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How to Prepare for Marriage

An Internet Question: WHY ARE THERE SO MANY DIVORCES AND SEPARATIONS IN THE WORLD TODAY?

1) Corbin says: I believe this is because that most people really are not prepared for marriage to begin with. Two suggestions I would make concerning this are 1) that there should be a 3 to 6 month counseling period for a couple before they get married, and 2) marriage counseling should be a continuous process from the crib to adulthood with an emphasis on the responsibility of having children.

2) Marilyn says: Corbin, I absolutely agree with you. I think a three to six month period of Biblical counseling would be ideal. However, the reality is there will always be single moms and I would like to see the church help these women so they don't have to work. (and I think that's a Biblical position too).

3) John says: Good topic. These suggestions probably will help, but unfortunately in reality both parties to a marriage don't put enough effort in to save their marriages, and they think divorce is an easy way out. And it's especially bad for the kids in these marriages.

4) Jim says: Corbin, I definately agree with you that there should be more preparation before marriage. I believe that the best time to educate children about marriage and relationships is in high school. I don't think that marriage and child rearing education need to go hand in hand. Many couples choose not to have children. I think what is important is that young people need to be taught about expectations 'what's realistic and what's not. Young people should be taught more about how to really get to know someone, and that takes time...and definitely not to rush into anything.

5) Jill says: Pre-nup counseling and teaching proper expectations are great ideas, but I'm not sure it would work in the real world when you're actually involved in a real commitment. It's like trench warfare. You really don't know how you're going to react until you're fired upon.

6) Joan says: I believe society encourages divorce, and that we have to pass stricter laws governing divorce, especially when children are involved. It's really not necessarily greener on the other side of the fence.

7) Jay says: I think one of the problems young people have in contemplating marriage is that they have to get on the other side of the wall of their infatuation for each other, so they can really get to know each other before they make a lasting commitment.

8) Cliff says: A pastor I know has always required counseling sessions for couples who wanted to be married by him. Otherwise he wouldn't marry them.

9) Jane says: My husband and I only knew each other for 3 months when we got married and I was pregnant at the time. But over time we found out what true love was all about. Despite this, I feel counseling before or after a marriage is always a good thing.

10) Mary says. Actually, example is the supreme teacher in building relationships.

11) Arthur says: Respect and caring for another more than ourselves is the very essence of love.

12) Sarah says. I was married twice. The first for 16 years in a miserable marriage. I tried to make it a success, but couldn't. The second turned out to be a dream of a marriage for 20 years. So sometimes divorce is necessary.

13) Mathew says: In Australia there are what is known as "Marriage Enrichment Weekends" which help to strengthen marriages that are already in existence.

14) Steve says: First, there has to be a common, mutual bond before getting romantically involved. Then there is agape love, one that loves without condition. Jesus, during His ministry, was about that. My wife and I are Christians, serving the Lord with our marriage and our lives. We have been through many trials and frustrations within the 5 years we've been married. But it is Christ that has strengthened us. Preparation for marriage is more than the wedding. It takes a commitment on both parties to seek out for the others well-being, but first and foremost to seek after what the Lord desires for both their lives.

15) Shirley says: I think the big problem is that so many kids grow up in families with bad role models for parents. Bad marriages breed children who grow up and enter bad marriages. Young people jump into marriage thinking it is going to be the answer to all their problems and they will live happily ever after without realizing the difficulties involved. Couples look at their parents and think they will not make the same mistakes but then they marry and do the exact same things. Even after some counseling, more often than not, the young couple are so in love and planning the wedding that they are not planning for the marriage. Young people should realize that marriage is a vocation. It is a lifetime commitment and jumping ship when the going gets tough should not be an option. I am a firm believer that if two people once loved each other, even if they think it has died, it can be revived, with work and perseverence.

16) Corbin says: To help one prepare for marriage and a lasting relationship, I have a list of questions one should really ask oneself about one's partner. See below. The most difficult problem in relationships is actually one's attitude toward money. Marriage really should be based on a cold calculated decision, NOT on some madly pasionate romantic desire. Many times I think there's more effort exerted in planning the wedding rather than the marriage.

RELATIONSHIP BUILDING

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF ABOUT YOUR PARTNER THAT COULD HELP BUILD A STRONG RELATIONSHIP, IF YOU CAN LIVE WITH THE ANSWERS

A) Personality Traits

1) has good taste in choice of clothes. 2) has no unattractive nervous habits. 3) makes too much of neatness and cleanliness. 4) pays attention to personal appearance. 5) strives to keep promises. 6) tries to be on time to keep engagements. 7) has sleep and work habits I like. 8) has food and drink habits like mine. 9) is a calm person. 10) is an efficient person. 11) has standards I honestly admire. 12) is an interesting and stimulating companion. 13) is at ease in social conversation. 14) has good manners. 15) considers the feelings of others.

B) Religion

16) believes too strongly that the church knows best in all things. 17) feels that his or her religion is superior or inferior to mine. 18) lives according to his or her religious beliefs. 19) wants our social life to center around the church. 20) is against the church. 21) believes and feels as I do about religion. 22) is a religious person. 23) accepts all religious views as good. 24) wants to argue about religion. 25) is set in religious ways and will not change. 26) thinks we will be unhappy unless we agree on religion

C) Health

27) worries about his or her health. 28) is in good physical health. 29) is in good emotional health. 30) needs medical care to maintain good health. 31) has close relatives who are mentally ill. 32) has close relatives who are deformed or retarded.

D) Companionship

33) enjoys being with me. 34) is interested and likes most of the things I like. 35) enjoys and is at ease with the people I like. 36) likes and gets along with children. 37) feels we must have the same interests and always be together. 38) has a hobby or sport I do not like. 39) has interests and activities I can't share. 40) prefers many people to small groups. 41) would rather travel than stay at home. 42) prefers a quiet evening with me to parties.

E) Sex

43) sees sex as more than physical love. 44) knows that both men and women have need for sexual self expression. 45) thinks of sex as a wholesome part of life. 46) wants to have sex relations before we marry. 47) gives and returns physical expressions of affection. 48) feels that the opposite sex is inferior or superior. 49) will be happy to limit his or her sex activities to one partner. 50) will need sexual relations more than I. 51) has a different understanding in what sexual relations mean in life. 52) believes in individual or mutual masturbation, if sexual intercourse is not an option for whatever reason. 53) believes in social nudism (both sexes) as an optional way of life.

F) Personality Traits II

54) faces our life together with confidence. 55) wants to be the important person in every activity. 56) must excel in an activity to enjoy it. 57) is dignified and formal. 58) is casual and informal. 59) maintains balance and emotional control in emergencies. 60) easilly loses his or her temper 'is impatient. 61) is a moody person. 62) is an anxious person. 63) accepts disappointments and adjusts to change. 64) is at ease in many different social situations. 65) likes and is at ease with many different types of people. 66) looks forward to new experiences with pleasure.

G) Family

67) has a family that is more or less cultured and/or educated than mine. 68) has a family with more or less money than mine. 69) has more or less education than I. 70) has a family of higher or lower social standing than mine. 71) is liked and accepted by my father. 72) is liked and accepted by my mother. 73) is liked and accepted by my brothers and sisters. 74) his or her father likes and accepts me. 75) his or her mother likes and accepts me. 76) his or her brothers and sisters likes and accepts me. 77) I do not like some members of his or her family. 78) he or she does not like some members of my family. 79) is of my race. 80) is a native of my country. 81) grew up in my neighborhood or in one like mine.

H) Humor

82) enjoys and sees humor in situations and jokes that are funny to me. 83) considers the feelings of others in telling jokes and stories. 84) can take and enjoy a joke at his or her own expense. 85) has a "life of the party" personality. 86) enjoys crude and offensive jokes and stories. 87) joins in the fun and humor at parties.

I) Ambition

88) is willing to work hard for success. 89) lives from day to day without plans for the future. 90) believes that "connections" are most important for success. 91) is sacrificing too much for the future. 92) is unable to work for distant goals. 93) has reasonable and possible life goals. 94) would like to succeed without having to work. 95) feels that money and what it buys are the important proofs of success. 96) has ability and training to achieve the success he or she wants. 97) lives mainly for professional success. 98) lives mainly for social success.

J) Money

99) worries about spending money for pleasure.100) understands "the cost of living". 100) spends money with no thought about the future. 101) is or would be unhappy without money for luxuries and costly pleasures. 102) spends his or her money for selfish reasons. 103) makes good use of his or her money. 104) is realistic in saving and planning for the future. 105) has money but will not spend it. 106) is happy with what he or she can afford to buy. 107) enjoys spending money to help others. 108) tries to buy love or friendship. 109) may find it difficult to live within our income.

K) Empathy

110) believes in me and in my love. 111) shares and discusses his or her problems with me. 112) understands me and sympathizes with my feelings. 113) listens to and helps me solve my problems. 114) tries to change habits and behavior I do not like. 115) is a dependent person. 116) has more or less energy and enthusiasm than I. 117) is more or less optimistic than I. 118) takes advantage of me and uses me. 119) is considerably older or younger than I. 120) tries to dominate me and control me. 121) is possessive or a jeolous person. 122) expects me to play a dependent role. 123) accepts me as I am. 124) is considerably taller or shorter than I.

L) Marriage

125) will treat me as his or her equal in marriage. 126) thinks of marriage as a sacrifice of freedom. 127) will enjoy an independent life in his or her own home. 128) avoids making definite plans for marriage. 129) wants me to rep - ace his or her mother or father. 130) has a mother or father who wants to make all our important decisiona. 131) believes marriage will solve our problems. 132) is ready for the responsibilities of marriage including children. 133) may want to escape from an unpleasant home or other problems by marriage. 134) wants to live with or near his or her family. 135) thinks of marriage as an opportunity for mutual growth. 136) believes we cannot be happy unless there is as much romance in our marriage as in our ccourtship. 137) Is in general agreement on how many children we should have and how to raise them.

About the author:

Corbin Melvin Wright was born in New York City in 1931, grew up on Long Island, graduated from Roanoke College in Virginia with a BA in Political Science, and from New York Theological Seminary with a Masters in Religious Education. He worked as an accountant in NYC for 21 yrs. and as an English teacher and Christian counselor in Argentina for 23 years. He was married twice, widowed once, & has no children, E-mail address (corbinwr@yahoo.com).



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