10 years in prison is the best preparation for marriage.
You are forced to live in a small space with difficult people for many years. If you have problems you are forced to deal with them because you can not run away. Trying to escape will only make your problems worse.
In 2003 I was in prison working with another prisoner. His name was Ricky and he was telling me what it was like to be married. This was interesting to me because I went to prison at the age of 16 and I was a bit socially undeveloped, having grown up in prison. I spent almost a decade without any interaction with the opposite sex so naturally I found the topic of sex and marriage very interesting.
As Ricky was telling stories about his past marriages and relationships I blurted out "Well that means marriage is like having a really good cell mate."
"Well yeah," Ricky responded, "that's one way of puttin' it."
Over the many years in prison I had a fair share of cell mates that differed in age, ethnicity, education, crime, gang affiliation, etc. Sometimes the cell mates stayed for a few days and others stayed for a few years. All were different and each presented new challenges to living together in a small room. Regardless of the prison or prisoner I believe the number one reason why I was able to get a long with so many people for so many years was prayer. Every morning I would wake up, study the Bible, and pray that God would give me the grace and wisdom to help me through each day. And God did just that.
After my release from prison in 2005 I made a list of things that I wanted in a wife if I ever got married. One of the top three non-negotiable qualities: She must like to pray. I knew that if I found a woman that prayed often we would do well in marriage and survive any challenge.
This month we celebrated our two year anniversary. I married my beautiful wife DJ in May 2013 and now two years later I look back and credit the time in prison as the best training for a happy marriage. Of course people might say that the first two years are the honeymoon years and easy to pass by without much incident or argument but I disagree entirely. Everyday my wife and I pray together and ask God to bless our marriage. We make God first in our marriage. If you return in two or ten years from now and check on our marriage I am certain that not only will we be happily married, but our happiness will have grown as we keep God first.
And if you see Ricky, tell him that I said that being married to a praying woman is much better than even the best cell mate. A lot better!