There are certain basic life skills that should be mastered (or at least strongly developed) before entering marriage. In his book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen Covey talks about how we must have private victory before public victory, and the same is true within marriage. Husbands and wives must have private victory (personal growth & development) before they have marriage victory (unity and success).
We should all be at a certain level of maturity and personal development before entering the covenant of marriage. Mastering simple life skills can make the difference between a flourishing marriage and one that struggles.
Check out the following 5 Life Skills to Master Before Marriage:
Communication is foundational to any healthy relationship, therefore it is critical to master your communication skills before marriage. Strong marriages involve two people who are comfortable being honest and transparent with one another. You must be comfortable talking about the “hard” topics, being vulnerable with one another, and talking through conflicts. Your communication skills are also important because good communication builds trust.
Basic communication skills like seeking first to understand, using “I feel” statements, believing the best, having control of tone and body language are all super critical things to have a handle on before marriage.
We all know that financial issues are one of the top factors that lead to divorce. It is no secret that good financial management is a key to a stable marriage. Therefore, before marriage you should have a budget that you are living off of, you should be financially independent from your parents, and have a handle on your spending (and ideally debt free).
In marriage “two become one” and that includes the arena of finances. In marriage, you inherit one another’s savings accounts, but you also inherit one another’s potential debt or spending habits. Do your future marriage a favor and get a handle on your finances now!
PERSONAL IDENTITY & PURPOSE
It is imperative that you become a “me” before a “we”. How are you going to know if you are compatible with your future spouse if you don’t know who you are or what you are supposed to do with your life.
Take the needed time to discover who you are “in Christ”. Be confident in your own skin and in the purpose God has placed you on Earth. When you are secure in your identity then your future spouse can be a healthy companion … instead of someone to “complete” you.
HEALTHY LIFESTYLE (spirit, soul, and body)
When we talk about having a healthy lifestyle it is 3-fold: spirit, soul and body. Before you get married, it works best if you are doing well personally in these different areas.
Your spirit is where you connect with God. Having a solid personal relationship with the Lord is absolutely crucial before getting married. Your soul is your mind, intellect and emotions and it is important for you make sure you are feeding your soul on a regular basis and have a good reign on controlling your thoughts and emotions. A healthy body takes discipline choosing what you eat, how often you workout, etc. but can really enhance your mood and energy level in marriage.
A sloppy lifestyle has the chance to produce a sloppy marriage. It’s important to have a healthy spirit, soul and body because healthy marriages flow out of the overflow of a healthy lifestyle.
SERVANTHOOD & HUMILITY
Most people view relationships through the lens of “how can this other person meet my needs”. In a healthy marriage, however, there is no room for selfishness and pride. The biblical example of marriage is a relationship where sacrifice and servanthood thrive, and each person is focused on meeting the other’s needs. Marriage works best when the goal is to serve the other person. Servanthood takes true humility and the right heart motives and perspectives about the relationship.
If you struggle with being “self-centered” and “me-focused” then marriage could be a scary place for you. Before you think about tying the knot, be sure to master the art of serving others. Some practical ways to do this is to get involved with things that aren’t focused on yourself i.e. volunteer at your local church, food pantry, or your favorite community service organization. Try to look for ways to be generous to others versus expecting generosity towards yourself. If you are in a dating relationship, lay down any pride you might have and learn to be intentional about humbly serving your boyfriend/girlfriend.
Marriage works best when two mature, well-rounded people come together in unity. The pre-marriage investment of personal development and mastering life skills pays dividends in marriage. So whether you are in a single or dating season right now, we encourage you to make it a priority to become Mr./Mrs. Right and master these different life skills before the altar… your future spouse will thank-you.
Thanks to Eric and Erica Giesow for this guest post!! You can read more about them and their ministry aimed at empowering millennials at ericanderica.org!
Resources to Go Deeper:
For a deeper look on preparing yourself for a healthy marriage, be sure to check out the book True Love Dates!