Before my first marriage, I had four years of dating and fighting and breaking up and getting back together and doubts upon doubts and a handful of people telling me we maybe shouldn’t be together.
I was probably about 90% sure that I was willingly walking into a hard marriage.
And I moved forward. (Why?, you may ask.)
And it was hard almost the entire time.
And we divorced after almost nineteen years.
Before my second marriage, I felt peace and it felt right and we were given the go-ahead by our counselor after much intense counseling and I couldn’t wait to marry that man.
I was probably 97% sure that I was willingly walking into a good marriage. (Why not 99%? ONLY because it was both our second marriages.)
And it has been good between us almost the entire time.
Here’s what I believe. I believe that even the most in-love, compatible, counseling-up’d, others saying ‘go for it’ couples can truly only be about 95-99% sure of their choice.
(Now, when I say 95-99%, I don’t mean that they think there’s a 1-4% chance they’ll divorce, I mean that they have 1-4% doubt that things might not turn out like they’re thinking…)
Because, c’mon…marriage. Marriage is hard. Marriage is work. People change. People don’t change. Life is crazy and throws unexpected twists and turns right in front of us, things like children and stepchildren, job changes, health issues, deaths in our family, et cetera. And there’s sin. And we’re human. You get the picture.
Okay, so where am I going with this?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if, like me twenty-five years ago, you are pretty sure your future marriage will be harder than the average hard (because perhaps your dating life seems harder than the average hard), you might want to really reconsider marrying this person. Because marriage is LONG and DAILY and ALL-CONSUMING. (It’s even more LONG and DAILY and ALL-CONSUMING if the marriage is difficult.)
I will also say this, if you have doubts more than or even simply as much as you feel good about your relationship, that should be a red flag.
A friend of mine, years ago, was talking about her marriage. And she said, in passing, “My husband just cherishes me.” And I started to cry. Because that wasn't my experience in my first marriage. I not only didn't feel cherished, ever, I actually felt un-liked. So, perhaps ask yourself the following: do I feel protected, treated with tenderness, nurtured, held dear, indulged from time to time…in other words, according to author Gary Thomas, do you feel cherished? It is an actual thing to feel in a marriage. Not just because my friend said so, but because it is my experience now.
I believe you should feel confident on your wedding day and leading up to it. Again, the small percentage niggling simply because we’re humans who don’t own crystal balls, sure. But more than that and you should listen to your sweet little heart telling your sweet little mind something that you probably already know.
If you’re not sure if your partner loves you or wants you as much as you love or want him…
If you’re not sure you can picture him excitedly proposing or looking at you with a big goofy grin on his face as you walk down the aisle toward him…
If he seems annoyed with you and who you are and some of your most basic personality quirks…
If you are going back and forth in your head, daily or weekly…
If you’re just not sure, sweet one, RE-EVALUATE.
My little sister just got engaged, and she said the most brilliant, perfect thing to me about her fiancée. She said, “My head and my heart agree.”
I truly believe you can know, or at least, have a really, really good, accurate, educated, prayed-up, counsel-sought ‘guess’ that can lead you to making a decision you feel confident in.
And if that confidence is ebbing and flowing before the engagement ring gets slipped on or even before the wedding day, listen. Listen to that. I beg you. The lack of peace is there for a reason. God might be speaking.
You have the mind of Christ. -I Corinthians 2:16
You have the Holy Spirit living within you. -I Corinthians 3:16
You have been given a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind, not of fear. -II Timothy 1:7
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