Thursday, April 19, 2007

Looking Before You Leap

I think it takes a certain amount of bravery, trust, and faith to get married - especially for some people.

I also think it takes a certain amount of courage and confidence to choose not to get married... yet.

Although I don't think the demise of any given relationship is necessarily due to a failure on the part of either partner, I do think it makes sense to "do the legwork" before tying the knot.

What do I mean by "do the legwork?" Well, imagine a couple that's been together for a period of years without getting married or engaged. Imagine this couple frequently has to put up with people asking, "So when are you guys going to get married? What are you waiting for?"

At a certain point in people's lives or relationships, others expect to hear wedding bells, soon. Simply by inquiring so frequently (and, in some cases, so forcefully), these people put pressure on the couple to take a step they may or may not be ready for.

"When are you gonna make an honest man/woman out of him/her?"
"When am I gonna get some grandbabies?"
"What, s/he ain't good enough to marry?"

That's pressure.

Choosing to marry or not (yet) based on your and your partner's longer-term compatibility, unresolved issues, or other real-world, practical concerns, then doing what it takes to explore and/or resolve those concerns is "doing the legwork," in my book. Doing this in the face of societal and familial expectations takes another kind of resolve - especially if you're really in-love with your partner and respect the institution of marriage.

Obviously, there are folks who are just perpetually afraid of commitment or who have problems with the institution of marriage, itself, but there are also people who think that marriage is too important to dive into with eyes squeezed shut.

If I'm going to dive into anything, I'm going to do it with my eyes wide open.

As much as I think there should be a certain amount of faith involved in these decisions*, I have to respect those that make such important decisions largely based on their own wants, needs, and preparedness and not that of their parents, their pastor, and the general populace.

I have to respect those who look before they leap.

* - faith in oneself and one's partner


Angie said...

I think you are right on the money. By the time you have "done the leg work" you know the person well enough to know if you can walk with them to the alter. I think more of us should take some time before we rush to marry. Love alone does not cut it.

Michael May said...


My wife and I were friends for about four years before we started dating. Then we dated for four more years before we got engaged. And we were engaged for a year before we married. I'm all for taking your time and working out as many problems as you can BEFORE you say the vows.

You can't plan for every situation, and surprises will still come up, but when it comes to something as important as marriage, you should hedge your bets everywhere you possibly can.

Anonymous said...

I understand the pressure but I've learned to ignore it. As you know, I've blogged on this topic often.

For me, it's not about love or having faith in my partner. For me, I just don't see the benefit in getting married. Maybe if I had never been married I would feel differently. I've lived on both sides of the fence and I enjoy the single side a lot more.

Anonymous said...

There will always be a certain amount of outside influence when it comes to these kinds of things. It is up to the couple to sort through the mess and make a good decision that works for both of them. Married or not, we all have to live with the consequences of our decisions, especially those that are as big as marriage and kids.