The following is a response we wrote back to an African woman. Her fiancé was beginning to act as though he wanted out of their engagement. He didn’t seem to be as committed to marrying as she was. She asked for our help in what she should do about this problem.
If you aren’t from Africa we’ll have different contact information for you at the end of this article to make it relevant to you. Here’s the advice I wrote that you may be able to glean through to use in some way:
When Fiancé as Committed to Marrying
Please proceed very, very slowly on this one. If you’re already having problems of this magnitude when you’re engaged I can assure you that you will have even more afterward. You both must be TOTALLY committed to marrying and being committed to each other after marriage. You both must be totally committed to do all you can to make it a healthy, loving marriage. If you don’t your marriage will have little chance of surviving.
Just look around you to see all those that are divorcing. And look at those who are married who have very dysfunctional, terrible relationships. Just because you love each other at this point in your relationship, it isn’t a guarantee that you will continue to love each other after you marry and you encounter problems that life throws at you. It may not seem possible that this could be true. But how many people do you know who marry walk down the aisle thinking they will eventually destroy the love they have for each other? Almost none! And yet it happens all the time.
For a good marriage to happen you have to put in a lot of hard work. There must be a lot of compromising, asking God for abundant wisdom, and sheer determination to push through against all the odds. Very few people tell you that a good marriage doesn’t just happen. It takes hard work! Read the following quote from a WONDERFUL book that I highly recommend for you to read.
The author wrote:
“Marriage can be wonderful. It can be deeply satisfying and mutually fulfilling. But if it becomes that, it is because both partners have paid a very high price over many years to make it that way. They will have died to selfishness a thousand times. They will have had countless difficult conversations. Plus, they will have endured sleepless nights and strained days. They will have prayed hundreds of prayers for wisdom and patience and courage and understanding. They will have said “I’m sorry” too many times to remember. And they will have been stretched to the breaking point often enough to have learned that, unless Christ is at the center of both their lives, the odds for achieving marital satisfaction are very, very low.” (From the book, Fit to be Tied, written by Bill and Lynne Hybels)
That statement is more true than I can emphasize. For some reason the man you are engaged to isn’t totally committed to getting married like you are. This is a real red flag signaling eventual trouble if you don’t BOTH work on figuring out why this is. Then BOTH work on a solution for putting this behind you as you pursue a TOTAL commitment on both of your parts. It’s important to work through whatever separates both of you from committing to your relationship 100%.
Resource to Use
You may also want to contact the ministry for Focus on the Family, which has a web site for South Africa. They may be able to advise you better than we can and also let you know of some other material that you can get ah old of which may be able to help you through this crisis. They’re great folks there and they do counsel those who ask for it. You may want to give them a try.
I pray this helps. I wish I could give you more advice than this but Steve and I aren’t counselors —we’re marriage educators. We have a lot of things on our web site in the “Pre-married” section that you can read up on that might help you but other than that and contacting either Focus on the Family or a counselor, I don’t know what else to tell you. Keep pursuing an answer though. Don’t pursue marrying this man if you have to talk him into marrying you. I can almost guarantee you that you’ll eventually be sorry.
If you aren’t from Africa you may want to go to the main web site for Focus on the Family to find out where you can get pre-marital counseling that will help you to work out problems such as this. They’re good about recommending counselors who are outstanding in their field. You can contact them at Focusonthefamily.com.
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