All throughout last year and until now there is a word that I felt God placed on my heart. That word is “prepare.” A few weeks ago I struggled in deciding what topic I would write about. One of those topics was on what it means to prepare for a relationship and marriage. Of course another topic won the battle but the subject continued to occupy my mind. Today during an amazing sermon and in seeing a post on Facebook from my line sister, I realized this was the perfect day to address the topic of preparation. I know I say all the time that you have to be careful who you choose to be in a relationship with and take your time to prepare for it, but I’ve never really explained what the preparation process looks like. To be honest I don’t know if I’ve ever stated you have to prepare for this. So I figured I would suggest a few ways to prepare yourself to enter into a relationship or marriage.
One of the biggest things I’ve realized you have to do to prepare for a relationship or marriage is work internally. I know that sounds cliché but I mean it. You have to look within yourself and prepare internally before you can even think about a relationship or a marriage externally. I’m not talking about your hustle and your grind yet. That will come later in the preparation process. Right now I am talking about your true self. I’m talking about your greatest fears, your innermost thoughts, the things you never dealt with from your childhood. The stuff no one knows bothers you. I’m talking about those deep dark skeletons we all have deep within our closets because we really don’t want to deal with them. The reason this is so important is because at some point if you don’t deal with this stuff it is going to come up in your relationship and or marriage. Do not think just because you were able to hide your inability to show love during your dating relationship that it is not going to manifest itself in your marriage. Do not think for one second that because you were able to fake the funk on a few dates that you fear commitment won’t start to manifest itself when it is time to move forward and enter into the relationship. At some given point those skeletons and emotional things that you have been holding onto are going to reveal themselves. So go ahead and do yourself a favor and deal with it now while you are by yourself. If you are already in a relationship start dealing with it now before you get married. If you have to, get a therapist. I know a lot of us don’t like to talk about our feelings and pretend like it’s not needed but as a practitioner of the field I stand by it 100%. If you don’t feel like you truly need therapy though, get busy really digging within yourself. Deal with that rape that happened when you were 12. Deal with the scars of bullying from when you were 16. Deal with the fact you are adopted and internally you always felt like no one wanted you. Deal with the fact that your mother passed away from cancer and you’re still angry that you have to go through life without the first women you ever loved. Note that sometimes it isn’t always that deep. Maybe you just need to deal with the fact that you think everything is supposed to go your way and when it doesn’t you have the biggest hissy fit of the century. Maybe you have a tendency to undermine people and make them feel inferior to make you feel like somebody. Whatever it is, I beg you to deal with it. Work on yourself. Dig deep within yourself to find all of those nasty little things that we don’t really want to talk about because they are going to come out at some point in time. Granted some of those things you may not even realize are a problem until you get in your relationship. That is ok. But as soon as you realize it is a problem you better address it and address it quickly.
The next part of preparing is getting an understanding of what it is you’re actually preparing for. Educate yourself on what it is you’re trying to be a part of. How can you say you want to be married but you really don’t understand what marriage is. You don’t know how marriage was created or what the purpose is. You have to study it and truly gain an understanding of it. You can’t say you want to be in a relationship but don’t understand some of the basics of dating. I get it, dating is such a new concept and it’s hard to define at times. But this is a good time for you to define it for yourself. For you to figure out what it is you want in your dating relationship and how it coincides with what you want in your marriage. Marriage is something you have to really understand. I truly believe that a lot of people struggle in their marriages because they did not know what they were entering into before they entered it. Study the word, read books, pray, talk to people who have been married at different stages. Don’t just look for the good and romantic parts of marriage either. When you talk to people, find people who are going to keep it real with you. Talk to people who are going to tell you the good, bad and the ugly. Talk with people who are going to be transparent about this thing called marriage. I think too many people are falling for the romanticized parts of marriage and it is messing people up. Marriage is so much more then date nights, cute Instagram pics and good God approved sex. It is work and it takes true dedication from both people in it. If you think marriage is simply about having a built in boo, you are either going to be sadly disappointed, highly aggravated or most likely both. All I’m saying is do your research.
Now that you have dealt with yourself emotionally and you got an understanding for what marriage is, now you can start to work on some of the basic functions of yourself. Start learning how to budget your money correctly and getting your credit right. Start learning how to take care of a home and making a cleaning schedule. Learn how to effectively communicate with the people around you and learn how to implement selfless acts into your life. In other words, start implementing the basic functions of being an adult that are going to keep your marriage strong. These things are not going to magically fall on you the day you say “I do.” You have to learn to be a responsible adult. You have to learn how to practice these things.
Of course last but not least, the thing everybody knows to do when they’re single is to grind. When you are preparing to get married or even just being in a relationship you want to make sure you are working on your passion and desires. What people don’t see is that your dedication to your passions and desires is a great way for you to practice how to be dedicated to your significant other, spouse or marriage. See grinding for yourself in your preparation time is not to be a distraction so that you don’t realize you’re single. It is so that you can see what it takes to pursue something you really want. If anything it is practice. Majority of us who have dreams and desires have ones that require a lot from us. If you’re anything like me you have a bunch of them that require a lot for each thing. The thing is what better way to learn how to dedicate yourself to something you want to work? What better way to see the fruits of your labor when you give your all to something? What better way to learn that sometimes it’s not always going to be a good day but you have to continue to push for it anyway? What better way to learn to not give up?! Marriage is a lifetime commitment. When you enter into it you have to have the mindset you will never give up on it. If you’ve never pursued something in your entire life it may be difficult for you to grasp the concept of not wanting to walk away when things get rough. But if you spend your time by yourself working tirelessly to make something work, you have something to pull from. You know what it’s like spending some nights crying in your textbooks wondering why you went back to school. You know what it feels like looking at your business expenses and wondering how are you going to get caught up. The same way you strive for what you want in life, can be pulled on to help keep your marriage afloat. So that time when love seems low and you’re not sure how you’re going to get back on top, you can pull on that time with your business. That time when you cried in that textbook was hard but keep how you felt when you walked across the stage and you graduated at the top of your class as motivation to keep going with your marriage. So stop looking at your grind as a way to keep your mind off of your desire for a relationship and marriage and use it as motivation to prepare for it. Tell yourself every time that you want to give up on that degree, business or any other desire, you want to be married one day and you won’t have the option to give up. If you give up on your grind now how do you know you won’t give up on your marriage later? Use your grind as your preparation.
I hope you really see the importance of preparing for relationships and marriage. These are not things that are meant to just be jumped into because you feel lonely and everybody else is in one. I can’t stress enough how the relationship is just as important as the marriage because it should be leading you to the marriage. If you are in relationships with people with no intent to marry them you are no longer preparing for marriage but simply wasting your time and theirs. Just spend time preparing yourself. At the end of the day relationships and marriage are a lot to prepare for. The truth of the matter is you will never be 100% prepared before a person comes into your life. So if someone who you truly see yourself being with for the rest of your life enters into your life, make it your business to continue to prepare. Because if you’re single you should be preparing to get into a relationship, if you’re in a relationship you should be preparing to get married and once you’re married you should always be preparing to fight to keep your marriage together. The preparation never stops. So the sooner you start to make preparation a priority the sooner it becomes a part of who you are. No more fly by relationships and haphazard marriages. Start to prepare for what you desire now. Your future spouse will thank you later.