I wasn’t ready for marriage

I met my wife on eHarmony. I was a morning rock DJ in Delaware, she was living in Maryland and finishing up her degree. I drove two and a half hours to pick her up for our first date. I spent most of my bi-weekly paycheck on tickets to a dinner theater in Baltimore. The rest went to gas and tolls.

And that’s the way it would go for the next year and a half (minus the dinner theater part). Once a week, I’d spend money I didn’t have and drive the 260 mile roundtrip to see the love of my life. Sometimes I’d sleep for a few hours in the guest room at her mom’s house, waking up at 2AM to head back to the coast for my 5:30AM radio show.

I was very tired back then.

And broke.

Lord, was I broke.

She’d take turns driving my way, burning gas she couldn’t afford to burn and using money that should have been collecting interest in a savings account. On occasion, we’d cut ourselves (and our cars) a break, meeting in the middle for an intimate meal at the Cracker Barrel near the Bay Bridge. It was in these moments that I knew I was fulfilling her girlhood dreams. Oh, it might be a cliché, but it’s true: most young ladies grow up fantasizing about the day that a small market radio jock from Delaware will whisk them away to the Cracker Barrel in Stevensville.

It was a fairytale romance.

Or maybe not; but it was ours. It was our relationship. It was real. We loved each other. We were building something.

When we tied the knot in October of 2011, we were vowing our lives to the other person, even though we’d never lived in the same state. We’d rarely spent more than two consecutive days with each other. We didn’t know all of each other’s bad habits. We didn’t know what the other was like on a day-to-day basis.

We had no nest egg, for that matter. We’d blown most of it funding our trips back and forth.

In other words, we weren’t “ready” for marriage. We hadn’t tried it out. According to conventional wisdom, we were “unprepared.” We didn’t take a turn in the Marriage Simulator. We didn’t live together for seven years and slowly glide into it. We were two, apart, only dating — courting, really — until we were one. We were unmarried, and then we were married.

No transition.

No warm up.

We weren’t ready for kids, either. We didn’t get any practice swings. We had no kids, and then we had two kids. We weren’t parents, and then we were parents. We slept at night, and then we didn’t.

If there’s one thing about life that I wish everyone would consider — particularly my peers, and those younger than me — it’s that you’ll never do the big things if you’re waiting until you’re ready to do them.

You’ll never be ready.

You. Will. Never. Be. Ready.

You can’t possibly understand the reality of marriage — the joy, the commitment, the love, the anger, the pain, the hope, the fulfillment, the excitements, the banalities, the journey, the sacrifices, the rewards, the journey — until you’re in it. Same can be said for parenthood, only more so.

How many people have been scared away from the altar because of this phantom notion of “readiness”? How many marriages destroyed because, confused and struggling, one or both partners suddenly decided that they were “never ready” to be married?

Look, I wouldn’t presume to give marital “advice.” In my life I’ve met a few people really qualified for that job, and I’m not one of them. But I come across this “divorce is high because people aren’t ready for marriage” shtick quite a bit. Predictably, it’s mostly unmarried folks who say these things. And it only results in more and more people my age hesitating to break out of the cocoon of adolescence and get going with their lives.

We commonly view living together as a logical step before marriage, but it isn’t. It’s something some people do, but it isn’t a step to marriage. Your marriage is defined by the commitment you make to the other person — not by the bathroom or mortgage you share. Living with someone is not a “warm up” for marriage or a “try out” period, precisely because it lacks the essential, definitive characteristic of that permanent commitment. You can’t comfortably transition into an eternal vow. You make it, and then it’s made.

Period.

The absolute worst thing that I often hear in defense of the “marriage tryout” strategy is this: “I need to find out if she/he has any annoying habits.”

Answer: yes. Yes, she does. So does he. But if a bad habit or an annoying tendency could be a deal breaker, then well, you aren’t ready.

In fact there is, as far as I can tell, only one form of “not ready” that should possibly stop you from walking down that aisle: immaturity. If you are prepared to dump someone you profess to “love” because they chew with their mouth open or leave wet towels on the floor, you have a maturity issue. And remember, it’s YOUR issue.

Perhaps the problem isn’t that we consider our “readiness” before we get married; it’s that we consider it wrongly. We run down our checklist like we’re buying a car.

Do I have enough money? Is there any single solitary flaw in this other human being that might make me wish I’d gone with another model? Do they have everything I want? Have I driven it enough to know if it has any kinks or mechanical issues? Will it breakdown in three years? Will I be able to sell it for parts and buy something better when I get sick of this one?

These are the wrong questions to ask. Incidentally, I can answer them all for you: No, you don’t have enough money. Yes, they have flaws and kinks and issues of all kinds.

There. And so what?

The real checklist ought to have only four items.

Do I love this person? Can I trust this person? Can they trust me? Do I have the maturity and strength to give myself to this person, and to serve this person, every day for the rest of my life?

I can’t tell you how you’ll answer those questions, but I can tell you what my answers were before I said “I do” to Alissa:

Yes, I love her, but I don’t really understand love or what it means. Yes, I trust her, but I don’t understand trust or what it means. Yes, she can trust me, but I will still come up short in ways I cannot yet predict. Yes, I have the maturity, but I still have a lot of growing to do.

And then we clasped hands and walked into that wild unknown.

We’ve been in it for only two and a half years. We still have plenty to learn. There are, no doubt, challenges up ahead that we could never anticipate.

We aren’t ready for them.

But we’ll meet them when they come.

That’s marriage.

*****

Find me on Facebook.

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(I learned a lot about my wife in this moment. See, I wore white gloves, a cane, and a hat to our wedding. I’ve heard of brides that would throw a hissy fit if their men showed up to the nuptials dressed like Mr. Peanut. This is how my bride reacted. She laughed. Marriage doesn’t work if you can’t laugh at each other. Many wise people have told me that, and they were all very right.)

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542 Responses to I wasn’t ready for marriage

  1. Ann Wilson says:

    I would also add a question to the “Am I ready” question? Do I respect him/or? My mom was against me marrying my husband. She wasn’t convinced I was ready. I told her that I loved him and we wanted to start our life together but it wasn’t until I told her I respected him and his goals and ideals that she was willing to let me go. I’m sure respect is part of love but I think it goes deeper than that.

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  3. karlbonner1982 says:

    I’ll NEVER be ready for marriage – and that’s OK.

    Because I’d like to have a less structured and disciplined sexual lifestyle.

    It’s my choice and I plan to walk that path instead.

    And it’s my American right to make that choice if it pleases me.

    • Elsie Bouwman says:

      Doesn’t America have on a coin, “In God we trust”? Wouldn’t being American mean you trust God in your lives?

      • Jackers says:

        Actually, no, being American does not in any way obligate you to follow a religion. You are not more American if “in god you trust” than you are if you trust in the flying spaghetti monster or (gasp!) science.

        It’s a common misconception. The people who built America took pains to make sure that church and state were separate things, and you do damage to our actual core principles when you spread the false principle that we are a Christian state.

        Karl Bonner is correct when he says he has a right to choose a less restrictive lifestyle, as long as he doesn’t try to force other people to follow that lifestyle, or take away their right to choose their own way of life, which it looks like he’s made no attempt to do.

        • Elsie Bouwman says:

          Trusting in God is not a religion, it’s a relationship with God and He has a relationship with us.

        • Jackers says:

          Elsie, you can define trusting in god anyway you want, and you have every right in this country to do so, but when you make belief in any god (and belief is a requisite for “trust” – you don’t trust things you don’t believe in) a condition for being an American, you are misunderstanding a fundamental aspect of our purpose as a nation. I respect your right to be a religious American, just as I respect the right my friends and neighbors who are atheist or agnostic to also call themselves American. It’s a nationality and has nothing to do with religion.

    • Sam says:

      Nobody’s trying to take your rights away. Calm down.

    • RFF says:

      Based on your picture it probably won’t please you very often. Good luck.

    • Madam Palm says:

      Jerking off alone every night isn’t as good as its cracked up to be.

    • tvstvs says:

      Matt says:

      “You can’t comfortably transition into an eternal vow. You make it, and then it’s made. Period.”

      This is nonsense. A brief look at the divorce rate will remind anyone that the majority of people do not see marriage as “an eternal vow”.

      Matt also says:

      “But I come across this “divorce is high because people aren’t ready for marriage” shtick quite a bit. ”

      Divorce is high because nowadays people in a marriage that isn’t working out choose to divorce, whereas it used to be that people were stuck in unhappy marriages because being single was difficult due to social and economic pressures.

      • therealsilencedogood says:

        Sorry, but I have to disagree. Divorce is high now because people do not understand that “love” is also a VERB. It takes action and commitment. It’s not what Hollyweird portrays, with butterflies and rainbows and sparkles while a woman is suddenly “swept off her feet” by her Prince Charming. Once we get rid of that garbage and start treating marriage as a covenant relationship that you don’t throw away on a whim, then our divorce rates will go down.

        We’ve become such a throw away society with our consumerism that it’s seeped over into our relationships. We need to FIX things when they aren’t working right, not just throw them away and start over again and again. When you know people who’ve known each other and been married for 30, 40, 50 years – when you see the way they can look at each other and communicate without words, the way they cherish each other and take care of each other – that’s when you realize just how incredible it must be to be married to someone who loves you more than they love themselves. It’s not a fairy tale – it’s hard work and commitment.

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  5. Marriage is a sacrament, an outward sign of invisible grace, blessed in the eyes of God. As such it is extremely difficult as it demands that each person “dies to themselves”, that is to their pride and ego in service of whom they profess to love. When both people have this attitude, although the road of marriage is extremely difficult, it can be transformational. Our whole purpose as Christians is to become more “Christlike” along our journey of faith in Christ. That is to strive to manifest the fruit of The Holy Spirit within our lives. Only with such inner transformation within the garden of our hearts can we truly embrace Christ, and thus hope to affect change outwardly. As such, our faith should not be based on “feelings” which are momentary and often deceptive but a Spirit of humility, obedience, trust, gratitude and above all unconditional love.

    • Jack says:

      But be careful here. Some interpret, or infer, however improperly, that striving to be more Christlike is striving to be the perfect child of God. Yet the Christ himself admonished us that perfection was not something toward which we should grasp. He dwelt among sinners for a reason. So if what you mean by “more Christlike” includes such things as being forgiving (letting go of resentment) of others (and yourself) I am with you.

      To me, this, among other things, is essential to be married. I took the plunge, not being “ready” as Matt Walsh puts it, but forged ahead despite the risks of the unknown future, at the age of 25. At the time I could have used a bit more wisdom in my choice of a lifelong mate, as well as a bit of luck. I had neither. That’s life.

      In the ten years since my state law divorce (I am 50 now) I have learned one or two things. One thing is that no matter how much I let go of resentment during my married years, my spouse wasn’t capable of that. It’s not that my wife wasn’t “ready” to be married; she wasn’t “able” to be married. She wasn’t able to let go of resentment toward me, others or even herself. I’m convinced she had (has) a spectrum disorder, the primary issue of which is a lack of a sense of self to begin with. Mind you, I have no proof of this, as she refused(es) to be open to any potential of an honest attempt at diagnosis ( as that’s too terrifying). I forgave her for that, but could not be married to her, or rather, was never married to her.

      “What God has joined, let no man…” Indeed. Yet, consider the possibility that God might not be successful in joining the two when one, by force of inner will, id, or ego, even whilst uttering the sacred vows, refuses, or is unable, to be so joined. Consider this question: how can a person lacking a sense of self commit her(him)self to another? All I’m saying is that, while nothing is impossible for God, many things indeed are impossible for man.

      To put it in your terms, how can a person who lacks a self “die to him(her)self” in service to another? What if such a person, instead of a self, has only a bottomless pit of need? What if such a person isn’t able to “manifest the fruit of the Holy Spirit” in his(her) own life? What if, instead of a “garden”, such a person has a barren desert in his(her) heart, which drains away any volume of water one may try to shower upon it?

      By now, as you read this, it’s possible you think me a bitter curmudgeon. Let me say, I am flawed. Now, as then, I am aware of my imperfections, and remember vividly the mistakes I made before and during my marriage. For example, during my married years, I was guilty of being both a “fixer” (always trying to find solutions to problems rather than being a good listener) and an enabler and co-dependent, unwittingly so for a long time. I would engage in bitter argument with my ex-wife in many fruitless frustrations and shouted quite loudly in an effort to score points or “win” the fights (in an effort to prove that I was “right”). Foolish, vain and sinful for sure, I was. Thank God those disputes never went beyond that. Still my behavior in absolute terms was deplorable in those moments. In the beginning, of course, I thought that I was able to make a lifelong commitment, and spoke my vows with an honest heart and a clear mind. I had faith that I could engage in a lifelong committed marriage. I had no expectations that life would be all cheerful with no disagreements – and I was then, as now, willing to work at it (just not with my ex).

      You talked about faith not being a “feeling.” Quite right. A wise teacher once instructed me: faith is a quality not a quantity. It is a commitment of belief in an unprovable thing, now or in the future. It is bound up in reason, even though reason may fall short. If one has it, it serves as a kind of concrete in a solid foundation – a foundation that weathers storms in a way that emotions cannot.

      Luckily for me I have finally found someone who inspires faith that we can mutually die to ourselves to serve and love each other. She has a self an doesn’t need rescuing. So I believe that I’m “ready” to wed again. Now if only Mother Church could grasp the concept of undiagnosable spectrum disorders and grant me an annulment, instead of insisting that God joined me forever to my first wife, her inability to make honest, earnest vows notwithstanding. I reach out to the Church in an attempted embrace, but alas, she holds me back at arms length, much as my ex-wife did during our “marriage.” Life it seems is full of irony. I forgive the powers that be in the Church for this too. It seems letting go of resentment is the best path for me. Acceptance, ultimately, may be the order of the day, yet I hold onto faith that this will change sometime in the future, however unreasonable such faith may be.

      • Jack says:

        If I were to shorten my response it would be that two commitments are required to get married and stay married, but it takes only one to person to destroy a marriage or to let you know that they never really committed in the first place.

        • Thank you kindly for such an honest, deep and heartfelt response which takes great courage. Regarding becoming more “Christlike”, I’m in total agreement that this does not embody the pursuit of perfection. Not only is this impossible as only Christ was without sin and the embodiment of perfection, but the sheer thought is based on egotistical pride and thus doomed for failure. By becoming more “Christlike”, you rightly guessed that what I mean is cultivating the garden of our own hearts and through the grace of God, striving to become more forgiving, compassionate and above all loving. Only thus through inner transformation, may we affect outward transformation and bring the light of Christ into the world. In actual fact the Greek word for “mercy”, which so often comes up in the liturgy of the church “Lord have mercy” means cultivating a continual state of forgiveness and love towards our fellow neighbour. Only then may the true power of God’s love be made manifest in our lives, when we unconsciously humble ourselves, for the truly humble person is not even aware of the beautiful fruit of The Holy Spirit that proceeds from their lives. I am truly sorry regarding your first marriage. I am only recently married and have experienced some difficulties although my entire family has been through the pain of divorce. You actually make total sense to me, and your words resonate with both wisdom born of pain and suffering, which are both painful teachers of wisdom. May God bless you in every way, and I pray that one day “Mother Church” blesses you in marriage once more. Take great care and above all God bless you in every way.

        • Jack says:

          Photographymemoirs (aka Konstantine), thank you for your kind reply and for your encouragement. Nice for me to know that there are those out there such as you who “get it.”

      • Geoffrey says:

        Jack, you should look into the Eastern Orthodox Church. Same faith, different managers. They are much more caring and compassionate to faithful Christians in your situation. You can have the life of the sacraments again. Don’t get hung up or frustrated with the Roman bureaucracy. If you look into the Orthodox Church, I promise you won’t regret it. It’s not “foreign” anymore, the Divine Liturgy (Mass) is entirely in English, and they’ve got wonderful parishes where you’ll fit in to the Body of Christ just like family.

        • Jack says:

          Interesting suggestion. I actually began attending a parish of the Melkite Catholic Church. About 3 months into that I inquired about seeking an annulment via their good offices. The response: oh, we’ll first you have to apply for a change in “rite” or change in “transcription” from thr RC Church to the Melkite Church. I made such an application through my local pastor to the Patriarch in the U.S. The response: wait three years to apply for the change in rite, lest we think your not sincere in your desire to be a “true” Melkite Catholic. This response I did not understand. If I were a pagan off the street and began a Melkite catechism, would it take three years to be accepted?

          So I did what I have learned to do. I forgave them for this rejection. I wonder if God is sending me a not very subtle message.

    • ABC's Ministries says:

      Great post! You are right! Faith is not based on “feelings” but on a daily personal relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Glad you mentioned the fruit of the Spirit. Scripture tells us that you will know them (Christians) by their fruit. Most people find being nice to a total stranger easy, However, where displaying the fruit of the Spirit should be most important in our marriages and families, that’s where a lot of people fall short.

    • ABC's Ministries says:

      I think your second post replying to Jack was well thought out, and you said what needed to be shared. I appreciate both your and Jack’s transparency in sharing. I do want to share though that I grew up with a mentally ill mother. My father did not know she was mentally ill before they married but he would have never dreamed of divorcing his wife whom he had committed before God to stand by in sickness and in health until death do us part. My mom too refused to get help. My father did the right thing by not leaving Mom, as the only biblical reasons for divorce are adultery and abandonment. Mom’s denial and refusal to get help made things rough on my dad, and on us kids but God brought us through.

      • Jack says:

        Did your mother have borderline personality disorder?

      • Jack says:

        Did she get diagnosed? My ex-wife won’t cooperate with diagnosis, so she mentally tortures those around her, and doesn’t feel the least bit guilty about that. Normally when borderlines are fairly deep on the spectrum, the only way for one to achieve an end to the torture is with a policy of no contact. This is especially difficult for kids growing up when mom is the borderline, as they generally are trapped with mom until they reach 18. How did you cope while growing up – or is she not so deep on the spectrum – or is she of the “waif” variety of borderline, rather than the “witch” variety, as my ex-wife is?

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  7. Dorian Chartreuse says:

    I’d like to see blogs like this written by people who have been married for 20 years. Or even twelve. Not two and a half. I realize it’s the author’s job to write stuff like this, and it’s good that he wrote the “we still have plenty to learn” bit at the end. But where are the forty, fifty, and sixty-somethings that we should actually be reading when it comes to such subjects? The author is a good writer, and has all the authority to say, “Here’s what two and a half years of my own marriage feels like.” Granted, those two and a half years are probably all the better for what wisdom he gleaned from more experienced others.

    • ABC's Ministries says:

      You made a good point, Dorian. As they say in my neck of the woods, “experience is the best teacher”. I learned a lot from textbooks on my path to becoming a Board Certified Christian Counselor. However, the most valuable lessons I’ve learned are those that I learned on my personal journey of life. Though we often learn a lot from our own experiences, learning from the more experienced is wise, as I’ve heard, “To learn from your own mistakes is wise; but, to learn from the mistakes of others is even wiser”. By the way, I am 50+.

    • Jamie says:

      I agree. I think a lot of the posts here that we see about marriage, his wife and what he and she are owed by society smack of a very young, immature approach to life. Definitely grace-less. Hopefully the ups and downs of a long-term relationship will smooth their edges a bit.

  8. I don`t think anybody is ever really ready for marriage.We don`t learn anything in school or college about relationships.But when you decide to marry you will learn as a couple to figure it all out,if there is love,trust and patience.I like your posts Matt and agree with many.I am Jewish and have a different view about certain things concerning holidays and belief.Blessings from Israel!

    • ABC's Ministries says:

      “If a marriage is made in Heaven, the marriage will withstand the tests of time. If not, the marriage isn’t worth the paper it was written on.” That’s what my grandmother always told me. Furthermore, when God brings two people together, they are ready. Often in today’s society, many couples marry with the wrong motives. To them, marriage is more like a contract than a covenant. Reminds me of the movie “Fireproof”, which we watched last night at our church’s Valentine get together. Great movie! For those who haven’t seen the movie, it’s well worth watching!

  9. Jody Marie says:

    Everyone’s a critic.
    Bottom line: you’re not going to gain perspective because you’re educated through the experience of others. Perception is yours and yours alone.

    Life is too damned short, so FOLLOW YOUR HEART! You’ll have gained priceless memories, experiences, and a treasure cove of stories to tell.

    There’s no guarantee it won’t become broken, chipped, or damaged when you “proceed with caution”. So, just go for it! Somewhere on your path, you’ll find the way or find someone to fix it again. You’ll be stronger for it.

    I can honestly say I’ve NEVER EVER regretted following where my heart led me. I only end up in darkness when I chose to ignore it.

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  11. ABC's Ministries says:

    I thought of all the bloggers in this conversation when I read this account of how God brought two people, one being a quadriplegic, together in matrimony, and of how he continues to keep them together. Here’s the link: http://www.thrivingfamily.com/Features/Magazine/2014/real-life-with-joni-and-ken.aspx

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  13. Reblogged this on pursuingHISwill and commented:
    For any of who who have thought about the “practicality” of living together or debated how ready you are for marriage, I think this post is a great reminder that you can’t control for everything. At some point, you have to take a risk and you just have to move forward. That’s not the “end all” answer for every situation, but I feel this post is a good reminder of what’s important.

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  16. Scott P. says:

    Marriage isn’t a permanent commitment. The average marriage lasts seven years. So yes, living with each other for several years is essentially akin to marriage, without legal ramifications.

    • momma says:

      um its supposed to be…at least it used to be. and the two are nothing alike. the relationship can NEVER be the same without the commitment. I accept you imperfections and all, please accept me in return and lets do this forever for the rest of our lives. that is a whole other level of intimacy. you cant fake that.

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  18. Dear Jack,

    Thank your for your heart felt reply. Life is full of hardships, however I am convinced within my heart and soul that it is the dignity with which we bear them that reveals who we truly are and more importantly “Who we believe in”. Christ Jesus does promises us an earthly life filled with both joy and sadness as a prelude to Heaven. Yes there are moments of true peace, joy and love when we are faithful to God as manifested in the fruit of The Holy Spirit. The beatitudes beautifully express that those who experience hardship and endure it through faith will be blessed in the eyes of our Lord. The many hardships and tribulations we experience on earth are merely preparation for a life in Heaven surrounded by the pure love of our triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I have endured a somewhat difficult life. I almost died of a heart condition at twelve, had an extremely difficult childhood somewhat filled with fear and abuse. Furthermore, a few years ago I was involved in a series of serious car accidents (none my fault) which left me with permanent physical injuries requiring complex surgery. I have been living in physical pain for several years every moment of my life, and now at middle age need to change careers. It was in this deepest valley that through tears I reached out even more to God and thanked Him for all that I suffered, for I realised that it is in suffering that we truly manifest our love for God, not in times of prosperity.

    Matthew 7:14
    Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

    I have been following Christ for many years; the suffering I endure caused me to embrace Him even more so, Why? Because regardless of what I endure I try and cultivate a mind, heart and soul filled with “Trust, Obedience and Gratitude” towards Christ crowned with a Spirit of Humility and Love so beautifully and perfectly expressed within the pure innocence of children, that allows grace to work within us. I do this as an expression of my love for Christ. I am far from perfect; I often make mistakes, fail, yet it is the love and grace of God that allows me to pick myself up again and continue “Along the road that leads to the kingdom of Heaven” Faith after all is a journey.

    In this way, by overcoming difficulties through the grace of God, may we truly bear testimony to and glorify God. This is what it means to be both “Salt and Light”. To preserve all that is true and through grace reflect the pure love of Christ Jesus.

    I sincerely feel for your predicament. I myself am not Roman Catholic but an Eastern Orthodox Christian. Nevertheless, I have a deep love for the Roman Catholic Church and all the good that it does in the world. I feel for you, but sense that you have a good heart and humble disposition. I shall keep you in my prayers.

    God bless you in every way.

    • Jack says:

      Thank you Konstantine. I will pray for you as we’ll!

      • Thank you kindly Jack,; your prayers are very much appreciated. Let us indeed pray, encourage and uphold one another in christian love. Above all, let us always remember what Christ Jesus endured and suffered on the cross for us, as an example of the most beautiful manifestation of unconditional and pure love in the history of mankind.
        Take great care of yourself Jack and may God bless you.

  19. Just Fine- Thanks says:

    I’ve lived with my boyfriend longer than you’ve been together. I hate judgement like this. We’re fine the way we are. You go through the amount of things we’ve been through together and you wouldn’t be standing around/sitting around writing a shock jock conservative blog criticizing everyone who isn’t you.

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  21. Dave Smith says:

    That’s beautiful! My wife and I have been married now for almost 29 years. Even though she isn’t perfect (and myself am far from that) in my eyes she is…perfect for me!

  22. Ichabod says:

    You know, there are so many things I want to say in response to this… Sadly, I just don’t have the time to write everything that is on my mind. Matt Walsh, you are not ‘god’s’ gift to mankind. We do not need you to constantly bestow your ‘wisdom’ upon us in the form of novella length posts. If it wasn’t for my conservative, fundamental christian friends on Facebook, I wouldn’t even know you existed and I’m pretty sure I would be slightly less disappointed with humanity.
    You’ve never lived with someone before marriage. You have no right to tell everyone that living with your significant other before you tie the knot is unnecessary and teaches you nothing. I live with my significant other. We are not married. Since I’ve decided to be a heathen and fornicate, I have no right to tell someone like yourself that it’s stupid and irrational to marry someone you have never lived with. Since I haven’t done it, I am not at liberty to give my opinion on it. I’m especially not at liberty to act as if my untested opinions are law. You don’t know everything and you certainly cannot know anything about something you have never tried.
    You say you don’t presume to give ‘marital advice,’ yet, by telling everyone what NOT to do in order to strive for a perfect marriage, you are, in fact, doing exactly what you say you are not doing. You’re giving marital (or should I say PREmarital) advice. Then again, maybe you ARE the expert on premarital advice… if abstinence is the subject at hand and your moral, god-fearing goal.
    Lastly… I love when you listed the ‘four questions you should ask before you get married.’ I will give you that- they are good questions to ask.
    “Do I love this person? Can I trust this person? Can they trust me? Do I have the maturity and strength to give myself to this person, and to serve this person, every day for the rest of my life?”
    Hysterically, these are all things that you DO learn when you live with your significant other- with or without the binding legal contract of a marriage license. Living with someone outside of marriage isn’t just about bills, mortgage and sharing a bathroom. It’s about getting to know the person. It’s about learning to trust the person. It’s about falling in love with them and realizing that you simply cannot live without them. The only difference between living with someone in a committed relationship while being married to them and living with someone in a committed relationship WITHOUT being married to them is one little piece of paper. That marriage license doesn’t always change much. Believe it or not, you DO learn about love, trust, commitment, maturity and servitude by living with someone even WITHOUT that all-important legal, binding contract. If you need a piece of paper in order to be faithful to someone, you need to look in the mirror and do some deep soul searching. If you need a marriage license and someone to tell you to honor each other for the rest of your lives before you can respect and cherish your partner, you are not mature enough to get married and you need to stay single until you grow up.

  23. There are so many do’s and don’t’s to being married and having a significant other. I prefer to be married than living with one I love without marraige

  24. Pingback: "I wasn’t ready for marriage." | SmartLoving

  25. Mindy says:

    I come from a Hassidic community where people meet maybe two or three times before getting married. And those marriages work as well. The main thing is commitment to work things out.

    I personally think people should be mature, ready to give, emotionally stable and healthy, and be long-term compatible with their partners, but yes- marriage will make you mature.

    Husband and I decided we wanted to be married after our third blind date, got engaged three months later, married three month after that. Never lived together. Now 4.5 years and 2 kids later, and very happy.

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  27. clara williams says:

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  28. Great post. It reminds me of a book titled Just Do Something. The author nails it. I wish I could hand a copy to every 18yo in our country. I especially like the section where he addresses Christians blaming God for their break up/refusal to date. Hilariously sad.

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