Are you rushing into marriage? As an adviser to people wishing to be married, I am far more cautious during premarital counseling now than when I first began. I have witnessed an alarming number of broken marriages. And many of them failed in the early years. Consequently, a significant number of couples who go through our church’s marriage preparation part company rather than get married.
Our view is that we would rather see a split prior to marriage —and just as quickly into divorce. Essentially, we encourage couples to think through the same questions dealt with in this chapter. When they put serious thought into these matters, some of them cannot in good conscience commit to marriage.
The Hurry Up Offense
One of the first danger signals as a couple approaches marriage is the “hurry-up offense.” If two individuals have only known each other for a few months, more than likely their attraction is based on sheer emotion that may fade as quickly as it appeared.
There are exceptions, of course. But in most cases they aren’t ready to pledge themselves to each other for life. If their love for each other is genuine, they will be willing to wait and be sure. We ask couples to allow seven months of lead time in order to adequately complete the premarital process. Resistance to such advice is usually a danger sign.
Sadly, one of the reasons couples rush to get their marriage license is an unwillingness to establish and maintain sexual purity in the dating relationship. One of the tragic aspects of contemporary life is the number of young people who have become sexually sophisticated while remaining emotionally immature. Slowing down the process will often uncover these and other problem areas. They must be dealt with if the marriage is going to have any chance of success.
ARE MY EXPECTATIONS REALISTIC?
“I know that once we are married, we’ll be able to take care of that.”
This statement, heard again and again is usually fueled by wishful thinking rather than honest evaluation. If a young woman has never been able to balance her checkbook there is a problem. If she has run up significant credit card debt, there is also a problem. How realistic is it to expect that she can establish and maintain a frugal budget during marriage?
If the young man’s temper has frequently gotten him into trouble with teammates and authority figures, how can he assume that a marriage license will cure that? Or if the couples’ dates have been almost all physical activity and little if any conversation, do they really think a wedding will “fix everything?”
It should come as no surprise that most people are on their best behavior during the dating phase. To be more honest, they aren’t really themselves. They go out of their way to smile and accommodate. They do not want to risk offending the other person prematurely.
Potential life partners also need to see each other in various situations.
Here are just a few:
• Late for an appointment because of congested traffic
• Visiting a hospitalized loved one
• Playing with the kids on the street
• Being around his or her parents
• Being around his or her “regular” friends
• Participating in a competitive sport
• Handling various stressful situations
Having Realistic Expectations
It’s not as if these things aren’t going to come up during a marriage. The sooner one’s prospective spouse sees how the other performs under such conditions, the better he or she can estimate the potential success of marriage. It’s also good to have a few arguments prior to the wedding. Otherwise, when they come up during marriage (and they will!) you will not be prepared to see the other person in this different light.
The more two people attempt to be real with each other, the more realistic their expectations will be as they enter marriage.
This article comes from the book, Lasting Love: How to Avoid Marital Failure. It is written by Alistair Begg, published by Moody Press. In this book Pastor Begg teaches “the art of a lasting relationship. He calls each partner to bury self-interests and diligently tend the fire of his own her own home hearth.” As Alistair says about this book, “This is an attempt at preventative medicine. It is written primarily for those who are contemplating marriage from the vantage point of singleness. It’s for those who are in the early stages of married, life, or are in the early stages of married life. In a sense, this book is unashamedly, ‘Marriage for Dummies.’ It is a refresher course on basics, and hopefully you will find it to be more.
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9 responses to “Am I Rushing Into Marriage?”
(KENYA) Does it matter if our spiritual committment is different? Is this a red flag? My spouse is saved but they are not on the same level as I am in terms of the boundaries I hold, and involvement in church service.
(UNITED STATES) He wants me there to work on the farm. I think he married me to have my two boys be farm workers. I am separated from him and he wants me back and I have been with my love for almost 2 years. My husband has an anger problem, always has, even in the beginning of the marriage.
We do not have a sexual marriage. We work. We eat. We watch TV, mostly weather. Do you think our marriage can survive or will it eventually fall apart? I am scared. We just had no our time only work time. We are not compatible. He was good to me financially, but not emotionally. Can this marriage be saved? What is your opinion, whom ever is reading my comment.
(USA) Oh my Lord, please don’t even be near him. He wants your kids to play slave. He has anger issues, and from how you describe your relationship there is none. Please tell me you’re going to find a better man for you and your kids. If not, sadly, then the best you could even try is counseling, if he agrees to it.
(U.S.A) My fiance has an ex that has been there through it all. At first in their relationship he wanted to marry her and have kids. But then she did something to turn it into just a fling. He says he’s over her but there are things I notice that she does that upsets me, it took him two months before cutting her off.
Am I wrong for making him do that? He always says it’s my insecurity and jealousy but I know God has healed my heart. I just felt very uncomfortable around her knowing she was more in his life than just best friends.
Dear Mona, I think your instincts are kicking in on this one and you need to pay attention to them. I can’t tell you what to do, but I caution you. The fact that instead of caring for you above all, he is turning all of this back onto you and accusing you of being insecure and jealous… that’s scary. It gives you a bird’s eye view into what you can expect in the future on such matters. And even if you were insecure and jealous, he should care enough about your feelings that he makes sure you don’t have anything to be concerned about. If he cares more for you than for her, why did he take so long before “cutting her off” when he knew it upset you? Oh yes… you are to fault for feeling that way. Warning! Warning! Warning!
We’ve heard this scenario too many times by those who show themselves not to be very good marriage partners. They want to do what they want to do and if anyone challenges them, then they’re quick to point fingers elsewhere. And if you have a problem with it, that that’s your problem, not theirs. Please proceed cautiously. IF you marry, take a long, long time in making sure you work boundary issues out and fine tune your communication skills together. Make sure you are marrying a man with integrity and good character who puts you first in matters that concern you. Some people are fun to be with, but that doesn’t mean they make good marriage partners, at least not until and unless they discard their selfism.
(UK) If there are any single believers reading this, PLEASE do not rush into marriage. Please do not even consider getting married to an unbeliever, do not be unequally yoked. The fruit of such disobedience to our Father is bitter. Do not settle for a counterfeit love, but wait for the best that Father God has for you. May God bless and keep you from demonic ensnarement. I would strongly advise a book by Derek Prince: ‘God is the Matchmaker, let Him choose’.
(UNITED STATES) Well, I’m not sure if my fiancé and I are rushing marriage. We’re young; I’m 21 and he’s 24. We just had our baby girl who is now 4 months old. Just weeks ago my fiancé told me that he wasn’t emotionally attached to myself or our baby girl. He says it’s because he feels as if everyone lets him down or leaves in some type of way so he doesn’t attach himself to anyone except his immediate family members. And that his past loves have hurt him really bad. After talking about all of that he tells me that he’s not ready to get married because he doesn’t want it to end in divorce to where he’s more worried about me taking half of what he owns.
That is very ridiculous. We’ve been together for almost 3 years now and engaged for almost a year. I’ve yet to show him any sign of greed or wanting to divorce him once we’re married. I even hold his credit card for him. He cares a lot about material things and money, but I’d rather not work myself to death for money or materialistic items. So just a couple of days ago he bought a wedding ring for me and told me to start planning the wedding. I’m not sure if I should go through with it because I’m ready, but he wants to wait another 2 or 3 years.
I just figure why wait? We just got a house 6 months ago and just had our baby girl, so what’s the point of waiting? I love him a lot and want to spend the rest of my life with him and he wants the same. And I don’t want to wait because if I do then he’ll keep pushing the whole wedding thing further back. And I feel as if we are sinning and I want to fix it so bad. I haven’t been to church in a whole year, but just pray and pray. I feel since we’re sinning, we shouldn’t go to church until we marry. I’m a bit confused on the whole emotional thing with our baby and myself, although he has explained it to me several times. Should I wait until he’s ready so our marriage won’t end in divorce? It’s a lot to think about and with reading the above article, we have met all of those situations plenty of times.
I know he’s scared. I have talked to him about everything in this comment and I feel like he doesn’t have faith in our relationship. I’m not sure if it’s me he doesn’t have faith in or himself. But now I’m confused on what to do. Any comments would be grateful.
Hi Jillian, I’m not married, but I wanted to give my thoughts to you based on what I’ve seen and lived. Marriage is not a magical potion that fixes everything wrong in a relationship. The fact is, besides making a promise in front of God for the rest of your life, essentially you are committing to exactly the same person you’ve come to know, no less and no more.
He’s afraid of being hurt, as all of us. We all make decisions that have an inherent risk, and we might be in for success or failure. However, you probably won’t make a gamble if you think your chances of losing are big. While marriage is not a gamble, what do you think is the reason that makes him believe things aren’t going to work out? Finding out those reasons will give you more insight about whether or not you should get married and not if you should wait until he is ready.
As a bottom line, you both should be convinced that you cannot break something God united, so divorce should not be an option. Being in a long term relationship isn’t easy, but if the two are willing, take praying and talking together as an essential part of your life, then you have everything you need to face any storm during your marriage.
Jillian, Please get married by a minister and seek premarital counseling prior to walking down the aisle. He wants to marry you. His fears will be eased through the counseling process. I promise you it will be very comforting to the both of you. Most ministers require this type of counseling prior to marrying couples. I also recommend you both attend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. It will strengthen your financial bond and give you great tools as a couple for your future. Go to Dave Ramsey’s website for more information. I promise it is worth it. Good luck to you, may your dreams come true.