Time if Your Best Friend -- Article By Barrington H. Brennen


Time is Your Best Friend

See updated article April 4, 2017

Barrington H. Brennen, 2001

Barrington H. Brennen

QUESTION: I just met a young, good looking guy, and we want to get married in December. You have been talking about the importance of sufficient time in establishing a relationship. Would three to four months be sufficient time for a healthy courtship? Signed, Need To Know Now.

ANSWER: Certainly not. From the time a couple can say they are seriously in love to the time of marriage, it should be at least one year. It is even better when courtship lasts for about two to three years, which includes an engagement period of about six months to a year. Why do I say at least a year? Both individuals in a romantic relationship need to know about each other's personal values, family traditions and rituals along with cultural differences. I have observed that the best way for this to happen is to allow at least one year for the relationship. This would permit each individual to know each other's expectations and practices during birthdays, thanksgiving, Christmas, summer and winter vacations, etc. One can be as smart as Voltaire or talkative as Jerry Lewis, but unless these events and rituals are experienced together before marriage an unwise decision might be made. You might discover irreconcilable differences too late.

In addition, this time would test the effect of disappointment, tension, arguments, opposition, sadness and joy, forgiveness, unconditional love and the onset of uncontrollable desires. Do not cut yourself short of the joys of courtship. Enjoy the thrills of loving someone before you say "I do." In other words, one would want some serious questions answered before that final decision is made. Questions like: "What are some of the social activities my friend likes to do to entertain himself/herself? Do they seriously conflict with my own views and practices of social entertainment?" "What are my friends' family expectation of me? Am I expected to attend every Christmas dinner, every birthday party, every thanks giving dinner, no matter what?" "Is my friend comfortable with attending prayer meetings, or is he/she against church meetings other than Sabbath?" There are many more questions about finance, family size, etc I can present here but space would not allow it. Some of these you can only talk about, but there are others you must have the time to experience together.

Although you have heard of stories of how Dick and Jane met on Wednesday and two weeks later were walking down the aisle and forty-five years later were still happily married, these stories are very few and far between. Having too long a courtship can also be as detrimental (I will discuss this in another column), this is why I like Mrs. Ellen G. White's remarks concerning this point found in Adventist Home, page 44, she says, "Make haste slowly." Dear friend, there is a sober thought I want to leave with you by Gloria Pitzer: "Marriages may be made in heaven, but a lot of details have to be worked out here on earth."



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