"I now pronounce you husband and wife" are the words heard at the conclusion of the marriage ceremony by the excited couple. And so they begin a new family unit. The couple has pledged to take one another until death parts them.
A lasting, happy marriage is essential if there is to be stability in the family. Children who grow up in a divorced home or blended family have a more difficult time succeeding in life. While the children of broken marriages are not "doomed" to failure, they have to make adjustments to compensate.
How may we take some of the risk out of mate selection? While marriage will have unexpected turns, we may have a better opportunity of success if we follow some basic guidelines before marrying.
Take plenty of time to make a decision. Let time be on your side. If marriage is rushed, the couple does not have adequate time to learn enough about each other to make a reliable decision. Marriage is a lifetime commitment to share one's life, hopes and dreams with another person. While some have had quick romances and married and are seemingly doing well, that is the exception, not the rule. Take time to see any potential mate under sufficient circumstances to know him or her.
Pray for God's guidance and wisdom. God will not make the decision for you, but you may pray for His wisdom and insight. It is a fact that when you are in love, you see an idealized view of the one loved. The "rose-colored glasses" have to come off in order to see the other person clearly, so seek God's help to have objectivity in making a wise decision.
Seek wise counsel. Parents are well-suited to know their children and can give excellent feedback. They know their children's likes, dislikes and needs since they have known them since birth. Friends who know you well are another excellent resource, if you sincerely seek their input and do not merely want them to "rubber stamp" your choice. Since a church wedding gives a couple a greater chance of remaining together for life, the counsel of a minister is invaluable, especially if he has additional training in premarital counseling. Next time we will look at an additional vital biblical key.