People nowadays enter into marriage with a very “fantasy-like” ideology of what they believe marriage to be. Before the marriage, the bride invests a lot of time facilitating different aspects of the wedding ceremony. She wants everything to be perfect. The mother and father invest a lot of time, money and energy to give their daughter the wedding of her dreams. The groom is also very excited about seeing his new bride. But, do either one of them really utilize the time “before I say, I do” to make sure they are ready and in the place spiritually, psychologically or emotionally to take their vows. Because “like it or not,” there is life beyond the wedding festivities.

Yes there is life beyond fancy dresses, tuxedos, intricate bridal designs, happy faces, great music and luxurious vacations. In reality, that’s the easy part! On the other hand, what is really going to test the couples love, commitment and faithfulness to each other is within the covenant of marriage itself! That is why before the couple says “I do,” they must wholeheartedly seek the Lord in prayer and ask for wisdom, discernment and direction as it relates to their relationship in its totality. They need to ask God to open their spiritual vision and help them to see beyond their natural desires and inclinations. Why you ask - because their future mate can appear to be either “Mr. or Mrs. right,” say all the right things and “make the cut” on the “mate list,” but only God knows the heart, can go beyond the surface and see the true motives of a person’s heart, whether it is pure or not!

Prior to standing before God and our loved ones making a “vow to love, to cherish” and be faithfully committed to each other, we need to make sure our mind, body and spirit are deeply interconnected with God. Our relationship with God is important and will affect all areas of our life. A couple cannot expect to have a strong, productive or healthy relationship if God is not spearheading every part of their lives. They must always recognize God’s sovereignty and that “he knows what is best.” They must let God transform their lives and make them more like him, so that they can be fruitful in their marriage. There is nothing more powerful and effective in marriage than two people that are spiritually aligned with God!

God is the only one that can allow couples to be Godly mates and loving towards each other. If there is any “emotional baggage” or other issues that want to plague a couples’ relationship, it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that heals, restores and cleanses them. God is also needed at the forefront to help both couples make wise decisions no matter what position they find themselves in life and to be faithful and supportive of each other throughout the good times as well as the bad. It is easy to say “I love you” when your spouse is physically healthy and attractive, has a successful career, you both see “eye-to-eye” and everything seems lovely! But, it takes God’s spirit that resides in you, to allow you to stand firm in your relationship with Him as well as your mate when it appears that “all hell is breaking loose” around you and nothing seems to be going right!

So, I implore you again that in all you do, especially as it relates to marriage “make first things first” and seek God’s guidance before entering into marriage because it will be the best investment of your time! Let God direct your steps and help you with your “individual self,” so that you can bring your “best-self” to the marriage. I believe fully with God’s help and input, you will be able to move forward and enter into marriage with full assurance knowing that you have God orchestrating your every step and in doing so enabling you to say on your wedding day with full confidence - “I do!”

Jennifer Workman is a full-time Freelance Writer, Inspirational Speaker, Web Designer and Published Editor. Her work has appeared on websites such as Highways Byways Ministry to Incarcerated, Master Kare Plumbing Services and Simply Victorious Ministries, as well as, Empower Magazine and in "The State Newspaper." For more information, visit her website Writing for Life.

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