I plan on spending my married life trying (as best as I can by God's grace) to love my wife as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25), and I plan on serving her the rest of my life because she is my sister in Christ. Choosing the bride that I will serve, love, protect, provide for, lead, and cherish the rest of my life is no small thing. Much like the task of preaching, I take the matter of marriage seriously so that it brings about an appropriate and godly dose of fear in me. When I stand before the people of God proclaiming the truth of God's Word, I stand there in weakness, fear, and trembling, in awe of the task that God has set before me and unable to accomplish it without His grace. When I think of my future wife, I sometimes tremble at the seriousness of the task that will be mine to care for her. It's no small thing, but I know that the Lord gives grace in weakness. Just as He supplies the strength that I need to preach, He will supply the strength that I need to approach my future wife, begin a relationship, and weather the trials and heartaches that come from being united to another sinner saved by grace.
Having said all of that, I have used this day to think more about marriage. How can I prepare myself to be a good husband and father? What areas of my life need the most sanctification? What should I expect from my wife and from being married? What is the best way to go about finding and relating to the one who will be my wife? What will my wife need me to do and to be for her? How can I begin the process of learning how to love someone as much as Christ loved the church? Am I truly ready for the married state?
In all of this, I have humbly asked the Lord to make me ready for my future bride and to bring her my way, soon. Surely if the Lord can present His bride, the church, without a spot or wrinkle, He can surely prepare me and continue transforming me into a bridegroom that will bring Him the most glory as I treat my wife in a godly way that reflects Christ's love for the church.
Pray for me, and pray for my (future) wife.
Finally, if you're single and could use some advice on this day (and the days of singleness to follow), consider:
1. Pray for your future husband or wife. I pray for my future wife on a regular basis, even daily for the past few weeks. This will help you to think less of yourself and more about your future spouse. Marriage is not a state of perpetual selfishness, and one must not run toward the altar in the hopes of finding self-fulfillment. Instead, one should come to the altar with joy knowing that the Lord has provided a marvelous picture of the relationship of Christ and the church and a means to give of your life to someone else. So, pray for your future spouse regularly.
For my wife, I specifically pray that the Lord will sanctify her and draw her closer to Himself. I pray that He'll prepare her to be a godly wife to me and mother to our children. I pray that He'll create and stir within her a desire to love me, a wretched sinner though I am. I pray that He'll bring us together (soon), and that if we have already met that He will make His will for us abundantly clear. I pray that He'll care for her and protect her in whatever she does and will take care of her needs according to His riches in glory.
2. Think seriously about marriage. If you do not believe that the Lord has given you the gift of celibacy, you must actively prepare yourself for marriage and begin or continue pursuing the marriage state. In Not Even a Hint--later retitled as Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is)--Joshua Harris gives clear advice about marriage:
Unless God has removed your desire for sex and has given you a clear vision to serve Him as a single person, then assume that you're supposed to get married and either make yourself ready or begin pursuing it...I think there are far too many singles today (men in particular) who have no good reason for delaying marriage. Sometimes I think it's just plain laziness and selfishness. Other times it's a cultural, unbiblical emphasis on career and material success. (p. 111-112)
3. Be a brother (or sister) to your sisters (or brothers) in Christ. Harris gives Christian men some wise advice:
Probably one of the most important things godly single men can do to help their single sisters is to actively be brothers to them. Don't flee relationships with them. Helping to guard their purity doesn't mean avoiding them. It means caring for them and extending genuine friendship. We can encourage Christian women we know who are serving God passionately. We can thank women who dress modestly. (p. 90)
4. Trust in the Lord. The Lord's hand is good, and He gives good gifts to His children. I look forward to being blessed with a godly wife that I can love with all of my heart, and I trust that the Lord will bring us together soon. I would be lying if I said that I was always confident and never doubted, but I know that the Lord is good. Since He has not given me the gift of celibacy and hampered my desire for marriage nor my physical drive, He desires me to proceed in the direction of marriage. In that way, I trust in Him completely, knowing that He will not fail me in this. I find my satisfaction in Him, knowing that His timing and His will is perfect.
So, single Christian, use this time of singleness to prepare yourself. As I've been told by many married couples, relationships tend to sneak up on you. So, I conclude that it is much better to prepare while the water is calm.
May the Lord cause you to be unwaveringly satisfied in Jesus Christ, above all else!