Sep 052016 2 Responses

5 Signs You’re Ready to Get Married

The old adage is that you will know when you know. When a guy asks a mentor how to know when you’re ready to get married, many wise old mentors say, “You will know when you know.”

It sounds good, but it’s meaningless. Many people who think they knew, end up divorced almost as quickly as they got married. Others who have long doubted, should’ve popped the question years ago. There has to be a better insight than the cliche–you’ll know when you know.

Rather than an old cliche, here are 5 ways to know when you are ready to get married:

1. You’ve chosen well. It matters who you marry. A good amount of having a great marriage is choosing a good spouse. No one is perfect, but not every choice is equal. Is the person patient and kind? Do their values match yours? Are they humble and fair-minded? Can they suffer well? Will they challenge you while also accepting your imperfections? What I love about Jenny is that she is low-maintenance, but highly motivated. That’s a good combination. (See: Your Spouse Matters–Choose Wisely)

2. You’re in the right season of life. There are times when a person shouldn’t get married. Age, personal circumstances, and clarity of thought should influence the timing of a relationship. Marriage is an adult decision and should not be entered into until a person is a few years into their twenties. Choices about a spouse shouldn’t be made in seasons of great grief, recovery from addiction, or other circumstances which might greatly influence decision-making. It’s not wise to consider a second marriage until other relationships are properly settled. Timing is rarely perfect, but certain times are better than others.

3. You’re better together than apart. If a person can happily be single, it is likely preferred. Marriage is challenging. If not done properly, it can create a wake of damage. The only downside to the single-life not lived well is to one’s self. Marriage should be considered only if a person would rather be married than single and if the selected partner makes them better. In a good marriage, each partner strengthens one another. When that is the case, marriage is a good option.

4. People you respect approve of the relationship and the marriage. Not every person in your circle has to approve of who you want to marry, but most should. The feelings of love–and especially lust–can blind us. Maybe more than any other issue in life, we need the wisdom of others to help us understand who to marry and when to get married. We should not trust ourselves. If key people whom we respect have hesitations about our partner, we should at minimum check out those hesitations. With the help of a professional, a couple can weigh the possible concerns of their friends/family against what the person in love sees.

5. You are ready to embrace marriage. The first point focused on choosing the right person, the last point is about being the right person. You can do everything right regarding marriage, but if you don’t personally choose to embrace what a marriage demands, the relationship is doomed. Many individuals love the idea of being married, but refuse to make the effort necessary for marriage. Until you’re willing to humbly seek the well-being of another, to radically change your schedule/priorities, and to do everything in your power to have the best relationship possible, you should not get married. (See: Do This Before You Put a Ring On It)

Everyone wants a guarantee that if they get married it will work. Sadly, there are no guarantees. However, if a couple prepares properly for marriage, they have a far better chance of experiencing success.

2 Responses to 5 Signs You’re Ready to Get Married
  1. Elaine Reply

    Kevin, I have really enjoyed your columns. As a Christian, I have felt that your advice is practical and Biblical.
    This article is timely in that I have a friend who is late 40 ish who is hearing impaired and has a very tender heart toward those who have disabilities. She is a Christian and has two young adult daughters. She divorced her husband two years ago because he was involved with phone sex. He is also disabled and not physically able (I think) to have a real sexual relationship…my friend went deeply in debt to buy a brand new home and discovered almost immediately that she could not afford the payments. Each month is stressful and she is anxious all the time about it.
    She homeschooled both girls, but neither ever completed their studies (lack of discipline) and neither has even a diploma or employable skills. The younger girl is 19 and has been running after men for the past 3 years. All of them are dysfunctional and she has been stressing her mother with her erratic behavior.
    The older daughter age 22 has social phobia so bad that she will not even talk to a stranger or leave her mother’s side. She stays home all day with no income and no outlets or friends. She has never worked, can’t function emotionally to get a job, but has not been in counseling because all of the younger girl’s emotional episodes demand all of her mother’s attention.
    My friend attends church with me and is a dedicated Christian. She does lack sound skills with dealing with all these issues.
    I just found out that she is engaged to a young man that she met online about 18 months ago. He is not divorced, but he is seeking one. He is about 10 years younger than her and is in a nursing home because he had brain cancer in 2008.
    He is wheelchair bound and has speech problems and cannot walk. He looks very frail and unhealthy. He is a Christian and they talk on the computer and she goes over to the nursing home and visits him when she has gas money. He is on disability and has no extra income.
    He has three children and they are living with his mother because his first wife has substance abuse issues.
    About once a month my friend and this man go to the local church near the nursing home together where the pastor there is a former pastor at our church.
    She has not counseled with our pastor at our church and has “pulled back” from interacting in some sense of the word.
    No one at our church (we are a close group of older ladies…big sisters, if you will)…can bring ourselves to say we think she is moving in the right direction.
    She believes that the Lord has a special ministry for the two of them…despite the fact that he has all these health needs and she has no financial means to get her (always broken down) truck equipped with a wheelchair lift nor does she have the money to equip her home for all of his needs.
    Did I mention that her handicapped mother lives with her also. She too is unable to drive, does not come to church, and does not interact with society at all except for doctor’s appointments.
    How do we get her to stop before bad gets even worse?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Thank you for your response. I wish I had an easy answer. My short answer is–I don’t think you can keep it from going from bad to worse. She has to be willing to recognize the problem and take steps forward. To me, she needs a program like Celebrate Recovery and professional counseling. Then, your church group could give her encouragement and emotional support and she works on her issues. I don’t see a way the church can prevent her from making poor choices. Maybe your ministry is to be there for her when she faces the consequences of her poor choices?

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