Did you receive any good premarital advice to apply before marrying? Did you receive any premarital warnings? Have you paid attention to, and even applied the advice given that is appropriate before marrying? For those of you who aren’t married yet, will you prayerfully consider applying some additional good premarital advice? We sure hope so.
The following is a very important piece of advice that we wish more couples would apply:
“An ‘until-death-do-us-part’ decision should not be made by a person who won’t wait long enough to listen to good counsel and/or heed warnings.” (K. Paige from MarriageWorks.com)
Premarital Advice and Warning
If only we could make that statement into some type of mandatory requirement before people make the vow to “love, honor and cherish” each other “till death do us part.” But sadly it’s not. And it certainly isn’t something that a lot of married couples considered either. Just look at the divorce rate, to prove my point.
Just this week, a wife left a request on this web site asking for prayer. Her husband of 10 months wants a divorce and “isn’t interested” in working on their marriage. He has “started seeing” someone else. How can this be? 10 months? Is that all a sacred vow is worth, is 10 months? This husband definitely is short on being a person of integrity and perseverance!
Another lady wrote this week that she is leaving her marriage after two years because it’s such a mess. Concerning her husband, she confesses:
“He exhibited his Jekyll and Hyde to me before we married. But I wanted to be married desperately and have a family life. He treated me like a baby. He had a sweet side. But all of a sudden he would have outbursts of anger, blaming, judging, controlling tantrums directed towards me and the world.”
Warning: Don’t Be Desperate to Marry
After marriage, things grew worse. So she is now leaving. How tremendously sad! This is so predictable. If only she would not have been so “desperate” in marrying —she wouldn’t be “leaving” a marriage.
In both of these instances, none of this had to be, IF they had gone into marriage less blinded by “love” and/or by desperation. They needed to be more aware of the character of the person they were marrying. It’s pretty easy to predict that they wouldn’t have married these people if they would have been more aware.
The problem is, too many couples fall don’t realize that falling in love and getting married are two different steps. It’s not too difficult to fall in love with someone —at least infatuation type of love. But that doesn’t mean that you should spend the rest of your lives married to each other. You may have “loved” each other through a certain season of your lives. But this relationship may not be one that would last through all of the seasons of your lives.
It’s like what Steve Farrar said:
“We said that we would be committed for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer. …Anybody can be committed when it’s better. But the test of commitment is when it’s worse —worse than you ever thought it would be.”
Marriage is something you enter into because you’re both equally committed to each other and to the Lord so your union reflects God’s agape love. It’s a sacred union. If either of you lack what it takes to persevere through every problem that comes up in marriage (problems WILL come up —that’s a sure thing), then it’s best NOT to marry.
I know this sounds simple, but it isn’t. Any matters of love ushers in its own complications, as to whether it’s sustainable or not. But as tough as it would be to break off a relationship before marrying, it’s even more difficult to break up a marriage –especially if children are born into it.
So, for those considering marriage now or in the future the following are a few warnings to prayerfully consider. Or perhaps you might consider copy and pasting this article to send to those who are considering marriage.
• Are you sure you want to marry? “Would you marry you? If you need to get your act together, do it before you get engaged. You will be better off. And one day, if you end up getting married, your marriage will reap the benefit of the relational health you bring into it.” (David Gudgel, from the book, “Before You Get Engaged”)
• “Get yourself healthy before you get yourself married. Too often we bring our unexamined selves into our marriage relationship. Also, have a cultivating commitment to have a quality relationship with each other in your marriage.” (Neil Clark Warren)
• “You’ll never know everything about the person you’ve chosen to marry. But the more information you have before entering into this commitment, the less chance you will be confronted with unfulfillable expectations.” (From the book, “Getting Ready for Marriage Workbook” -by Jerry Hardin and Dianne Sloan)
More Premarital Advice:
• “Before you get engaged, I’d strongly suggest you consult with those who know you and your dating relationship best. Usually this means your family and friends. Find an appropriate time to sit down with them. And then share what you’re thinking. Open up your heart and say something like, ‘Katie and I are at a place in our relationship where we are thinking about getting engaged. Since you know us best, I’d like to know what you think. From what you know about us and our relationship, do you think we should get married?’ I think asking your family or friends a question like that is one of the wisest things you can do.” (David Gudgel, from the book, “Before You Get Engaged”)
• “Keep the following two biblical principles in mind. First, you need others’ input. Those who don’t get wise input aren’t as wise as they think they are. As Isaiah said, ‘Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.’ Humble yourself, restrain your pride, and open your heart and ears to what the significant others in your life are saying and thinking.
“Second, you need to carefully weigh others’ input before you act. What you hear may or may not be right for you. Remember these words: ‘A simple man believes anything. But a prudent man gives thought to his steps.’ Before you jump in, hook, line, and sinker, carefully check out the validity of what you’ve been told.” (David Gudgel, from the book “Before You Get Engaged”)
• “Don’t compromise. Funny what loneliness can do. People with whom we have nothing in common —and sometimes hardly like —are suddenly attractive. We can even convince ourselves it’s unreasonable for God to make us wait for physical pleasure. But anytime we push ahead of Him, either by trying to force a dubious relationship or misplacing our moral compass, we’re like the Prodigal. We’re sifting through slop when we could revel in riches down the road. Somewhere in the meantime, God changed my theme verse from ‘How long, oh Lord?’ to ‘See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.’” (Isaiah 43:19) (Carolyn MacInnes, from the Boundless.org article, “In the Meantime: What to Do While Waiting on God”)
• “WOMEN —BEWARE: If a man has glaring character defects, it is likely that he is not teachable. Teachability is the number one character trait you should look for in a potential mate. I am not talking about normal struggles or mistakes, but habit pattern sins or dysfunctions that control their lives and that they are not open and contrite about. If a man is teachable, he will humbly listen to God and to his future wife when making decisions. He will be willing to work at his future marriage.” (Julie Ferwerda, from Crosswalk.com article “9 Lies Women Tell Themselves About Men”)
• “BEWARE OF THE LIE: Coincidences are a sign from God. Satan, the master liar and counterfeiter, is cooking up coincidences to get you off track. So beware! He doesn’t want you to wait for God’s best. He wants to handicap your services for the Kingdom by getting you to settle for a miserable and empty marriage. Ask for godly counsel from objective bystanders. Pray hard, and stay intent upon God’s will and not your own.” (Julie Ferwerda)
• “WOMEN —BEWARE OF THE LIE: When I find a man and get married, I will finally feel happy and complete. If that’s true, why are so many women getting divorced (or wishing they were)? Why do Hollywood stars ditch beauties for someone else? The truth is, you will only feel happy and complete when you let God be your first love. No man —especially one who is not God’s best for you —will even come close. When the excitement wears off (and it will), you will feel more alone than when you were single. By telling ourselves the truth, we have every chance to find the very best man that God wants to give us.” (Julie Ferwerda)
More Premarital Advice and Warnings:
• “MEN —BEWARE OF THE LIE: She’s clingy, but I like to be needed. She’ll settle down once we’re married. Truth: According to studies, men thrive on being needed. But this can backfire because many women out there are desperate to get married for the wrong reasons. A woman with ‘emotional gaps’ will put expectations on you that you’ll never live up to, no matter how much time, love, or words of encouragement you give her. That is because she has mistaken you as the answer to her longings.
“After the wedding, you’ll disappoint her because you can’t do or be enough. She may then turn to other things for comfort —food, other men, alcohol, or shopping, to name a few. Depending on you occasionally for emotional support, or to help with certain things (like changing her oil or mowing her lawn) are great. But when it comes to emotional neediness, it’s a red flag. And it’s not going to get better until she gets help.” (Julie Ferwerda, from Crosswalk.com article “9 Lies Men Tell Themselves About Women”)
• “A person may be perfect on paper. But no one marries paper —at least no one should. That person may be perfect in dreams but life is not lived in dreams. They may have desirable qualities. But nothing is sure until you walk down the aisle and say, ‘I do.’ Until then, do not ignore the various ways in which God offers advice —the many ways in which he hinders.” (Hudson Russell Davis, from Crosswalk.com article “On Being Hindered – Part 1”)
Additionally, Prayerfully Consider:
• “The truth is that our desires shape our lives far more than the truth. I mean that what we want can cloud what we see, what we hear, how we pursue and what we pursue. If we want something bad enough we may be able to convince ourselves that the warnings we hear have some other plausible explanation. It is a very difficult thing to be hungry and to be told that what looks edible —is poison. Being hindered by God may be unpleasant, and it may be painful. But it is the surest sign that we are loved. God may introduce obstacles or obstructions in the path you choose. He may look to hinder a relationship, and to prevent or stymie the relationship. But He does all this in love.
“Ask the divorced, the abandoned, the discontent, or the hopelessly married. They will tell you that there were signs, obstacles and hindrances they ignored. Though loneliness is not inviting, there is worse. If He hinders you, be hindered. If he places obstacles in the path of this or that relationship, HEED them.” (Hudson Russell Davis, from Crosswalk.com article “On Being Hindered – Part 2”)
We have more quotes plus testimonies, recommended resources, and articles posted in the Single Yet Preparing topic and others, that could help you. I hope they do. And I hope with all of my heart that you will heed warnings and red flags that may save you from marrying someone when you shouldn’t.
Most of All, Remember:
“Whether married or single, living for Christ is the goal. Marriage should not be the ultimate goal of the Christian life. …We’re not going to stand before Christ someday as Mrs. or Mr. So and So. We’re going to stand before Him alone. And we’ll be accountable for the kind of person we are here on earth, whether single or married. If you are single, you’re not of lesser value as a person. God’s plan will take each of us down different paths, paths to be celebrated.
“The key is to submit your will to the Lord’s, because living a life that is glorifying to God isn’t about getting what you want. It’s about conforming to what God wants. And that’s where praying —and I mean really praying —about and discerning God’s will for your life regarding marriage becomes critical. If you do feel called to marriage, shouldn’t we see God as big enough to make it happen? It may not be your timetable, but if He put that desire in your heart, is He not worthy of your trust?” (Kara Scwab, from the Boundless.org article “Believing in the Dream of Marriage”)
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.