The following is a brief interview with Byron Weathersbee who co-authored, with his wife Carla, a fine book entitled Before Forever: How do you know that you know? This is a book for seriously dating couples who are asking the tough "how do you know" questions. The book is an outgrowth of their ministry to engaged couples. Byron and Carla co-founded Legacy Family Ministries in 1995 to pass on Biblical principles from one generation to another by providing marriage preparation to pre-engaged and engaged couples.
In your book you describe the time leading up to a marriage engagement as a journey and state that “Knowing whether she or he is the one isn’t easy for a reason. It’s difficult too because the journey God is leading you on is one that will search you to the core.” After reading this book, what do you hope couples will find in themselves and their relationship?
Simply, we hope each individual will be complete, mature, and ready to consider their partner as more important than themselves. There is a passage of Scripture in Romans 5 that says we “can have peace with God.” It continues to describe hardships, difficulty, and suffering as a way of developing character. As we endure it, God has a way of taking us down His narrow but well-worn path. Thus, our hope is that couples will develop their faith in the God that created them.
What should couples ask themselves before the BIG question is asked?
Looking for the proverbial BIG question or even searching for an answer of whether or not you should marry isn’t a one-time event, like having your name called over the intercom when your table is ready at a restaurant. Much more likely than hearing a voice from above, God will lead you on a journey of discovery. This involves asking a multitude of questions. In our book, we attempt to ask the questions behind the “how do you know” question. Thus, mixed throughout the book (and indexed) are over a hundred questions we believe couples should think through. But God has given us great freedom and all sorts of resources to make this decision of whether or not to become engaged:
* Reason to help us cut through the confusing emotions.
* Emotions to help us feel the full range of human experience in the relationship.
* Intuition to warn us when our emotions or other factors may be leading us astray.
* Wise counsel from those with more life experience to give us a healthy, outside perspective.
Girls can plan their weddings from the age of 5, but often fail to plan their marriage. What advice do you give the girl who is in love with the idea of getting married?
Unrealistic expectation is one of the leading causes of marital dissatisfaction. My encouragement to any girl (I have two girls and a son) wanting to be married is to make sure they allow their mind to catch up with their heart. Most girls want to marry a Knight in Shining Armor only to wake up and find they married an Idiot in a Metal Suit. Marriage is tough but so rewarding…it takes work and risk, but the payout is amazing. So focus on the reality and not the illusion. Illusions have a way of tricking our minds.
As for guys, they can feel the pressure to propose from family, friends and that ticking clock, “we’ve dated for two years!” How do you suggest they respond to that pressure and ultimately find peace leading up to the decision?
These pressures—both internal and external—all build up. They push us. They pull us. They distract us. They are like a car riding our rear bumper on the freeway, pushing us to go faster. Sometimes the pressures even drive us to slam on the brakes or stomp on the accelerator (in relationship speak, “bail on the relationship in a panic” or “rush to the altar”). Given all these pressures, then, how much of a man’s “readiness” for marriage is genuine and how much is he being propelled forward by the pressures around him?
Describe the challenges couples face when they look at their relationship through a human perspective and not that of a Godly perspective.
I think one of the challenges all of us face is living from a human perspective. All of us, Christ followers or not, have to deal with “human perspective.” Juggling the tension between our humanity and God’s deity (after all we are created in the image of God) will always be difficult. Thus, anyone who merely attempts to love out of their own humanity will be limited. The Bible says that “love comes from God” (1 John 4:7). We need the power of a Holy God to unleash His Spirit in our lives because I don’t know about you, but for me to muster up the characteristics of a committed love becomes impossible without God.
(If you haven’t already done so, you can still register for the Book Giveaway announced a few days ago. Drawing to be held next week. You can register here.)