To Marry or Not to Marry?

The experience of “falling in love” is not a foundation for a happy marriage. It is highly possible to be “in love” with someone you should not marry. In fact, you will probably feel the “tingles” for almost everyone you date. It is the “tingles” that motivate us to want to spend time with the other person. As you date, sometimes the “tingles” dissipate quickly, and the relationship never gets off the ground. On the other hand, the “tingles” may develop into the emotional obsession I am calling the experience of “falling in love.” None of this requires much effort or thought. All you did was show up, and the emotions took over. However, a marital relationship designed to last a lifetime requires more than these euphoric, obsessive feelings.

A Time to Talk About the Real Stuff
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The Six Questions You Should Ask Before You Get Engaged

Possible Proposal? Here are six questions you should ask before popping the question. 

1.    Are my partner and I on the same wavelength intellectually? (Try one of these exercises: Read a newspaper or online news article and discuss its merits and implications; read a book and share your impressions with each other.)

2.    To what degree have we surveyed the foundation of our social unity? (Explore the following areas: sports, music, dance, parties, and vocational aspirations.)

3.    Do we have a clear understanding of each other’s personality, strengths, and weaknesses? (Take a personality profile. This is normally done under the direction of a counselor who will interpret the information and help you discover potential areas of personality conflicts.)

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Why Marry?

Well, if it’s so hard and the odds aren’t so good, this question might come up: why bother? With so many marriages ending in divorce, why take the risk? The simple answer is that we all desire to love and be loved uniquely, and that leads most of us into a covenant marriage relationship. Despite the rise in divorce, cohabitation, and unwed parenthood, marriage remains an aspiration of the vast majority of Americans. A recent survey found that 93 percent “of Americans rate ‘having a happy marriage’ as either one of the most important, or very important objectives.”

With this desire, however, there are realistic fears. One research project that explored the attitude of today’s college students concluded, “They are desperate to have only one marriage, and they want it to be happy. They don’t know whether this is possible anymore.”

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