A marriage can be over before it starts. Because a couple refuses to build a healthy relationship, they have little chance of surviving the challenges of marriage. While a wise dating/engagement cannot ensure a great marriage, foolishness prior to marriage can nearly guarantee failure in marriage.
5 Things Which Destroy Marriage Before It Starts
1. Ignoring issues. A tremor in dating becomes an earthquake in marriage. It must be confronted before you say “I do.” Far too many couples allow the feelings of new love to blind them from major issues. Fiancee’s overlook alcoholism, addiction, and joblessness. They downplay the importance of respect and trust. They minimize fits of rage or contempt.
Issues cannot be ignored. The presence of tough spots within the relationship shouldn’t frighten a couple. Every man and woman have things they should improve before marriage. However, they must be dealt with before it starts.
2. Rushing the Relationship. Cars might be designed to go from 0 to 60 in just a few seconds, but relationships are not. Trust takes time. Meaningful connection can’t be quickly manufactured. The best way to ruin a relationship is to rush it. Thoughts of marriage just weeks into a new relationship stunts any possibility for discernment. A rushed relationship says little about the other person and much about our own need to be loved. It says we love the idea of love more than we love the other person.
A healthy marriage is built slowly. When two people patiently work their way through each stage of a relationship, they learn the skills necessary for what comes next. Each stage teaches a couple multiple lessons. Rushed love creates ignorant lovers.
3. Making false assumptions. The problem of assumptions is we rarely realize we are making them. We think our way of seeing the world is the way everyone sees it so we just assume our partner will feel the same way we do. But rarely are our assumptions accurate. Our future families won’t naturally take on our birth family’s strengths and we won’t automatically avoid their weaknesses.
False assumptions are destroyed by good communication. Instead of assuming how something will be, we must ask our spouse his/her thoughts, beliefs, expectations, and understandings. But even our vocabulary must be checked for assumptions, see 7 Terms Every Couple Must Define.
4. Letting Family Interfere. As new relationships are formed, old relationships have to transform. Whenever we fail to have proper boundaries with our families during dating and engagement, we are setting ourselves up for failure in marriage. Wise individuals request and listen to advice from their family regarding who they date and whom they may marry. While every family is different, it’s important to know what those who love us most see as possible strengths and weaknesses within relationships. The decision to marry is ultimately up to the individual, but a family’s opinion should be sought.
But when family is allowed to overstep their boundaries and engage themselves in the inner-workings of our relationship, a couple should see red flags. Extended family has responsibilities to stay within their bounds, but a bad marriage is never caused by family. It’s always the result of a couple refusing to communicate and live by proper boundaries regarding family. An over-involved mother-in-law won’t kill your marriage; a refusal by you and your spouse to confront your mother-in-law will.
5. Arrogance. Every young person in love believes their love is unique. What they don’t realize is that every person who has ever been in love has experienced the same feeling. (See: When You Feel What No One Else Has Ever Felt) A little youthful ignorance regarding ourselves doesn’t do much harm, but when that ignorance turns to arrogance, a couple is in trouble. Arrogance leads to apathy. When we believe we are better than others, we stop working. We don’t learn. We think our relationship will be perfect. When it’s not–and it won’t be–we blame our spouse or some other circumstances. Arrogance kills marriages. It induces affairs. It promotes selfishness. And it hinders true intimacy.
Humility is a prerequisite to marital success. Only when a couple is humble enough to recognize and admit that they aren’t perfect, will they seek the help they need to have a healthy relationship.
The right start doesn’t guarantee the perfect finish, but a bad start goes a long way to ensuring a good ending never occurs. Just a few wise decisions while dating and being engaged can greatly enhance a couple’s chance of having a healthy relationship.
For seriously dating or engaged couples, read: