12 February 2009

To Wed...

… in 16 days!

As I contemplate the days ahead, the joys and responsibilities of marriage, I also look back to how God brought me to this place. He has taught me many lessons. He has showed me how to wait patiently for His best. He has given me His perfect match!

This morning I read an excellent post entitled "How will I know when I've met Prince Charming?" Kristy, author of Homemaker's Cottage Blog, has been a tremendous example to me through the years. (Not to mention, she is my cousin). As I read her post, I thought back to this very same question I had not too long ago, and how God has confirmed His Best Man for me!

I talk a lot around here about respecting your husband, raising children, and other topics relating to married women. I'd like to spend a little more time this week addressing the needs of single girls and women.

The struggles and dreams of young women are very dear to my heart and, believe it or not, it hasn't been all that many years ago that I was in those shoes! (I know, I'm married with 3 kiddos and I seem so old!).

A question I've heard a lot from young women- and one I asked a lot myself when I was single- is, "How will I know when I've met the right man?"

Knowing when you've found Mr. Right can seem like an overwhelming responsibility, especially if you don't have Christian parents to guide and encourage you. I am by no means some kind of super spiritual counselor, and I don't have all the answers, but here are a few things to keep in mind if you're wondering how to judge if a young man is "the one" for you or not.

1. Don't rely on your emotions. Oh my, I can't say this strongly enough!
Don't rely on your emotions alone to lead you! Emotions are one of the most fickle and sometimes deceiving aspects of human nature. While those warm, fuzzy emotions of love and desire will be present when you've met the one God has for you, feelings alone are not a trust worthy guide. It's very possible to be "in love" with the wrong guy. Your emotions must be brought under the subjection and lordship of Jesus Christ, just the same as your thoughts and desires must be.

2. Surrender your expectations to God. Every girl tends to harbor expectations, especially in regard to marriage and romance. Unfortunately, our expectations can sometimes be a deadly enemy to contentment, and can even hinder the unfolding of God's will in our life. A lot of times, we girls tend to plan out our entire life- I'll meet Mr. Romeo at eighteen, marry at twenty, have my first baby at twenty-one... you know what I'm talking about. When life disappoints our expectations and our perfect little plans start to fall apart (as they often do), the resulting frustration can seem overwhelming and even threaten our trust in the wisdom and providence of God. Let go of your plans, ideas and expectations and trust your future solely into the hands of your all-knowing heavenly Father. When you trust that He truly knows best, you
can rest content that He will bring the "right one" to you in His perfect

3. Don't expect perfection. Unfortunately, your Mr. Right will not be Mr. Perfect, any more than you are Miss Perfect. It's only wise to expect the man you marry to strive to have a godly character and better himself as a person. But keep in mind that your man will be a work in progress,
just like you are! We girls seem to want our man to have the energy, finesse, and excitement of youth, but the wisdom, experience and skill of an old sage! It's possible to hold your ideals so high that a young man may feel completely inept at winning your confidence and respect. Am I suggesting that you lower your standards and "sell out" for whoever comes along? Absolutely not. But do keep in mind that you will not only marry an imperfect human, but a man who (like you) has a lot of room to grow.
4. Seek godly counsel. Jeremy and I both turned to the spiritual leaders
in our lives time and again while seeking God's will for marriage. For me, it was my parents and a few trusted friends (not my peers); for Jeremy, it was his pastor and several godly, older men. If your parents are not Christians, seek to cultivate relationships with godly people who are older and wiser than you. If you are blessed to be in a Christian home, value the advice and perspective of your parents. Pray that God will give them wisdom in leading you.
5. Measure a man by Biblical standards, not worldly standards. Society puts a lot of emphasis on success, looks, talent, and money. While these things are not inherently wrong, they are not the things
God's Word instructs us to look for in a man. If worldly success is the
yardstick for measuring the worth of a man, then Hollywood's idols would make the best husbands on the planet, right? The rampant divorce among celebrities, people who suposively "have it all", tells us otherwise. Don't measure a man by his career, how much money he makes, his talents, his good looks (or lack thereof), how "hot" he is or any other characteristic that is sensual in nature. The question you should be asking when evaluating a young man is, "Is he seeking God's best in every aspect of his life?" Always use the Bible as your measuring stick!

6. Value character above appearances or ability. Every girl dreams of marrying the handsome prince, but don't let looks fool you! As women, we can easily see the folly of a guy judging a girl by her figure or how
pretty she is. But how many girls do you know who think a guy isn't worth a plug nickel unless he fits into the Tall Dark & Handsome category, with personality and talent oozing out his ears to boot?! A guy may be cute- or even downright gorgeous- but is he honest? Does he have a good work ethic? Is he kind? Loyal? Responsible? Under authority? There's nothing wrong with appreciating good looks, but train your heart to tune into things that last. Outward appearances fade, abilities may come and go, but godly character will grow and mature as the years pass. Believe me, you'll appreciate your husband's looks a lot better if he has good character to go with it!

Kristy Howard is a homeschool graduate, the happy wife of Jeremy, and stay-at-home-mama to Amy, Emily, and Keith! Visit her Homemaker's Cottage Blog here.