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 of 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 all
together to blame.
A GIFT FROM GOD
- Parents and guardians often help
create the mind-set in our youth that life isnít fulfilling without
marriage. This starts from the cradle when the mother holds her son in her
arms and repeatedly pronounces these unfortunate words: "I canít wait
for you to grown up, get married, and bring me some grand children." 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 be not 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
Getting married is a
built-in natural desire God has given most of us. However, stewardship of
singleness (which comes before marriage) is the first requirement--before
we can face the commitment of 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
- This is the influence friends, family, society and your own psyche
place upon you that give the message "You should be in a
relationship, and if youíre not something is wrong with you." Key
questions to ask would be a) Are most of your friends part of a couple, but
you are still single? b) Are you unmarried and over thirty? c) Are you the
last person in your family to "settle down?" d) 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.
and Desperation -
many individuals only get married because they are desperate or lonely. Dr.
Angelis is right when she says "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 persons end up in a painful
Hunger - Some people are so sexually driven
that they end up seeking someone to care for 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.
From Your Own Life - Many get married not
because they have found the right person "but as an excuse to avoid
their own life." Evaluating the following statements may help you know
whether you are avoiding dealing with your own life?
I have a history of
I donít go for long
periods of time without being in a relationship
The relationships I
get involved in are very time-consuming.
When Iím in a
relationship, I devote less time to my own interests and friends.
As a rule I donít
enjoy spending time alone, and would rather be with other people
I find it easier to
motivate others to solve their own problems than to motivate my self to
solve my own.
"Some people have
relationships because they are bored with the lack of passion and purpose in
their own lives, and rather than looking within to find out why they feel
that way, they get involved in a love affair and make that their
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 persons usually become dependant
emotionally on those they love. This kind of relationship can usually be
identified when a) there is a big age difference between partners. b) there
is a big difference in financial and professional success. c) there is a big
contrast in life experience level between the partners.
- There are many who remain in a pre-marriage relationship because
they are afraid what might happen if they left. 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."
Fill Up Your Emotional and Spiritual Emptiness -
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
WHAT TO DO?
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 or not for a long time? 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 appetites, etc. Thus, they miss the joy of developing genuine
friendships that do not lead to romance. Remember, dating puts one out of
- That is, we are locked off from establishing other relationships.
When we start "going out of circulation" too early in life, we will
end up in a marriage that will lock us away from a world of happiness,
freedom, and growth. This is one reason why pre-marriage counseling for all
couples is vital. Dear readers, avoid getting married for the wrong reasons.
Barrington H. Brennen, MA, NCP,
BCCP, is a marriage and family therapist. Send your questions or
comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 242-327 1980 or visit