Romance novels can be fun, or they can ruin real romance. Why? Because they are nothing like reality. Nothing like the kind of love that lasts through miscarriage, sickness, and the loss of a parent. Nothing like the kind of love that dances in the kitchen or teaches a kid to ride a bike. Real love and real relationships prepare you for marriage.
Will My Marriage Last or Will it be a Divorce Statistic?
For all of those who are single and considering marriage, there are things that you can do today that will prepare you for a marriage that will last. The number one fear for young people who are dating is the question: will this last? Will we become a divorce statistic? Sometimes, it feels unavoidable. There are indicators for a divorce, and pornography is high on that list of red flags. Romance novels, pornography, hookups, and any form of sensual addiction that isolates and uses a person are not foundational training for a lifelong marriage.
Often, as single people, we tell ourselves that we can flip a switch and change our behavior. This is just fun, and once I meet the right one I'll change things if they want me to change.
But, addiction is insidious and weaves its roots very deep in our desires and in our ability to love and be loved. It's so much more complicated than it appears. The cocktail of addiction, isolation, and the rewiring of brains and hearts, all of these things prepare us for divorce and not for marriage.
Your Future Spouse Needs Your Prayers
Most of us know this already, and we are fighting the fight to be pure, asking God to send us the perfect spouse (disclaimer—there is no perfect spouse). It's important not to just pray for your own heart, but also for the one that you will be marrying. Pray that your future spouse can fight his or her own battles, and has already or will give his or her heart to Christ.
You never know what kind of battle your future spouse might be fighting right now, this very minute. Pray to God to protect them, for an outpouring of strength and the ability to make decisions that will prepare them for marriage. Pray for their healing, their discernment, and their growth as a Christian man or woman.
More Ways to be Prepare for a Long-Lasting Marriage
What are some things you can do right now while you're single and discerning marriage? Be the kind of person you would want to marry. Make decisions that prepare you to love. Volunteer, make sacrifices, and be attentive to others. Visit elderly friends and relatives. Let them mentor you and listen to their life stories. There is a world of wisdom there that may pass away with a generation.
There is a great article by GK Chesterton titled “In Defense of Rash Vows”, and the premise of the article is that in order to be married and to stay married, you have to know yourself and be able to make an appointment with yourself in the future. You have to be committed to your promises. What are the little ways each day in which you can keep your promises? What are situations that draw you to make impure choices? How can you steer clear of them? How can you keep little promises to others and to yourself?
If you can't keep these little promises, how can you keep a lifelong commitment to love, honor, and cherish another person? Choosing purity over pornography and lifelong marriage over short-term chemical adrenaline rushes, in the long run, will change your life.
Surround yourself with friends who can hold you accountable. Get accountability software like Covenant Eyes, and share it with these trusted friends. Get a spiritual director or spiritual guide, a mentor, or someone you look up to. Surround yourself with friends who see you as the person God created you to be, and remember, you're “not the sum of your fears and failures, but you're the sum of the Father's love for you” (paraphrasing World Youth Day in Toronto, Pope John Paul II).
There Is a Battle Being Fought for Your Future
There is a battle being fought every day for your future. These little choices are the battlefield that you are fighting on each day. Never listen to the words of defeat. Resolve to make better choices. Surround yourself with friends who believe in you.
One of the most important supports that you can have is to know that you belong. Belonging is key to conversion, especially as a young person. When you truly believe that you belong to Christ, to His Church, and ultimately to your future spouse, there is a sense of peace that will permeate every aspect of your life and lead you to Christ. It's not easy to come to this sense of belonging on your own. It needs to be done in community, with other like-minded people.
You Need Community Now for the Sake of Your Future
What is your community of friends like? Do they help you to prepare for your future marriage, or do you feel empty after spending time with them? Do they help you to make good choices or poor choices? Do they really love and appreciate you for who you are? Remember that we become like those we surround ourselves with. Surround yourself with people who want to have a good life, a fully alive, abundant life that Christ has promised us.
Receive Grace During this time of Quarantine and Distancing
During this time, a Grace is being poured out in our Church. Take the time to sit down and pray with the crucifix. Ask Christ to strengthen you, heal you, and give you the resolve to sin no more and to go in the way of peace and joy. Remember, every decision you make should bring you peace and joy. If it doesn't, walk away and turn towards Christ who will give you His peace and His joy!
Covenant Eyes: Screen Accountability™
Be the best version of you.
Covenant Eyes Screen Accountability is designed to help you live with integrity on your devices by sharing your activity with a trusted friend.
Audience: Adults and supervised minors
Resource Type: Software
Cost: $15.99 / month.