Through a glass darkly

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12)KJV

Monday, July 23, 2007

22 Reasons Why You Should Not Get Married (Or At Least Delay Doing So), Part 4

I didn't blog on the weekend because I was at a funeral Saturday and then had to prepare for VBS (it starts today). Here's the fourth installment of my series:

16. You have to give up one of your “non-negotiables” to marry your beloved. By this, I refer to those lists we all make of what sort of person or characteristics of them that we would never accept or those we could not do without. These might be called issues of compatibility. I had a dear friend that told me that she would only marry a Christian guy who was committed to full-time Christian ministry (as either a pastor or missionary). Well, she met this guy who wasn’t even a believer and fell in love because he paid her the proper attention that Christian men didn’t. Day by day, the compromises on her part, naturally became more frequent until finally she abandoned her own faith completely. Although she did not end-up marrying him (he had become physically abusive and she finally decided she could do better), it was a very difficult and painful lesson. Another friend started dating a guy who, although he was a Christian, was less than enthusiastic about following Christ; he was also a smoker (she really disliked smoking) and was not a fan of having children. After a short courtship and against the advice of friends and family, the couple married. Are you surprised to hear that he didn’t quit smoking, was a lousy father and that they eventually divorced? Don’t settle for someone less just because you’re getting older and you’re afraid no one “better” will come along.

17. You haven’t been dating very long and don’t know your spouse-to-be very well. Speaking of short courtship, I’ve heard of people meeting, falling in love “at first sight” and then getting married right away. (This premise, by the way, is the story-line for the old WWII-era movie, “Orchestra Wives”, and it led to some painful moments for the “spontaneous newlyweds” in the drama.) I have not heard what percentage of these quickie relationships ends in divorce, but I suppose that if you start off with a steadfast commitment to stay married no matter what, the success rate might be higher. Still, marrying someone you know little or nothing about seems to me a highly risky endeavor. How would you know what their values, hopes and dreams are? What are their views on the “big ones mentioned in part one? I once heard that friendships take over 100 hours of quality time to develop and that the best friendships need more than 1000 hours. Assuming one spent 4 hours a day in deep conversation (sitting quietly next to someone in a crowded theater or ballpark doesn’t count towards this time), it would take 25 days to become friends and 250 days of this interaction to become best friends, the sort of level of relationship one would need in order to marry. (I am a big believer in that you and your spouse should be best friends!). 250 days is almost nine months of daily interaction prior to getting married. Even more challenging is when you have never dated before. Getting a variety of casual dating experiences can help you figure out what you need in a relationship and how to determine if someone is compatible with you or not – not that going out with bozos in order to be able to compare against the “keepers” is what you want either. My advice is this: learn to develop healthy friendships with members of the opposite sex; from that group, you will eventually find a mate.

18. You are trying to make someone else jealous, get their attention or get revenge on a person for rejecting you. You have got to be kidding! That sounds like something from an early 19th century romance novel (see Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte’ or Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen). If you’ve heard of either of these two stories, you know that things do not end well for those who marry this way. Oh, grow up and get a life! The person you really wanted didn’t want you so don’t ruin someone else’s life in a futile attempt to get yours.

19. You or your beloved can’t cut the apron strings or give up being Daddy’s girl. If either partner has a problem with the whole “leave and cleave” thing that God says in Genesis 2 needs to happen, get out now! I have known couples where this situation was so severe, that the marriage broke up very quickly. A guy who takes his mother’s side against wife should not be surprised if she leaves him and takes the kids along with her. One fellow’s mother absolutely despised her future daughter-in-law and constantly encouraged her son to break up with the girl. Rather than respectfully telling his mom to knock it off, the young man would then tell his girlfriend what his mother had said about her. When the girl complained about his passive reaction to his mother’s vitriol, he merely shrugged. They married anyway, but things between the two women only got worse while the son felt torn between them. Sadly, they ended up divorcing soon after the wedding. Daddy’s girls can be just as bad potential spouses when they seek the father’s love, attention, respect and help more than their husband’s – no man wants to compete for that against his father-in-law.

20. You don’t have the money to get married. Just as I said that you should not get married to get money, don’t get married if you don’t have the money to pay for a wedding or set up a household. When I say paying for a wedding, what I mean is couples who choose to incur thousands of dollars of personal debt to host the wedding ceremony of a lifetime. Anybody who thinks this way is a dope and is not worthy of getting married. Equally dopey are couples who have no clue how they will support themselves afterward. It is also not a good idea to get married if one partner has lost or about to lose their job if you were counting on that person’s income to make ends meet. A relative of mine married a man who quit/got fired just before the wedding. “No problem, “he claimed, “I’ll just find a new one.” In the meantime his bride was forced to support them while he looked. In the two years time they were married, he didn’t work much at all but continued to spend as if he did. Due to this and his other irresponsible behaviors, she threatened to leave him if he did not change. He told her he had no intention of doing anything differently, so she left. One doesn’t need to be rich in order to get married, but one must have a reasonable plan of earning a wage that is appropriate for one’s standard of living. For years, I have heard people say, “We don’t need money, we’ll just live on love.” (A Christianized-version is “Don’t worry, God will provide.”) Well, love does not pay bills nor do creditors accept it as a form of payment. As for the “God will provide” mentality, the Bible says that the man who does not provide for his family, “has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

Tomorrow should be the final installment of my series....

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