Thus grief still treads upon the heels of pleasure:
Married in haste, we may repent at leisure.
The Old Batchelour, 1693:
One of the biggest mistakes people make in marriage is haste. A trip to Vegas, or a rush to a Justice of the peace and suddenly you are in a legal relationship whose failure can cost you plenty.
A long engagement means that you get time to know each other, to spend time with each other, to see how others react in a crisis, to test your judgement. It also gives time to see how you act in conflict because conflicts WILL arise and you need to see how these will be handled.
Now by a long engagement I don’t mean living together, While that does provide some preview of coming events it becomes very easy to fall into the “it’s just a piece of paper” trap, which I will address in a future tip.
In the catholic Church there are meetings and marriage preparation that take place, these allows you to consider things that you have not advised by a person who deals with families every day and has seen marriages work and fail. This is an invaluable tool and a long engagement gives time for it to be used.
Additionally a long engagement give extra time to plan the Wedding date to maximize the chance of distant guests to attend, to give wiggle room in case an issue comes up and to be sure that your Wedding day is a memorable one.
The idea is to have a single wedding day in one’s lifetime, so take the time to make it a good one and it will help make it last.
One month from today I will be celebrating my 30th wedding anniversary.
In an age when we see articles like this from old friend John Hawkins talk about how marriage is a bad deal this is a rare thing.
My standard line is to credit this success to my good luck and my wife’s failing eyesight but the reality is that like anything else the success of my marriage is not accidental and comes from decisions both past and current.
So over the next 30 days I’m going to give you 30 tips in no particular order of importance 30 tips on making your current or upcoming or future marriage last 30 thirty years.
Today’s Tip: Choose Wisely
Eddie Kagle [as Judge Parker] We want to get married.
Minister: Why? [confused looks] Too many people get married today without asking why?
Angel on my Shoulder 1946
This is such an obvious statement that it seems ridiculous to mention it but many people both get married and choose a mate in haste or without considering the most important things to consider.
- Is this the person that I want raising my children? Teaching them right and wrong, protecting them?
- Will this person contribute to our mutual partnership, if not financially, in terms of morale, in terms of action, or spiritually?
- Is this person compatible with me in the morals and beliefs that I wish to pass onto our children?
- Can I see myself waking up next to this person in 30 years and being glad that I did?
Today’s culture ignores these questions, encourages people to make rash decisions based on transitory emotions, but without these important practical questions, asked and answered up front, you are going to find that the seeds of failure will be planted right at the start.