Who hasn’t heard a married person say, “I didn’t realize my wife was so….” Or “If I would have know that about him….” The truth is we never truly know the person we think God wants us to mary until after we’re married. But we can see some of the problems coming if we’re willing to ask the tough questions before we say “I do.”
In our own relationship, my wife and I talked through a lot of issues prior to getting married. Church and doctrine, parenting philosophy, the place of Scriptures in our decision-making, and a host of other issues.
We even went through a money-management course (which her father wisely insisted we take) so we had at least started the conversation about that potentially divisive issue prior to tying the knot.
But a lot of couples don’t talk about these and other significant life issues–and then they wonder what happened when those real-life issues hit them upside the head.
On the one hand, if you have answered the first two questions in this series with a yes, then the decision to marry or not is no longer a moral one.
The first two questions are incredibly helpful and bring great clarity when asked and answered honestly. Once you are confident that the person is truly committed to following Christ and to solving problems biblically, it is no longer a question of right or wrong but wise or unwise.
The third question then is this: Would it be wise for me to marry this person?
I posted at Patheos about 10 Topics Every Christian Couple Should Discuss before Marriage.
If you missed the first two parts of this series, start here.
I encourage you to read it and work through the issues I list there with any potential spouse (or pass it along to every single Christian young person you know).
But why do we struggle to get real about these issues before we get married?
5 Reasons We Struggle to Ask the Tough Questions about Marriage
Here are a few reason I think it is difficult to ask the tough questions before we say “I do.”
- We’re afraid the bubble will burst. Truth be told, most of us do not feel as if we deserve to be happy. We beat ourselves up, failing to see our inestimable value as God’s most special possession. So we marvel at why someone would want to spend his or her life with us. If we ask too many questions, we’re afraid it might turn out to be a dream. But if we don’t ask the tough questions, the chances increase that our dream will become a nightmare before we know it.
- We don’t know the answers ourselves. “I don’t know” doesn’t exactly inspire confidence — or so we think. Because most people haven’t really thought through what they believe or what they want in life, they don’t want to have to answer those kind of questions. To be candid, we’re afraid of looking stupid. But there will be plenty of time for that later once you are married, believe me. Ask the questions now and prepare to answer them yourself.
- Our parents never talked to us about them. As a parent now, I know it can be tough to cover all the bases to prepare kids to know all they need to know before marriage. Especially the uncomfortable ones. But we need to try. So many young people are left in the dark about the important issues I list here that they really don’t know how to know if the marriage would be a wise one.
- We really don’t know what we are doing, but don’t want to admit it. We’re back to worrying about looking stupid are we? I suspect guys are worse at this than gals. (The whole not-asking-directions thing, I guess.) Scripture tells us the best marriages are built on an attitude of “esteeming” the other person as better than yourself. By acknowledging our own limitations, we actually set up our marriage for maximum success. It is an opportunity to learn together.
- We’re afraid to make ourselves vulnerable. The irony here is that the best marriages are built on authentic relationships in which each person is open and vulnerable to the other. Marriage is where the greatest vulnerability can take place, where each person can be naked, literally and metaphorically, just as we were in the Garden of Eden.
Why not jump-start the process right now by reading my list of 10 topics at Patheos?
Be honest with yourself and your potential spouse about the answers — or share it with others.
If you find issues that need to be addressed, you can and should push pause until you are confident you are making the wise marriage decision.
This is an irreversible decision. Once you make the vow, there is no way out of it. You cannot enter a marriage thinking divorce could be an option or it soon will be.
Question: Why do you think we struggle to ask the tough questions prior to marriage? What reasons would you add to the list? Share your thoughts by clicking here.