The most important decision in your life is about which person you will marry. Your marriage will join your body and soul to another human being. Your marriage will determine the father or mother of your future children. It can strengthen or hinder your effectiveness for God. It can bring you a lifetime of joy or sorrow or misery.
We have to keep reminding ourselves of the real questions we are facing. The real questions are: “Are we ready to care for, sacrifice for, and love each other through good times and bad? And “Do we believe that we would glorify God more as a couple than as individuals? And “Are we ready for forever?”
Today, many people are unhappily married or divorced or separated because they fail to ask the important questions. Instead of soberly evaluating their relationship, they got caught up in the excitement of the moment. They ignored reality when they were dating, only to spend their marriage complaining about it. As Alexander Pope wrote: “They dream in courtship and in wedlock wake.” The season of courtship is the time to be wide awake, with your eyes wide open. This does not mean being hypercritical or judgmental. Instead, it means soberly and honestly evaluating ourselves, the other person and the relationship before we commit ourselves to marriage.
The ten questions that follow can wake you up to the current condition of your relationship. I encourage you to approach these questions humbly and with desire to grow. They can help you to discover both strengths and weaknesses in your relationship and help you make a more informed decision whether you should get married.
- Is your relationship centred on God and His glory?
Is God, the Lord of both your hearts? A happy marriage is found on mutual love for God and submission to Him. Are you obedient to His word? Are both of you striving to find your soul’s satisfaction in God? If you are not, you will enter marriage with false expectation that it will fulfill and complete you. You will put unrealistic demand on your spouse by asking him or her to play a role only God can fill.
- Are you growing in friendship, communication, fellowship, and romance?
- Friendship; Do you enjoy being together? Apart from your romantic feelings, do you have a solid foundation of friendship? Are there activities and friendship that draw the two of you together? If you were the same sex, do you think you will be friends?
- Communication; Have you grown in your ability to hear and understand each other? Every relationship will have room for improvement, the question is, do you see growth.
- Fellowship; Do you talk about spiritual things? Do you pray together? Do you love God more today as a result of your relationship?
- Romance; Are you growing in your romantic desire for each other? Are your affections increasing? If they are not, why do you think they are absent? Are you trying to make the relationship work when your heart really is not in it?
- Are you clear on your biblical (scriptural) roles as man and woman?
Do you both have a scriptural conviction about what it means to be a godly man or godly woman? Are you in agreement about the role of husband and wife? If you are a woman, ask yourself if the man is someone you could respect, submit to, and love. The bible assigns a wife two primary responsibilities: to respect and submit to her husband (Ephesians 5:22-24). The two responsibilities are closely linked. If you respect your husband, submitting to him will be a joy. If you don’t respect him, submission will be burdensome.
If you are the man, are you currently initiating and leading in the relationship? Do you have the faith to lead this woman and serve her in love for a lifetime? You need to make sure that she can and will follow your spiritual leadership.
4) Are other people supportive of your relationship?
Do you have the support of your church in your courtship? Please do not move forward to engagement before getting counsel from people who know you well. Good counsel helps you carefully and prayerfully think through the decision. It sorts out whether your main reasons for marrying are self-centered, or if your know how to commit yourself to love someone else. Good counsel helps you identify potential problems areas and work on them now.
- Is sexual desire playing too big (or too small) a part in your decisions?
Sexual involvement before marriage can muddle clear thinking. Some said, “Never let a fool kiss you or a kiss fool you”. Has sexual desire fooled you into believing that your relationship is better than it really is? Or is looking forward to sex a primary motive in wanting to get married? Sex is obviously a very important part of marriage, but remember that it cannot make up for weaknesses in other parts of the relationship. While sexual desire shouldn’t play too big a part, it should not be too small either. It is important that you are sexually attracted to your spouse. We should not try to be too spiritual than God and marry someone we are not excited about going to bed with.
(To be continued)
…with Rose Hansey