A few years ago, some teammates from the Merge team at Watermark Community Church and I attended and hosted a booth at the Dallas Bridal Show. If you’ve never been to a bridal show before, picture lots of pink, lace, flowers and row after row after row of vendors pushing their wedding day products upon you. There were around 200 vendors at the show, selling products such as photography packages, gym memberships to get you shredded before your wedding day, and cakes for your wedding guests. There was even one vendor at the show selling toys for your sexual pleasure (veiled behind a bachelorette party business).
Do you know how many booths/vendors were there to help you prepare for your marriage? Exactly one. 199 vendors so you can look good at your wedding and have an amazing wedding DAY, but only one “vendor” there to help you prepare for all the days AFTER you say, “I Do.” Watermark was there to help couples prepare for marriage, not just their wedding day.
At some point in the future, I will share some thoughts on weddings, but for today, I want to address Three Questions to Ask Before You Say I Do (and to keep on asking after you say I Do). These questions are more important than any booth you will visit or decision you will make for your wedding day.
Side note: I have no problem with couples having a beautiful wedding day. My wedding day was amazing (thank you, Kristen and my amazing in-laws). But, may it never be that this would be the most important thing we worry about before we get married.
Answer These 3 Questions
Before a couple thinks about wedding plans, cakes, pictures and a bridal show, they should be able to answer these three questions:
1. Am I open to the input of others?
Dating, engagement and the newly married years provide us with so many opportunities to make significant, life-changing decisions. The decision on who you will marry is the most important human relationship decision you will ever make. Furthermore, there are few seasons of life filled with more important, life-changing decisions than the newly married years: car, job, house, kids, and more.
Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
I hope you have good friendships around you and other men and women to help you make these life-changing decisions. Are you open to community? Is the person you want to marry open to the input of others? If not, I would run, not walk, the other direction. Do not marry someone who would rather suffer harm in isolation or with fools than walk with the wise.
2. Do I know how to ask for forgiveness and grant forgiveness?
Marriage provides you with more opportunities to ask for forgiveness and grant forgiveness than any other human relationship. There’s something about two sinners coming together and spending seven days a week together that provides you with many opportunities to fall short and humble yourself, apologize and ask for forgiveness.
Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
You do not want to marry someone who doesn’t acknowledge where they fall short and won’t ask for forgiveness. You also don’t want to marry someone who is slow or unwilling to grant you forgiveness when you fall short.
3. Do I know that my significant other must be my second love?
When Kristen and I were single and living in Atlanta, we both attended a singles ministry at our church led by Louie Giglio. One night, Louie shared how he and his wife Shellie joked about being each other’s second love. I remember being so confused that even though they were married that they loved someone more than each other! It all made sense when they reminded us that our first and greatest love should be Jesus.
Matthew 22:37-38 says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.”
In other words, our love for Jesus should be so strong, that all other relationships pale in comparison. In addition, our love for others will flow out of our love for The Lord. Jesus reminds us in Revelation 2:4 that we have to remember who our first love is, and live accordingly out of that love.
There are many other questions to ask before you say I do (and many more to continue to ask after you say I do). But before you pick out a cake, wedding venue and photography package, make sure you consider these three vital questions.
Time to assess how you’re doing as a premarried or married couple:
- Are you in community and open to the input of others? Do you value and make time for community and friendships?
- Do you understand the significance of forgiveness? If not, read Matthew 18:21-35 and the parable of the unmerciful servant. Forgiveness is not an easy thing, but a right understanding of forgiveness is crucial in marriage.
- Who’s your first love? Anyone outside of the Lord is second best.
- What are some other important questions to ask before you say I do?