I’ve talked about this topic before and mentioned some more traditional types of signs God will give you to let you know he’s preparing you for marriage. So I won’t go over those again here. Today I want to talk about 3 strange signs God is preparing you for marriage.
Also, I wanted to quickly mention that open enrollment for AGW University will close this Sunday, May 30th at 11:59pm. I’ll share more information at the end of this video for those who are interested or you can click here to learn more about AGW University.
1. God Will Let You Swing from Idolization to Demonization So You Can Then Return to a Biblical Realization About Relationships
I’m going to share a little bit about my experience in vocational ministry, but stick with me because I will then show you why this relates to you being prepared for the marriage God may have for you.
I’ve been in some form of vocational ministry for around the last decade of my life, and in that time I’ve repeatedly seen a pattern in people’s attitudes towards ministry, including my own. When someone finally gets that ministry role they’ve been longing for, they almost always start out in what I call the “idolization phase.”
While they were working at their secular job, they imagined how amazing and different a ministry role would be. But once they get hired and enter vocational ministry, they realize there’s more similarities to a “regular” job than difference. Emails, meetings, bad leadership, people complaining, sinful coworkers, waking up on Monday when you want to sleep in – all of it is still there in some form or another.
So then they swing to what I call the “demonization phase.” Their starry eyes and high hopes come crashing down like a meteor. Instead of being incredibly idealistic about all the good that is going to happen through their time in this ministry, they switch to being completely pessimistic and start to believe nothing good could ever happen in this ministry. The become bitter and disillusioned.
No one ever stays in the idolization phase. Reality always crushes the ideals of someone new to ministry. Sadly, many people do stay in this demonization phase for the rest of their lives. Those who make it out alive and continue to serve the Lord with joy, however, enter into what I call the “realistic phase.”
They start with being idealistic, they then swing to be pessimistic, but those who God uses for decades in ministry learn how to be realistic. They keep having holy hopes and dreams for ministry but they are also fully aware of the sins still present in anything on this earth, and so they learn to take the wins and failures in stride.
I say all of that because you often need to go through the same exact phases before God can prepare you for the ministry of marriage. When you are young, it’s easy to idolize marriage and imagine that it is the answer to all your problems. When you date a bit and realize how hard relationships are, you can then swing to being pessimistic, believing that relationships always fail and only bring pain with no joy.
But to experience what God has for you, you have to find that realistic place in your heart where you know relationships are a blessing but they will never be the ultimate source of faith, hope, and love you need. Only Christ can provide that. As 1 Corinthians 13:11-13 explains:
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
2. God Will Sometimes Put You in a Committed Relationship that Doesn’t End in Marriage to Help You Prepare for the One He Does Have for You
I’ve recently been reading through Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend’s book called Boundaries in Dating. If you haven’t read it before, I highly recommend it. In their chapter called “Boundaries on Blame” they write:
“When you do not have to live with someone’s faults, you are less prone to do the hard work of seeing your part in triggering them. A wife might notice that her covert withdrawal provokes the rage of her husband. She has seen the dance they do a hundred times, and she knows the only way it will be resolved is for her to figure out what she needs to change. But a date can say, ‘I don’t do rage’ and exit. This creates more of an opportunity to think it is all him, and none her. This is not to diminish the gravity of the raging man’s issues. But it perpetuates the likelihood that she will continue searching for an ideal mate who has no issues, and that she will miss dealing with her own.”
As they clarified, this doesn’t mean that we are to be blamed for other people’s issues because we might do something that triggers them. No one should rage at you no matter what you do. But the point being made here is that without ever entering into a committed relationship, it’s much easier to continue to overlook your own issues and just blame the other person. Moving from person to person every time there is any issue causes you to blame everyone else for all issues. But when you are in a committed relationship, you will see that the only way forward is to work on your issues together.
God may prepare you for marriage by putting you in a committed dating relationship that does not end in marriage because God will use that relationship to mature you in ways that could not be done in short, shallow dating experiences that could not expose the flaws that may be preventing you from thriving in your future marriage one day.
You don’t have to stay with someone you are not married to. In fact, you shouldn’t stay with someone in dating who is not growing and who is treating you poorly. But when it does come time for you to meet the one, this person will not be perfect and you will not be perfect. You two will only survive in marriage one day if you both are willing to work on your issues together.
As 1 Corinthians 13:7 explains, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
3. God Will Work on Your Heart So You Will Actually Want Marriage Less as a Way of Making You More Prepared for Marriage
Sometimes less is more. It’s possible to want a good thing so badly that God is not able to give it to you because he knows you want it for the wrong reasons (James 4:3).
God will never bless you with a gift you are trying to replace him with. God will only bless us with a gift when he knows that gift will be good for our relationship with him. As 1 John 5:21 (NLT) states, “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.”
Sometimes for God to be able to bless you with a marriage, he has to take you through a season that makes you want marriage less. It’s not that he wants you to be pessimistic towards marriage or to not want marriage at all. God just wants all your desires to be rightly aligned to your desire for him.
If you know you need to go through these types of stages before you will be ready for marriage one day, you may want to check out AGW University. I created these courses for Christian singles of any age who know they want to be married but they also know they have some work to do in their hearts before they will be ready. Through these 5 courses (which is over 60 individual classes) you will learn how to reject idols and embrace pure motives for marriage. You will learn how to identify and possess the biblical qualities needed for a successful relationship. And you will learn what path towards marriage would be best for you because there are many practical ways you can meet, date, and marry the person God has for you; it really just depends on which approach would be best for you.
So if this is something you want to learn more about, feel free to click here to check out all the course content and free bonuses at AGW University.