Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is Marriage Built on Surprises?

“In love, as in other matters, what you don’t know may hurt you.” Eric Copage

Here is a principle: Assumption is the lowest form of knowledge.  When you “assume” you can make an “ass” (um, donkey) out of “u” and “me.”  Even couples “in love” do this to each other.  They “assume” they know the other person.  Why?  Because human beings tend to “project” wants, needs or expectations on each other.  As long as some of my immediate needs or wants are being met (companionship, recreation, sex) we aren’t thinking about the future. 

The explosive power of a new affection can also keep us from looking deeper.  Sometimes we don’t look deeper because we are afraid that the truth will erase our fantasy.  Chasing a fantasy leads to poverty in relationships and business.

And here is another principle: When expectations are not met disappointment sets in.  Disappointment can lead to resentment that degenerates into emotional bitterness.  Bitterness like acid will destroy the relationship.  There was a good article titled “Marriage is Not Built on Surprises” written by Eric Copage for the New York Times on December 17, 2006.  I use this article when I teach the premarital class in Christian Cultural Center and the accompanying piece entitled “Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying.”  (Please note that I don’t agree with everything written in either of these articles.  If you are a Christian then eat the meat, spit out the bones.)

I’m not suggesting that you sit down on a first date and ask these questions.  But a Christian man should be serious about God and should be careful in every relationship to honor God.  The Christian man doesn’t date for “fun” or to fulfill his lust.  Sometimes attraction and friendship grow in a shared environment (like a college campus, etc) and quite naturally overtime.  That’s great. 

God will hold us accountable for our motives, our words and our actions.  We don’t deceive or lead a woman on for her to discover we aren’t going to commit.  God is not mocked.  He will avenge His daughters who are deceived by our willful persistence in lust.  So if you are in a relationship or considering one that will move toward marriage, here are some questions to answer BEFORE you even say, “I love you.”  I’ve adapted some of the questions from the NY Times article.

- Do you understand her spiritual beliefs and needs?
- Do our beliefs and do our ideas about spending and saving mesh?
- Do we truly listen to each other?
- Do we fairly consider one another’s ideas and complaints?
- Do we like and respect each other’s friends?
- Do we respect each other’s parents?
- Have we discussed whether or not to have children?
- If yes to children then who is going to be the primary care giver?
- How will you expose and train our children on religious/moral education?
- Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained?
- Are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?
- What are the agreed upon financial obligations and goals?
- Do we believe either set of parents will interfere with the relationship?
- Are there some things that you and I are NOT prepared to give up in the marriage?
- Are you clear about each others dreams and goals?

What do you think of these questions?  Were you able to read the NY Times article?

Please post your thoughts below.  And if you are married, what other questions do you think need to be asked or addressed before a single Christian man gets married?

Your brother,

Minister Onorio

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