Lately I have been thinking about the fears that single people have about making marriage commitments. Here are some of the comments I have heard:
“If it doesn’t work out, she’ll leave and take half of my stuff.”
“I’m afraid that he’ll become another child I have to support”
“She’s nice to me now, but once we get married, who knows?”
“He pays attention to me now, but if we get married will he still be interested in me?”
“Marriages don’t last very long anymore, so why not just live together. It makes the inevitable break-up a lot less messy.”
All these statements hold truth in them for many people. And the person you date might be one of them. So why is this, and what do you do about it?
Just because you believe that these statements are not true about you, doesn’t mean that you will not have to deal with them if they come up in your dating relationships. In fact, if one of them is your potential partner’s fear, you will be right in the middle of it.
Most of these fears come from direct or indirect experience, many of which are a result of the family we grew up in or relationships around us. Our family and friends have a huge influence on the beliefs that we hold – and closely held beliefs are hard to change. Because so many people are the children of divorced parents – whether physically or emotionally divorced – it may become necessary (if you are willing to pursue this relationship) to address these fears with patience and love. Reassurance is the key here. Not only is reassurance required, but also so is rigorous honesty with oneself.
- Am I really willing to follow through with a lifetime commitment to a spouse?
- Will I do everything in my power to be a financially and emotionally responsible mate?
- Will I treat my partner with love and respect even when I don’t feel like it?
- Will I commit time and energy to the relationship, knowing that neglect is one of the biggest killers of relationships?
If I can truly answer ‘yes’ to these questions, then perhaps I am ready to move forward, even in the face of other’s fears.
Dating relationships that drag on for years and years can be very painful. And if they ultimately end up in marriage, there may be trust or other issues. Repairs may need to be addressed. Just something to think about.
“Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” 1 John 4:18