Love month is almost over but here’s one last hurrah from our team! We thought it would be great to ask our married couples to give an advice to our young readers by answering the question: “Knowing what you know now and if you were still single today, what would you tell yourself about dating and marriage?” Here are their answers!
Marriage is hard work. And it can only grow if you invest prayer, time, and effort to nurture it. A healthy marriage requires sacrifice, compromise, and heaping dose of selflessness. We would tell our single selves to invest in friendships with Godly mentors; couples with healthy marriages to whom you can turn for advice. There will be days, and weeks, and even months, when things get hard, and there’s nothing more reassuring than having a more experienced married couple tell you “It’s normal. Don’t worry.”
Sonjia: Getting married is never the goal of life. Yes, pray for it. It’s great to desire marriage. Believe God for it. But ask God to keep your heart only set before HIM. He is our ultimate joy, our greatest reward. To enjoy Christ is the GOAL, and to glorify Him the greatest privilege in this world. You will see that when your heart is fully anchored on Christ, marriage becomes even meaningful because we have an unlimited source of grace to love and honor our husbands the way God called us to do. Only then can we also glorify God through marriage.
Fidel: In our first year of marriage, my wife and I had a challenging time with our finances. I think that usually happens when a man and a woman are joined together as one, along with their bank accounts. One of my responsibilities as a husband is to lead my family financially. When I was single, I tithed, yes, and I was also generous but I didn’t really put much effort in budgeting. If I was still single I would tell myself to budget, budget and budget and be intentional in telling money where to go instead of scratching my head, wondering where it went. This is our 2nd year and I am continuously learning, by God’s grace, how to honor Him with our finances and steward what He gives us with excellence.
Jonathan: “It’s not about you.” Looking back I realize, that I was so caught up with what was in it for me – a wonderful wife, great family and job… for me. I now realize how selfish that was, and every time I think that way, it doesn’t end well. Marriage is about God and about laying down your life for another.
“Don’t be afraid.” My wife teases me that I took too long before I pursued her and proposed. Truth is, there was a lot of self doubt and fear when it came around marriage. Trust God and fight the battles of the unknown.
“You’re not perfect.” I tried very hard to be perfect for my wife/girlfriend. And it was exhausting. Furthermore, it gave her a wrong picture of who I really was. The wrong exceptions of each other can really cause misunderstanding and disappointment. I’d say, be honest and vulnerable. The more you can do this, the more intimate you can be in marriage.
Chrina: As a single woman, what I didn’t know is that in marriage, love grows through service, sacrifice, and forgiveness. My view of dating and marriage was that love is what I felt as a response to what I was receiving from my boyfriend/fiance/husband. But actually, the more I am willing to put my husband before myself, the more we both feel loved. It’s an amazing thing!
I would also tell myself to read The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller. It is one of my favorite books on marriage and apart from the Bible and our parents’ relationship, it has tremendously shaped many of my perspectives on marital union. There is a part in the book where the author explains that on your wedding day, you might say “I love you” but you don’t actually love the person. It is only over the years of marriage that real love is formed. This is the kind of love that is formed through sacrifice, service, and forgiveness. When you get to that point, it’s far more wonderful than the flutters you feel on your wedding day!
Joseph: Don’t get so caught up in the game of teasing, partnering up, and wondering who likes who. Find one woman to love, one woman to spend the rest of your life with, and get going. The thrill of the dating scene doesn’t compare to the epic adventure of building a family. Romance is important, but it’s not what makes a marriage strong. I’m so glad I’ve got a godly woman. That’s the only assurance that our marriage and family will work out.
Carla: It is all worth the wait, the controlling, the delayed gratification. God has designed it that way for an amazing purpose. Trust God’s design even when it’s hard to follow, because it promises something so beautiful, something you would not want to miss out just because you could not resist the temptation of temporary bliss.
That is for all and to my old nature. To the new one, the new self I have acquired a few years before I married my husband: you’re in the right place of being fully secure and satisfied in the Lord. You don’t know everything but because your heart is for Jesus, you’ll do just fine even in love and romance.
Thammie: The temporary kilig feels is not worth it. It’s just that– temporary. It’s not worth the heartbreak, not worth the temptation, not worth the distraction.
Do not go for the kilig feelings. Don’t pour your heart over something so temporary. Instead, pursue God’s purpose and his mission. And know this: it is worth the wait. To wait and marry someone who can partner with you in building God’s kingdom is worth the wait. To wait until you can commit yourself to love someone unconditionally– regardless of feelings, is worth the wait.
Dennis: I’ll tell myself that marriage is more than feelings of love. It is a decision. It is a daily dying to ones self ( pride, ego, own wants) because when we say I do, we become one flesh.
I’ll also tell my single self to marry Thammie and take care of her with all that I have.
Godly dating and marriage means getting God involved in every step, making sure that your every decision honors Him and pleases Him.