The One Thing I Wish I Had Done Before I Got Married
17 May 2015
I’ve heard it said that most people prepare more for their wedding than they do for their marriage. In my case, I’d have to say it was true. Weddings are usually exciting, fun-filled events that get everyone caught up—so much so that, often, we don’t take a minute to stop and think about what happens after the honeymoon.
I got married at 23. I had just finished college the year before, had landed a great job in my field, and had been dating my boyfriend for about two and half years before we decided that we would get married. This was someone who I had started out being very good friends with. My family loved him. My friends thought we made the perfect couple. And it just made sense for us to take the next step in our relationship.
In all the time we were dating, we talked about a lot of things. I honestly can’t say that we spent that much time talking about our expectations of marriage or what adjustments we’d have to make as “the two became one.” I think we just assumed that it would be a seamless transition since we already knew each other so well. We did the premarital counseling, the bridal shower, the traditional African engagement—all the pre-wedding things that were expected of us. But looking back on my failed marriage, I realize that I missed one critical step before I got married:
I didn’t ask for discernment about whether or not this was the mate God intended for me.
In our rush to beat our biological clocks and leave the single life behind, we make decisions which end up sometimes having devastating consequences because we didn’t take the time to make sure that the person who we say “I do” to is the person we’re supposed to be yoked to. Throw in all the glitz and glamour of planning a wedding and it’s very easy to miss God’s still, small voice in the midst of all the noise. Of course this is the person that is meant for us! It just makes sense. Except, more often than not, our spirit is trying to get our attention to tell us that something just ain’t right. But we’re too distracted trying on that ivory satin wedding dress to hear it.
My spirit was trying to get my attention even on my wedding day. I thought I was just tired from all the planning—that must have been why I felt so apathetic. So I put on that brilliant smile and that beautiful mask of makeup and went through the day working hard to make sure no one could see my turmoil inside. The doubts were raging but I chalked it up to wedding day jitters. Have you ever had that moment where everyone around you is smiling, clapping and full of joy for you but you feel like everything is actually moving in slow motion? Like you’re watching yourself as a character in a bad movie? That was me.
In hindsight, I realized that God had been trying to get my attention way before the wedding day with clues here and there, but I ignored them because I wasn’t ready to give up my Cinderella fantasy for a spiritual reality.
Now that I’ve grown from that experience, I understand even more so why having a strong relationship with God is important when deciding who to marry. The stronger your spiritual life is, the clearer you will hear God’s voice giving you discernment in your decision-making.
So besides all the external things you need to look for when choosing a mate, how will you know you’re marrying the right person? You will know. Just as you will know if you’re marrying the wrong person. As long you take the time to listen—really listen—to that still, small voice.
*This post also appeared on Black & Married With Kids.
How has God’s voice played a role in your relationship(s)?