Making it past the single life, through the dating experience, and into an exclusive relationship is almost like nearing a marathon finish line. When marriage is just a step or two away and you have already come so far, it is easy to overlook things figuring you can fix them after the wedding—very unwise. Use the commitment or engagement to fix anything broken because a whole new marathon begins once you get married, and it is the longest one you will ever run.
More In Common Than In Opposition
Think about the last time you struggled to have a conversation with someone because of entirely different views. Allow that to help you picture what a marriage is like when two people yolk up who do not see (or want to see) eye-to-eye. Of course no two people are 100% alike, but you never want to go into a marriage with someone whose beliefs, values and morals complicate yours.
Clearly Defined Doctrinal Beliefs
2 Corinthians 6:14 warns not to get attached to an unbeliever; enemies obviously do not make good partners. An intimate relationship with God and strong faith in His existence makes the difference between a successful marriage and a bitter divorce; if anything is important to have at this stage, it is a mate who knows this as much as you do.
Balanced Desire for Marriage
An ABC Science study exploring cravings revealed how brain responses link to problems like overeating. Those desperate to be married can be compared to this notion because they usually lose the craving (based on a way of thinking) for their mate when the pursuit is cured by marriage. You do not want to lose a strong intensity for your mate after the wedding though—that is when it matters most. Strong partners temper desperation or anxiety with patience and prayer.
Presence of Sexual Purity
Exclusivity does not warrant sex unless it comes with a marriage vow and certificate. Sex, out of its time, confuses your commitment or engagement relationship because it is reserved for marriage. Unmarried couples who have sex set themselves up for emotional exhaustion (1 Corinthians 6:18) and invite strain into the relationship.
Now is the time to begin praying for each other unselfishly; to serve more than you want to be served. When you are preparing to be with someone for life, prayer is a nonnegotiable requirement for having a healthy commitment or engagement relationship.
***This is not an all–inclusive list.
ABC Science: Food Cravings All In the Mind
Editor-In-ChiefZara Hairston is a modern-day renaissance woman who uniquely draws people to the Cross of Christ through teaching, writing and speaking. She holds a bachelor of arts in Journalism from Temple University, and a master of arts in Christian Counseling from Jacksonville Theological Seminary—where she was also ordained. Hairston's organizations include Love-Life, Inc., YourHeartShape, Moms In Christ, BComingMe, Sister Keepers and Arrow Spring Academy. Currently, she resides in the Atlanta area with her husband Anton "Eshon Burgundy" Hairston and their three children.