marriage advice for single people

I don't usually like giving marriage advice. I know that each marriage is unique and deeply personal. What works for one couple may not work for another. I don't like to judge how a husband and wife have chosen to live out their marriage. There is, however, one piece of marriage advice that I believe is crucial. And it's for the single people. 

The person you choose to marry is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Alex and I were pretty young when we married (22 and 23). I often joke that we didn't know what the heck we were doing and kind of lucked out that we didn't marry total weirdos. And yes, we were young and naive, but there is one thing I did know about Alex when we decided to get married. I knew that Alex was just as passionate as I was when it came to serving the church and living on mission for God. 

There's a sad story I hear sometimes. I'll be talking to a young single girl and she will tell me all her hopes and dreams for the future. It's evident that she has a servant's heart and wants to live her life for God's glory. But then she will meet this guy. And he's nice enough. Handsome, educated, good job. But he's just not into the idea of living on mission. He's got his own plans and doesn't want to be bothered with the things of God. So the girl settles. And soon all her hopes and dreams begin to fade away. Church can become a point of contention in their marriage. Even if he's down with church, he's not down with serving or deep community. I find it sad that all that potential to do God's work has vanished. 

I knew from the moment I accepted Christ that I wanted to live my life serving Him. The main way I serve Him is through His Church. I've always been involved one way or another, and Alex has been the same. I actually admire him for always being willing to help out in any way he can. He's always ready to lend a helping hand, whether it's strumming a guitar or moving tables or setting up lights. 

This is how Alex and I met and fell in love really. We were each doing our thing, serving in the church, and then our paths crossed. When I told him I wanted to go to seminary he didn't even flinch, he just said, "when do we leave?"  When we were approached by friends about moving to Colorado to start a church, we started packing our bags and looking for houses online. Now that we have kids and separate ministries we support each other in any way we can. When he is helping to lead our church in worship, I support him by giving him the time and space he needs to practice. When I am leading our women's gatherings for our church campus, he supports me by being my one-man production team. We may fight about some silly things, but we never fight about ministry because we know God has called us to serve each in our own unique ways. 

I'm glad my kids are now being raised in a family that makes ministry a priority. They come along with us when we have to be at church early or stay a little late. They see Papi playing guitar on stage. They see Mami teaching the Bible. They see us stacking chairs or setting up equipment. I know parents are sometimes fearful that their children will become resentful of church if they have to be there all the time. I get it. I believe in balance. We try to respect our kids' limits and set up boundaries for our family time. We know they get tired and hungry and bored (I mean, I do too!). But we also know that kids are incredibly flexible and resilient. And kids like to help. Our kids have helped us put away tables, clean up trash, carry tripods, wrap cables (though not very well). And before we get to work we always explain to them the importance of serving and why we serve. And we pray together. Never underestimate the importance of prayer. 

I know that if I had married someone who wasn't as passionate about ministry as I am, it would be a problem in our marriage. Ministry is such a big part of who I am, and it's a big part of who Alex is as well. 

So what exactly is my advice? If you're single and hope to be married one day; live your life for God, be on mission for Him, don't settle. I really believe that if you want to do great things for God you should marry someone who shares your passion and will support you every step of the way. A fellow writer and believer, Kat Armas, stated it so well in a post she wrote on marriage. She said, "I encourage you to seek God’s Kingdom as you pursue your calling, and if you just so happen to run into someone of the opposite sex who can be a life-long team player on your race towards the finish-line, then grab them by the hand and invite them to get to work alongside you." Amen? Let's not make marriage all about us or our own comfort. As believers, let's make make marriage about mission and ministry. 

Hey Alex, thanks for being my partner in ministry. You the real MVP.