I always pray and seek God before choosing a topic for my blog posts each month. God always confirms what He wants me to post about by giving me peace about it in my spirit and/or allowing me to hear the same topic somewhere else. This month as I was praying to God about what to post next, I wasn’t completely sure what the post would be about, but I had full assurance God would show me as He always does. I don’t like to randomly pick topics; my aim is to be led by God because I know that real people, with real lives and real problems, read this blog and they need real spiritual encouragement. So one night, I prayed a simple prayer for God to give me what to post next, then I went to sleep. To my surprise, I had a dream that very night. In the dream, I was in a classroom, writing at a desk, and God was telling me what to write for the next blog post. I don’t remember exactly what I had written down but I saw the title (which is the title of this blog post). I was so shocked that God showed it to me in such a clear way. I said all that to say, I believe truly God wants to touch on this topic, especially since there is a huge marriage craze in the body of Christ right now. I know that since He showed me this topic so clearly, it is something that really needs to be addressed.
I get a lot of emails monthly from women who are encouraged by my testimony of how God brought my husband and I together and some wanting advice because they find themselves in a similar situation. I also get a lot of questions and comments on the post about my testimony and on a similar post. As happy as I am that my testimony is helping and encouraging people (that was the point of sharing it), and as much as I do believe that God reveals who our spouse is in His time, I also know that a lot of the time, our flesh may want something so badly that we can conjure up dreams, words, confirmations, etc., and genuinely believe that they are from God when they are not.
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” We are all capable of being deceived by our own hearts. We are all capable of wanting something so badly that we convince ourselves that God is going to give us that thing. No matter how saved we are, we still live in a corrupt flesh, that’s why the Word of God instructs us to put our flesh to death (Rom. 8:13, Col. 3:5). Many of us come to Christ, realize we can’t have sex outside of marriage anymore, still really want to have sex, and so we run after the next best thing that allows us to do what we really want – marriage. Many of us idolize marriage because it’s the only way we can have legal sex and be saved at the same time. Others still crave for all the other benefits of being in a relationship. We never fully laid down our desire for those things so we allow our flesh to convince us that God is “speaking” to us about marriage or “revealing” who our spouse is. When we want something bad enough the enemy can send a spirit of delusion and use what we think we’re hearing from God to distract us from what God is really doing. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a desire to be married, and marriage is in God’s will for most people. But when we desire for something other than God so strongly, that thing can trip us up, especially when we seek for it out of season. I believe a lot of people’s strong desire for marriage is really becoming a hindrance in their walk with God. I believe some of you are struggling with lust, masturbation, ungodly dreams, and false confirmations of “the one” because you have not laid down the desire yet. But my prayer is that this post that the Lord had me to write will cause your eyes to be opened to what God has probably been trying to show you concerning your readiness for marriage. And I pray that it helps many of you to give your strong desire for marriage back to God.
Reasons why you’re not ready for marriage:
(Disclaimer: this is not the end all be all of why you’re not ready to for marriage. Also, remember that we continue to be perfected after marriage. So by no means am I trying to say in this blog post that you have to be perfect or have it all together before God allows you to get married. Some issues you won’t even see until after you say, “I do.” Some things God will use marriage to bring out of you. We all have a process of sanctification whether single or married.)
- You haven’t laid down your life, denied yourself, and picked up your cross.
If you’re not living surrendered to God, God isn’t really trying to give you anything right now other than Himself. If you haven’t denied yourself and picked up your cross, God is not trying to reveal to you who your husband/wife is. What He is trying to reveal to you right now is that you need to die to YOU so that He can live in you. It’s difficult to even discern the will of God concerning a spouse (or anything for that matter) when you haven’t denied yourself. (Read Romans 12:1-2 for further understanding).
- You’re not delivered from sexual sin.
Contrary to what some people may tell you, marriage does not cure lust or sexual perversion, God does. If you find your eyes constantly straying or you can’t bring your sexual desires under submission, God wants to deliver you first before giving you a spouse and allowing your lack of self-control to affect them. There are many married people (Christians included) who are cheating on their spouse because they never mastered that issue while they were single.
- God hasn’t started dealing with you about marriage in the natural.
Sometimes God will deal with you about being married – in covenant – spiritually to HIM, but some of us run with it and assume God is talking to us about marriage in the natural (to an earthly man). If God has not yet begun to deal with you about marriage and if He isn’t telling you that it’s coming soon, that’s a good sign that you should not even be concerned about being in a relationship. Usually, God will let you know in advance when He’s leading you in that direction.
- You just got saved and you’ve barely dug your feet into your relationship with God.
If this is you, God is not trying to give you a man/woman just yet. God wants to establish you in Himself first before He establishes you in a relationship. Now, can God begin to deal with someone about marriage months after they get saved, or give someone away in marriage months or even a year after getting saved? Yes, He can and He does. But usually, when He does this, He will take this person through a rigorous and fast-paced process of sanctification and intimacy with Him so that when they do get with the person He has for them, they don’t forsake Him. The first thing God does when He delivers us out of the world is He delivers us to Himself, so that we may know Him and establish a solid relationship with Him. God is not going to do this if you are not yet established in your relationship with Him. If it is His will that you get married shortly after getting saved, He will make sure to do a quick work in you in that short period of time. God ALWAYS prepares us before having us go into something. You will know when it’s God and when it’s you. If you can barely tell your right foot from your left foot spiritually (like an unlearned and unprepared child), God isn’t giving you away in marriage yet. Let Him continue the good work He has started in you until it’s time.
- You’re not delivered from some major issues.
Issues such as rage/anger, lust, extreme brokenness from your past (that could have a negative effect on your marriage); control issues, manipulation and other issues that can be a hindrance to marriage and needs to be dealt with prior to marriage. There are some people who are demonically possessed and need deliverance before even thinking about getting into a relationship. There are some who have deep wounds from their past and childhood, who are in need of healing and deliverance. God is not going to overlook your need for deliverance and just hand you into marriage. The truth is that many people (in the church) have gotten married without God’s approval and they have deep rooted issues that they never dealt with and they are now paying the price for it in their marriage. Be honest with yourself about where you are. If you know there are certain things that you really need deliverance from, don’t try to bypass that deliverance and think that a marriage will all of a sudden make that issue disappear. You can go and get married as you are, but your process in marriage will be much more difficult than it has to be. And to be honest, many marriages simply do not make it through that process.
- You’re not delivered from the world or you’re still worldly.
All of us have come out of the world. None of us came into Christ perfect. Some people, however, after years of being saved are still worldly. Some people still dibble and dabble in the world from time to time – I guess you can call them lukewarm. They ride the fence and flip-flop between Jesus and the world whenever it’s convenient for them. You might read this and say, well isn’t it obvious that a lukewarm Christian is not ready for marriage? You’d be surprised. Many lukewarm people think that they are doing God a favor and have their hand out waiting for God to give them their “blessing.” If you’re still in love with the world, the God who has called you to come out of the world isn’t trying to hand out any blessings to you. He’s waiting for you to make a decision so He won’t have to decide for you by spitting you out of His mouth.
- You’re living in rebellion against God.
At times we can find ourselves like Jonah – still God’s child but currently out of His presence due to rebellion/disobedience. At the time when Jonah was in rebellion to God, the only thing God was speaking to Jonah about was getting back in position and obeying the last thing He told him to do. Don’t think that God is going to overlook your rebellion and just hand you a spouse. You can go get one on your own, but that is not God’s will for you. Go back to the last place you were when you left God and get things right. We can want something so bad from God that we can even overlook the very fact that we aren’t even in right standing with Him.
- You’re constantly at awes with people.
If you can’t live peacefully with people and you’re constantly the source of discord, strife, and trouble, why would God bless you with a man/woman so you can bring that same discord into his/her life and transfer it over to the lives of children? If you have a nasty attitude, can never get along with even fellow believers, can’t apologize, and won’t allow God to deal with that area after several attempts, you might as well put your desire for marriage back on the shelf. If you can’t get along with others, what makes you think you’ll get along with your spouse when you get married? I’ve learned that when people have this issue, they have some underlying brokenness somewhere. The saying, “broken people break people” is so true – your brokenness is what causes you to constantly be at awes with everyone around you. Put your desire for marriage aside and let God deal with your heart. It’s not everyone else, it’s you – God wants to deal with YOU.
- You can’t submit to anyone or be corrected by anyone.
Marriage is ALL about submission. It’s about compromising where it’s needed, picking your battles wisely, saying I’m sorry, and serving when you don’t feel like serving. Although wives are called to submit to their husbands, submission is needed in both the man and the woman to make the marriage work. If a man cannot submit to a higher authority, he will not submit to God and he won’t heed to his wife when God is using her to tell him something. If a woman cannot submit to a higher authority, she won’t submit to her own husband. If neither do not know how to submit to God, they will not submit to one another in marriage, and they will make decisions in their marriage without consulting God which can lead to a lot of devastating problems. The Bible tells us to “submit to one another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:21). If your friend or sister/brother in Christ can’t tell you: “hey I’ve noticed you’ve been acting a bit prideful lately,” or “the way you said/did that wasn’t right,” or “I think you should apologize,” then you won’t receive correction from your spouse. If you get upset and defensive every time you’re corrected, it will be very difficult for your spouse to correct you or check you. If no one can tell you anything at all or hold you accountable without your pride getting in the way and you simply don’t want to submit that area to God, STAY SINGLE! If you can’t be told what to do, you’re not pliable, you’re not teachable, and you’re not humble, then you’re not ready for marriage.
- You are loveless.
If you don’t like people, if you’re mean, nasty, uncaring, hateful, and etc., God wants to give you a heart that loves first before giving you a spouse. 1 Corinthians 13 gives us a clear description of what love is. If you’re not allowing God to develop your love, how do you expect to love a spouse? Some people honestly think that they will somehow treat their spouse better than they treat other people simply because they are a significant other and not just any old person. But the problem with that is you can’t fake love, what’s in you will eventually come out of you. The habit that you have in how you treat others WILL spill over into your marriage. How can you even be effective as a godly couple if you don’t like people?
- God told you you’re not ready.
You’d think this is a given, but you’d be surprised how many people still try to chase something down after God has told them “no” or “not yet.” If God told you that you’re not ready, then don’t focus on marriage right now, there are so many other wonderful things He that wants to do in you now.
If you saw yourself in one of these points, don’t feel bad; be encourage. Just because you’re not ready for marriage right now doesn’t mean you’ll never be ready. And just because God isn’t showing you anything about marriage right now doesn’t mean it’s not in His will for you. Take this opportunity to begin to let God work on those areas. The first step to getting free from something is admitting that you have a problem. We ALL have areas that we need to work on. Our God is so awesome and loving that He wants to keep us safe so He’ll show us when we aren’t ready for something. But He shows us these things for our own protection. Don’t move from under His covering. When it’s time He will have no problem bringing it to pass, but in the meantime, ENJOY HIM. Like my Pastor always says, the gospel is not about husbands and wives. Jesus didn’t die to give you a spouse, He died to give you Himself. HE is the way to eternal life, HE is the One who came to save us from our wicked flesh, not a marriage. So why not focus our attention on the One who died to give us life?!
Marriage is SERIOUS business. It’s more than just looking cute with your boo and getting to post cute photos of yourselves on social media. When God puts together marriages, He has a plan for those marriages to impact the Kingdom and the world, not to please your flesh. Wait upon the Lord, focus on enjoying God and enjoying the season He has you in.