Many singles in our church are at an age appropriate for marriage. Because I know that for many of them, their long term prayer request is to meet their life partner, I am elated whenever I hear that a couple has gotten engaged. However, I cannot help but feel nervous at the same time. I always wonder how well they know each other, if they are prepared both emotionally and financially, etc. I think my concerns stem from the current divorce rate being over 40%.
It’s easy to think you want to marry someone based on initial impressions. If the other person is a believer, it may make the decision to marry seem that much safer. However, when they are first dating, a couple has a strong, mutual attraction that makes it difficult to impartially observe each other. Even if they share the same faith, if they don’t completely know each other, married life may be difficult. Some people decide to get married after praying about it for a few weeks. But it’s often unreasonable to think that one can understand God’s will on the matter by praying about it for such a short time.
Our church’s pre-marital class may be quite helpful for prospective couples. It can be taken if either is a member of our church. And it is not just for those planning to get married, but also for couples who want to know if they are truly compatible with each other. The goal of the class is to eliminate unrealistic fantasies about marriage and to help couples form realistic expectations beforehand. It allows the couple to compare habits, values, family backgrounds, and more so that they can assess their future compatibility. Since the goal is to measure compatibility, some couples break up while taking the class, and as a leader, I sometimes support this decision. I think that breaking up while engaged is preferable to a hasty wedding followed by years of regret.
Currently, the class is offered by request, but I am thinking about offering the class regularly, starting next year. So those of you who are thinking about marriage, please do not make urgent requests for the class but plan ahead and take it well in advance. It will be very helpful for couples before they get married. For those of you who know couples taking the class, please don’t bombard them with questions like “When are you getting married?” They should be free to date, seriously contemplate marriage, and make the decision to break-up when necessary. Let’s not contribute to creating an environment where, due to excessive interest, couples must leave the church when they break up. Finding one’s better half is one of the most important things in the world. I hope that young adults will not rely on just emotion but achieve balance by taking practical pre-marriage classes, praying, and being led by His guidance, so that our church may continuously witness the blessed birth of new families.
Soo Kwan Lee
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