Get Me to the Altar

Brace yourselves, friends: wedding season is here!

One of my favorite parts of ministry life is helping starry-eyed couples prepare for their big day (and the years that will follow). While it’s tempting to place a huge focus on the wedding itself, there are some personal investments you can make to grow your soul between “Will you?” and “I do.” I’d like to offer some helps I’ve gathered for a soon-to-be bride to flourish spiritually.

As a daughter of the King of Kings, this isn’t just any wedding; you’re planning a royal event! Embarking on the journey ahead is an amazing opportunity to allow God to grow your heart before He joins it with that of your man. If you haven’t established a daily time in which you get to know Christ through prayer and reading His Word, here’s your chance—this fantastic habit will change your life. Don’t know where to start? Check out girlfriendsingod.com, shereadstruth.com, or redeemedgirl.org. These websites can walk you through digging into Scripture for yourself.

Hopefully, you’re already involved in a local church, but in case you haven’t found one yet (or just aren’t really plugged in to yours), use this time of engagement to connect to God through His family. There’s nothing for wedding stress relief like focusing on helping advance the kingdom.

If you enjoy reading, I have a ton of books I can recommend to you—not the old, dusty, relatively boring ones, either, but vibrant and fresh works for helping you strengthen your walk with Jesus. If podcasts are more your style, load up your phone with some solid teaching (I personally love Matt Chandler and Tim Keller) and enjoy some downtime letting the Word soak into your mind.

The season between your proposal and your wedding can bring couples together spiritually and set the tone for a marriage rooted in Jesus like few others can. If you make it a point to pray together every morning and/or every night before bed (even if it’s just over the phone) and to look for chances to serve together, you’re communicating to your Mr. Right a desire for him to lead you spiritually and that you will submit to his godly leadership over you. Believe me, if you send these signals clearly and consistently during your engagement, the marriage will start out on its best possible foot.

Personal discipleship is another enormous growth opportunity for brides who love Jesus. If nobody has ever taken you aside and shown you how to live out your faith, find a mature lady and latch onto her. Watch how she acts in different situations and ask her questions about how to practically implement what Jesus teaches you. This might feel like Christian creeping, but it is so effective.

Likewise, if you grew up in a broken or dysfunctional family, find a biblical couple and spend time observing how they interact with one another. If your dad left your mom, look for a marriage in which the man demonstrates an insane amount of loyalty and the woman shows trust and respect. If your mom was a control freak, hang out with a lady who has a crazy amount of faith and peace in her marriage. Essentially, take inventory of the possible weaknesses you will bring to your upcoming life together, and find married ladies who will show you a better way than what comes naturally to you.

A key point during this season is to grow in your respect for Mr. Right while simultaneously keeping your mind and body pure for him. I know that balance can be difficult, but I promise it’s worth it. The amount of self-control you exert in both areas will speak volumes to your new husband of your deep love for him. And following God’s plan for your respect (Ephesians 5:33) and purity (Hebrews 13:4) now will allow Him to pour out blessings on your marriage in the future.

Here’s a big thing to keep in mind as you go through the planning process and prepare to live happily ever after: Jesus never meant for your Prince Charming to take His place. Girls tend to get into trouble when we put our faith and hope and emotional fulfillment in a guy (even the best guy in the world) rather than in our Savior.

I’m a huge fan of setting goals. Let’s say the desired end result for the spiritual side of things in this preparation time is to be closer to Jesus on your wedding day than you are right now. Seems legit. A study conducted at Dominican University in California showed that writing out a goal, sharing it with a friend (your fiancé or maid of honor), and sending weekly updates to that friend makes you 33% more likely to accomplish it than if you just think, “That sounds like a good goal.” Take a minute and record the spiritual goal you are setting for yourself between now and your wedding day.

What are some steps you can take to reach this goal? (What are some habits you need to add to your life? Which habits do you need to stop?)

Now consider who your accountability partner will be on this. Text whomever you have chosen and let them know what you’re doing. Ask them to pray for you in this area and to hold you accountable.

Other than that, relax and have a blast planning your big day! In all of the hustle and bustle (pun intended), don’t forget to keep the main thing the main thing. Your God loves you with an everlasting love, and this marriage you’re preparing for is simply a picture of that love.

For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you.

(Isaiah 62:5)

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