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5 Signs You’re Not Ready for Marriage Yet

By: Kristen Clark

Before I got married, I remember people telling me things like, “Marriage is awesome, but it’s also a lot of work.” Or, “Marriage is a wonderful institution, but you’ll be challenged like never before.” Or, “Getting married is the most amazing thing on earth, but…you’ll also uncover new levels of selfishness in your heart that you didn’t know existed.”

Well…as I look back on the past 4 years of my marriage to Zack, I realize that all of those statements are correct. Marriage is an incredible blessing from God, but it’s also one of the most “sanctifying” experiences I’ve ever had in my life.

If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past four years, it’s this: Getting married, and staying married, isn’t for the faint of heart.

It takes constant doses of love, humility, forgiveness, patience, sacrifice, and selflessness.

Living with your soulmate day-in-and-day-out has its major perks, but it also has some trials.

It’s not easy to consistently put someone else’s needs above your own. It’s not easy to regularly humble yourself and seek forgiveness. It’s not easy to show love to someone even when you don’t “feel” like it.

It’s not easy…but it’s completely worth it. Marriage has a way of exposing our sin and revealing our need for Christ in ways we wouldn’t experience otherwise. When it’s done right, marriage becomes an amazing tool that molds and shapes us into the image of Christ.

So, would I recommend marriage to you? Absolutely! Without a doubt!

However – because marriage isn’t easy, I wouldn’t recommend it to just anybody in any stage of life. Before you walk down the aisle, I think you need to have some foundational things in place.

Not everybody is in a good position to get married. In fact, these are some obvious signs that you’re not quite ready yet.

I highly encourage and challenge you to take the following list to heart. Trust me, the stronger your foundation before you get married, the better off you will be in the long run.

Here are 5 signs that you’re NOT ready for marriage yet:

1. You don’t have a strong relationship with Christ.

One of the reasons God created marriage was to reflect the image of Christ and the church through the bride and groom. A strong marriage will understand this and strive to become more like Jesus as a result. The most beautiful and joy filled marriages on the planet are the ones who center their lives around Christ.

If Jesus isn’t the center of your life right now, He probably won’t be the center of your marriage later. Spend time getting to know your Savior today, so you can reflect His character in a powerful way when you get married.

2. You look to guys to find your fulfillment.

Contrary to Hollywood’s “happily ever after” view of romance and marriage, finding your dream man will not bring you lasting happiness. If you’re looking to a guy to fulfill your heart’s longing right now, then you’re banking your happiness on sinking sand. If you take that pattern of thinking into your marriage, it will be disastrous.

By setting all of your hopes and expectations on a guy, you’re setting yourself up for constant disappointment. No man can ever fill the deepest longings of your heart, only Christ can do that.

3. You consistently disrespect your dad.

Good marriages are built on foundations of love and respect. The Bible calls women to respect their husbands: “Let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33b). If you’re constantly dishonoring your father/authority right now, you are setting yourself up to do the same thing to your husband.

Sinful patterns don’t disappear just because the circumstances change. They may go away for a little while, but they will resurface again. The best way to practice respect for your future husband is by honoring and respecting your dad right now.

4. You’re involved in ongoing sexual sin.

Sexual sin is high on the list for why married couples get divorced today. Adultery, pornography, and unfaithfulness are tearing marriages apart. If you’re currently struggling with a habitual sexual sin, don’t fool yourself by thinking marriage will fix it. It won’t.

James 1:14 says, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” If you’re lured and enticed by your flesh right now, you will be lured and enticed during marriage. The best way to build a strong foundation for your marriage is to repent of your sexual sin and purpose to live a consistent life of purity.

5. Your biggest concern is your personal happiness.

We live in a “selfie,” self-focused, all-about-me culture. Our personal happiness and pleasure is the biggest focus in advertisements today. We grow up with this mindset that says, “If you’re not happy with it, ditch it.” Sadly, this all-about-me mindset is destroying marriages. Nobody wants to give. Nobody wants to be humble. Nobody wants to lay down their life for another.

If you’re consumed with yourself today, chances are you’ll be consumed with yourself in your marriage. This is a guaranteed recipe for difficulties, anger, and unmet expectations.
Strong marriages must be built on a foundation of serving, sacrifice, and selflessness.

So, how did you do? According to those five signs, are you ready for marriage or not?

If one, two or all five of those areas reflected your heart attitude today, then I challenge you to get to work right away. If you want to have a strong marriage that lasts till death do you part, then you need to develop strong character right now.

Don’t wait until you meet “Mr. Right” to make changes. Start today. Get serious. The stronger your character is today, the stronger your marriage will be when it begins.

Let’s chat.

  • Be honest now. Which of the five areas is your weakest?
  • Why do you think marriage will be harder if you’re struggling in those 5 areas?
  • What changes can you make today to proactively work on one of those 5 areas today?

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18 Responses to 5 Signs You’re Not Ready for Marriage Yet

  1. Leisha says:

    I would say the area that I struggle with the most is number 4. sexual sin. I would greatly appreciate prayer especially for my thought life which I think might be the hardest.Thank you for this post:) I think it helped me with many things.

    • Marie says:

      Hey, darlin! With God’s strength you can do it!! Don’t give up on Him and don’t give up tryin! Prayin for ya!

  2. Allie says:

    Thank you for the challenge!
    All of those points are very important.

    I struggle thinking that somehow marriage is the only way to become a mature and respected person. But the Lord has been helpíng me a lot making me grow through His Word and many trials 🙂 He is good, His timing is perfect…. But I’d love to know “Mr. Right” soon 🙂

  3. Jacey Faith says:

    The main area where I am the weakest is my relationship with Christ. I’ve been in a spiritual battle lately and its been drawing me closer to Him. Thank you!

  4. Elizabeth Williams says:

    I would say for me, it’s probably #2! My intent is to allow Christ to complete me and fulfill me, but unfortunately I’m often guilty of looking to other people or things. You’re right, definitely something I need to work on!

  5. Kia says:

    I struggle the most with number 3. This is partly due to the fact my dad was absent for the majority of my life. I am 23 and desire to get married soon and I know I need to repair the relationship with my father in order to ensure I have a successful relationship with my future husband. My question is how do I go about repairing our relationship?

  6. Vaughn Ohlman says:

    1Co 7:8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.

    1Co 7:9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

  7. Elisabeth says:

    I would say 2 and 5 are my biggest problems though my relationship with Chrust could use work too I’m already really trying to work on that.Unfortionally, I find as I get older that for the biggest part of my teen years I’ve been the girl head of heels for guys,though I really really worked to fix that I still sometimes see areas where instead if looking or thinking about God I look to or think about guys in general more en I should and I would appreciate your prays.Also,though I want to use my time wisely and for God I some times get a little side tracked on me.I would also appreciate your prayers on that.Thank you so much for this blog.It has also been my dream to get married,but sometimes when I’m lonely I get impatient wondering when God will bring my “prince Charming”Also is day dreaming about what marriage me like wrong.Could you right a post sometime about 5 signs girls might be ready for marriage?I love your posts, Keep them coming!!!

  8. Beecher says:

    Great post Kristen! Really liked it. Keep it up!

  9. Elisabeth Porter says:

    This is a great post, definately has me thinking. For me it would be #’s 2 & 3. My parents are both remarried. So I have two dads. I live with my mom & step dad. I consider my step dad to be my dad. Sometimes it’s really hard to respect my biological dad, he’s a very fake/shallow person. I know he doesn’t know how to love. I have a super hard time respecting him, and sometimes that affects my father /daughter relationship with my step dad. (He really doesn’t deserve that) It would seriously break my heart if i carried that into my future marriage some day. I’m seventeen, and to be honest marriage scares me. I love the Lord with all my heart. I want His will for my life, He knows what’s better for me than I do. Each day I’m learning to hand my every day to God and just breathe. I don’t know what my future holds, but I know Who holds my future!

    • Sarah says:

      Praise the Lord, Elisabeth! Keep seeking His face, and crying out to Him. Will be praying for you, sister!!

  10. Gabrielle says:

    I actually don’t have a problem with any of those besides #1. I desire to reach, or get to a certain place in my relationship with God before I marry. A place where I clearly hear His voice, where I’m daily getting His guidance, being led by His Spirit daily, etc.. I feel that I need to get closer to God and become more strong in my relationship with Him first. Other than that and some things such as, being stable emotionally, learning to cook, finances, etc., I think I’m just about ready. It’s just not God’s timing for me right now.

    Great post Kirsten!! 😉

  11. Julie says:

    I love this post! so on-point in all areas. I will be sharing this with my teens and begin working on a couple. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. God bless!

  12. Mayara says:

    God bless you!

  13. Pingback: What a Single Guy Taught Me About Marriage

  14. Lindsy says:

    I wouldn’t say I actually have a problem with any of these things anymore, but the one I would be most likely to fall into is 5. I know God can keep me and help me be a better single though.

  15. Khloe Q says:

    Hey Kristen and Bethany. The area I struggle with most is number 3: honoring my dad. I know I should, but I feel like he treats me like a six year old when I’m almost fifteen. I feel like he doesn’t listen to me except for when I yell back at him. What would you recommend that I do, because I kinda feel like things will never get better between me and him?

    • Jason Garrick Shirtz says:

      …. have you considered the idea that maybe there is a bad dynamic in your relationship, and that rather than “loving him more” to get the respect you deserve, and letting his hurtful choices determine the tone of your relationship with him,

      That perhaps you could “honor him” by insisting that the two of you both use effective, and respectful communication methods to work out your issues?

      On his end, you could insist on proper emotional boundaries consistent with your being a teenager. Make sure it’s clear you are willing to respect his authority, and the house rules, but given the fact you are 15 and are therefore preparing to move out into the world, you need some personal autonomy, decision making and negotiation power etc….

      And that in exchange, you would be happy to listen to his counsel, and not yell as your primary means of expressing disagreement with him. He (and you) should likely be able to recognize that at your age you need some freedom to grow, and that you still need guidance and direction while so doing.

      The other thing here, is as long as you respond to him by yelling, he’s going to see that you are acting like a 5 year old, throwing a tantrum.

      My advice, is if for whatever reason, he won’t see reason and treat you as your actual age, get some help talking to him about the issue. Perhaps talk to your mom, or a trusted friend, or authority figure in your congregation, or a teacher, or the like about how to express your needs to him in a more healthy manner.

      A counselor might also be an appropriate choice. Whatever technique you use, keep in mind that at it’s heart, you are dealing with a communication issue, and that if you want your dad to communicate with you as an adult, you need to do your part and act as one as well.

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