Aug 202014 7 Responses

Your Spouse Matters: Choose Wisely

My last semester of college I made an appointment with the President of the University. I was seeking advice regarding what graduate school to attend. After going through the various options and discussing what would be the wisest choice, the President said, “You know this doesn’t matter, right?” I was surprised by the statement. He went on to say, “All your choices are good and you are being wise to make a good decision. But where you go to school doesn’t really matter in comparison to whom you marry. She can make you or break you.”

After a decade of pastoring couples and watching marriages thrive or die, his words couldn’t have been more true.

Your spouse can make you or break you. (See: Dating to Break Up–a Unique Perspective)

It matters whom you marry.

Sadly, one of the most important decisions of our lives is often made at a time in which we are not good at decision-making, are not thinking about long-term consequences, and are not focused on the most relevant information to make the right choice.

While physical attraction is important, the looks of your spouse will dramatically change over the years.

While having fun on a Friday night is nice, going to dinner and a movie will reveal very little about whether the person will be a good spouse. (See: The Most Overlooked Characteristic of Who You Want to Marry)

While it’s appealing to have a good car and nice clothes, for most people under thirty, their cars and clothes say more about their parents than them.

Whom we marry greatly impacts our lives, yet what drives us to pick the spouse we choose is rarely related to what matters.

There are more important issues than a person’s looks, activities, and possessions. Here are three questions which every person should ask about a potential spouse:

1. Do we share the same core values? This doesn’t matter in the moment of lust, but it matters over a lifetime. People with dramatically different core values may not struggle in the first few years of marriage, but they will struggle as time passes. These values determine how we spend our time, money, and other resources. They deeply influence how we raise children. They direct our passions and dreams. Two spouses do not have to agree on every core principle, but they better share a majority of them. Without them, life will be too difficult to face together. (See: Do This Before You Put a Ring On It)

2. Are we able to negotiate differences? Two people can have every major belief in common, but if they can’t negotiate the small, day-to-day aspects of life, those shared values may not matter. Life is far more lived in the routine of day-to-day than in the hypothetical of the big picture. Can you pick a restaurant you both will enjoy? Can you debate a political topic without one forcing their idea or the other feeling disrespected? Can you mention an annoyance and the partner hear your complaint and attempt to change his/her action? Unless a couple can navigate the small issues, marriage would be far too exhausting for them. (See: Marry a Partner, Not a Child)

3. Are we enough alike that our differences aren’t exhausting? My friend says, “At first differences attract, but then they irritate.” No couple will be exactly alike, but a couple better have enough in common that their differences do not drain each other of all strength. A diversity in talents, desires, and abilities can be a strength to a couple. But the differences must come in a way that they do not deplete the energy of one another. At times, how I am needs to match how my wife is so that our natural response is pleasing to the other. I know a lot of great women to whom I could never be married. Our differences would exhaust me. And I can only imagine that I would be exhausting to many women. Find a partner who is different than you, but make sure those differences are not exhausting. (See: This Is Who You Want to Marry)

While it matters whom you marry, making a right decision doesn’t guarantee a successful marriage. After choosing properly, a couple must continue to choose properly every day after their vows. They must do the work to make a marriage work.

However, their work will be much easier if they choose wisely from the start. Choosing a good spouse does not ensure an easy marriage because no marriage is easyBut it does ensure an easier marriage. Some marriages are easier than others and the ease rarely has to do with circumstances and far more often is the result of our choices. The first choice being the person we select to marry.

Your spouse matters, so choose wisely.


7 Responses to Your Spouse Matters: Choose Wisely
  1. […] There are some situations in life where it might be okay to settle for mediocrity: when picking a ph...
  2. […] 1. You’ve chosen well. It matters who you marry. A good amount of having a great marriage is c...
  3. […] But it doesn’t work that way. (See: Your Spouse Matters–Choose Wisely) […]...
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