what are some guidelines that could help in making this most
important decision? I believe that there a few questions that
could help us along the way.
How do you get along with your mom and
dad? It goes without question that the unfinished business that
exists in your relationship with your parents you will bring
into your marriage. The person you are considering marrying
probably has many qualities that are like your opposite sex
parent. The question is, can you identify those characteristics
and are they positive or negative. It is not uncommon for a
daughter to seek after a man who is like her father in
temperament, even if that temper is explosive, because that is
what is normal for her. She may not necessarily like that, but
she is familiar with it and familiarity seems a lot safer then
Another question from your family of origin
is: How did your parents resolve conflict? Did you see them
fight? Did they come to a resolution that was agreeable to
both, one, or was it ultimately ignored? How does/did the
parents of the perspective spouse deal with conflict? If one
family is highly vocal and the other deals with conflict very
logically, it could cause a problem. How do you and your fiancé
What about personality differences? I give
the Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis for personality traits
during pre-marital counseling. This examines nine personality
traits. The purpose of the test is to help the individual to
see attitudes and behavioral tendencies which influence
personal, marital, parental, family, scholastic, and vocational
If you were to ask, “What are the three
things that couples fight most about?” the answer would be
MONEY, SEX and HOUSEWORK. You might want to look at these
Money; Who is going to make it, both the wife and the husband?
When children come along (assuming they do), will the wife continue
to work? Who will take care of the bills? How do you spend money?
Will there be a budget?
[to top of second column]
Sex; Yes, you will have it, but how often? Couples fight most about
the frequency. If there have been other lovers in the past, STDs
and treatment need to be explored. What type of birth control will
be decided upon? There are many other issues, but they will be
addressed in another column.
Housework; Whose job is it? Who is going to do
what? Again, looking back at what happened in your family of origin
will help reveal what will happen in your own family. It’s true that
just because a pattern was set in your own family doesn’t mean that
it can’t be changed. However, that change must be a conscious,
constant, and considered effort. Within Mark’s home he did the
dishes a lot as a kid. Today he still does the dishes. (Hopefully
this will never change).
Last, but certainly not least, the question
must be posed: Are we spiritually compatible? In other words, is
she/he a Christian? In 2 Cor. 6:14-18 Paul commends that Christians
not be yoked to unbelievers. I understand that this passage pertains
to business partners, but how much more important that we have as
our life partner someone whose fundamental basis (a world view) is
the same as ours. It is this basis from which all other decisions
should be made.
Marriage is a wonderful, God given gift. That
doesn’t mean it’s not a lot of hard work. When we are more
compatible with one another in background, personality and theology,
then intimacy, the sense of oneness, is much easier to achieve. The
journey of life together can be an awesome adventure.
[Roberta Mangano, Counseling Minister,
Lincoln Christian Church]
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