Adventure in Marriage – There are some things in life you can get by with ‘a mess up’ and they won’t make such huge a difference overall. There are some things you just can’t afford to mess up. If you do, these things will go with you the rest of your life. At the top of the list of “do not mess up” is don’t make a mistake when you choose a marriage partner.
By Pastor Delbert Young
Adventure In Marriage 1
Adventure In Marriage
Scriptures: Proverbs 15:17, Proverbs 25:24, Proverbs 21:9, Proverbs 21:19, 2 Corinthians 6:14-1
There are some things in life you can get by with “a mess up” and they won’t make such huge a difference overall. There are some things you just can’t afford to mess up. If you do, these things will go with you the rest of your life. At the top of the list of “do not mess up” is “don’t make a mistake when you choose a marriage partner.” This week and then the week after Mother’s Day, we will be on this topic – Adventure in Marrying Well. This is stuff every person should know before marrying. If you are married it will give you understanding to help you make adjustments in your marriage, plus help you help your children and grandchildren in selecting their mate. I am certain if these principles were followed, there would be far less broken hearts, broken dreams, broken homes, and broken lives.
(NLT) Proverbs 15:17 A bowl of soup with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate.
Do you get Lady Wisdom’s thought? Some of you with struggling marriages know exactly how it is to be at home, or in the nicest restaurant, with a thick juicy filet mignon steak in front of you, but you can’t enjoy it because of the distance you feel from the person sitting across the table. Marriage is for keeps ONE WAY OR THE OTHER, so make sure you get the correct partner.
If you’ve been reading the Proverbs, you’ve read the proverbs concerning this. When originally written, Solomon was teaching his son, so he came from the male perspective. I want to read these verses gender neutral so both men and women can appreciate them. Brackets [ ] will denote my adjustments.
Proverbs 25:24 Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome [spouse].
(NLT) Proverbs 21:9 It is better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a contentious [spouse] in a lovely home.
Proverbs 21:19 Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered [spouse].
Here is the message Lady Wisdom is teaching us: You would be better off ANYWHERE than in a binding relationship with the wrong person.
So, how can this huge mistake be avoided? How can a single person end up with a lifelong partner who will bring lifelong love, intimacy, and happiness instead of loneliness, disillusionment, and heartbreak? This is a very important subject.
In his book, Finding the Love of Your Life, by Neil Clark Warren, he gives 10 principles to follow in Finding the Love of Your Life. We have a few copies of the book in our Resource Center. I think a couple should each get a copy, read it together, and discuss it. Nearly every possible marital glitch will be discussed BEFORE the marriage. Wow! What a novel idea – discuss possible marital problems before marriage! His Principle #1 deals with the seven deadly errors, which contribute to badly matched marriage partners. Let’s go through these 7 deadly errors.
(1) THE DECISION TO MARRY IS MADE TOO QUICKLY. There are studies showing the correlation between long courtships and successful marriages and the correlation between short courtships and heartbreaking marriages. I watch people, who I know knows better, decide to marry someone they’ve only known for a short time. When they finally talk to me, I ask, “What do you have to lose by going slow?” I usually get an answer like, “We are sure it will work and we want to be together.” No. You’re afraid the person will get away and if this is true, they will get away one day anyway.
Every month you extend the courtship will only insure the relationship or erode the confidence you have in it. Either way you win. You have absolute assurance you did the correct move when either you walk the aisle, or you avoid the worst decision you could make in life. To add to this fact, I can’t remember one marriage I thought was happening too soon turning out successful. In minimum time, a person should be thinking one year. There is so much needing to be known and learned about your possible mate. The stakes are incredibly high.
(2) THE DECISION IS MADE AT TOO YOUNG AN AGE. We don’t allow three year olds to play with knives, or eight year olds to drive automobiles, or teenagers to make public policies. It’s because developmentally they are simply not capable of handling those responsibilities wisely. They will get hurt and hurt others in the process.
Very few human beings are fully mentally developed by age twenty-five. Before this, we are still doing INTENSE IDENTIFICATION WORK. We don’t know who we are, or where we really want to go until after twenty-five. I didn’t until I was twenty-eight, but I married at nineteen. Therefore, there’s some experience speaking here.
People under twenty-five are doing BECOMING AUTONOMOUS WORK. They are yet to know how they will do life away from their parents. This can cause many problems in marriage.
People under twenty-five are still doing CORE VALUE WORK asking, “What do I really believe? What do I stake my life on?” People under twenty-five are still evaluating CORE COMPETENCY WORK. “What am I good at? What kind of a career will I pursue?”
Most people under twenty-five are still doing SPIRITUAL FORMATION WORK. “Do I really believe in God? Do I really believe Jesus Christ is who I’ve been told he is? Do I believe it enough to arrange my life and the life of a family around this truth?”
With all this developing work going on and evolving going on, to make a decision as important as mate selection is too much to ask. Thus, even with people raised in church all their lives, the possibility of a marriage working when marrying too young (or too quickly) is not good. Folks, I see this far too frequently. You should know the lowest divorce rates are when people wait until over twenty-five. The highest divorce rates are with those who married in their teens or early twenties. I know people don’t like to hear it put this way, but grow up before you get married.
(3) ONE OR BOTH PERSONS ARE TOO EAGER TO BE MARRIED. People get marriage fever. They can’t explain it. They just want to get married. They think, “Marriage will heal my loneliness.” “Marriage will heal my brokenness.” “Marriage will insure my happiness.” “Marriage will guarantee discipline in my life.” People tell themselves all their problems and troubles in life will disappear with marriage. Nothing can be further from the truth. If you are an unhappy single person, a walk down the marriage aisle will not solve this problem. It will only add to the problem.
(4) ONE OR BOTH MAY BE CHOOSING A MATE TO PLEASE SOMEONE ELSE. People move prematurely into marriage in order to please someone else. It could be parents. It could be friends. It could be the other person involved. Hints are dropped at family gatherings. “When are you two going to get married?” People begin a “seek and betroth mission” to show others they are marriage worthy too.
(5) THE EXPERIENCE BASE IS TOO NARROW. People don’t have a full range of life experiences with the other person. They’ve never experienced a tragedy together. They’ve never negotiated a severe disagreement with one another. They haven’t worked out financial quirks and how money will be managed. They haven’t figured out vocational situations. They have no idea how they will discipline their children. Sometimes they haven’t even worshiped together or prayed together. They simply don’t know each other in the broad range of life experiences. This is a deadly marital problem.
(6) THE COUPLE HAS UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS. People have un-communicated expectations, of marriage. We typically go into a marriage with the only models we know about marriage, which is usually our own parents. These can be polar opposites. In some homes, the husband is the firm leader. In others, the wife is the firm leader. In some homes, the wife does the finances. In others, the husband does the finances, or there could be a “his” and “hers.” In some homes, there is strict discipline with children including spanking, etc. In some homes, spanking is considered child abuse. Will both have careers, or will one stay at home? In some homes there is a lot of touching and hugging and “I love you.” In other homes, it’s hands off and an “I love you” never happens.
It needs to be determined after whose marriage this marriage will be patterned and having a pattern is a good idea. Perhaps the pattern could be a couple unrelated who have a great successful marriage. Do both want a marriage like this? Also, what marriage do they not want their marriage to be like? Go through a list of everyone you know closely and find a pattern marriage. What expectations are there for building a marriage? Most times these things are not discussed until there is an intense argument and those talks never go well because the expectations were never discussed.
(7) ONE OR BOTH MAY HAVE UNADDRESSED SIGNIFICANT PERSONALITY OR BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS. We all have hidden pockets of brokenness and dysfunction. We keep these hidden and sometimes don’t even know what they are ourselves. A personality evaluation and teaching is a necessity. It will reveal much about a person’s soul. If you purchased a house, you would have it inspected from the foundation up. Are there termites, faulty foundation, water damage, etc.? It’s this way with a personality evaluation. It reveals both the strengths and the weaknesses of a person. I think potential mates should be made by law to take personality evaluations. It’s not you wouldn’t buy the house if there was some damage, but you would want to know before you began living in it. It may just not be time to move in yet. There may need to be some repair first.
So those are the seven deadliest mistakes people make when marrying. Let’s flip this and look at the positives most likely needed to make a marriage work. There is truth to “opposites attract,” but there must be “core similarities.” There is some truth to another person “completing” us in our weak areas, but again, “core similarities” must be present. Let’s run through a scenario: A hot redhead loves to party and go to the clubs. She meets a more stay-at-home man who enjoys reading books and spending time with family. However, they “fall in love,” so they think and after a few months of mixing the party life with a little stay-at-home, they decide to “complete” each other. Off to the chapel they go and tie the knot. What happens a few years down the road? While the party life may have been fun for a short time for the man, it finally becomes something he can no longer tolerate. While calming down and staying home brought some calmness to the woman’s life, she needs more adventures. I’ve seen it too many times. The marriage is heading for a train wreck.
Let me give you five core similarities necessary in the mix, but I’m only going to have time for one of them today.
(1) SPIRITUAL COMPATIBILITY. The Bible calls this “equally yoked.” If you are a person who has no interest in spiritual things at all then you best hook up with someone who shares your lack of spiritual interest where neither of you give a rip about God. However, if you have a real relationship with God and love Jesus then you better hook up with someone who has a real relationship with God and loves Jesus the way you do.
2 Corinthians 6:14-16 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?
Christians wanting to get married don’t like this passage. It shrinks the playing field. They think they are in love and this love will win over their mate to God. I have seen it too many times. Marriages, at best, struggle when both partners are in disagreement spiritually. I ask you, what core value goes deeper than a person’s spirituality? What goes deeper into a person’s core identification than when they find a love for God and God’s love for them? We can probably weather a disagreement about dancing, sports, politics, or even the children. However, when God is not at the very center of your life and pleasing him and walking with him is not foundational to who you are and cannot be debated, it’s a marriage breaker. You will have difficulty with this the rest of your life. Allow me to put a “parenthesis” in here, as we possibly could in each and every point I’ve made today. I have seen times when God would miraculously move on the heart of the mate seemingly not interested in God. Those times are amazingly beautiful, but goodness, what it took to get there. Let me maybe share it this way. There is nothing better than to be here, or at any church, with my wife and look over at her during worship to see her eyes closed, hands lifted to God, and mouth singing him praises. We pray together. We talk about scriptures together. We minister together. I cannot imagine how it would be to not be able to share the deepest part of me with the person I will do life with until the day I die. There’s an ache in a marriage without this. The children are confused. One parent goes to church and the other doesn’t, so they say, “It must not be this important. I don’t want to go to church today.”
I’m doing my best here to help someone and I know some of you are experiencing this arena right now. I’m not talking about this to be mean or uncompassionate, but you know it’s an ache. You know you are both missing something special in the deepest place of intimacy. Maybe I can’t help you, but allow me to help your children. They have this one life. Teach them not to spend it aching and do not marry unequally yoked. Spiritual compatibility is a must.
Marriage is a decision and this decision will go with you the rest of your life one way or another. It’s a decision you can’t afford to mess up. Some of you have sadly learned this too late, but your life is not done yet. God still has a plan for you. If you are married and there is coldness across the table, what adjustments can be made? Let’s believe God will do something beautiful. If you are not married, but may marry one day, please avoid the deadly things killing marriages and desperately hold on to the things making a marriage bring a lifelong partner who will bring lifelong love, intimacy, and happiness. Marry well.
Other Related Sermons:
Draw A Bigger Circle – sermon video audio notes