Marriage can and should be the best and most fulfilling part of your life, but it can also become a lifeless and bitter relationship if you do not honour and respect your partner and his or her feelings and attitudes. That a good marriage requires commitment and hard work is much more than just a cliche.
We are constantly being tempted through the media with all the things that could make our lives better, easier and happier. We can easily become self-centered and self-focused. Unfortunately this self-centeredness often plays a role even in our search for a spouse. As long as the other person meets my needs and makes ME feel wanted and loved…bring on the wedding ceremony!
Audrey Hepburn once said “If I get married, I want to be very married.” There might be various interpretations, but she probably just meant that a happy marriage is much more important than a beautiful wedding ceremony. Sometimes people are so concerned about finding Mr. or Mrs. Right that they forget that it is equally important to BE Mr. or Mrs. Right.
Self sacrifice and large portions of grace are needed to keep treating the person you married as the object of your affection – instead of the object of your gratification. While you were dating, you were willing to sacrifice almost anything for the other person. How sad it is that so often this willingness to focus your attention on the interests and feelings of the man or the woman in your life fades away after the wedding. The pure ordinariness of married life might be a disappointment to you…cooking dinner every night, trying to stay within a budget, dealing with sickness of you or your partner. There are many challenges for newly married couples. It might be that both of you had different expectations or that you suddenly are unable to communicate about things that really matter to you. Do not be discouraged. You were not wrong to believe that marriage is a satisfying and safe institution – meant to survive a life time if it is built on a solid foundation.
Premarital counselling should be part of your wedding planning as it will prepare you for marriage in many ways. A good counsellor will give you the opportunity to ask questions and provide you with practical examples and guidance on how to communicate. These sessions will help you to understand yourself and your partner, teach you ways to keep your love and the spark of romance alive and supply you with the tools to work through challenges.
There are important matters to consider before the wedding. Would you both like to have children? How would you raise them? What about family values? What if you strongly disagree about spending and saving money? And in-laws? Parents may put a strain on your relationship and resolving such issues takes time and effort.
The beauty of marriage is that it is a daily choice to share your life with someone even when everything is going wrong. Trust God to turn your minds and hearts towards Him. Pray together and ask Him to reveal his unconditional love for you.
Stephen Gaines once said that being in a long marriage is like that nice cup of coffee every morning – you might have it every day but still enjoy it! You will find the names of premarital counselors on weddingguide.co.za. Contact them for an appointment.
Photos by: RDK Photography