I believe it is very wise to prepare and study and to seek to learn and understand all you possibly can about God’s design, His wisdom and His purposes for us as women and as wives – before we get married if at all possible!
But, there is an element of being a godly wife that you just cannot prepare for. Once you are married, many things change. It is impossible to know the obstacles you will face and the way you and your husband-to-be will react. You cannot be 100% prepared. It is one thing to learn theory – but it is a totally different thing to live out God’s design well.
The thing I hear from all of my peaceful single girls who get married is – “Wow. This respect and biblical submission thing is so much harder once you are married.”
God uses marriage to refine us, to prune us, to chisel us and to make us holy. Marriage is much more about us becoming holy and bringing honor to Christ than it is about our current state of “happiness.”
What are some ways you can get a gauge on whether you are heading in the right direction or not toward being ready to be a godly wife? Here are some things that come to my mind:
- Are you able to be content whether you are in a relationship with a man or not – depending totally on Christ for your fulfillment, purpose, strength, and security?
- Are you able to be flexible if you don’t get what you want?
- Are you able to deeply and sincerely forgive when you are sinned against?
- If someone sins against you and doesn’t repent, do you know how to confront him in a godly way?
- Do you feel you know how to respect yourself appropriately?
- Are you able to roll with new challenges and unforeseen problems without freaking out?
- Are you generally very worried, anxious, and filled with fear?
- Are you focusing on pleasing Christ more than pleasing people?
- Are you fully submitted to Christ as Lord?
- Do you have a good handle on what respect looks like to your husband-to-be?
- Do you know what is disrespectful to your man?
- Are you willing to not take over or try to be in control – allowing your man to make mistakes as he leads and grows as a leader (but without following him into clear sin)?
- Are you tempted to be a Bridezilla?
- Do you believe you are always right? How is your pride level? Do you embrace godly humility?
- How do you respond when you are wronged? Do you tend to habitually respond in a sinful way?
- Are you willing to live frugally, if necessary, when there are hard financial times – without resentment?
- Are you willing to do housework and to keep a decent home, creating a haven and place of peace, rest, and joy for and with your husband?
- Are you willing to contribute financially, if necessary, without resenting your husband?
- Have you worked through any trust issues and healed from childhood wounds? To some degree, you can’t completely know ahead of time how marriage may bring these up even more, but have you addressed these things and are you seeking Christ and His healing and His truth in these areas? Are you committed to getting any help you need if these issues create problems in the marriage later?
- Are you able to allow your man to be different from you? Is it okay if he is masculine and doesn’t respond, think, and talk like your girl friends?
- What happens if your guy doesn’t give you all of the attention you want? What do you do?
- Are you truly finding all of your contentment in Christ alone, or are you expecting your man or marriage or children or romance to make you happy? What will you do when your husband fails you – as all husbands do to some degree?
- Have you experienced the grace, mercy and forgiveness of God in a profoundly personal way? Do you understand that you are a wretched sinner on a heart level, just like all other people, and that there is nothing good in you apart from Christ? Jesus changes us and gives us new hearts, minds, and spirits. When we are in Him, we are a new creation, thankfully!
- Are you ready to realize that marriage is much more about Jesus and about your faith in Him than it is about you and your husband? Are you able to see that you are playing a part that God has assigned for you to bring people to Christ? That marriage is about the gospel and about drawing many to Jesus much more than it is about you?
- Are you able to accept that you will be hurt in marriage and you will be sinned against at times, that your husband will be far from perfect (and you will also be far from perfect)? Are you prepared to extend much grace?
- Are you able to take responsibility for your own emotions, your own spiritual growth and happiness?
- Are you willing to give and give of yourself even if you don’t receive anything back at times?
- Are you on board with what your guy believes is his calling in his life?
- Will you be flexible if his calling changes?
- Are you sensitive to and concerned about what is important to your man?
- Are you willing to trust his leadership and decisions even if you don’t always agree with him and even if you don’t get your way on some decisions?
- Do you know how to share your concerns, ideas, wisdom, and suggestions respectfully? Do you know how to use your influence authority in a godly way?
- Are you and your guy both seeking Christ much more than anything else in life?
- Are you able to focus on the good even in difficult situations (Phil. 4:8, James 1)?
- Have you both seen each other at your worst, when you are sick, exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed, etc…? Do you know how he will probably act and how you will probably act when you are under great stress?
- What are your expectations of marriage? Once you get married, are you willing to lay down any unbiblical expectations?
- Is there anything your man could do that would make you want to divorce him? If so – you may not be ready for marriage. For a believing wife, divorce really should not be an option except in possibly two fairly extreme circumstances. (Matthew 19:1-12)
- Are either of you divorced? If so, are you willing to examine to see whether the divorce or divorces were biblical and if God will be honored by a remarriage?
- Are you able to respond gently when someone is harsh with you (Prov. 15:1)?
- How do you treat people who don’t give you good service in restaurants and stores? Does your character in those moments reflect Christ in Galatians 5:22-33?
- What is it that you need to be happy in life? If you believe you need anything other than Christ alone – you may be dealing with idolatry. It would be good to look at your motives and priorities and to allow God to help you examine them carefully. We can easily deceive ourselves to think we are serving Christ but put other things above Him in our hearts.
- If something tragic were to happen to your husband – he became paralyzed, got cancer, developed dementia, if you face infertility, he got PTSD and severe depression, or you faced the death of a child – are you still willing to joyfully stay and serve, respect, honor and love your husband?
- Are you able to approach marriage with great humility, realizing that there are many things you don’t know yet and you will continue learning all your life?
- Are you prepared to 1. love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength no matter what. 2. love this man with God’s love?
- Are you ready to allow God to teach you through trials and suffering to love your husband-to-be with His love in I Corinthians 13:4-8?
I think this may be a great heart check for all of us. May God richly bless your walk with Christ!
If you see problems – that doesn’t mean you can never get married (usually)! It just means it is time to pray about any issues that have shown up and ask God to help you address them (on your own, with your potential husband, or with a godly mentor/counselor) and move forward in a way that honors God!