Before You Marry (Part 4)

ringMarriage can be wonderful.  It is a gift of God.

Yet, it is very important to think through your reasons for wanting to get married.  I have been thinking lately about what I have learned through many, many conversations with couples regarding marriage.  I have been privileged to be a part of many conversations that were encouraging and thoughtful.  Yet, on occasion, a few of these conversations have been troublesome.  From these conversations I have also learned much.

(You might enjoy reading some of the previous posts on this same topic.  Just type in "Before You Marry" in the search bar in the upper right corner of this page.)

Today, let me challenge you to think about why you might be interested in marriage.

Quite frankly, some people are in love with the idea of marriage. 

  • You have seen the romantic movies where guy/girl "fall in love" with one another and marry.
  • You have been a groomsman or bridesmaid in your friends’ weddings.  Each wedding reminds you that you really want to be married.
  • You like the idea of being a permanent couple.  You already enjoy what your friends say about your stunningly attractive girlfriend or your boyfriend who is better looking than anyone else you have ever dated.
  • You like the idea of setting up house, being a family, having children, being with other couples.
  • You love the idea of a crackling fire in the evenings, sex, romance, etc.
  • You dream about your wedding.  For years, you’ve thought about every song, every participant, etc.
  • You may be tired of being single and living alone, and you just want to be married and move on with your life.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with anything I have just listed.  However, it is possible to be in love with the idea of being married instead of really being ready to marry a particular woman or man.

Let me encourage you to think about this.  Do you really want to marry this particular woman?  Do you really want to marry this particular man?  Are you preparing yourself for a wedding or are you preparing yourself for marriage to this particular man or woman? 

Are you really impressed with her or with him?  Or, are you more impressed that you are about to be married and you love the idea of being married?

Now let me suggest to you that what often complicates this are three factors:

1.  Your own rationalization.   

  • "He will be different after we get married."  (However, there are no signs of this yet!)
  • "She will always be honest with me after we are married."  (However, she often isn’t honest with you now.)
  • "He really has a good heart."  (Yet, he continues to behave in ways that are totally opposed by Jesus.)
  • "She is kind of moody now, but that will change when we are married and she is not under all of this stress."  (Perhaps, but this may be wishful thinking.)

 

2.  Your parents.  Your mother or dad talks on and on about your guy’s great job, your girlfriend’s attractiveness, or the money that her parents have.  Maybe your parents talk about your wonderful future since he will be making so much money.  Maybe you hear your mom or dad saying this to their friends.  It also seems as if your parents are in love with the idea of you being married.

3.  His/her parents.  Perhaps you begin to spend time with the people who could be your future in-laws.  Maybe they really like you.  The idea of having them for in-laws is very appealing to you.  Perhaps they tell you that you are exactly what their daughter needs.  Maybe she will settle down, grow up, be responsible, etc. now that she has met you.  You can sense they have been concerned about their daughter for quite some time.  They may feel a sense of relief.  Yet, you are the one who will be living with this person after marriage.     

Does this make sense?  I am simply writing what I have observed on a number of different occasions.  I would love to hear your response to this.

Bottom line: Marriage is a wonderful gift of God.  Make sure, however, that you really want to marry THIS particular woman or man.  No one should marry because they love the idea of being married. 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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3 thoughts on “Before You Marry (Part 4)

  1. It’s been a real concern of mine that in recent years many, many people do not even wish to get married. Their parents’ marriage was not a good model and it failed. They wish to have the benefits of marriage, especially the physical, are filled with all the romantic notions about being a couple, but do not want all the responsibilities that go with it. Among the 30+ staff I alone supervised, there were almost 10 who had and were having children, but were never married and emphatically stated that they chose not to get married. Some others had been married, then divorced and were now entering affairs but refused to marry the second partner.  You have excellent observations!  Hopefully there are young people who will listen to advice, make wise decisions and a life-time commitment that honors God – my grandkids included. Certainly is so important to keep them in prayer!

  2. A young woman I’ve been mentoring (well, OK – maybe mentoring is too big a word for what we do: hanging around together, talking about life/God/school/friendships, and praying through and after our conversations) got engaged yesterday. She hears her fellow Christian College senior girlfriends equating "wedding" with "marriage", and she has gotten militant in recent months about a wedding being a very important day, but not a goal or destination. She and I have been sorting through all the pressures and expectations you describe in this blog post. She wants the life, not the wedding. Her boyfriend (now fiance) put together a scavenger hunt that would celebrate their relationship. I got to be "stop number 2" – I met her and had a chance to hug her, to remind her to enjoy the special day her boyfriend had created, and to pray with her. What an amazing privilege to be a part of their journey.