We spend so much time, energy and money focusing on The Big Day but barely think at all about the final words of the wedding vow: until death do you part.
Larry Donaldson writes:
As with all statistics, the numbers vary depending upon whom you ask. But, on average, about 40-50% of first marriages end in divorce. Meanwhile, 60-67% of second marriages and 73-74% of third marriages end in the same way.
In short, the more marriages someone or their partner has had, the higher the couple’s chances of one day getting a divorce.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4863048
If this is true, we need to be spending a lot more time preparing for the MARRIAGE instead of for the WEDDING. Now, please know I am NOT against a lovely planned (or even expensive, IF you can afford it) wedding. But, do you know what your fiance thinks about:
- faith and personal convictions that go with it
- family planning (including birth control and number of children you want)
- child rearing
- education of children
- dealing with extended family involved in your marriage
- goals for church
- you working or staying home to raise children
- how to deal with conflicts that arise in your relationship
OK, so HOW does one prepare for the marriage? TALKING!
You talk about EVERYTHING. The list above is just a few things off the top of my head. You should be spending much of your time together discussing all the things that come up in your life. “What do you think about…” should be words that easily roll off your tongue. There should not be ANY topic that you think about that you don’t/can’t discuss. If there are topics you find that cause arguments when you discuss them, this should give you pause. Perhaps this would be a good time to go and have a godly pastor/counselor help you learn how to discuss this topic together without getting into a fight about it. If you don’t learn how to do it now, it will only get worse after marriage.
Any other ways to prepare for marriage? PRAYING!
Some people teach that praying is such an intimate thing that couples should not pray together until they are married. I COULD NOT DISAGREE MORE!! When you build a relationship APART from God and from prayer together, it will continue on that way for years to come without a definite focus otherwise. I’ve known too many couples who simply do not pray together and it does nothing to build unity in a marriage.
The idea behind the teaching of not praying before marriage is that prayer is intimate. Yes, it is. But intimate and sexual are two different things. In a relationship, the FIRST place our intimacy should be being built is in the spiritual realm. We should have spiritual intimacy with our brothers and sisters in Christ. How much more in a relationship leading toward marriage! In our culture today, we start with physical/sexual intimacy, then work toward emotional intimacy and finally (if at all) spiritual intimacy. Talk about having it upside-down! One sure way to get a marriage off to a bad start is by NOT building the relationship on having God in the center with prayer as the glue holding it together.
More ways to prepare for marriage? TRANSPARENCY!
Are we keeping things about us hidden from one another? Do we have struggles in sin areas that we are not being honest and open about? It is dangerous to your marriage if you hide who you are (or if your fiance hides who he is) until after the ceremony. Now, there are some struggles that you don’t need to go into DETAIL about (like sexual/pornography struggles), but you each need to know that these are issues. And it is vital that the one with the struggles is meeting with someone to help them work through these areas to victory. I have known of numerous marriages that were destroyed because of unchecked and hidden areas of sin (particularly with porn).
The enemy lurks in the dark, sin thrives in the dark, wickedness lures to the dark. We, as believers in Christ, are creatures OF THE LIGHT! We need to walk in the light, just as Jesus is in the light. This willingness to walk in transparency (where light filters through something to reveal it) is a result of walking in surrender to the Lord and will help to bind our marriage together through the tough times.
So as we delight in friends who are newly married or soon to be getting married (with, perhaps the hope of a wedding in our future), let’s not lose track of the COMPLETE PICTURE. The wedding is only the beginning. We are working toward the long haul…we are building toward “until death do us part.”