Groundwork for a happy marriage

Megan and Brian Alexander
Beautiful people Megan and Brian Alexander.

Megan Alexander is a beautiful and successful actress and author, she is also happily married and a mother of two. In the entertainment industry, a notoriously difficult place to maintain a happy relationship, Megan has some sage advice for the young and unattached.

Focus on the goal

Most people are surprised that I decided to remain a virgin until I was married. I am reminded every day in my industry just how unpopular this decision is.

Early in my life, I decided I wanted to approach marriage in the best way I could. As I do with a big photo shoot coming up or a major assignment, I prepare in the best way I can. I try to refrain from bad food, work out often, and take care of myself. I study my subject and focus on the end goal.

It is the same in marriage. If you value it, you will approach it carefully and respectfully. Marriage is hard enough in this world. I wanted to enter into this sacred and priceless covenant the best way that I knew how. That meant working on myself and treating others as I would want to be treated.

A profound moment for me came when I was in high school. I was blessed to have a great group of friends. Through discussions in our group, I realized that every guy friend of mine was someone's future husband. Likewise, each girlfriend was someone's future wife.

That mindset changed my outlook on dating. Instead of simply "having fun" and acting selfishly, I strived to treat others with respect and kindness. This approach allowed me to have a fun dating experience.

I laid out my boundaries clearly and tried to date guys who respected this decision. I had a blast! I did not stay home reading my Bible. I went to dances and kissed quite a few boyfriends. But I stood fast in my decision to save myself for marriage.

Teenagers (and their parents!) ask me all the time, "How did you do it?" A few things helped me achieve my goal.

First, I stayed busy pursuing my career. I served as student body president of my college, worked radio and television jobs, volunteered, traveled the country, cultivated hobbies, and stayed involved in a church. This variety of experiences allowed me to meet wonderful, quality and like-minded people.

I also kept setting goals. I often tell girls that I was too busy chasing my dreams in my teens and 20s to get into trouble with boys! And its true! I set many goals and set to work achieving them ā€“ no matter how big or how small. By the time I began seriously dating my husband, I was ready to understand and respect the profound marriage commitment.

Every guy
friend ... was
someoneā€™s
future
husband.

Second, I found a guy who respected me and my decisions. Brian was not a virgin when we got married, as he found his faith later in life, but he made the decision to seek a "second virginity" with me. He dated me five years and ... he never pressured me to do anything I did not want to do. He respected me, our commitment, and our goal.

After the honeymoon, life is not a fairy tale.

So if we wait until we are married, the honeymoon will be a romantic, blissful fairy tale, right? Not exactly. Our honeymoon was romantic and special and fun, but it was also stressful and awkward. It's a little hard to move from "just say no" to suddenly "everything is OK and go for it." We put way too much pressure on ourselves to have the sexual aspect of our marriage all figured out, or figure it out quickly. This is not the case. This intimate part of your relationship takes time!

Faith in the spotlight

Life is not a fairy tale, but our wedding night was special for us because we had waited. One of the cutest things my husband ever said to me on our honeymoon was, "Well, honey, we have the rest of our lives to work on it!" That is a beautiful phrase to hear from your partner.

We are together for life, and there is no exit strategy. We are figuring this out only with each other. There is a sense of security and confidence that my marriage gives me in all aspects of my life.

God intended sex to be an extremely intimate almost spiritual act that bonds you with someone's heart, soul, mind, and emotions. I want to share that with only my husband.

I cringe at how lightly our world treats sex. God created us to be such complex, brilliant and sensitive human beings. We need to value all that we are and take better care of our bodies and souls. The Bible tells us to "above all, guard your heart." (Proverbs 4:23) Take care of your sexuality and value it highly. For you were "wonderfully and fearfully made." (Psalm 139:14)

Good books on sex and marriage are: Intended for Pleasure by Ed and Gail Wheat, The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller and Love and War: Finding the Marriage You Dreamed Of by John and Stasi Eldredge. I also recently finished The Wait by DeVon Franklin and Meagan Good ā€“ one of my favorites! Very practical and encouraging.

....

My advice for the next generation is this: Be bold; dare to be different. It is never too early to prepare for your future marriage. Value yourselves and treat your bodies like temples. Look for a spouse who will be your best friend and biggest cheerleader.

This is an excerpt from Megan Alexander's book, entitled: "Faith in the Spotlight: Thriving in your career while staying true to your beliefs."

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