Nan & I teach the
pre-married/pre-engagement class at church, we spend a good deal of our time
with couples in that stage of a relationship. It is undeniable that most have
found each other because of an attraction that they felt. Yes, some have been
matched through an online service, which goes much further than attraction alone.
We believe that a decision for marriage should be based on a balance of
attraction and suitability.
In other words, the head and the heart must be in sync.
What makes a potential mate suitable? When I first saw
Nan that thought never entered my mind. (OK, I was young
and maturity helps a bit with the concept). Blind attraction from a chemical
wash of the brain makes everything seem possible within a relationship. We
believe we can make a relationship with a person who lives in another country
with 2 kids from a former marriage work. Right.
Here are some factors that must be considered.
- Are we of the same spiritual mind? The Christian term is “equally yoked”.
- If we are of different ethnicities, will our families accept our potential mate?
- Are we in agreement about children?
- Do we come from similar socio-economic backgrounds?
- Does my partner have great character – free from addictions? Are they honest, trustworthy, hard working, kind, dependable, teachable, humble, gentle, not given to fits of anger or rage, etc.? This is foremost in our opinion.
- Do we communicate well? Is my partner a listener as well as a talker?
- Can we resolve conflict, or do we give up and go away mad or discouraged?
- Do we have a financial plan based on reality? Are we both committed to working to make it happen?
- Is my partner a happy person or do they seem to be critical, complaining, cynical or pessimistic? It is hard to live with a depressed person.
One of the reasons I think premarital sex is a bad idea, apart from the biblical reasons, is that once we have crossed that boundary our minds are clouded by the closeness we feel. It becomes very difficult to have a balanced perspective. If we also live together we add one more entanglement as well – that of being economically entwined. It is very difficult to extricate ourselves from an unsuitable relationship when we are emotionally, physically and economically connected.
What would you add to my list? What has caused you pain or confusion? Have you had repeated bad break-ups or have you found yourself in a difficult marriage because you ignored the above factors? Are you stuck right now? Or have you chosen well and you are rejoicing with the satisfaction of your relational success? With strength and courage and maybe some help from others there is always hope.