(Photo courtesy: graphicstock.com)
We said we would be back with the second group of three to complete our list of six things every couple considering marriage should discuss before saying “I Do”.
Marriage is a sacred covenant and, as I shared in my post A Call to Reconcile: Celebrating the Value of Marriage, it takes commitment and work.
So, before taking the step of exchanging vows, let’s talk about three more topics to discuss prior to picking out an engagement ring…
Just in case you missed last week’s post A Call to Reconcile: The First Three Things People Planning on Getting Married Should Consider Discussing Before They Say “I DO” , here’s a recap:
The first thing to discuss is communication styles. Lack of communication is the number one cause of divorce, so figure out how to do it in a healthy way now, so you won’t pay the price later. The second topic is finances. Financial issues going into marriage will continue if you don’t have a plan together. Finally, the third topic we ended with is kids. Children are a precious gift, but not everybody wants them or has a plan if they can’t have them, so talk about your thoughts on children and move forward.
Okay, so now we are back on the journey…
4) NON-NEGOTIABLES: This is actually a very important topic for people before they even begin the “courting” process (yeah, I went old school). Non-negotiables are the things you have in mind that you will not settle for less on in your spouse. It is a valuable practice to create a “mental” list or, a real list, of items that you value. For instance, I had a non-negotiable for my future spouse would need to share my faith and support my calling as a pastor…
The great thing about it is, she supported the call, and now she is reaping the benefits of marrying someone so close to God…just kidding…but seriously.
It’s so important to know and discuss your non-negotiables beforehand, so you won’t become entrapped in a marriage that you are not being fulfilled in due to different views, wants, and/or needs.-N
PS- I’m glad I deleted my non-negotiable of my wife needing to be a football fan. She has grown to appreciate my love of the game.
5) LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: This doesn’t just apply to the housing industry, but to your marriage as well. When I moved to West Virginia, I wasn’t sure if this would be my final home or if I would be moving somewhere else. Then, I met Natasha, who was born and raised in this great state and all her family lives here. She expressed that she would be willing to move, if we both felt the call from God to do so. However, her preference would be to stay as close to family as possible.
I knew I had to figure out my willingness to stay here or should I move on. I knew she was going to be my wife, so I chose to accept her preference. I missed my friends and family, but I was willing to stay as long as we were both willing to follow God’s lead and not our own desires.
Both of you have to know your limits on distance. Will you both be world travelers? Will you stay close to family? What about education? Are you willing to move for the other spouse to pursue their goals?
The question is, “Are you willing to go?”, if your personal limits on location do not coincide with your spouse’s, then unnecessary tension might be placed on the relationship in the future.
Imagine this: Pulling out of an airport, and right in front of you is a white van surrounded by a SWAT Team with weapons drawn. You’re in panic mode because just 5 minutes prior to this event your future husband is trying to talk you into moving to this location by saying, “You’ll love this place! It’s just like your hometown!” Right then, I knew it was going to take an act of God to get me to leave my home.-N
On a more serious note, during one of our many trips to California to visit Bobby’s family, someone close to Bobby pulled him aside to have a private conversation and said, “Don’t let her keep you from coming back home.” With that being said, ultimately as a couple, it’s a decision that needs to be made between them with much prayer and COMMUNICATION…(we have always said from the beginning that when decisions are made like this, Bobby would talk with his family and I would talk with mine). -N
Finally and, we believe, most importantly…
6) FAITH: If you are not a follower of Christ or have a faith practice, then this might not apply to you, but we would like to encourage you to seek out the message of Christ in regards to marriage and honoring each other. However, if you are a follower of Christ, this is big!
As I mentioned earlier, one of my non-negotiables was for my spouse to be like-minded in faith and to see our role as servants of Christ for His glory together. Natasha and I recognized that our marriage was a way to shine the light of Christ into the world. The way we would serve and love each other would be an example of what a healthy marriage could be like. We know we do not “complete” each other (Jerry Maguire in the house!), but our marriage is complete in Christ.
When active in the faith together, your relationship can grow deeper and be stronger, as you seek God mutually.
Just as God desires for all of his children to have a healthy and successful marriage in the earthly realm, he just as much desires for us to be in a healthy and successful marriage and commitment to Him. What better way to do this, than to join together with your best friend to pursue a relationship together with Christ. This cannot be left solely to the spiritual leader in the home, but must be mutually strived for and wanted.-N
In conclusion, we love marriage! We know it isn’t for everybody, but for those who have chosen to go in this direction, we hope these topics of discussion will serve you well and may your marriage be full of love and fun!