Marriage tends to be a popular topic this time of year—June is the busiest month for tying the knot—but earlier this month marriage made the news among evangelical circles for surprising reasons. The first was an article from Kay Warren, co-founder of Saddleback Church and wife of Rick Warren, in which she confessed she and her husband had spent many years living out a marital hell. The second came from Lysa Terkeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, when she announced that she was divorcing her husband of 25 years due to infidelity and substance abuse.
Reading honest depictions of the struggles of marriage from two women who, from the outside, seem to have both the marriage and spiritual living thing all figured out, is not just refreshing, it’s essential: Those who are dating and considering marriage need to know that marriage is a long road, filled with both joy and sorrow, pain and healing and that, sometimes, there is no happily ever after.
In other words, marriage is not an institution for the faint of heart or weak of spirit. So what if you’ve met the partner of your dreams, and the two of you are beginning to talk about the “M” word? It’s important to know if you’re truly prepared to tie the knot and give your best toward a healthy, happy marriage for decades to come.
But how do you know when you’re ready, let alone when your partner is? Read my five signs for marriage readiness at Relevant Magazine.
4 thoughts on “How Do You Know When You’re Ready to Get Married?”
Excellent article, Jamie. I would stress the importance of transparent honesty with the future spouse and having some concept prior to marriage of the sacredness of the vows you are going to make, i.e., of the involvement of God in one’s individual life and in the life of the person you are going to marry. God’s promises to me are essential to my being able to make meaningful promises to a person, because I am sure to stumble, fall, fail, and — as you so wisely point out — face crises not imaginable, including the changes inevitably taking place in one’s partner. Part of the trouble with those high-profile Christian marriages is that the couple lies to the world about the reality they are living and they probably lie to themselves, to one another, and to God. It’s show business, not Christianity. I have seen entire Christian communities fall apart by everyone pretending to be some trumped up notion of “ideal” that becomes especially vile when it is perpetrated through some form of violence upon the children. And doesn’t that adjective have renewed meaning in the present political climate and for precisely the same reasons? Those are cults, not churches (and dictatorship, not democracy), because the “space” to see, admit, and correct failure has been high-jacked and replaced with fraud.
Honesty cannot be stressed enough! I do think often the lies are to self — meaning, not even purposeful or realized, until things crumble. I often say that marriage is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I imagine that’s true for many people, but it’s hard to admit, isn’t it? But if we all owned up to that and helped each other, then maybe it wouldn’t be as hard after all. Good to hear from you, btw. I hope you are doing well!
Typically, it helps to have a significant other whom you care deeply about and wouldn’t mind growing old together with; somebody whose well-being is very important to you and you trust to have your back and do right by you.
A lot of kids were told “Marry now, God will bless you with love later on down the road.” But they found nothing but pain and misery because it didn’t turn out that way. People aren’t a one-size-fits-all puzzle that goes together in the exact same way, so it would seem, are their relationships.
Absolutely! I have heard of successful marriages of the latter sort that you mentioned, but I’m not a fan of that sort of arrangement. Starting with mutual love, affection, dedication, etc. is definitely the way to go. Finding that is a blessing indeed.