THIS article is inspired by the following quote from a post called, Please Don’t Marry Him.
“Never marry someone hoping they will change. Marry someone because they have already changed.”
— Gary Thomas
Not wanting to be unfair to many singles I know who all deserve the blessings of marriage (should they want them), I still feel compelled to write an article based on my own experiences of marriage — my failures and foibles at the fore.
1. Do all your changing before marrying: this is about overcoming the majority of high-need issues in your life before you commit to another broken individual.
2. Don’t marry someone who’s in a flux of change: it’s important that if you’re stabilised in single life, having dealt with your own main emotional, relational, and spiritual issues, that you don’t commit to someone who’s not done that work.
3. Do get honest feedback from those you trust: it’s truly what you may not want to hear. The fact that you don’t want to hear the truth indicates there could be a problem. Listen courageously and promise yourself to be open. If trusted wise advisers give you the thumbs up it’s probably a good thing.
4. Don’t listen to those people whose opinions don’t matter: we all have people in our lives whose opinions don’t matter, yet our problem is we tend to listen to nobody or everybody. Self-discipline knows sensible limits. Give no regard to some opinions other than those that align with trusted wise advisers.
5. Do expect the unexpected: marriage is a blessed institution for those who are prepared to work hard at it, for those who will hope for the best whilst planning for the worst.
6. Don’t expect your partner to stay the same after marriage: actually things may get worse. You’re probably over the romance stage of the relationship in getting married, but actually living with someone brings the crudest of truths to bear. Living with another person is hard work, especially with all the layers of emotion and control that can be overlaid. Once you’re married, the deed is done, and the person can become someone you never predicted you’d ever marry.
7. Do talk a lot with the person you’re contemplating marrying: discussion dating is a great way to talk about all sorts of items crucial to marriage. There are so many — hundreds, if not thousands — of considerations and decisions to be made before the proposal is made. How many kids, who’ll put the rubbish out, how to interact with parents (in-laws), etc? All of these are potentially massive issues in and of their own right.
8. Don’t engage in inappropriate physical relationship: engaging in a physical relationship assumes marriage in a crucial part of the relationship. The physical relationship is a runaway train. It takes the relationship into a de facto/marital realm far too quickly. We can’t possibly know all we need to know in the time it takes to jump into bed with one another.
9. Do take your time: time is something we never think we have plenty of, but the truth is we do have plenty of time to make one of the most important decisions of our lives.
If the best of marriages will face significant pressure, the average marriage will sputter and fail. Don’t settle for an average marriage. You and your potential partner deserve more — so do your kids.
Good marriages occur because a good amount of work goes into them a good amount of the time.
Great marriages involve commitment, hard work, quality time, sexual wholeness, and emotional maturity — and God central.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.