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Avoid getting married for the wrong reasons

Do we have to get married to be somebody? Do we have to get married to be emotionally fulfilled? Do we have to get married to gain spiritual favor with God? The answer to all these questions is no. Then, why are so many people getting married as if it is going out of style? It is my gut feeling that a significant number of individuals are seeking marriage for the wrong reasons. Believe it or not, they are not altogether to blame.

Parents and guardians often help create the mindset in our youth that life isn’t fulfilling without marriage. This starts from the cradle when the mother holds her son in her arms and repeatedly pronounces these unfortunate words, “I can’t wait for you to grow up, get married, and bring me some grandchildren,” or “I hope you grow up to be a good wife”. These phrases seem healthy and normal but, in reality, they are meaningless to developing children whose goals should not be marriage, but blossoming into a person with a well-balanced character. These tender children are gradually being robbed of the wholesome concept that the single life is a gift from God and a time to cherish and love. Forming character is more important than planning for marriage. Many are unfaithful stewards of their single life, thus plummeting themselves into marriage for the wrong reasons.

Understanding some of the wrong reasons for which people get married may help us to better know why some people are unfaithful stewards of singleness. Dr. Barbara De Angelis, in her book “Are You The One For Me?” states some of the wrong reasons to marry:

Pressure: This is the influence friends, family, society and your own psyche place upon you that give the message that you should be in a relationship, and if you’re not something is wrong with you. Key questions to ask would be: Are most of your friends a part of a couple but you are still single? Are you unmarried and over 30? Are you the last person in your family to “settle down”? Are you recently divorced? In our society, we can really heap lots of pressure on unmarried family members and friends. It is time that we leave them alone and learn to appreciate and value their singleness.

Loneliness and desperation:
Too many individuals only get married because they are desperate or lonely. Dr. Angelis is right when she writes, “When you are feeling lonely or desperate, you are much more likely to make poor love choices and end up in unfulfilling relationships.” A lonely and desperate person will remain lonely after marriage. Some people are so emotionally empty that they are desperate for anyone to marry. In the end, these people end up in a painful relationship.

Sexual hunger:
Some people are so sexually driven that they end up seeking someone to care for them but, in reality, they want sex more than long-lasting intimate relationships. Some people act as if they are “on heat” like dogs, and during those times, they find a lover to share their passion. Sometimes the passion remains until the wedding day, but after the wedding day, it diminishes into the abyss of frustration and pain.

To avoid growing up:
This is a really big one in our country. There are too many people who enter marriage simply because they want to be taken care of. These people usually become emotionally dependent on those they love. This kind of relationship can usually be identified when there is a big age difference between partners, there is a big difference in financial and professional success and there is a big contrast in the level of life experience between the partners.

There are many who remain in a pre-marriage relationship because they are afraid of what may happen if they leave. They may feel guilty to leave because they did not treat the person as nicely as the person treated them. When you decide to be with someone out of guilt and not love, you are ripping them and yourself off.

To fill up your emotional and spiritual emptiness:
Dr. Angelis clearly writes, “If you have deep places of emptiness within you, no partner, regardless of how much they love you, will be able to fill that emptiness.”

There would be more successful marriages if people would take the time to know themselves first before they seek to explore the mind of someone else. It is very easy to mistake physical passion, or romantic infatuation, for genuine, long-lasting love. One of the whys to prevent getting married for the wrong reasons is not to date until you are ready for a romantic relationship that may lead to marriage. Why get seriously in love with someone and you have no intentions of getting married to that person? If the relationship is too long, there is a great risk of the relationship getting stale and the couple spending lots of time patching up bad feelings. When the time comes for marriage, they are more in love with love itself than with each other. They would have gotten married for the wrong reason. A great mistake young people make is that they never allow themselves to experience a significant period of their young life unattached. From the time they understand the meaning of the word love, they have serious relationships, which often cause them to expend their energy in extremely long telephone calls, sleepless nights and failing grades, loss of appetite, etc. Dear readers, avoid getting married for the wrong reasons.

• Barrington Brennen is a marriage and family therapist. Send your questions or comments to question@soencouragment.org, telephone 327-1980 or visit www.soencouragement.org.  

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