Before You Marry

couple-132

Are We Making Progress?

We see people regularly make three mistakes when it comes to defining relationships. The first is they don’t define them. They feel their way through relationships trying to discern from their emotions how they should treat the people in their lives. We don’t want to discount the influence of emotions because they are a good thing. Emotions add energy to life and make our decisions more effective by raising our motivation. Emotions will give you courage to do what you know you ought to do. They assist us on our journey, but they are not equipped to be our guides. When we turn over the direction of our lives to the whims of our emotions, we guarantee unpredictable outcomes.

Second, people neglect to ask the question, “Are we at the same level of commitment or development in our relationship?” Relationships are a matter of the heart so they involve strong emotions and intense personal desires. At the same time, few of us get any real training in how relationships work so we are novices at how to guide these powerful forces. We have an instinctive sense that we ought to be at similar levels of personal investment in the relationship if it is going to succeed, so we make assumptions about the other person rather than actually discussing the subject in a rational and intentional way. They simply let their relationships operate accidentally and hope for the best.

You may accidentally land at the same place and be amazed at how it works out. You may just as easily end up as an accident that leaves behind shattered dreams and a broken heart.

Third, some people who believe it is important to define relationships overwork the issue and overanalyze every aspect. Check out the following examples we have encountered of questions that create an awkward atmosphere that defeats almost every possibility for healthy relationships.

It is wise to discern if the two of you have what it takes, not just to be happy, but to work through the rigors of an adult life together by asking:

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His Perspective

  • Does my work ethic match the size of the goals I say I want to accomplish?
  • Am I willing to do domestic chores with a good attitude?
  • Do inconveniences make me angry to the point of being destructive to my relationships?
  • Am I experienced at delayed gratification? Do I feel strong when I delay purchases, personal preferences, sexual urges, and fun activities for higher priorities?
  • Am I humble enough to believe that sometimes the woman I love is right? Can I think of any examples where I said, “Wow, she is much smarter about that than I am”?

Her Perspective

  • Does my work ethic match the size of the goals I say I want to accomplish?
  • Am I willing to do domestic chores with a good attitude?
  • When my partner is not able to help me with something
    I think is important, do I get angry with him or do I applaud him for his hard work and attention to personal growth?
  • Am I experienced at sharing control? When I feel emotionally strong about something, do I humbly negotiate or do I use my emotions to get others to do what I want?
  • Am I secure enough to accept constructive criticism from people I don’t want to disappoint?
  • Am I humble enough to believe that sometimes the man I love is right? Can I think of any examples where I said, “Wow, he is much smarter about that than I am”?

 

Adapted from The Before-You-Marry Book of Questions, by Bill & Pam Farrell.

Copyright © 2013  Bill & Pam Farrell. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Used with Permission, all rights reserved.

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