Three Things EVERY Single Guy Needs To Get BEFORE He Gets Married

Oct 11, 2012

Hey fellas, my name is Lee McDerment and I’m the Worship Director here at NewSpring Church.  I’ve served at NewSpring almost from the very beginning, having come on staff right after I graduated college in 2000.  I was 22 years old when I began my career in ministry.  That was more than 12 years ago.

I just got married last September.  That’s right… I was single for the first 11 years of my ministry career.  I married my wonderful wife, Ali, just a few months after I turned 34.  I don’t know how it is where you live, but around here, that’s OLD for getting married.

Honestly, I didn’t do “single” very well.  I am naturally undisciplined, lazy and insecure… I avoided conflict and responsibility.  This is my natural state.  And that’s what described my interior life for the greater part of the last decade.  It was depressing.  I had seen 3 waves of best friends get married.  By the time I was 30, I had been a Best Man 3 times.  I was lonely, miserable and bitter.

Until one day… in the late winter of 2008, I got fed up.  I was 31.  I went for a drive.  I was going to have it out with God.  I had lots of questions.  But the main one was, “Why haven’t You let me get married yet?”  So I drove up to a mountain, found a picnic table, opened my notebook and scratched that question at the top of the page.

“Why haven’t You let me get married yet?”

And in the quiet of that moment, I sensed the Spirit whisper back to me…

“I love you, kid.  And I love my daughter, who I want you to marry.  I am her good and loving Father.  So, you tell me… will she think I am still a Good Father if I give you to her in your current state?  Will she say Thank You, God?  or will she not say, Why Me, God?”

Boom. Roasted.  That gentle whisper from Jesus was like a slap in the face.  I realized that God had already empowered me to be the man that my future wife was praying for, but I was not exercising any faith whatsoever to become that man.  I wanted God to do it all for me.

Me: “Ok. What do I need to do?”

The next 2 hours at that picnic table changed my life.  I remembered that Proverbs says to call out for insight… detailed and specific wisdom for life.  I knew that the Spirit would give me the practical next steps in every area of my life, if i would just ask.  And if I truly loved my future wife, and believed that God wanted me to be married, then having faith meant taking those steps with courage and boldness.

These 3 things are what God revealed to me.  I hope it is helpful for you.

Before you GET married, you must:

1. GET in the word.

I am not a morning person.  The snooze button was my friend.  But I realized that my mornings needed to change.  So, after crying out for insight, God gave me the idea to put my alarm clock in my bathroom.  My instruction from Him was to set it for 2 hours before I had to leave the house.  No hard and fast rules about how to read or pray… just an amount of time.  2 hours.  Every morning.  So, after coming down the mountain, I started that process the next day.  I put my clock in my bathroom, 2 hours before i had to leave the house.  It was terrible.  I was a zombie.  But I lived.  I got up, showered, made coffee, and God met with me.  It was full.  It was unhurried.  It was amazing.  It was revolutionary.  It felt like something grown ups did.  The simple discipline of getting up early to meet with God and begin my day changed my life.  I slept better.  I took in more Word every morning.  My prayer life deepened.  God was speaking to me with greater clarity.

If you’re a single man, you must remember that you are called to lead.  And like Perry Noble says, leadership is as simple as listening to Jesus and doing what He says.  Get up. Rise Early. Meet with God. And He will lead you.  Your future wife is depending on you to lead. If you can’t get out of bed to meet with God, you aren’t ready.

2. GET in shape physically.

This one surprised me.  I knew I wasn’t in the best shape in the world, but I was a little surprised when I felt the Spirit prompt me to get in shape quick.  I am tall and naturally skinny, so I didn’t see how getting in the gym would somehow get me a wife any faster.  But, I was wrong.  Getting in the gym for me, wasn’t as much about getting a great looking body as it was about learning how to persevere through pain.  I had gone through gym seasons before, but I would always lose interest after a while.  So, I had a friend who was just starting a personal training business and asked him if I could sign up for 6 months of sessions.  It cost some money, for sure… but I had great peace about making the investment.  I knew that I was undisciplined and needed professional help.  So, the first day I went… it was terrible.  I couldn’t finish the workout.  I almost threw up.  It was insane.  But I was committed.  And I began to realize that showing up to workout every day was a concrete way i could exercise faith that God would provide a wife for me.  I believe, so I’m going to show up.  And I read in 1 Corinthians that my body belongs to my wife… and that just made me workout harder.  Knowing I was responsible to give my body to my wife helped me understand that I wasn’t working out for me.  I don’t love me enough to workout hard.  But I love her, and this would be her body.  And I wanted to give her something awesome.

If you’re a single man, you must remember that you’re called to lead.  Your future wife is depending on you to protect her, to have energy, to be strong, to be a good lover, to live as long as you can with her.  If you can’t persevere through the simple pain of a workout, you aren’t ready.

3. GET out of debt.

I knew this one was coming.  I had some credit card debt at the time; I had a car payment.  I knew I needed to get out of debt.  I was living month to month.  I didn’t have much in savings.  I wasn’t doing a monthly budget plan.  So, I went to Joe Sangl’s website and read everything.  I downloaded the monthly budget plan and got to work.  I paid off everything.  I started saving.  I began listening to Dave Ramsey’s podcast.  I actually sat down with Joe and got his advice.  And it worked.  It was tough.  I’m bad at math, so I got a few things wrong in the early going.  I had to tell myself “NO” so many times that I felt like a parent and a 2 year old at the same time.  However, by the time Ali and I were ready to get engaged, I was debt free except for my house, able to pay cash for a ring and a honeymoon as well as being able to have a great emergency fund for our start as a married couple.

If you’re a single man, you must remember that you’re called to lead.   Debt = chains.  Are you leading your future wife into slavery, or freedom?  Your future wife is counting on you to provide, to manage your household finances well.  If you can’t say “NO,” who will?  If she has to do it, she may start to feel like she is your mom and she’ll resent you for it.  You have the power to say “NO” in a way that is full of vision.  NO doesn’t have to mean NO ultimately.  NO simply means YES to something way better in the future.  What woman wouldn’t want a man who will lead like that?

So, in conclusion, single guy… YOU CAN DO THIS.  But, listen, don’t bother dating anyone if you don’t have a life worth following.  I’m not saying you’re wrong if you’re dating or even married without having it all together.  God is gracious and generous to us in whatever state of life we’re in.  Start where you are.  But if you aren’t dating anyone, put your looking on pause for a season until you get your stuff together.

Doing these three GETs will give you discipline and humble confidence.  Trust me, if you believe God has a great woman for you, you will need every ounce of confidence you can find to woo and win a woman like that.  Learn to lead yourself before you try to lead anyone else.  YOU CAN DO THIS.

(Singles, a couple years ago, I preached The Message Every Single Needs to Hear.  You can watch that here.)