A few weeks ago I shared my thoughts on waiting for a future husband, and said that I would try to post the next week.
Then life happened, and here I am, hardly believing that it’s been nearly a month ago! Where in the world did the time go??! Oh well – as they say, “better late than never!”
Since some of what I said in my last post seemed to be misunderstood by some, I want to clarify that yes; I am waiting for my potential future husband. But not in a meaningless, discontented way. The point that I have tried to make clear is that although we should live with the anticipation of marriage someday, we should not let the fact that we are not married yet hold us back from serving and ministering to those around us now. It’s great to think about and hope for the future, but it is so easy to become so engrossed in our dreams that we miss out on the life that the Heavenly Father wants us to live now.
I hope it doesn’t come across as if I have everything together and am pointing fingers at others – not a bit! I am guilty of wasting my time too … a lot of time. It’s easy to say that we’re preparing for our husbands now, but are we really? I have to often check myself and I ended up making a list of some top priorities I need to work on.
Is this the recipe for a perfect marriage??? No way! It is just a compilation of some things that I am working towards, and believe to be very important in Godly marriages.
There is an endless list of things we can be learning and working on now, but after observing and talking to married couples, and friends who are trying to prepare as well, I have made two lists. Today I’ll be going over some practical ways we can be preparing, and later on I will do a third post that has more to do with character-building exercises.
- Find out what you believe
Some people love to study, learn and discover truth. But then there are those who are more easy-going, and can get caught in the current of others’ beliefs. I often fall under the second category … I have a tendency to ignore things that I don’t consider to be really important. Having a short attention span at times, I don’t like to think about confusing things for long periods of time, so the thought of studying isn’t normally very appealing to me!
I am also the more quiet one … someone who prefers to sit back and listen to other people discuss important things. When decisions are being made that I don’t consider to be important, I usually go along with the majority because I prefer to keep everything calm. If I don’t understand something and it isn’t very important in my mind, then I tend to push it off to the side instead of investigating it. That can be so dangerous.
Recently a friend asked me a question about something doctrinal and my answer was something like, “I don’t know … I’ll let my guy figure that out when the time comes.” But afterwards I got thinking … yes, there will be plenty of things that my husband will make a final decision on as the leader of our home, but there are also many things I should be finding out for myself now!
Something I’m learning is that while my husband and I will be “one”, we will still be our own selves and if we aren’t individually grounded in what we believe, then we’ll be in big trouble. If we aren’t willing to dig deep into His Word and search for truth, then we’ll have a shallow relationship with our God – it’s that simple.
My family has witnessed many young people who have grown up in Godly families, similar to ours, get married and leave the faith they once knew, or pretended to know. It’s heartbreaking to see young people walk away from the Heavenly Father and although I think in some (if not many) cases the parents are partly to blame for not “training up their child in the way he should go”, these young people were the ones who made the choices they did.
My parents encourage us to find things out for ourselves … they teach us what they know and explain why they believe what they do, but are quick to tell us that they could be wrong and encourage us to search things out for ourselves. They understand that hopefully one day we will marry and start families of our own, and then it will be up to us to make the right choices.
- Learn to cook well
I love being in the kitchen! I often set a goal for myself when I cook, that whatever dish I’m making would be better than the time I made it before! Of course, sometimes I don’t have all the ingredients, or things just go wrong, but that mindset is so encouraging and keeps me motivated to keep practicing to make food better!
Making meals is one of my favorite things to do but the meal planning and cleanup afterwards go along … and those are two things I’m not so great at! If you don’t have much practice in this area, consider asking your mother to let you make up a meal plan and cook for a while. Do what you can. This may be making a dinner all by yourself, or handling all the meals for a whole week or month. Don’t overdo it … if you’re not used to handling things like this, then start small.
When my mother and a few of my older siblings went to Israel for 3 weeks a couple of years ago, I took over the cooking, which was an amazing experience! I would recruit help when pressed for time (and Sarah appointed herself as “the dishes queen” – to my relief!) but it was still a LOT of work, and there were times when I just wanted to run and hide somewhere! I learned so much from that time though, and am so glad I followed through with it (even though it did include some crazy times!). At first I was completely overwhelmed and stressed out but as things went on it got much easier to manage, and I would encourage anyone who doesn’t know much about cooking (which was me) to try something like that, although maybe not on such a big scale 🙂
- Learn to keep a tidy house
This seems like a small thing, but it really isn’t! I have often heard that the way our bedroom looks right now is a pretty good idea of how our future home will look – ouch!
Some people are a lot cleaner than others, and for some us, cleaning and organization is a hobby … add me in on the second, but I’m still working on the first part! Housework isn’t always fun, and can easily bog us down if we focus on ALL the chores that are continually needing to be done, but it’s extremely essential that we work with a joyful heart, and do our jobs well!
- Learn to handle finances well
Budgeting is very important. We should learn how to manage our finances well now so that we can help our husbands in this area later on. Money can be a blessing or a curse … we choose.
From a young age my parents have taught us to handle our own money … we all earn our own money through our businesses and it’s our choice whether to spend, invest, save it, etc. They are always there to help us out and give suggestions or advice, but the money is still ours. This method has been such a blessing in our family and helps us become more responsible and wise with our finances. Obviously money isn’t the most important thing in the world (and very far from it!) but we should all learn to be good stewards of the blessings that the Heavenly Father has given us so that we can bless others in turn!
All families are different, and some parents prefer to use different methods when it comes to their children’s finances, so find out what works best in your situation and start practicing! Keep a record of what you get, what you do with it and how you spend it.
- Learn to care for children
Caring for children is natural for some people … you may have younger siblings or nieces and nephews you hang out with, or help moms with their little ones … but being comfortable around children hasn’t come naturally for me. I think the main reason for this is because I am one of the youngest of five girls … girls that can be very aggressive when it comes to who gets the baby!
Although I love little ones so much, I just don’t really know a whole lot about them. Honestly, I was 12 or 13 before I changed my first diaper and that was quite an achievement! One day while trying to clean up an especially messy one, I actually told Sarah that I would buy her a personal jet so that she could come and change all my baby’s diapers when I’m married and have children! I don’t think I’ll ever live that one down 😀
- Learn about health and nutrition
Learning about health and nutrition is something I really want to do more, so that I can be equipped to help my family and others out in this area! My family has always been “health minded” but I’m finding out that I really know so little in this area!
- Look for ministry opportunities
When most of us think “ministry”, we think of going to a third world country to share the gospel, helping out at a homeless shelter, street-preaching, doing Bible studies for jail inmates, right? Well, all of those things are wonderful and great but some of us don’t have the ability to pack our bags and fly to the African jungles to feed the hungry and share the gospel. But we ALWAYS have the ability to minister in other ways.
You might be rolling your eyes by now but yes, I’m talking about the dishes! And that load of laundry. And the house cleaning. All of these things are so important, even down to the tiniest things like reading your little sister a book or giving up a little free time to help your brother with his chores.
A friend of mine has a small group where little girls meet once a month to study the Bible, memorize verses, color, and encourage each other … I love that! I’m praying about doing something similar, although I’m not quite sure about it.
Another friend uses her talent and skill as a web/graphics designer to serve a ministry for free… that’s being a servant too! Another friend has volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center, and others serve the elderly. There are so many possibilities out there: we just need to be open to what He has for us and pursue that!
I am learning that it’s not so important “when” and “where” you serve: it is HOW you serve. If your heart is in the right place then there shouldn’t be much difference between the African jungles and that load of laundry you need to tackle 😉
If this has been an encouragement or inspiration to you please feel free to comment below, and stay tuned for my last post on “spiritual/character preparation”!