According to the statistics, six out of ten people in America live as a single or live with a partner without married. There are so many reasons and social environments changed than the previous decades. In thirty-seven years of pastoral ministry, I’ve married numerous couples.
The bride is glowing like an angel. Her face is radiant with joyous storybook expectations of the marriage she is about to speak into covenant. This is the pinnacle of her dreams. She holds the hand of the man she had chosen to be her partner for life and makes her covenant before God, saying, “I do.” Six months later, all hell breaks loose. She tears dripping off her cheeks, gasping with convulsive sobs, saying, “What did I ever see in him?”
The groom stands holding her hand tenderly, pledging before God and man that he will “love, honor, protect, and provide” for his radiant bride. She is to be the queen of his life. She is the one whom God has sent into his life as the Proverbs 31 woman whose price is far above rubies.” Six months later, he is weeping, head held in his trembling hands, sobbing like a child who has been slapped by a schoolyard bully, blubbering, “How did this ever happen to me? I thought I knew her. Who is this person I’ve married?”
Let’s examine some of the basic reasons this scenario happens to good people just like you.
Entering into marriage with high expectations and low preparation
Consider the science of cutting someone’s hair. You can’t cut someone’s hair or trim their toenails without a license. You can't fish in a lake, a stream, or the ocean without a license. You can’t go squirrel hunting or deer hunting without a license. If you are under fifteen years of age, you have to take a gun safety course that coasts fifty dollars to hunt something that can’t shoot back. But to get a license to get married, a license that empowers you to create new life, destroy your life, or crush the dreams and hopes of your spouse and family, all you have to do is have twenty-five dollars, and your are an instant player. One man said, “Marriage is like fishing; you buy a license and take your chances.” Marriage is made in heaven, but so far thunder and lightning. One old maid said this concerning marriage: “What do I need with a man? I have a stove that smokes, a parrot that courses, and a cat that stays out all night.” At least her expectations were realistic.
A beautiful young lady was asked a question about the perfect marriage that she was going to have, What kind of man would you like to marry? She joyously responded, “I want a husband who can dance, looks good, and likes what I feed him.” Conflicting expectations are the source of most unhappiness in marriage. Which of the following expectations do you have that cause conflict with your spouse? Which of the following statements do you say?
You must like my friends and want to socialize with them. Be sure you make our family priorities more important than your work. You have to include me in all your activities. Never do anything that upsets me. Lose weight and stay in shape. Make me happy, because: ‘If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.‘ You have to agree with me. I wish you’d start making more money. You need to be more affectionate and attentive. You better never be attracted to anyone else. You have to be the first to make up when we argue.
If you have these expectations, you are going to be extremely disappointed. There is more to marital readiness than a blood test. How sad that we spend so many years training for a career and so little time preparing for marriage. A hasty courtship can often lead to a marriage relationship that is a disaster. Delaying your marriage by choice or because of financial or educational circumstances is usually beneficial. The passage of time allows all infatuation to die, while it tempers and develops true love and spiritual attraction.
Trying to escape from an unhappy home via marriage is like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Over 60 percent of teenage marriages end in divorce. The more mature you are at the time of your marriage, the greater the probability of your success in marriage. Marriage is more than a honeymoon; it’s a lifetime contract. Through sickness and health, for richer and for poorer, marriage requires devotion and a mature ability to commit when it’s the last thing you want to do. Marriage is the act of two incompatible people learning to become compatible via compassionate compromise.
Men and women fail to recognize the differences between the sexes
A man was walking along a California beach and stumbled across an old lantern. He picked up, rubbed it, and out popped a genie. The beautiful genie said, "Thank you for releasing me from the lantern, kind Sir. Ask me any wish you can imagine, and I will grant you your wish." The man thought for a while and finally said, "I’ve always wanted to go Hawaii, but I'm afraid to fly, and I get very seasick on a ship. Could you build me a highway from my beachfront home in California to Hawaii?“ The genie laughed, "That's impossible! Think of the logistics. How would the support beams ever reach the bottom of the Pacific Ocean? Think how much concrete and steel would be required, and imagine the engineering impossibilities of such a feat. Make another wish."
The man thought and finally responded, "My wife thinks I'm insensitive. Help me to fully understand women. Why do they cry when they are happy? Why do they cry when they are mad? Why do their moods change instantly and for no reason?
Help me to fully understand women." The genie looked at the man and said, "Do you want that highway to Hawaii to have two lanes or four?"
1Pet 3:7 gives the following command for all men, "Husbands, likewise, dwell with your wives with understanding...that your prayers may not be hindered.“ The fact is that before marriage, opposites attract; after marriage, opposites irritate. Someone has said, "Women faults are many. Men have only two: everything they say, and everything they do.“
One of the major sources of friction in marriage is the inability or refusal of men to "dwell with your partner with understanding." The differences between the sexes remain when differences are misunderstood or unappreciated. On one occasion, scientists gathered to determine if a computer should be called she or he. They divided into two groups, men and women, to discuss the differences in men and women. The women scientists said that a computer should be addressed in the masculine gender. They gave these three reasons: In order to get their attention, you have to turn them on. They are supposed to solve problems, but half the time they are the problem. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that had you waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.
The men scientists concluded that computers should be addressed in the feminine gender, and they gave these three reasons: No one but the creator understanding their internal logic. Even your smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory. As soon as you commit one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.
Both men and women must accept this fact: Men and women are different, and those differences will never change. You must understand those differences and dwell together according to knowledge.