Kelly and I spend a lot of our time with singles, both young men and young women. It’s awesome. Things change significantly when you get married and both Kelly and I want to intentionally engage with singles regardless of how long we’ve been together.
Over the few years we’ve been married I’ve learned things I didn’t know about Kelly and women in general, and have also noticed that there are a large number of young men who are woefully equipped for marriage on a practical level, despite their earnest desire to find the woman that God has for them and their excellent character. I wanted to take a few minutes and outline seven practical habits that every single man must master if he’s going to operate well in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex – especially in a marriage. None of these are deep spiritual truths. These are practical habits and skills that will each make significant differences in the quality of relationship with your future wife. None of them are difficult but all take determination and practice to build into your life. Trust me, it’s worth it.
- Habit 1: Clean up after yourself. Somehow it’s seen as socially acceptable for single men to have apartments where dishes are piled high next to the sink and food is slowly molding away in the refrigerator. From an objective standpoint, that’s both gross and unhealthy. From a woman’s standpoint, it’s disgusting and a complete turn-off. Get in the habit of cleaning your apartment, your room, your bathroom (especially your bathroom) and your car on a regular basis. Make sure the place smells clean. Dust. Vaccuum. Mop. If you’ve moved out of your parents house and are desiring marriage, you need to be enough of a man to clean up after yourself consistently and not just when you’re having people over.
- Habit 2: Clean yourself up. No woman wants to cuddle with a man who smells like sweat and body odor. Care about the body that God has given you. Keep it clean, wear deodorant, and dress well. Don’t live in sweatpants and t-shirts with superheros or video game characters on them. Have a full beard? Groom it well. Can’t grow a full beard? Stop trying. Clean yourself up and be intentional about your appearance. This isn’t vanity. It’s honoring God with your body by caring for what he’s given you.
- Habit 3: Fix things. Some guys are naturally handy around the house and can fix just about any problem that comes up. I’m not one of those. But even if you’re like me, develop some basic knowledge and skills about how household appliances and systems work so that you can fix minor issues that come up regularly. Figure out how to fix a toilet that keeps running, a leaking pipe under the sink, how to change the oil and replace headlights on a car, how to deal with computer problems, and the like. Your future wife will be hugely blessed and will have a greater respect for you.
- Habit 4: Know when not to fix things. Some stuff is beyond your skill level. Develop the skill of knowing when something needs to be done by a professional.
- Habit 5: Be romantic. Hollywood doesn’t seem to think so, but being romantic is a skill that you can develop. Be consciously developing yourself in this area and you won’t regret it.
- Habit 6: Applaud differences. Your wife is going to be drastically different than you. God generally tends to bring people together who are almost total opposites. When you get married you can choose to value, be thankful for, and rejoice in those differences or you can get frustrated and bitter that the woman God have you isn’t more like you. Practice now by pressing into relationships with people even if your differences frustrate you sometimes.
- Habit 7: Manage your money. The vast majority of young men I talk to don’t think much beyond the current paycheck. That can work when you’re flying solo, but when you get married you need to start operating as a couple when it comes to money. Get in the groove now by developing a budget and being aware of where your money is going. Use a free finance service like Mint or invest in a program like Quicken. Start out with checking your account balances and where your money is going on at least a weekly basis. Read a book on money management. Start saving at least 10% of each paycheck. Money can be a serious source of tension in a relationship. Prevent that by developing the skill of managing it well now.
Young men, press into these habits and skills. Start now so that you have a sound foundation for when God brings a woman into your life.