Summary: If you are single and want to be married, this is a noble aspiration. Aspiring to be married is a calling to become both a husband and a father.
Marriage Is a Worthy Aspiration
If you are single and want to be married, this is a noble aspiration. Aspiring to be married is a calling to become both a husband and a father. But it’s also a longing for an ongoing relationship. Even Adam, the first man, wanted a relationship, and God saw it was good for him not to be alone—therefore God created woman. During your single years, you have an opportunity not only to develop the character that your wife may want in you, but to become the man God wants you to be. I know many married men who wish they had taken more time before marriage to prepare so that they might have handled the challenges of marriage with greater success. Even though marriage refines us as men, it is essential in your singleness not to miss the present opportunities for growth and change; these will increase your potential for a successful long-term commitment and relationship.
Four Things to Consider in Your Singleness
One | Self-leadership
All men need to learn self-leadership. Discovering the value of self-leadership as a single man is a great asset—and by the way, women like it. A man who cannot lead himself is destined for relational issues in other parts of life. Self-leadership is an intentional exercise. It touches many aspects of a man’s life—timeliness, responsibility, conflict, self-care, grooming, building healthy relationships, avoiding unhealthy ones, and setting priorities. Self-leadership involves organizing our lives around priorities and values that lead to purposeful action rather than leaving each moment to happenstance. Here’s a potential question that addresses this need and will drive you to prepare for marriage and family: “What are my relational priorities, and what’s my plan for getting there?”
As a man, you must begin to determine your relational priorities now. Let’s say you define your priorities broadly in this way:
1) A vibrant and growing relationship with God
2) Occupational fulfillment and impact in the world
3) Key friendships and relationships that make me a better man
4) A healthy and appropriate relationship with my family of origin
5) Mindset for ministry and contribution to things of eternal value
6) A healthy and committed marriage
7) God-fearing children
These are only broad examples, and you can borrow them if you like. But as a single man, naming your relational priorities in this way will allow you to begin devising a plan and determining the self-leadership needed for starting the journey. While at present you cannot do much about tending to a marriage or children, you can devise a plan for becoming a man that a wife and child would love and respect. And you can give a lot of attention at present to the first five priorities on the list above. You can devise a plan and focus on becoming the man God wants you to be. And by leading yourself in the present, you will be more prepared for leadership in marriage and of a family with children. But you must determine personal priorities first and then take a little time to reflect on how you are going to lead yourself there.
Having identified what’s on your priority list, you now need to develop an intentional plan for getting there. This is where self-leadership moves from reflection into action. Perhaps there will be several small steps in each area where you can live out your personal priorities. Leaders are intentional, and your intentionality while you are single will serve you now—and if you get married, later. So start now by leading yourself.
Two | Determine your values and grow in them
If you haven’t taken the time to articulate your values, you need to. Doing so is a considerable step toward maturation, marriage, and stewarding your unique design. Many leaders declare business values and require employees to live by them but fail to declare personal values. Determining, stating, and living by your values is a vital step toward finding a woman who shares these values. Just take a few moments to reflect on this question:
“What values do you want to guide your life, and how would you define those values?”
If you value honesty, for instance, what are the implications for living a life of honesty? And how does that value apply to your work, relationships, and even your relationship with God? Don’t make the mistake of thinking of your values as static concepts. Instead, think of them as living principles that influence your actions, attitudes, and motives. You might state the value of honesty this way: “In all that I do, I will speak honestly, seek the truth, and do my best to live transparently with others.” Here your value has become a guiding principle rather than a static idea written on a piece of paper. And as you look forward to marriage, you can aim to find someone who either shares or supports your value of honesty. And if a particular woman doesn’t, then it might be a deal breaker.