What other relationship includes a huge ceremony where two people stand in front of God and a group of friends and family to affirm their commitments? It would be a little weird if we did that when we made a new friend… gather the family around and be led into nice words of commitment to your new friend and end with the minister saying “and now, you may… er… umm… give your friend a high five… now let’s go eat cake and mints.”
When someone gets married, he/she is entering into an incredible season for love, beauty, frustration, discouragement, and deep abiding joy. Marriage is a relationship sanctioned by God, but boy can it be challenging! It requires a clear head and a strong dose of reality as you consider marriage. Before you dive into getting married, take a break from your Pinterest boards and start asking yourself these questions:
- Am I willing to be dissected and have all my issues exposed? Sorry for the gross mental picture, but when you are totally intimate with someone it is inevitable for issues to come to the surface! All your gross eating habits, knuckle popping, and moodiness to be magnified in the other person’s eyes. He will tell you things you may not want to hear. Are you willing to allow yourself to be vulnerable like that AND be willing to admit it and change for the better? Don’t get married if you’re not ready for that.
- Is this relationship based off the physical or is it based off intangibles such as love, sacrifice, believing the best, her laughter, sense of humor, or whatever it is that intrigues you about her? Relationships based off sex or physical attraction won’t last. Sooner or later someone better looking, with more money, and more intrigue will come along for the both of you. But a relationship that involves genuinely enjoying one another and believing the best in the other will stand the test of time. If the majority of your time together as a couple is focused on the physical, you might not be ready for marriage.
- What do my family and those whom I respect think about this person? Generally speaking, your family knows you. Your good friends know you. They can tell when a relationship might not be the best. They may see things in the one you obsess about that you may not see. Maybe he’s using you. Maybe she’s irresponsible. Maybe you want the relationship to work so badly that you’re overlooking some red flags. Listen to those you love and trust. If there is a fairly consistent caution from them, you need to slow down and splash some cold water in your face and ask some hard questions.
- Can I tolerate his family? Like it or not, when a couple gets married, it’s not just 2 people joining their lives, but you’re bringing along a whole busload of quirky people in your family to join his goofy family. What about Thanksgiving? What about birthdays? Can you be around them and be ok? It doesn’t mean that his family must be perfect, but can you at least be able to conduct yourself in a positive manner and be civil around his family? If not, you may not be ready for marriage to that person.
- Are we moving in the same direction as a couple? When 2 people are moving in the same direction in regards to their future, their faith, and their family it just makes things better. It’s more natural. The relationship extends its focus from physical attraction to attraction to her heart, her dreams, and the hope of having her with you as you both move forward as a couple. If you are a strong Christian, but she is not, are you willing to sacrifice the opportunity for mutual joy and encouragement in Christ? If she is career oriented and he enjoys playing video games and living in his parent’s house there will be trouble. If you’re not moving in the same direction in life, you’re not ready to be married.
- Do I have a support system to help in my marriage? Having a group of people or another couple around you as you start a marriage can be crucial to the longevity and quality of your relationship. They have been through the honeymoon years when it seemed nothing could go wrong. They know what it’s like to “lose interest” in the other, but still push through and find that joy all over again. They can give you wisdom in your relationship that you won’t have. Find that support system.
At Valley View, we want to “Strengthen the Faith of Our Families and Future Generations”. We want to help you get your marriage off to a great start. Beginning October 18, Valley View will be offering a class entitled “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts” that is geared to people who are:
- in a serious relationship and thinking about getting married
- currently engaged and looking toward the wedding
- in your first 2 years of being a married couple
If any of the current situations describe you, you need to make it a priority to attend the “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts” class to give you practical tools for getting your marriage off to the right start. The class is a DVD curriculum based off the book and workbook by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrot. The class will meet during the 9:30 hour and will continue each week through November 22. There is a cost involved as couples will need to purchase workbooks ($10 each) and a registration is required for the class.
My wife Jenny and I will co-lead this class and we’d love for you to be a part of it! See you there.