WARNING: DO NOT GET MARRIED...
1. If you have a general uneasy feeling about the relationship. There should be absolutely NO PRESSURE to get married. If you're thinking, "I don't feel good about this," or, "I don't feel quite right about this relationship," then STOP. Communicate this to your significant other. If they do not respect your feelings about this, then that is the sign to abandon all future marital plans.
2. If you have frequent arguments. If you are arguing a lot, or all the time, then your relationship is like a car that keeps breaking down. In that case something is wrong with the car. You have a "lemon." Yes, God can squeeze lemonade out of lemons. But in a relationship that is a lemon there will need to be a whole lot of squeezing going on. You don't want to spend a lifetime in a volatile, confrontational marriage, right? If you are hyper-arguing, now getting married will not change this. Probably, it will get worse.
3. If you have no arguments. If you and your significant other don't argue at all, what is the matter with you? All marriages, including the very best of them, have arguments. Linda and I do not agree on everything. The absence of disagreement and conflict is a danger sign. Someone is in denial. Or someone is controlling. Or fearful. How you work through and process conflict is the indicator of relational disease or health. Read this book to learn how to do this.
4. If your partner cannot admit it when they are wrong. I am now crawling on my knees pleading, 'RUN FROM THIS PERSON!" If you don't like living in hell, politely say "Adios." Which means: "As I now go, you go with God and get some help."
5. If your partner is unable to accept constructive criticism. See my comments on #4 above. It will not be fun being married to Saddam Hussein.
6. If you avoid discussing sensitive subjects because you're afraid of hurting your partner's feelings or starting an argument. This is the sign of a fearful relationship. We're told, in 1 John 4:18 says - There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. Relational fear is in inverse proportion to Jesus-type love. Loving relationships can talk about ANYTHING without being threatened.
7. If you feel you are staying in the relationship through fear. See 1 John 4:18 in #6 above. This kind of relationship is to be avoided like the black plague. Let's call it: slavery.
8. If you find yourself always doing what your partner wants you to do. This one might be about you. Never marry someone if you do not know who you are in Christ. Losing your identity, and your unique voice, will not be good for your marital partner. It is not a cool thing to find yourself and discover, one day, that you do not recognize the person you married.
9. If your partner thinks that toilets are self-cleaning. Sadly, I used to think this, while feeling upset upon finding an unclean toilet. My mommy used to always clean up after me. Then came a day, in my first year as a Jesus-follower, when I was living with my parents. We had finished dinner. God told me, "Wash the dishes." I spoke words never before uttered by me: "Mom, you take a break, I'm going to do the dishes." Mom looked at me like I was Gregor Samsa. Things got Kafkaesque for a while. My life as a servant began. Don't marry someone who doesn't clean up after themselves. No, let me put this more strongly: don't marry someone who does not clean up after you. This goes for both of you.
10. If you detect serious emotional disturbances. This is a "please count the cost" item. You are not going to save this person from themselves. Yes, God can heal them. This healing can be either mediated (through counselors, physicians, other helpers) or unmediated (direct, from God). Yes, God loves people who have serious emotional problems. And yes, yes, yes, there's not one of us who has a "full deck," mentally. Your significant other should already be on the road to mental health before you meet them. This is a soft warning which says: marrying someone with mental illness is going to be a heavy cross to carry. If you struggle with mental illness, please get help now and let the healing begin. Then, if and when you do marry, the load of your recovery will not entirely be on the shoulders of your mate, who will be untrained in all of this.
11. If your partner is constantly complaining about unreal aches or pains, and going from doctor to doctor.
12. If your partner constantly makes excuses for not finding a job. You're not interested in supporting your family alone, right?
13. If your partner is in debt financially. Money-issues are relational and marital killers.
14. If your partner talks like they are a victim. It won't be long before you are the cause of their "suffering."
15. If your partner is overly suspicious, jealous, questions your work all the time, and feels that everyone is against him or her. Here is a person who cannot trust. Trust is rock-bottom-needed if the relationship is to be healthy and thrive.
16. If your partner is a perfectionist and is constantly critical. Welcome to the world of eternal, unresolved anger.
17. If your partner puts you down, and uses a lot of sarcasm. Marriage should, and can, strengthen one another. You don't want to come home to this after getting it all day outside your marriage.
18. If your parents and other significant people are strongly against your marriage. Unless they are all fearful control freaks, pay attention to their concerns. They may see some things that you don't.
19. If you don’t like what you see in your partner’s parents’ marriage. Because, to a large degree, "the apple has not fallen far from the tree." The way that your significant other's family deals with communication and conflict will be the way your significant other deals with it. Unless they have had an inner revolution leading to spiritual transformation, what you see in their family is what you get in the other person.
20. If there is a lack of spiritual togetherness. Beware of marrying below your God-values and expectations. If you expect to have children, this is very important.
21. If you have few areas of common interest.
22. If your partner cannot live without you and would consider taking their life should you break up with them. Note these two relationship lies:
- I need this person to be complete, and
- If this person needs me, I’ll be complete. (See here.)
23. If your partner wants sex before marriage. I now report to you from another planet. While Linda and I did have premarital sex with other people before we met, we did not have sex with each other before we got married. Abstaining from sex before marriage was an important factor in what became the most beautiful, exhilarating relationship I have ever had. It also built trust. Linda knew I loved her more than for merely what I could sexually get from her. And, in a moment of understatement, abstaining from premarital sex did not harm or hinder us in marriage.
24. If your partner believes that sex = love. You'll need something way deeper than physical sex to make your marriage last. You'll need "love." Sex is wonderful. Remember that sex was God's idea, not yours. But love is deeper and more expansive and, when love is lived out, physical sex gets better. For some real-love ideas you can begin with 1 Corinthians 13: Love: 1) is patient; 2) is kind; 3) does not envy; 4) does not boast, 5) is not proud; 6) does not dishonor others; 7) is not self-seeking; 8) is not easily angered; 9) keeps no record of wrongs; 10) does not delight in evil; 11) rejoices with the truth; 12) always protects; 13) always trusts; 14) always hopes; 15) always perseveres; 16) never fails.
25. If your partner has a history of sexual activity. If this hasn't been healed it will continue in your marriage. Warning: if you or your significant other are sex addicts, marriage is not the cure.
26. If your partner became interested in Jesus after they met you. You'll want to marry someone who actually believes in God and loves God, independently of you. No missionary dating, please. You won't know if the person's "faith" is just something they microwaved to get you to love them.
27. If your partner does not understand the meaning of “covenant,” as opposed to “contract.” It will be good to experience premarital conflict as a way of testing relational loyalty and staying power. Real love stays. It will be in your favor if your parents and the parents of your significant other stayed together. See "A Wedding Is a Welding."
28. If you hope to change your partner. God can change them; you cannot. You don't want to be married to another child that you have to raise.
FOR MORE HELP GET THESE THREE BOOKS AND READ THEM NOW!
- Gary Chapman, Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married.
- Les and Leslie Parrott, Real Relationships: From bad to Better and Good to Great
- David Augsburger, Caring Enough to Confront: How to Understand and Express Your Deepest Feelings Toward One Others
See also: startmarriageright.com