Marriage & Timing

It’s the summer, and as I mentioned in a previous post, summer = marriage is on my mind. Another blogger had a link to this article about the right timing for marriage: Get Married or Break Up . I agreed with some of what the article said, but then I disagreed with other things it said.

I agree that the longer a couple is dating, the more difficult it is to maintain the dating relationship. To me, the ultimate purpose of dating is to marry, so naturally, I believe, the dynamics of a relationship progress toward that ultimate goal. I do believe that at a point, two people can reach a point where they’re just acting through the motions of their dating relationship. It fizzles, if you will, and that ultimate (marriage) connection is just not there. But I just don’t agree with this timetable that they’ve set up. It adds so much pressure to dating. Like, “a year’s gone by and he hasn’t proposed. Time to hop off this boat so I can make the next sail in time.” I just can’t accept that you’re supposed to know if you want to marry someone in that short of a time! I’ve always said to myself that I would wait at least 2 or 3 years before even getting engaged. But I also feel premature in such conclusions since I still have yet to even go on a date with someone. Yes… entering my 20’s without even the experience of a date. Perhaps I just can’t relate to the mindset of the dating person. Is it possible to really know after only 6 months or a year that you want to marry someone? Since entering college, I’ve heard so many accounts from adults of how they and their spouse married after only a couple months of dating. This seems like such a foreign concept to me

Haha, right as I typed that Coldplay’s song, “Death and all His Friends” played my playlist. The line, “Let’s get married,” stuck out like a sore thumb. haha. That and “don’t worry.” Is it trying to speak to me?

By the way, the song is so beautiful. I suggest you take a listen if you haven’t heard it yet. Actually, listen to the whole album (Viva la Vida). The entire cd is fantastic.

COLDPLAY\'S NEW BEST ALBUM!

But back to my topic, maybe I have qualms about marrying quickly because of the advice I’ve received from my mom. My parent’s marriage has had it’s ups and downs… or perhaps I should flip that around. There seem to be more unhappy times than happy. She’s always advised me to pay close attention to the character of the person I date and not to write off tell-tail signs as insignificant traits. In other words, maintain a level head in love. I think this is great advice, personally. I have friends who are willing to overlook some major personality flaws just to keep the person they’re dating, which is a risky thing, in my view. But, given the importance of learning a person’s character, how on earth can a person accomplish that in 6 mos to a year’s time? That just seems way too short when you factor in the reality that people are not always their most honest self at the beginning of a relationship and take time to peel the layers to reveal the truth. Some people can’t even accomplish that after a great period of time and you end up with some surprises regardless. But still, isn’t it better to reduce the surprises as much as possible by dating longer?

Now I totally agree with the article when it talks about the increased difficulty to remain physically pure the longer a relationship continues. I have abstinent friends who have warned me on the difficulties of withstanding sexual temptation once in a relationship. So sex definitely poses as a reason to push for a fast marriage, but then… listen to what was just said? Doesn’t that imply that sex should motivate a couple’s marriage? As if they’re getting married for sex? So, I have to shoot that reason down as well. If you’re dedicated to fulfilling Christ’s mandate for physical purity in marriage, then I would hope that you and your partner would each dedicate yourself to remaining pure. Now please, don’t mistake me for some doe-eyed naive girl. I am a realist, and although I am abstinent, I realize that sexual temptation is very real and can only imagine how much more intense it is when one is involved in a relationship. I’m sure there are times when some Christian couples come darn close to going all the way, but, as a woman of faith, I know that faith can overcome one’s physical desire. Although I would hope, my Christian brothers and sisters, that you wouldn’t let yourself get so close! “Don’t start none, won’t be none,” I always say!

If you’re not a Christian, having a spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, then what I just said may not make any sense to you. You may be asking yourself, “How on earth can faith defeat my in-the-moment physical need for sex?” It can and it does for those truly devoted to abstaining from sex.

This next article, however, I agree with wholly: Get Married, Young Man. In fact, after reading it, I feel a peace about not dating now, about the whole “timing of marriage” issue, and about my concerns on when I’ll start dating and finally marry. I’ll explain more on this later. Right now, it’s time to get intimate with my pillow. SLEEP!

    • Meg
    • March 26th, 2009

    Haha… I’ve been at this point… really. “WHY is there no ring?!”

    … and one of my close friends is going on 6 years of relationship now without a ring, and I’m anxious FOR her. 😉

    However, I do disagree with your long waiting period before marriage – I married my husband 6 months after we began dating. I firmly believe in KNOWING your intended for longer than 6 months, but I still think the best way to KNOW someone is to watch them when you are NOT in a relationship with them. I watched my husband deal with angry customers, a CANTANKEROUS boss, a distant father, and cope with the loss of his mother at the age of 16… all before I even considered him as a potential mate. That gave me significant insight into his personality, his commitment to Christ, and his desire to live a fulfilled life.

    I was very surprised at God’s timing when I realized I had found my husband – without even noticing it! 🙂 Gotta love that Godly Timetable! 😉

  1. hey meg!

    thanks so much for your comment and for sharing your views! I always love feedback. yea, my views on the timing of marriage have softened a bit since this post, ever since I realized how much they were motivated by fear. I’ve since accepted that dating a person for a long time doesn’t guarantee that you’ll learn a lot about them or that you both will be happy together. after all, my own mom dated my dad for ~4-5 years before they married, and their marriage hasn’t been a happy one. I now think that the quality of your relationship and the degree of (non-physical) intimacy that is achieved weigh more than the amount of time that’s passed with that person. and *most definitely* also the things you mentioned (personality, **commitment to Christ <- most important thing, desire to live a fulfilled life). and i really like what you said about seeing how they are with other people, not just you. this is something my mom has encouraged as well. obviously, all these things can be discovered in 6 months. Your marriage is proof of this 🙂 while for others, it may take 6 years. I guess it just depends on the people and the pace of their relationship. I will stop worrying about the secular clock and put myself on that Godly timetable you mentioned 🙂

    and honestly, I think I have been a bit naive in thinking that I could learn (almost) everything about a person before we marry (yes, i really did believe this is what I should be aiming for – haha!). a marriage is a lifetime of learning about the other person. there will always be new things that we’ll discover about one another in each stage of our lives, I imagine, because people aren’t static. we’re always changing and growing. the only thing is that as marriage partners, we must strive to change and grow together.

    I think that when the time for marriage comes for me, I will just need to trust the Lord to lead the right person to me and me to him, and be sensitive to His Spirit in discerning if the man is the one that God intends for me and me for him.

    p.s. i hope things go well for your friend and her relationship!! i’ll say a prayer for her 🙂

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