Considering Marriage and Preparing For Engagement | Titus Institute
Many Christian singles make this mistake in dating and short-change themselves . . that you deal with conflict several times before considering engagement. Have you ever tried to list out all the different dating advice you've heard — even just the advice from other Christians? Here's my golden rule. Read more Christian engagement and marriage advice, Biblical help. of the one you are dating to see if you “fit” in each other's families.
There may be many reasons why you may desire to marry the other person, but not be ready to make the commitment. You may feel that the other person has some emotional, financial, or other issue in his or her life that you are not sure that you to deal with or maybe you have issues in your own life that needs to be dealt with. You may not want to give up the time and independence to be with friends or to focus on your career and the like.
You may not be sure that you are ready to love that person for a lifetime. Also, the desire to marry often arises before people have had enough time to really get to know each other so their desire and commitment is based on an accurate and in-depth knowledge of each other and a healthy relationship together. Whatever the reason, the emotional desire can be there without the most important factor, the commitment to take on the responsibility of marriage or the commitment based on knowledge.
This is, of course, assuming that both individuals are in the life situation where they could marry.
Those who are not in the life situation where they could marry within a reasonable amount of time i. Since, the desire to marry someone comes before the commitment to marry that person, it is wise not to verbalize your desire to marry the other person or even bring up the subject of marriage until your are actually ready to marry that person.
It is wise not to verbalize this desire until you have made a commitment in your mind and heart to actually marry that person. Remember, considering marriage is not a relationship or a bond, it is a transition that takes place in the heart and mind of each individual person as each begins to desire to marry the other person.
It is the transition time that takes place before preparation engagement for the next kind of relationship marriage can begin. While you are considering marriage, you need time to allow your relationship to develop while you are thinking about these issues.
How Long Should Christian Engagements Last?
If you are serious, this consideration will cause your perception of the other person to change. You need time to continue to get to know each other with these new perceptions and time to make sure that your care and concern and commitment to the other person is growing along with your desire and consideration to marry. If, at this point, you tell the other person that you are thinking about marriage you will create an emotional dynamic in your relationship from which you will have difficulty backing up if you were to decide that you did not want to marry this person or that you are simply not ready to get married.
You will feel trapped and pressured to keep moving down that path toward marriage and you may wish you never mentioned it. This is especially true if the other person wants to marry you. I have seen this in counseling young couples, especially with the men. They verbalized their consideration of marriage before they had made a commitment in their minds and hearts.
The women were desirous of marrying them. Once they had verbalized this, they felt incredible pressure to make a decision to marry these young women. It created a state of conflict and confusion that was eating them up as they struggled with making a decision which should be a natural outgrowth of their growing love for these women. The "marriage possibility" almost took on a life of its own and they were struggling. The women, on the other hand couldn't understand what was happening.
These young men had verbalized their desire before they had made a commitment in their hearts. Also, after some initial time to allow your emotions to calm down, you should begin exploring what marriage is all about through some books or videos or talking with others without verbalizing this to the other person.
Do not allow yourself to become totally focused on marriage and whether you want to marry this person. This is not something that can be answered in a few days. It is a desire that grows into a commitment as your relationship with that person progresses.
Principle 5 Drive your relationship by your growing care and concern for that person, not by your romantic feelings. If not for these feelings we might never get married. Also, your feelings are part of your desire to marry that person. When you stand in front of the minister you should definitely want to marry that person and you should want to partake of the marriage covenant with that person.
However, your romantic feelings should not drive the relationship or be the only basis of your desire to marry that person. When you are married for awhile, your romantic desires which are very strong before marriage will calm down and your care and concern and commitment to your husband or wife will take center stage in facing the many challenges of living together as husband and wife.
When your romantic feelings for that person calm down, if you do not have a strong care and concern for each other and a strong commitment to love that other person as God intends, there won't be anything left to keep your marriage going.
Care, concern, and self-sacrificial giving to meet the needs of your spouse 3. Commitment to fulfill your marriage responsibility to your wife or husband. Ancient people simply had no "romantic dating" dating in order to build romantic intimacy and thus they avoided the problem of romantic passion that can lead to sexual passion. This is perfectly normal. The intensity that comes from the deepening of a husband and wife's care and concern for each other which is Biblical love will replace some of that intensity.
If you drive your relationship by your romantic and sexual feelings or lay that as a foundation, your marriage will fall apart once the feelings are gone. Principle 6 It is wise to say "I love you" only when you are ready to make the commitment to marry that person. The words "I love you" should verbalize that a man is ready to love a woman and that a woman is ready to love a man in the way that God has defined "love" in the Scriptures.
To use the words "I love you" without making the marriage commitment that goes along with it is to speak of a kind of love the Lord does not recognize in His Word.
It is a feeling that is all. Verbalizing your feelings when true Biblical love does not exist because there is no marriage commitment creates a romantic and emotional bond between the two of you which does not have any real lifelong commitment attached to it. It is temporary and can be dissolved at any time. In fact, it is a bond that does not exist at all, but seems to. Marriage is the only bond of love that exists between a man and woman. When this emotional false bond is made, both develop great confidence in it and begin to change their whole lives according to it.
However, that bond does not really exist and can easily be dissolved simply by someone changing their minds or being attracted to someone else. God did not intend for there to be a love relationship between a man and a woman without the bond of marriage. It is because "loving someone" involves the most fragile part of our being, our hearts.
Once our feelings are expressed and shared, the deepest part of us becomes vulnerable to another. Without the deep and lifelong commitment and consequent security of marriage, our hearts can easily be crushed. See Song of Solomon 4: Further, I believe that it is wise to express your love and desire to marry at the same time with the ultimate question "Will you marry me?
How can I express my feelings for this person if I am not ready to marry her?
Considering Marriage and Preparing For Engagement
Telling the other person that you care about him or her is a good way to express your care and concern for him or her without saying that you love him or her. It also keeps you focused on the real heart issue of your relationship which is a deepening care and concern not romantic feelings. Principle 7 The man must take the responsibility to seek a wife and express his love, desire, and commitment to marry her first. Biblically, it is men that must take the responsibility to ask a woman to marry him.
There are no intimate questions at this stage, great questions to ask include: Are you aware of your own strengths and weaknesses? Do you know your unique purpose as a Kingdom Citizen? What is your current family dynamic?
STAGES in Christian Dating/Courtship Relationship
Ladies, bear in mind that your key role is to be a helper to your husband. It is also wise to find a Christian man who is, at minimum, spiritually mature enough to marry. Though your body and imagination may be stimulated by the other person, do not let your emotions run away with you! It is important to begin practicing, at this stage, bringing your flesh into submission. Now you have identified a potential common purpose and marriage seems like a possibility, practice being friends!
After 2 to 3 months of this type of dating and it is mutually agreed, the Christian dating relationship can move into an exclusive dating arrangement. This should be mutually agreed to and clearly understood by both Christian singles. It is very important that each person have their own accountability group of their own gender. The progress of the Christian dating relationship should be shared so that their objectivity and accountability can be a valuable resource to the couple.
This plan will include such things as spending time around family and close friends to enable each other to see how the other person builds and sustains all relationships. I do not suggest that the couple spend all their time together at this stage.
It is a temptation to do so, but I suggest that it is actually unhealthy for the Christian dating relationship. Can the couple enjoy their alone time as well as their together time? This often means that a healthy bonding is not taking place and the emphasis is upon self-satisfaction in this Christian dating relationship.
Give yourself enough time and enough settings where character issues can surface. Why is this important? But character is the foundation upon which commitment is built. Character does not change just because one gets married.