Excited about finding the right one for you and getting married? I hope so! Marriage is wonderful and the dating and engagement period are exciting times, even if it is the second time around. But here’s an important question to ask yourself: Are you ready to truly give all of yourself to the right person or are you simply ready to be married?
There’s a big difference between those two ideas. Here is a little story that helps to illustrate what I mean:
A beautiful young bride rode silently to the church in a white limousine. She was gorgeous in her new gown and veil, with perfect hair and flawless makeup. As the chauffer drove her away from the house she grew up in to the church where she would be married, her smile waned. She thought, “Am I making the right decision?”
Guests were arriving with expensive gifts. Chefs at the local restaurant were preparing the luncheon for the reception and hotel personnel were inspecting the honeymoon suite in reserve.
The bride rode silently with her family, who were also in the limousine. Her father finally spoke up, making one last attempt to change her mind about the wedding:
“Honey, please, let’s turn around. We can go anywhere you want. I don’t care about the guests, I don’t care about the money . . . Just, please, give it one last thought.” His wife and younger daughter exchanged glances in silent worry.
Despite her doubts the bride instantly became defensive. “Dad, why can’t you just be happy for me?”
Her father mumbled under his breath. He had seen troublesome signs in the couple’s relationship and knew they weren’t likely to endure the pressures of marriage. What would happen when things got tough? But he recognized the hopelessness of changing his daughter’s mind and bit his tongue until finally they reached the church.
That was when the bride came alive. It was a total transformation from the girl who sat quietly just minutes before. She emerged from the limousine like a princess from her carriage. Her bridesmaids, who had been gathered at the side of the church waiting for her arrival, rushed to her side and immediately began to fuss over her, tending to her every need. Indeed, she felt like a star. The photographer began the photo extravaganza, flashing away while the florist rushed in and out of the church with decorative flowers.
As their daughter was whisked away to begin the “happiest day of her life” her parents held each other’s hands tightly and watched from afar, praying silently that their daughter’s life would end up, somehow, okay.
- Conflict Resolution Skills
After going through a divorce many years ago, myself, I can confirm these are critical issues to discuss. But what’s even more important is remaining true to yourself about what your values are and what you will and won’t accept in a relationship.
Fr. Paul Scalia, pastor of St. John the Beloved Church in McLean, Va., says that during marriage preparation he hears couples say, “As long as we love each other, Father, we know everything will be fine.” But he laments their understanding of love is not what it should be. Love means putting your spouse first which can be very difficult to do when you are not getting along or there are health issues or financial difficulties.
If you have these conversations early on and grow to love each other unconditionally then when you do get married, you can weather any storm. These conversations are tools in and of themselves that you can use to find out if you are meant for each other, and hopefully a deeper, more personal and exciting love relationship.