Recently we shifted the emphasis on the marriage prep class we teach at our church from pre-marrieds to pre-engaged couples. Often couples were coming to our class at the very last stage of their engagement just prior to marriage (some couples even missed a class because their wedding fell on one of the class dates). Although we welcome everyone, we feel that serious couples should attend prior to making an engagement decision – and the sooner the better.
With the high rate of divorce in our country, it makes sense to examine all aspects of the marriage process. Our belief, along with many other educators, is that up front work on the relationship will pay substantial dividends.
When a couple enters into a relationship, they both have a picture in their heads of what a marriage is supposed to look like. The trouble is, that picture is never the same – and sometimes it is so different that there is most likely real pain ahead if the couple decides to marry.
In this case, a break-up is a real success. The expectations are too different and there will likely be disappointment after disappointment. Both will feel unheard and unloved. The best solution for this couple is to have a good good-bye.
There are other couples, however, that are well suited for each other, but have a difficult time moving forward. Perhaps there is a fear of marriage because of divorced parents or friends. There might be a lot of negative advice from well-meaning friends. Perhaps they are having trouble letting go of an imaginary fantasy mate they have conjured up over the years. It is sad when these couples abandon the relationship without trying to work through the resistance. Often success is within their reach.
Once married, all break-ups are painful and might be called failures, even when unavoidable. Often there are children involved, finances are complicated to separate (or insufficient) and close family members and friends are emotionally wounded as well. The list goes on.
Having a successful God-honoring marriage begins with choosing the right person. That means really knowing the person before you make a commitment. Sometimes that means breaking up and continuing to look for Mr. or Mrs. Right. It takes courage and a willingness to suffer the resulting grief.
Letting go of the wrong relationship before getting married is a success.