Let's look at the practical ways we can look within and prepare ourselves for marriage as future wives
Are you engaged? Are you currently seeing someone that may be going somewhere? Or are you simply single and want to grow and mature whilst alone in order to make the transition into marriage quicker and smoother?
Let's take a look at the ways we can prepare as women for becoming wives. Wifehood is a whole other world, because marriage is a whole other world: and just like anything else, it requires preparation. So well done to you for looking up ways to already improve! Your husband will be grateful later!
1. Learn to communicate
You know what they say, communication is no 1 in marriage. In fact, it's true in any relationship: without communication and ability to freely express yourself to the other person, not only will you never truly know each other, but you will never be able to make each other happy, and tension will always be just below the surface.
There is a famous thing men always say to women: 'do you expect me to read minds?' We see it in movies, shows, books, even in our living room! Why is this such a common issue? Because women have a tendency to give signals instead of expressing their desires. We tend to look a certain way, or expect a certain something, and when we don't get it, we are furious, hurt, offended, and wonder if we're even loved by the other person. When actually, they had no idea how you felt. We cannot go into marriage expecting our husbands to know whatever it is we want. So start practicing better communication now, don't wait until you're thrown in the deep end.
Practice: To practice this first tip, I recommend you to look at your current relationships/friendships/family members and pay close attention to how you express yourself to them. Do you tell them what your expectations are or do you merely expect them to magically know? And if they do or don't know, look at why. Whoever knows how to please you, analyse what it is that allows them to do that (is it their history with you, or is because you merely felt more comfortable with them so you shared more?), and if they disappoint you a lot, again, look at why. Don't jump to blaming them, but look in the mirror: how differently do you behave in that relationship compared to a successful one that changes the dynamic?
I recommend that you communicate your wants/desires/expectations to someone this week, especially the moment you notice that tension is building. Do it in love and patience, and with the wisdom of the Lord, work to help them understand what it is that's bothering you, instead of just getting offended that they don't already know this.
2. Learn to say sorry
Despite how healthy or great a relationship is, conflict will still arise. Therefore, as children of God, we need to always be aware and conscious of how we act and what we allow to come into our home. The way we need to remember it is that if Jesus was able to forgive me, I should be able to forgive others: he is our first and ultimate example.
As Zac Poonen puts it, one thing we should always practice in marriage is always apologise, and accept an apology. As wives, we cannot expect perfection in the household, and certainly not from our husband. He is human and he will have faults, no matter how many wonderful things there are about him. And unfortunately, ladies, so will we. We are certainly not perfect either. When we stand together, and become one flesh in marriage, we are accepting the other as our own. We, from that point on, belong to each other. Therefore, just like your hand belongs to your body, your husband belongs to you, and you to your husband: you are one. Therefore, as forgiving as you are when your toe gets stubbed, and you just want it to heal, so must you be of your husband. Forgive, and apologise for your part.
Practice: Asking for forgiveness is not something that takes long to practice in our daily lives. Trust me, you can easily stumble on making a mistake, hurting another person or just downright sinning against your brother or sister. So the next time this happens, no matter how small (even if you arrive late to pick up your friend from the train station), apologise. One thing I always appreciated about the English culture is they will always say 'sorry'. When I moved to Spain and saw that people would bump into me and even step on my foot and hardly ever say sorry, they all felt so rude. However, what I also learnt is that when they did apologise, it somehow meant so much more because I didn't hear it constantly.
Therefore, make sure that when you apologise to someone that you mean it. And make sure they hear it! Don't just quickly say it between the lines. Let them hear it. And of course, receive it and learn to forgive quickly when someone offers it to you. As for the more serious arguments, issues and moments of tension, do not just let them pass away by changing the subject. Apologise! End the issue by saying sorry and wiping the slate clean. For even if the tension goes after you talk about something else, a stain has still set, and unless you acknowledge your mistake, it'll remain there and build over time until your relationship quivers into destruction. Do not carry this into your marriage.
3. Put God first
This may seem like an obvious one and you may think, yeah I'm a Christian, so this one is obvious. Well, look again.
Putting God first means reflecting His behaviour and obeying his commandments through our day-to-day life. So let's look at these from the perspective of us as wives: die to yourself, act in reverence of your husband, practice patience in the toughest moments, love even when he is unlovable, forgive quickly and don't hold onto anything of the past, give him a second chance, sacrifice yourself for him even if he doesn't seem to do the same, speak the truth and lead them only in light therefore don't encourage any gossip or hatred in your home, and most importantly, love, love, love.
Practice: Let's be honest, this isn't easy to do. But it isn't about never making a mistake, I'm not saying we need to be the perfect wives that never stumble and only hold ourselves to the highest standard and pressure. That'll only take over your marriage and you will end up valuing your image more than your relationship with your husband. Be real, be yourself. But do it always striving for better, don't just do what the world does and accept who you are thinking you never need to change. We still live for Jesus and our aim is to always strive to die to ourselves, not to grow in the flesh but mature in the Spirit.
I encourage you to pray for self-awareneness in your day to day. Start behaving the way you know Jesus wants you to be. Go slow and steady, but go regardless. And don't give up. If it gets hard or you lose it for a minute, apologise, forgive them, forgive yourself, and try again. But of course, do it all in Jesus. Remember your priority is your relationship with God, so whatever situation you're in, make time for Jesus.
Of course, there are still many more things and habits we can build and better in our lives to prepare us for marriage, but these are some key ones I believe lead us into more. I pray that you are inspired for better and that God will reveal to you ways in which you can put them into practice in your daily life, so much so that they will already begin to prepare you for the exciting and life-altering adventure of being a wife.