Why do people marry the wrong people for all the wrong reasons? Before you start looking for marriage, you need to know what marriage is not.
Marriage is not servitude. One person is not there to completely take care of the other. It has to be a mutual nurturing of each other. If one person puts more into it than the other, then that person will burn out and wonder what happened.
Marriage won’t solve all your needs. If you’re a needy person, don’t expect your spouse to fix that need. You need to fix it yourself before you make a commitment.
Paul, a guy I met, had been married three times and each time to a needy woman. They saw him as their “night in shining armor.” But, when he was the one in need, they were not there for him. Once their needs were met, they left him. He was attracted to my profile because of my independence and self-sufficiency. He had learned his lesson, but it took him three failed marriages to learn it.
If you can’t take care of yourself before you get married, don’t expect someone to take care of you after.
Marriage is not a gamble. “If it doesn’t work, we can get divorced.” That’s what I used to hear back in the 70’s and 80’s. That’s why the divorce rate got so high. Divorce is not an “out” for something that shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Marriage is a forever thing. You need to take your time and not be in a rush. Ask God for direction. Never speed up and jump ahead of Him. Relax and let God’s plan come to fruition in His time. Don’t be in a hurry, because if you are, you are likely to make a mistake. Besides, you’ll look desperate and that’s a major turn-off. God may not always deliver in our timeframe, but He always delvers the best. You need the 3 P’s—patience, persistence and perception.
Marriage is not a cure for lust. Don’t think that once you’re married you can have all the sex that you want. You cannot expect your spouse to “perform” every night and he/she should not expect it from you. If that’s what you look forward to in marriage, you need to resolve the issue before you hit the dating scene. One-night stands go nowhere so, if you start dating with that mentality, you might as well remain unmarried and enjoy casual sex forever. But don’t expect a deep, meaningful relationship based on lust. It just doesn’t happen. (Read: Avoiding False Intimacy.)
Marriage is not a cure for dating. In one of the greatest romantic comedies, When Harry, Met Sally, (Nelson Entertainment, 1989) Harry, played by Billy Crystal, is telling Sally, played by Meg Ryan, that he’s getting a divorce and he tells her, “I got married so I could stop dating.” That’s exactly how I feel. The problem with this attitude is that you become desperate. You think that when you find the right person, you want the relationship be solidified and committed. But you can’t be in a hurry. You need the relationship to take its natural course. And some will go quicker than others—as Harry said at the end of the movie when he finally understood that Sally was the right person, “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
You can be married and still be independent. Independence means you can set sail on your own and manage not to sink the boat. You don’t need anyone to survive, but it’s nice to have someone around to lend a hand so you don’t have to do everything by yourself. Independence is good and a quality people seek in a mate.
Next time: An excercise: Know Yourself.
But before you can know yourself, you need to know God. Click here for guidance.