My wife and I are still trying to figure marriage out. But the best advice we learned about marriage, we learned before we ever met. You’re never too young to start preparing for marriage, and you can start preparing regardless of whether you’re single or dating. We hope these five ways to prepare for marriage will lead you closer to Jesus and make you an amazing spouse in the future (or a better spouse now):

1) Surround yourself with those whom you aspire to be. Our pastor says, “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.” Look closely at the people you hang around, and you’ll get a glimpse of the person you’re becoming. It’s invaluable to have a married couple in your life who you look up to. This couple will show you exactly what you can aim for in your future relationship.

2) Start serving now. I learned pretty early on (like the first day of marriage) that serving your spouse is important. When you serve someone else, you’re placing their needs above your own. This selfless leadership happens daily in marriage. Serving others anywhere helps you develop the heart you’ll need to serve your spouse later.

3) Follow through with commitments. The commitment to staying pure is so much more than not making love to your partner. When you commit to doing something and you succeed, it becomes that much easier to follow through with future commitments! Let your word mean something now, and it will mean that much more in marriage later.

4) Lose the baggage. Bringing financial, emotional, or spiritual baggage into a relationship is detrimental. You won’t ever treat someone’s heart better than you treat your own. Those negative emotions you are holding onto about that family member or your past will be projected onto your spouse. Come to terms with your brokenness now so you can humbly understand your spouse’s brokenness later.

5) Don’t demand change from others before you change yourself. Your future spouse will do things that frustrate you—things you’ll be desperate to change. But the change you desire must start with you. I bet there are a few people in your life you wouldn’t mind changing. You wish they were more loving, more understanding, more honest. 

If you start by changing those things about yourself, you’ll begin to see it in the people you surround yourself with.

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