Just the other day, I was speaking with one of my male co-workers about love and marriage. He mentioned he has no intention to ever get married and that he’s satisfied with being alone. He also mentioned all of his married friends have warned him to never get married. I cautioned him against the opinions of others, because their situations should never deter you from making your own choices. It’s very unwise to make life decisions based upon another person’s experiences. I asked him why he thought his friends gave him this advice and if their marriage were successful. I also asked him the potential reasons behind why they wouldn’t recommend marriage. He told me one or two of them married because of a pregnancy. He also mentioned their wives had changed. Basically these guys were very unhappy. So then I asked him, “Why do you think these men got married in the first place?” One word. Love.
There are several things I’d like to point out from this conversation. First and foremost, when listening to the advice of another person, always consider the reason behind that piece of advice. For this situation, one must be very careful to observe the history behind the story. For instance, getting married for any other reason than growing closer to God and closer to the person you’re with, is a setup for a faulty foundation. If one decides to marry for a pregnancy, or because they simply feel they are “in love” at the time, they’ll potentially set themselves up for failure. Being in love is not enough for a marriage to last. Not a happy one at least.
In addition, the feeling of being “in love” may be inconsistent in marriage and isn’t a guarantee. Also, just because you fall out of love, it doesn’t mean you should get a divorce. If your marriage is solely based upon feeling (and the initial ‘high’ you receive when you first fall in love), then yes … you will appear to be unhappy when things go awry. The honeymoon phase doesn’t last forever. After it’s over, many people throw in the towel. Now, of course I’m not stating that it’s impossible to remain in love and that being in love doesn’t contribute to a healthy marriage. All I am saying is that feelings are usually not strong enough to bind two people together for a lifetime. Feelings fluctuate. With fluctuation, reliance upon that feeling or feelings may fade. So, that’s why we should rely on things more dependable than feelings in order to build a solid foundation.
So to this young bachelor, I would advise him to be mindful that not everyone’s marriage is built upon a strong foundation. Consider their beginnings. How a thing starts determines how well it’ll work out in the future.
The second most important fact I’d like to discuss from this conversation is the topic of a person changing. My question is, who doesn’t change? Whether it’s for better or worse, people vary throughout life. Change is inevitable. When one decides to marry he or she will be living with the same person every single day. So, of course one will notice every minute detail about that person. You’ll recognize things you didn’t see before. In addition, sometimes this will lead one to believe his or her mate has morphed into another being! However, one must recognize that during the dating phase, witnessing every aspect of a person’s life is unlikely due to living in different locations. Seeing her without her hair done will be rare because she’ll always ensure it’s perfect whenever she’s around. Realizing he only washes his clothes once a month may be hidden because his laundry door is always closed. Things become more apparent when one spends more time with a person. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve “changed.” You’re seeing more of who they REALLY are. That’s all.
Now of course, there are certain cases when a spouse turns out to be a completely different person. But, then I would again question the beginnings of the couple and their union. How thorough were they in their decision making prior to deciding to get married? Did they ask the right questions? Did they ignore the obvious? Most of the time, in these situations where people believe their spouses mutated, they’ve been ignoring the obvious for quite a while. The warning signs were ignored or they focused on the wrong areas such as material possessions, status, sex, and feelings. Whodini didn’t just pop up and magically change them. You failed to recognize the true person in front of you, or became blinded by other deceiving factors. But that’s another topic for another day.
It’s very important to remember that everyone’s situation is different for various reasons. Don’t allow yourself to be influenced by others so easily, especially when it comes to marriage. Of course, learning from other’s mistakes may be beneficial. But you have to be very careful who you decide to take advice from. There’s a fine line that exists in receiving marriage advice. Not all advice is good advice, or advice you should adhere to. Marriage advice can be very biased and very different for different people. Your situation may turn out completely different than the person giving the advice. You have to be careful not to allow others to set your standards for marriage. Create your own journey, be selective with your influences, and allow God to steer your life into the right direction.