed. For instance, when you are single you may think of yourself as the most giving person in the world, but when you get married you find out about your selfishness. Sadly, a lot of marriages don't make it because the period of self-discovery is so painful, and instead of making your own personal correction, you lash out at your mate.
Taken from It Takes Respect by Aeneas Williams, copyright (c) 1998. Used by permission of Multnomah (r) Publishers, Inc., Sisters, Ore. Contact your local bookstore to order.
- Only marry a complete person. Don't expect to change this person any more than you expect to change yourself. Aim for choosing a finished product. Both of you will change, develop, and grow over the years, but you want to begin with a complete person, who knows his/her strengths and weaknesses, and has a sense of purpose and direction in life.
- Agree on God. The Bible tells us not to be yoked with a non-believer. When love takes over, it is easy to overlook this admonition or to minimize its impact on the relationship. When the two of you share the most important thing in the world - a relationship with the Lord - you have a bond that cannot be easily broken. Being married to an unbeliever keeps you from accomplishing many of the things you could be accomplishing for God.
- It's a big step from love to commitment. Marriage is for the long haul. Arguments, disagreements, and differences have to be worked out. Storming out the door, not speaking to each other for a week, or breaking up are no longer options.
- Marriage is a covenant. It is an agreement between God and the two of you that you will love one another and stand by one another no matter what happens and no matter what differences may arise between the two of you. Divorce is not an option.
Aeneas Williams has been the Phoenix Cardinals starting defensive back for seven years and has started in the Pro Bowl for the last three years. He led the NFL in interceptions in 1994 and has intercepted a record 26 passes since then. He lives with his wife, Tracy, and daughter in Arizona. He is a graduate of Southern University in Louisiana.
Originally appeared in Live It on Crosswalk.com.