It is a concern that the most vital institution of mankind has such little respect, support, and knowledge regarding marriage. People view it as something akin to living together as they discount the importance of the holy bonds, the commitment, and sacrifice of self that it takes as each choose to prioritize their mate, while denying self. To acheive the relationship that it takes in marriage to procure joy and real depth of love, then it is absolutely necessary for both members to be all in! Neither can see this as a temporary relationship that is based upon the other "making me happy" if the marriage is to truly thrive.
A relationship required for this mission would have persevered, weighed, tested, and measured the character of their proposed mate. Is this person a person of integrity, trust, dependability, responsibility, discernment, insight, judgement, self management (anger, impulse control, and not afflicted with addiction), with good time management, financial security, higher moral reasoning ability, the ability to accept differences without feeling threatened, the ability to be flexible, respectibility, patience, long suffering, does not hold wrongs against others and is able to forgive, along with the ability to support self, interact and to work alongside others with the ability to accept constructive attempts to correct without feeling persecuted or defensive. This person would need to not have the need to control or to be controlled, and possess the ability to listen and to speak with grace.
One would need to see this person happy, sad, mad, disappointed, successful, and grieving-to know who this person really is, without the pretense, fluff, or masks that often people rush into relationships possessing and deceiving others with. This vulnerability is necessary in order to know the real person in the core of their being. To know this-requires time to learn if one can trust the other fully without experiencing manipulation, coercion, breach of confidentiality, or sublte controlling behaviors; and is not learned within a few weeks or months like most couples who plunge head first into high risk relationships without truly knowing anything of real value regarding the other; and while also keeping oneself under tight control so as to not be known by the other. "After all, if they know who I really am, then they would not love or want me..." says many clients. They rush into shallow relationships and entrap each other to a stranger and expect this to work. Then, in a short time-they find themselves trapped with someone completely different of whom they thought. Feeling betrayed?
A relationship worth haing takes time. We must get past the 12-18 month honeymoon phase-witness the other in many situations-and ask ourselves about the real character that we are experiencing instead of ignoring it or thinking it will change when we fix them. We must be real and authentic but also encourage the other to follow this lead as we show grace. We must take note of any attempt to decieve and then take this to heart. Both will need to be all in. One cannot grow in a one-sided relationship nor within one that is filled with selfishness. One's true self must be respected and not placed at risk of guilt of shame by the other. We must know that we are safe with the other even when we fail to be all that we desire to be, feeling secure in our own skin but also within the relationship. Anything less will end badly.
Many elements can threaten this union. How do you perceive parenting? How does the families of both feel regarding each other? What do those relationships look like between the mate and their parents? What about religion or faith issues? What cultural differences are there? Are there health issues? What happens should these occur? Is this a first marriage or has there been others? Why? Does the other have children from another person who co-parents? What does this look like? Each of these and many more issues should be discussed and resolved prior to marriage. What are the deal breakers? Do both work? What about the money issues? House work and yard work expectations? One cannot pretend that all will be fine when differences of heart and soul are present simply because our love will get us through this.
There will be times when the other will percieve you and your will percieve them as an annoyance-but if this grows without grace-then soon each see only the negative of the other and disrespect ensues, as each stops trying. Focusing on the positives and forgiving are absolutely necessary. Often individuals have only their own family to mirror from-in regards to what a marriage should look like, and it is woefully lacking of positive relational components. Why not take the time needed and seek excellent guidance so as to acheive a Grace-filled Marriage that can and does stand strong even during the storms of time?