I had a friend once tell me, "You're not ready for marriage." Her critique left me wondering, though, how in the world does one ever become ready for marriage? There is no graduate degree in loving someone who constantly forgets to clean the sink after shaving. There is no crash course in biting one's tongue when you know the exact words that would decimate your spouse. And there certainly is no true way to ready yourself for a lifetime of being an imperfect person who loves another imperfect person.
Now, I'm not saying don't get premarital counseling, and don't read all of the "How To" books. Certainly there is wisdom in preparation; however, a sense of readiness in light of the realities of marriage can often bring about false security. Saying you are ready for marriage is like saying, "Yes, I am absolutely ready to bungee jump off of this cliff." You may have gotten all dressed up to bungee jump, you've got all the supplies, watched the videos, did the training class, got additional life insurance, but when it's go time your preparation is dwarfed in light of the monumental task set before you.
Yesterday a single mother told me the story of when her son-in-law asked for her daughter's hand in marriage. As the young man mustered up his courage and explained his intentions to this protective but gracious mama, the mother responded to his request with another question, "Do you know what you are asking?" she said. Puzzled, the young man's mind started to race, thinking of all the possible answers to her question, but the mother held his hand firmly and looked into his eyes, "You're not asking for my daughter's hand in marriage, you're asking to sign up for a lifetime of servitude."