How can you Know if You’re Ready for Marriage?

For our 500th episode of Java with Juli in January, I interviewed my friend Scott Kedersha. Scott has been a marriage pastor for almost two decades. During that time, he has counseled hundreds of couples preparing for marriage.

As an author with two books on premarriage and someone with a front row seat to marriage and premarriage counseling, Scott is the perfect person to talk about the primary questions and topics couples should cover when deciding if they’re ready for marriage. Scott and I talked about sex, sin, faith, and family:


When are you ready to even consider marriage?

I think part of the problem we’re seeing now is that more and more men and women don’t think they’re ever ready for marriage. And so that’s why they keep pushing marriage off.

Part of it is we’re never ready. You can never fully prepare for marriage because marriage really is one sinner married to another sinner in a broken world. If you’re waiting for your sin to go away, for you to stop struggling, for you to have your finances in a good enough place, then you’re never going to get there.

To prepare couples, we help them understand what commitment is. The commitment that we’re signing on for when we say I do is to love each other sacrificially and selflessly in the same way that God has sacrificially and selflessly loved us. So that’s one of the things I’m looking for: do you have a right understanding of what you’re committing to in marriage?


Are there benchmarks of stability and maturity?

We’re not looking for sinless perfection, but we want to know that there’s a level of self-control that is going to prepare them really well for marriage.

Are you exhibiting self-control when it comes to, not just sex and porn, but really all areas of your life? Are you yielded to Christ?

Is the fruit of the Spirit coming out of you? If you claim to be a follower of Jesus, is there love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faith, and self-control? Are these things being exhibited in your life? For example, self-control matters when it comes to how we live out our sexuality, our relationship with food, and how we respond under anger and stress. If you want to do well in marriage, you’re going to live those fruits of the Spirit out, and you want to be married to somebody who’s going to live those out as well.

I also want to know what other people around them think. One of those red flags is when there are a lot of people raising their hand and saying, we’re opposed to this wedding. Why is that the case?


How important do you think attraction is?

Attraction is important if we’re going to be physically intimate with somebody. We want to be attracted to them. The thing is, marriage is a long-term deal, so we’re all going to become less attractive over the years. You don’t want to get married just for attraction because that’s going to go away. I think the definition of traditional attraction changes. You may not be attracted in the ways the world would tell you to be attracted, or that you would have thought you would be when you were less mature. My wife was definitely not initially attracted to me. But I won her over because I treated her so well, and really my love for Jesus became so attractive that what I look like became secondary. And so, she’s attracted to me, but not in the traditional way that she would have thought.


Should a couple venture into the sexuality conversation, maybe even pre-engagement?

I think that’s such an important conversation. I have a dark past sexually, so before I proposed to my wife, I wanted her to have the opportunity to ask questions. I was careful about details as I don’t think that’s helpful, but I wanted her to know so there wouldn’t be any surprises. And she did the same. That’s the way we approached it, before we made the commitment, before a ring was on her finger.

For ongoing struggles, this is not just a one and done conversation. It’s an ongoing, in some ways constant conversation.

That doesn’t mean daily, but it’s a very live and present conversation for a healthy marriage that we continually talk about where we struggle and where we’ve fallen short. And what I love about these conversations, as hard as they are, is that we get to continually show what it’s like to forgive each other and what it looks like to confess to one another.

I don’t think silence on this helps. I think we need to fight hard and work hard to find somebody who is going to be able to help us navigate the waters of hard conversations.


Listen to the full episode here.

Blog: For a Better Marriage, Try This

Blog: How to Bridge the Gap in Mismatched Libidos in Marriage

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Publish Date: February 14, 2024