Marriage can be based on many different things, hopefully one of the things your marriage is based upon is trust. Trust is vital in all relationships, but it has to be earned and it has to be developed over time. When trust is broken or weakened, then steps must be taken to prepare the damage that has been done. Unfortunately, many people marry without the benefit of trust. For instance, the guy who commits an act of infidelity the night before his wedding in celebration of his last night of freedom. What about the lady that constantly lies about her past relationships, or her relationship with her family of origin.
Some people have emotional trust issues, they are not able to connect with their partner because of past hurts during childhood or in adult relationships. Some people have not witnessed trustworthy people because everyone in their life has let them down in some aspect and proven to be untrustworthy. Possibly, some people have character defects that need to be rectified through mental health and spiritual counseling.
Do you trust your spouse? Can you trust your spouse to keep his or her marital vows. Can you trust your spouse’s word, that they will do what they say they are going to do? Can you trust that they will pay the bills, care for the children, and be financially responsible. What about emotions? Can you trust your spouse or potential spouse to be emotionally available? When someone is emotionally available they are able to respond to your emotional needs in a caring and mature manner, when you are in need.
You should only marry if you are in a trusting relationship. If your mate exhibits the following attributes then you may not be in a trusting relationship:
- Selfish tendencies in most actions
- A pattern of lying outright or misrepresenting the facts
- Being secretive about most things, especially things of the past
- Unresolved trauma in either party
- Past history of drug or alcohol abuse
- Inability to keep promises
- A pattern of cheating in current and prior relationships
- High levels of insecurity
Marriage is one of the most important relationships that you will ever engage in, but it is also one of the hardest relationships to maintain. The key to a long-lasting and healthy marriage is to have a strong foundation. It is important to incorporate God into your marriage so that your marriage is able to grow and endure challenges. It is also important because God is the only one that truly knows how to make a marriage survive and grow. Only God knows the true meaning of marriage, and that meaning is free of selfish needs.
What is the foundation of your marriage? I have observed many marriages that are based upon lust, convenience, desperation, love, and loneliness. The problem with using one of the aforementioned as a basis for marriage is that each will lead to shaky ground and will not endure the test of time. When God is incorporated into marriage then we have a source for problem solving, learning how to love, how to over come challenges, and how to heal with the support of our spouse. Quite often in my professional teaching role I have asked couples why did they decide to get married, but I inform them that they cannot give the answer that they are in love. More often than not the couples have great difficult identifying why they want to get married. I think that if we do not know why we are getting married than we are starting on shaky foundation. If we marry because we simply do not want to be alone or think that no one else will want to marry us, we are starting on shaky ground.
So what is the foundation of your marriage? In what ways can you use the marital relationship to do God’s will?
Before you were Mr. such and such half of a great couple, or before you were Mrs. such and such the other half of a great couple, you were uniquely you. When you were uniquely you, you were able to navigate through life independently making your own decisions (some good, some bad) but they were yours. Before you were married, you had friends, activities, hobbies, career aspirations etc. Before you were married you cared about how you dressed and the condition of your body. Well, marriage doesn’t change or shouldn’t change any of that. Yes, you may not be able to remain friends with some people because their values may not prove to be respectful of a newly married individual. This is understandable that some things will change because you have a new relationship to nurture and grow. It is important to remember that the better you are at taking care of yourself the better spouse and parent you will become.
One of the most unattractive characteristics of an individual is when they have completely lost their identify because they have become engrossed in their new relationship. This is detrimental because it will cause a severing of past relationships that may have taken a life time to build. It will also cause you to not make yourself a priority. When you are a priority then you have a full complete life with your spouse, friends, and activities. Do not fall victim to losing all the qualities that attracted your mate to you. For instance, if you were a critical thinker and independent, do not become so dependent that you cannot not make simple decisions for yourself (this is very unattractive). If you were full of life and energy, do not become a couch potato who has gained weight and lacks energy to the point where you cannot even complete basic household chores. If you were creative and cheerful, nurture that spark so that your mate continues to adore and love your vitality. In other words continue to be uniquely you, all the things that attracted your mate and others to you; remain full of life, cheer, joy, creativity, and intellect.
Do you consider yourself a whole person that is ready for marriage? Your future spouse deserves to marry a whole person. You may wonder what does a whole person look like. Well, a whole person is one who has taken the time to develop fully as an adult, a person who has taken his or her personal inventory and has made the decision to heal from past hurts and leave all past baggage behind. A whole person has created healthy boundaries with their families (specifically their parents) so that they are prepared to enter an adult relationship without interference from friends and family. A whole person has experienced living self-sufficiently and understands the importance of financial responsibility, and having time alone to mature and experience life as an adult.
You may not be a “WHOLE PERSON” IF:
- You consult your parents first when you have personal problems
- You allow your parents to financially support you
- You allow your parents to manipulate you
- You do not express your thoughts and feelings toward others
- You put your family before your partner
- You live at home because you are afraid to explore the world as an adult
- You continue to reside in selfishness, thinking only of self
- You do not know how to problem solve
- You cannot think critically
- You haven’t not experienced and handled life’s challenges successfully
There was a time when marriages were arranged (still happens in some places) for various reasons. But finding a mate is difficult and an important task. If a marriage was going to be arranged, who should be in charge of creating the arrangement? Should parents, friends, or a professional match maker be responsible for finding our mate? Well, ideally, we should have a spiritual connection with God, and he would be in charge of sending us a loving, kind, and God-fearing mate.
What happens when we choose our mate without God’s help or blessing? How many times have we chosen the wrong mate, because we were so impatient and or desperate that we could not wait for God. Maybe we were lonely and envious because those around us seem to find mates but we could not. If you choose your mate without consulting God what system are you using to choose? Do you have a plan in place to make sure that you are choosing a quality mate, or do you say yes to whoever comes by with an offer?
Why do individuals feel it is necessary to rush into life long commitments such as marriage and child rearing? These are two of the most important decisions that an individual will ever make in his or her adult life; therefore these decisions cannot be taken lightly. Marriage is a sacred institution and should not take place until the individuals involved have taken ample time to get to know each other. The decision to marry should not be made simply because individuals feel happy, have butterflies in their tummy, or because of outstanding sex. Marriage should not occur to fulfill selfish reasons like not wanting to be alone, or because friends and family members are pressuring you to marry. No, this decision is serious and the idea of “if this doesn’t work I can divorce” should not be an option, because this type of thinking will lead to couples abandoning their relationships at the slightest discomfort.
Before you decide to get married take the time to get to know the other person. Be sure to know, interview, and understand their family of origin. Don’t settle for uncertainties, ask important questions and observe behaviors that may be problematic. Find out about marital, sexual, financial, employment, and psychological histories. This is important so that there are no surprises. You should see all aspects of the other person’s personality such as happiness, sadness, anger, depression, etc. Often when people want to get married they only display their desirable characteristics so that they may impress the other person. Couples should date and get to know each other for at least a year prior to marrying, couples should not live together, because this gives a false impression of what marriage is all about and is wrong in the eyes of God.
Just as there is nothing wrong with waiting for marriage, one should also wait for the correct time to have children. I believe having a child is more life changing than marriage, because children unlike a marriage cannot be dissolved. The relationship is permanent and unlike and any other. The decision to create a baby should not be made without careful thought given to how this will change lives forever, and the amount of support that is needed in order to raise children properly.
For some reason in our society it has become the norm to act first and think later. In some situations this could be a good thing, but when it comes to parenting and marriage this might not be the best approach. Whatever happened to placing value on making thoughtful and sound decisions. Why is there a need for rush, rush? I have a theory about why our society needs to rush everything. Maybe people are rushing because they are afraid that if they took the time to wait for marriage and children that they would realize, maybe, just maybe the person they want to marry or create children with is not appropriate, but they are afraid of being alone and never experiencing being a parent or having committed relationship. But what good is a relationship if it is not with the right person and what good is having a child for the wrong reason, both situations can result in pain and unhappiness.
Give yourself time to make good decisions!