She looks at him. He looks at her. They grin. They are in my office sitting on a couch together. I am sitting across from them. They have kind of a starry-eyed look as they gaze at one another.
We have talked one time before. I have agreed to do some premarital work with them. I explained when we first met together that we would need to meet for a minimum of four times and perhaps more. I then ask them, "So why do you want to get married?" The conversation begins.
For a number of years, I have been participating in weddings. I have married people in large church buildings and in small church buildings. I have married people in a university chapel, a classroom, a park, an apartment, a home, and my office. Weddings occur in a variety of places and settings. Yet, one common factor with each of these weddings is that we have shared conversations together about life, marriage, and what it means to be a married person and a Christ-follower.
Perhaps I have learned more than anyone else from these conversations. As a married person, I continue to learn much about marriage from year to year.
I would like to spend some time on this blog reflecting on what one might think about before marriage. Perhaps you are single and are nowhere near marriage. I want to invite you to listen in. I certainly don’t have all the answers. However, I have learned some of the important questions. You may be a parent, an aunt or uncle, or just a friend of a couple. Hopefully, there will be something for you as well.
I am thinking specifically of two Christians who are considering marriage. For a number of reasons, I want to make the assumption that both of these people would at least wear this label. This is often where things get "interesting."
For instance, she may be very serious about following Jesus as a disciple. However, he may only wear "Christian" as kind of a label, sort of like a box that is checked when you are filling out a form of some kind. It may or may not have any practical meaning in his life. (Yes, it could be the guy who is more serious about discipleship.) Consequently, as they anticipate their marriage, there may be the unspoken assumption that life will be a certain way because of this commitment to Jesus. Meanwhile, the other person may anticipate no real implications whatsoever.
Here are just a few issues that I hope to weave into this conversation:
- Why do some people "settle"? Why would a person marry someone who really doesn’t share his/her value system, lifestyle, etc.?
- How does being a Christ-follower impact a marriage? There really are practical implications of taking Jesus seriously.
- Some people become so distracted by the enjoyment of being "liked" and desired that they neglect to grapple with the big issues in a relationship. What are some of those?
- How does a person prepare himself or herself for marriage? Marriage is for "grown-ups." So how does a person get ready?
Hopefully, these next posts will reflect some of these concerns.
What are some conversations that ought to take place between two Christ-followers long before they are engaged?