For the woman who wants to do what is pleasing to God and marry a like-minded man, these are very important issues to discuss and be in agreement on…before marriage. Surprisingly, some people do not discuss and agree on some very important issues that should be agreed upon before marriage. They run into problems because of this after they are married. It is very wise to discuss things like fundamental values / principles and other deal-makers and deal-breakers.
Here is a list of important matters to hash over and be in agreement on before marriage.
Christians should only marry other Christians.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6: 14. Non-Christian people may bond over shared goals and common interests in general.
Even some people professing Christianity can lack self-control. To be honest, the struggle is real when two people are attracted to each other. It is common for some Christians to have premarital sex. When a Christian woman keeps God first, she does not idolize her man and go to bed with him, but will choose to obey God.
Nobody is perfect, and again, it can be difficult when two people are very attracted to each other. In fact, unmarried Christian couples would be wise not to place themselves in situations where they will be very tempted. Not everyone is a Christian, but for Christians, obviously, it is right to wait until marriage before enjoying each other sexually.
Certain sexual practices and activities can invite negative and harmful spiritual energy into homes, relationships, and lives. A couple must be in agreement about what they will or will not do in their bedroom. People tend to have specific sexual desires. Married couples may believe that any and every sexual practice is ok, as long as they are married.
It is very important to have the Holy Spirit’s guidance on this topic, and be in agreement. God is holy and the bed is to remain undefiled. (Hebrews 13: 4). Rather than interpreting this to mean God is authorizing all sexual acts for married couples, I believe the emphasis is that marriage is honorable, and that the bed should be kept undefiled.
Common sense comes into play as well. If something is unsanitary and potentially harmful, a couple should understand the risks and at the very least, be prayerful and proceeded with wisdom and caution. Of course, every explicit detail will not be discussed beforehand between a couple. Still, there will need to be some appropriate discussion on expectations before marriage, instead of just going into marriage with assumptions.
If a woman is going to marry a man who has some unusual sexual plans and practices, she’s going to need to know this ahead of time. Same goes for a man. He will need to know if his wife has sexual aspirations that he does not agree with. Often, it is the husband trying to get his wife to do sexual things he wants her to do, even if she is uncomfortable.
Either spouse may pressure the other to comply to deviance.
A husband may try to force his wife to submit to such acts. Or it could be the other way around, and the woman wants to do things her husband is uncomfortable with. Both spouses should put God first and put each other first. The Golden Rule always stands. Indeed, there are sexual practices that can actually be harmful. Mutual respect, love, and agreement is key.
Is there pornography use or other harmful habits that will interfere with the quality of intimacy in the marriage? It needs to be addressed. Beforehand. Some couples may not discuss these types of things.
Later, after marriage, they could get an unpleasant surprise that they do not find to be negotiable. A woman in love can be so caught up in wedding plans and feeling hopeful for the future, that she may not consider some of these very important topics. After marriage, there could be some concerning surprises waiting for her.
3) Headship and submission
Sinful application of what God requires for husbands and wives in marriage is a common problem among some religious folks especially. In fact, some of the non-religious folks seem to treat each other better because they practice the Golden Rule, instead of twisting the word of God to cancel out the Golden Rule!
I have observed attitudes about headship that indicate that the command for husbands is to control the wife, order her around and please himself. For sure, not all view headship this way. Thank God! A woman needs to be aware, however. She needs the correct understanding herself, in order to spot unbiblical behavior and ungodly thinking in her potential husband.
In reality, the husband is commanded to love his wife as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5: 25-28).This love is selfless and includes setting righteous examples, washing her in God’s word, and loving her sacrificially. How can he effectively wash her in the word of God, if he’s disobedient to the word of God himself?
A wife is to submit to her husband in everything, as it is fit in the Lord. Ephesians 5 :22-24. Submit does not mean doormat. For her to submit does not mean her husband controls her. The husband is commanded to love her selflessly and sacrificially. The wife is commanded to submit; to cooperate with him. In a healthy situation, she willingly submits with no force, harassment, or coercion from her husband.
4) Having children or not.
Not agreeing on whether to have children or not is commonly a deal breaker. Believe it or not, some people may or may not discuss this before marriage! Others discuss it, say one thing, then may change their mind later. Needless to say, this would be a major problem.
5) God-given callings and kingdom purpose.
It is to be taken very seriously when a person knows God has a call on their life. If they are contemplating marrying a person who is opposed to their God-given calling, this is a big indicator that this person is not their spouse. In a marriage with the right person, neither spouse should feel pressure to abandon what they know God is calling them to do.
Some Christian women may believe that they need to abandon what they know is their God-given ministry, in order to be a helpmeet to a man. God is not the author of confusion. A woman is to be a helpmeet to the right man- to her own husband; not to someone else’s husband.
If a man is opposing God’s will in a woman’s life, then he is someone else’s husband, or at least he is not her husband. The right man for her will not oppose God’s will for her. Her true husband will not oppose the work that God has for her to do. She also should not be interfering in her husband’s God-given mission. These things are so important to discuss before marriage.
6) Identity and roles.
If a husband or wife does not honor their spouse as being a joint heir with Jesus Christ, and do not value them as an equal, it will negatively affect every aspect of the marriage. The right understanding of what God requires concerning the roles of the husband and wife is of the utmost importance.
Different roles do not indicate superiority in one role and inferiority in the other role. Each person and role is equally valuable and important. When one or both partners do not recognize this, there tends to be mistreatment and dysfunctionality in the marriage.
One spouse may interfere and stunt the other spouse. This does not glorify God, and it is not a correct representation of Jesus Christ and the church. I have been exposed to a lot of chauvinism. Ironically, the majority of the chauvinism was in religious groups, among people who professed to be Christians!
The godly woman must be careful to be sure she’s not marrying a religious chauvinist, but a God-fearing man. Likewise, the godly man has to be careful and prayerful to be sure he is marrying a true woman of God. I know of some men making requests or commands for their wife to make changes after they married her.
What about a wife going to work part or full-time or staying home instead? It makes more sense for a man to run it by her before marriage; or for her to wisely ask him before marriage. For example, one lady went to college, had a career, got married, and her husband told her to quit her job and be a housewife and mother.
I wonder if she desired this, or is it something he sprung on her, expecting her to submit to after marriage? It is good for a woman to think in a prudent way before marriage. Despite the excitement of getting married, it is important to be logical; stay grounded, rooted in reality.
If she had been thinking, this wife could have and should have addressed this before marriage to see what her husband expected of her. However, some women are not thinking about these things, so they do not get discussed. For whatever reason, the man may not mention something until after marriage, and then he makes a command or a request. Be careful and proactive, ladies!
7) Political beliefs.
Unfortunately, differences in a couple’s political stance can be a deal-breaker or cause a lot of conflict.
8) Hobbies and interests.
Compatibility when it comes to goals and shared interests is important. Couples may not like all of the same things, but should have some common ground on interests in at least some things. There should be compromise as well, where each partner will join the other in some of their favorite activities, and maybe even learn to enjoy them along the way! It is important to like one’s spouse as well.
Yes, take action to love one’s spouse, but like them as a person and as a friend- a best friend, too! Can you hang? Can you pal around with the person? Do you truly enjoy each other’s company? These things are very important. After all, if marriage is going to be forever, you might as well actually like your spouse too, right?
“But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Mark 10: 6-9.
Used with permission from Petrina Ferguson.