“When a man takes a new wife, he is not to go out with the army or be given any business or work duties. He gets one year off simply to be at home making his wife happy.”—Deuteronomy 24:5 (Message)

This is actually one of my favorite scriptures when it comes to instructions on marriage. It does seem like marriage is the theme for me these days…kinda…sorta…not totally…I guess…maybe. When it comes to current themes, I do know that LOVE IS and because I do desire to be joined to my prince someday, PREPARATION IS, but I am simply going as I am led. (Luke 12:12) In the meantime, I am really quite at peace/enjoying my gift of singleness. After all, this is the year of fullness and I want God to make me as whole as possible before uniting myself with another.

HOWEVER, because I am supposed to be a wife when he gets here (Proverbs 18:22), I’ve been asking God to, well, make me “wifey material” so that we don’t spend the first few years of our lives in shock/disgust/disillusionment all because what we THOUGHT marriage was supposed to be..well, it wasn’t. I truly am asking God to make me a BLESSING and not a BURDEN. After all, if he’s gonna be home, I want him to want to be there.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…marriage doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Whatever. The Bible says that if we acknowledge God IN ALL OF OUR WAYS, he will direct us. (Proverbs 3:6) Therefore, I believe that it actually does (come with an instruction manual)…by putting God, first.

So, in my prayer time today for my friends who are single that I know want to be married (someday), this is the verse that the Holy Spirit (Luke 12:12) took me to, and these were the two instructions that I was given. One for men and the other for women:

Men: Now, me personally, I am a busybody with my own list of things to do and so I don’t want my man (future husband) at home…all day…up under me…all of the time. BUT, what I do think is important about this verse is that it encourages men to make their wives not only a top priority (that should be all of the time), but that he should devote EXTRA SPECIAL INTEREST/ATTENTION/FOCUS/TIME/ENERGY during the first year of marriage. Therefore, as you are seeking the Father about your helpmate, I implore you to also ask what you need to do to get things/yourself in order to grant her this kind of attention as a first-year newlywed.

Some of you know, some of you don’t know that I had a fiance’ to die in ’95. Something that “we” discovered after his death was that he had two hidden bank accounts; one, to spoil me with and another to buy his mom a Lexus (amazing, right?). Fellas, what is it going to take for you to give your wife the tender care that she deserves? Should you set up a savings account now? (Overtime in your first year is not the wisest idea.) Are there “wish list” things that you have been putting off, that, in all honesty, would make more sense to do NOW…as a single man? (Deciding to take off on random trips with your friends in the first year…eh…not so smart.) Are you someone who isn’t the best with the observance of special days? (You might want to purchase some gift cards and save them in a drawer or something—make sure they don’t have an expiration date or you might want to stash away some “just because” cards to have handy). I’m just brainstorming…go as God leads…but I would really encourage you to ask/seek how you can get yourself to a place where you can make the first year a special one so that you can have a solid foundation to build upon. I’m telling you…when it comes to the love of a woman, you tend to get out what you put in.

Women: OK, a lot of you should appreciate this because it will give you something to do to take your mind off of the fact that while “he” may not be here (yet), because we walk by faith and not by sight (RIGHT?!?-2 Corinthians 5:7), for many of us, we can trust that he is certainly on the way (hence, you receiving this email). I am led to impress upon you to get a journal (A FRESH JOURNAL) and in it, write 365 THINGS TO DO FOR YOUR HUSBAND during the first year. It could be a handmade card one day…a romantic night the next…a ”goodie bag” weekend…shoot, let me hush because I am creating my own list and I think it should actually be kept private. 🙂

But, I think the reason why the Holy Spirit gave this instruction is because the reality (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message) is that marriage is very different from single life. IT IS AN ADJUSTMENT and when it comes to romance, we shouldn’t rely on “winging it”. The past several months, while growing in my platonic relationships with men, I realize that they deserve respect (BECAUSE GOD SAID SO), but they also need “sanctuary” environments…the world is hard enough without having to come home to harsh realities. If we rely on our emotions to determine our “love expressions” towards them, because the heart (as well as our hormones) can be deceitful at times (Jeremiah 17:9), it could cause us to not give them the kind of lovin’/spiritual fuel that they need to support us/provide for us/protect us. It has to be a scary thing to be spiritually/financially responsible for another person. They need us to have their back. Therefore, we should have a special book in place. I have learned that men LOVE attention/affection/spontaneity. It sounds a bit contradictory, but sometimes that requires a lil’ forethought.

So, why am I doing all of this? Well, because I don’t know about you, but I intend to be a curse breaker in my family when it comes to not only avoiding divorce, but being in a happy and healthy marriage for the rest of my days. I see that God is honoring that request (the marriage blog, this, etc.) by giving me extra information…in seeking him, I am finding special answers.

Well, that’s it. At least for now.

As God provides me with more, you know I will share. 🙂

Take care…prepare.

©Shellie R. Warren/2009