Characters for Marriage

Our 24th wedding anniversary passed recently. Since we dated about seven years prior to getting married, we’ve known each other for 31 years. We entered into marriage without knowing God and without any thoughts or plans about the marriage. I have to say it has been God’s grace that we lived together without much problems. However, since I did not know God at that time, I consider it somewhat lucky that I had the 7 years of dating to think about what kind of husband and family I wanted to have.

When the time comes, many people prepare for marriage and determine the readiness of marriage based on their financial situation or their ability to live independently. However, the most important criteria to consider in determining one’s readiness for marriage is character. In order for two people who have been raised in completely different homes and cultures to have a harmonious marriage, they should have understanding (the ability to look at situations in other person’s perspective), tolerance (the ability to accept the difference), communication skills (the ability to solve problems through conversation), resilience (the ability to heal inner wounds), and patience (the ability to endure the hard times). These are the characters needed for marriage. Of course, I do not mean that people should not get married unless they possess perfect character, but at least the couple should check if they have a minimum amount of these characters needed to build a family.

In this sense, we can say that some people are not yet ready to marry. For example, a very selfish person who is used to having other people serve him/her is only after his/her own benefits, is too strongly opinionated, and can be viewed as someone who does not have the character needed for marriage. Additionally, a person who cannot control his or her temper (immature behavior that he or she should have learned to control at an earlier age), an emotional rollercoaster, a very lazy person, or a person with too many romantic relationship problems does not have the appropriate character for marriage. These people should not think that marriage will help them become a better person but should delay marriage and only marry when they have disciplined themselves to control such traits.

Other threats to marriage are addictions, such as gambling or alcohol and, in the case of women, vanity and spendthrift habits. These dangerous factors can destroy a marriage at once, which is already not an easy relationship to carry on. Such problems should be cured before anyone gets into a marriage, but in many cases parents hastily marry their children off, thinking the marriage will cure their children of those problems.

Single people should remember that having the characters suitable for marriage is most important, and they should train themselves to maturity. Considering this, if you are an international student, you must not forget that time spent in Mokjang during your busy school life is not a waste of time but the most valuable investment you can make for yourself.

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