At one point in our marriage, my wife needed a break. She instructed me to take my daughter with me to the grocery store, purchase items from the list she provided and to return home. I was ready. I had my snacks, my kids bop playlist, and my checklist. I was focused on this list because, unlike other instances, I was not going to let my wife down. I was bringing everything home from this list like instructed. With my laser-like focus, I found everything, paid and drove home. I gleefully paraded into the house with my treasures of milk, bread and something called kale. I showed her my checklist with everything checked. I was the hero. She said, “Great, now where is our daughter?” With all my focus on the checklist, I had left her at the store. While driving back my wife mumbled over and over “How could you leave her at the store!” My only response was “She wasn’t on the list!”
I wish I had, but I have never made a checklist of what I should do before I got married. If I had it would probably look something like this.
Before “I do” I must…learn to get up after getting knocked down.
There are some people in the world I just never really expected to learn anything from. Mike Tyson was one of those people. He once said that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. Satan will spend the rest of his life trying to punch your marriage in the mouth. What makes you who you are is not what knocks you down but what you do after you get up. The best part about it is that if God has to reach way down, he will pick you up to fight again.
Before “I do” I must…learn God’s math.
I have been out of high school for 20 years exactly and another day has passed and I haven’t used algebra once. God’s math is way simpler. There are 3 sides to a triangle: God, your spouse, and you. If you keep all sides connected and intact and you have a strong base and longevity. Another equation I learned in God’s math is Jesus plus nothing equals everything. Do not carry one, do not divide the children, just keep it simple and let God figure it out for you.
Before “I do” I must…know who I am in Christ.
Touch ID is a wonderful thing on the iPhone, but I get frustrated when it doesn’t work on command. I’m like “c’mon you already know it’s me with just a little chicken tender grease.” Now that I am wiser I don’t need Touch ID to tell me who I am. I know that I know that I know that I am a child of God. It’s not what they call you, it’s what you answer to. Before you get married it would be great if you can answer the question of “who you are in Christ”
Before I do I must…make sure I know what marriage is.
I have never done an extreme sport before in my life but they look so cool on tv. The closest thing I have ever done to an extreme sport is trying to finish the chores I was supposed to do from earlier when I hear my mother pull up in the driveway. Those guys are successful because they know what they are getting into. They know the risks and they prepare. Going into a marriage without knowing that it takes to be successful is like trying to play an extreme sport and not finding out what it takes. Exhilarating at first but it has a very high failure rate. My advice is to find a successful marriage that you do know of and mimic that marriage. Ask a lot of questions and follow sound advice.
This is my short checklist of things I wish I had done before I got married. They are on my list now and I have checked them off one by one and added a few more here and there because it is a learning process. Solicit advice from seasoned married folk and make your own checklist of what you think you need for your marriage. Celebrate every time one is crossed off. But with a love triangle of God, your spouse and you I can guarantee you can be successful as long as you put God first.