By Eva Maddox
Few brides walk down the aisle on their wedding day thinking about divorce. For months, they have been busy making preparations for their special day, when they will pledge themselves to each other with the words, “’till death do us part.”
Since it is one of the most momentous days of their lives, they want it to be perfect. Consequently, for months they make elaborate plans. For most couples, the prospective bride does the majority of the planning. Where and when will the ceremony take place? What about the dress, the guests, the flowers? Who will take pictures? What about the reception, the cake, the invitations, the honeymoon?
On and on the planning continues, until finally, the big day arrives. The groom waits
for his lovely bride, with a smile and a twinkle in his eye. She is adorned in lovely white satin as she drifts dreamily toward her waiting groom.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife,” filters through their fantasy as they embrace and kiss. Guests shower them with bubbles as they leave the church to begin their new life together. The day is filled with celebration, music, dancing, toasts, cards and gifts. They achieved their dream. It was a perfect day.
One year later they face each other across a mahogany table with their attorneys. Their eyes are no longer filled with adoring love, but glowering glares. Back and forth they spew hateful remarks as the attorneys mediate, hoping for a “reasonable settlement.”
Thousands of couples each year experience what I have described. I, too, was once a bride who floated toward my groom on a cloud of hope, joy and bliss. However, after twenty years my cloud burst and a torrent of pain, financial hardship and emotional trauma fell on me. Looking back (where vision is optimal), I see signs that I clearly either did not recognize or chose to ignore.
Perhaps you are in the planning process of your wedding. If so, take a moment, learn from others’ mistakes and assess the condition of your relationship with the six reality checks. It may make a difference in your wedding plans.
One: Reflect on Religion
- The Bible warns about being unequally yoked with an unbeliever. Are you both
- Do you agree on the church you’ll attend?
- Do you have the same level of commitment to God?
Two: Probe the Person
- Are you getting to know yourself better—your expectations of marriage—what you must have in a husband and what you absolutely cannot tolerate?
- Do you know your fiancé’s life goals, values, quirks, habits and his ideas on marriage? How do you feel about each of them?
- Do you ignore things about him that bother you? They may bother you even more after the ceremony.
- Is he kind and considerate?
- Is he affectionate?
- Is he lazy? A procrastinator?
- Is he honest? Truthful?
- Is he boastful? Fearful?
Three: Cool Communication?
- If your guy can’t express his love to you, is bored with conversation, or sighs when you want to talk, beware. He probably won’t change when you shove that book on communication in front of him. No, not that video either . . .
- Does he groan when you attempt to share your emotional needs with him? Does he nod off or stare blankly? Perhaps he is easily distracted by an amazing football play or the dog or . . . ? Do you really want to spend a lifetime with him?
- Does he constantly interrupt you or criticize you? How often does he compliment and praise you?
- Do you have frequent arguments?
Four: Fine with Finances?
- Have you discussed and do you agree on budgeting? Short term and long term financial goals? Who will pay the bills?
- Do you know the Biblical mandate for tithing and have you discussed it?
- Does he make enough money to support the two of you or do you need or desire to supplement family income?
- How will you handle credit cards? Do either of you have credit card debt?
- Do you agree on how to handle the family income?
5: Specifics about Sex?
- Is passion replacing a serious discussion about sex? The physical attraction between couples in love is powerful and often blurs logic and reason. Do talk about your expectations, concerns and fears.
- Do you both want children? How many? When?
- Have you discussed birth control?
- Be informed and discuss the Biblical admonitions regarding pornography, premarital sex and adultery.
6: Content with Compatibility?
- Does he laugh with you? Do you enjoy being together? Do either of you prefer to have others around rather than be alone?
- Do you have more fun with your girlfriends than with him?
- Does he respect and honor you for who you are? Is he proud of you?
- What does he like about you?
- Do you enjoy some of the same activities?
Are there a number of areas above that you feel are troublesome? If so, I hope you will seek counsel, pray and talk with your fiancé about them. Above all, keep in mind, that marriage requires a lifetime of commitment, compromise and work bathed in prayer. Be sure you can do that in light of your uncertainties.
Entered into wisely, a marriage can be a wonderful source of deep and lasting joy.
What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Mark 10:9 (KJV)
Eva Maddox is a graduate of Wright State University and has taken courses in counseling and nursing as well as several Bible courses through her local church. Eva writes devotions, articles, poems, and stories and has recently completed her first novel. A number of her writings have been published in a variety of Christian publications. In July, 2012, she began Kingdom Writers Fellowship, a Christian writer’s group that meets monthly. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or check her blog: http://maddoxmatters.wordpress.com.