When I met my wife, Heather, we immediately hurried to "tie the knot." We had our minds made up and no one was going to stop us. While the first couple of years of marriage were exciting, some rough years followed. The newness wore off, and I started to feel like I was stuck in something that I hadn’t put much thought into.

I regret to say that I became bitter toward my wife and our marriage. Not helping matters at all, I began to backslide into some old and painful habits. When I thought things could not get worse, Heather shared with me that she was pregnant.

What should have been joyous news came as a warning to get things straight. I was 25 years old, a struggling musician and soon to be a father. Although we could’ve given up on many occasions, we trusted in the Lord to carry us through the difficult years. Guess what? He did.

God turns hardships into blessings

Our hardships early in our marriage are nothing to be proud of, but I can now look back on these trials as growing pains that prepared us for a greater marriage together. "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance" (James 1:2-3).

Take this list of advice from another young person who, unfortunately, learned things the hard way, but who found his answers backed up by the Word of God. My prayer is that this will bless you and your future.

Ten things to consider before marriage:

  1. Marriage is a lifelong commitment.
    " ‘So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.’ ‘Why then,’ they asked, ‘did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?’ Jesus replied, ‘Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.’ " – Matthew 19:6-8
  2. Your marriage will go through tough times, but remember it's a lifelong commitment.
    "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." – James 1:2
  3. Be a servant to your spouse, putting her needs before your own.
    "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
  4. Learn to forgive . . . and forget.
    "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." – Matthew 6:14-15
  5. Admit when you are wrong, and seek reconciliation with your spouse.
    "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." – Matthew 5:23-24
  6. Make plans together, but don't be surprised when things do not turn out the way you planned.
    "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will." – Romans 12:2
  7. Communicate often, but don't try to change your spouse. Instead, try to encourage and strengthen each other. You cannot change your spouse, but you can change yourself.
    "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." – Luke 6:41-42
  8. Don’t depend on your spouse to fill all your needs. Only God can do that.
    "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord." – Jeremiah 17:5
  9. A husband must be willing to fill his God-given role.
    "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself." – Ephesians 5:25-28
  10. A wife must be willing to fill her God-given role.
    "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." – Ephesians 5:22-24

Referrals to websites not produced by Focus on the Family Canada are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily constitute an endorsement of the sites’ content.

Billy Buchanan was the guitarist and lead vocalist for the modern worship band Fusebox, having just released his first solo album, Transparent, at the time of publication. Visit Billybuchanan.org for more info.

© 2003 Billy Buchanan. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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