Three years ago today, my big brother Dalton Chase took his last breath and went to his new home in heaven at the young age of 47. Prior to this, we had numerous conversations about marriage. Today I stopped by to share one of those conversations with you but first, a little back story.
Out of Left Field
Dalton’s marriage was very difficult due to chronic illnesses that took over his body clear out of left field. He had a chiseled body like Terrell Owens thanks to daily workouts, a Colgate smile, a pleasing personality and a heart after God. My brother was beautiful inside and out. At the end of his life, he was 6ft and 100 pounds; a far cry from his once chiseled frame. Lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyositis and other autoimmune diseases ate his body from the inside out.
Imagine watching your spouse deteriorate while the doctors are clueless about what test to run next or what pill to prescribe. Imagine rushing your husband to the ER in the middle of the night because his lungs collapsed not once but twice all while trying to find someone to watch your four children until you return.
Happily Ever After?
When my brother married, neither he nor his wife ever imagined this would be their reality. Like most couples, they expected to live happily ever after barring the normal everyday challenges. This post is for you if you are single and want to marry one day or if you are engaged and knee deep into planning a fabulous wedding. Give deep thought about marriage, your vows and what they could actually mean. Give even deeper thought to the person you’re marrying and their ability to handle what those vows could actually mean.
Prepare for the Journey
Dalton always said, there’ s a reason why the marital vows are what they are; one of you will get sick. There will be times of richness and poorness and there will definitely be times when things are wonderful and then going south. Do as much due diligence as you can while dating and courting to learn the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with and prepare for the journey ahead. Here’s our conversation…
Me: So big brother, What would you say about marriage to a single woman desiring marriage?
Him: If two people come into marriage recognizing that it is not about me but about my spouse’s comfort and about service, this attitude paves a good road for the marital journey. At our core, we are basically selfish people – we think about what it is going to be like for me not what I can do for the other person. Marriage is service to each other. You minister to your spouse by serving him and looking out for his best interest.
You cannot live by your feelings in marriage, or in life for that matter. Your love for your spouse has to be an act of the will. You have to be a wife and husband doing what you have to do with love joyfully without grumbling and complaining even when you don’t feel like it.
Check your expectations. Men and women have unrealistic expectations about marriage and often enter into it wearing rose colored glasses. Take off the glasses and really look at the reality of your vows. What could they really mean? Can you handle in sickness and health for richer or poorer till death do you part? How does your fiances life evidence commitment and hanging in there when the going gets tough? Marriage is daily work and the majority of that work is on you not your spouse. We need to daily ask ourselves, How can I change? What do I need to do differently? How can I become a better spouse?
Me: How can a single woman prepare for marriage? How can we avoid bringing a singular attitude into marriage?
Him: Find opportunities to serve. When you are single, the only person you think about is yourself; what you like, what you want, what works for you, how you want it and so on and so forth. If you don’t find opportunities to serve others, chances are you will show up in marriage looking out for your own interests. There are many ways to serve. If you have no one to spend Thanksgiving with, go and serve the less fortunate. Whatever you do, make it your business to find opportunities to serve. I can’t emphasize this enough; cultivating a servant’s heart is key before saying I do. Marriage is all about service to your mate. Its about two people waking up daily with one question on their minds; “How may I serve you today?” It doesn’t work any other way.
Find a marriage mentor. The older women should teach the younger women how to be wives. A single woman should place herself under the wings of an older woman who is married and has a good marriage so that she can learn from her how to be a godly wife to her husband.
Read books about marriage. Although you haven’t experienced it yet, there is no reason to walk into it blindly. Attend a relationship class, workshop or seminar. There is an intensive class and process for obtaining your driver’s license but no such class exists for the most important commitment you will make in life. In most states, all you need is $25 to obtain a marriage license, a license that could change the lives of everyone around you for better and in today’s time worst. We spend so many years and so much time preparing for careers and so many other things in life while we spend little to no time preparing for marriage.
In his book What Every Man Wants in a Woman, Pastor John Hagee says, Marriage is more than a honeymoon; it’s a lifetime covenant. Through sickness and health, for richer and for poorer, marriage requires devotion and a mature ability to commit when it’s the last thing you want to do. Marriage is the act of two incompatible people learning to become compatible via compassionate compromise.
Something to think about…
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