marrrying for loveDear Ben, Don’t marry for love.

And before we continue, let me say it again:
don’t marry for love.

We’ve been spoon fed since our first cartoon that “love” = the only marriageability requirement necessary. And every movie, novel, rom com and otherwise has promoted this mentality since.

Just like the crowd cheers the underdog, we have joined in the chorus of those
in favor of the star-crossed lovers, betrothed to other people by their parents’ bidding,
yet end up together as the curtain closes at their first kiss or on their wedding scene.

Unfortunately, this isn’t real life.
Oh, people “fall in love” and they certainly get married, and far too often they do so without
their parents’ approval or blessing. (And this is why America’s divorce rate is
highest in record since they started recording.)

When we only marry for love, we are missing something far too vast to ignore, though unfortunately is has been shut out of most, if not all romantic love tales from hollywood-esk publicity budgets. Too many older women have I met who tell me of how they married for love, and are now heartbroken women, past their prime, who have 30 years of a very messy marriage behind them, if they are even still married to their first husband.
Something was definitely not present at the alter.

I’d like to call this missing component “foundation.”
Foundation is a deep and unshakable force that binds two seemingly opposite people together to defend and protect the “for better or for worse” vow.

Let me give you two examples of couples, to best illustrate my point.

____________________________________ … ____________________________________
Meet Claire and James: they met in college, stayed in touch, and knew they wanted to get married. They shared an incredible friends group, loved to debate, and valued family time and living in the moment. It was perfect; Claire wanted to get involved in teaching overseas and James was set on becoming a professor at Harvard. They weren’t sure how, but they were totally going to work. Right?
Of course. Because they were in love. Deeply and beautifully, and even though he would get her least favorite color of flowers, and she sent him things he could never use,
they had chosen to love each other, and they were totally going to make it.
So the families intermingled, talk of rings, and undying love was evoked and whispered over and over again. They made plans of their lives together, parenting styles, and future adventure trips — though some of these were a bit different — and they talked of when to get married, even though that wasn’t totally agreed upon.
In fact, they avoided most conflicts and tried to not be angry with the other, because they were determined to work.

Until something became evident.
There was no foundation. Nothing to hold the two together to withstand the raging storms of time; their desires and values were too far different to relate. For Claire to pursue her life goal and be with James, he would have to sacrifice his career; for James to pursue his life’s plan and remain with Claire, the only option was for her to pick a different career path or occupation altogether. Not to mention background, lifestyle, and so many other factors were different. Their “choosing to love” wasn’t enough.

____________________________________ … ____________________________________
Meet Lewis and Sofie: perfect strangers who met on a train, and hit it off.  She, a young pharmaceutical rep for a large company, and he, a bit older, and a server on the train dining car staff.  Both wanted to start a home for young boys in foster care.  For a year, during her daily commute, they kept the conversations going. They talked about art and religion, the problems they grew up in and their love of food.  She was an introvert, he was an extrovert, yet somehow they hit it off. When love was whispered in the air, it was the most natural of conclusions to their relationship level and a glorious dawn into the next.

Married at a year and a half, Sofie had a miscarriage on top of their losing two of their boys to be returned to still-not-ready-in-the-least mothers. At the same time, Lewis was laid off and searching for a new bread-winning occupation.  Things were hard.
What saved them? Their foundation. Both had a deep and passionate, though outwardly different, love for Jesus and that manifested in their mutual desire to be the supportive parent many boys in their community wouldn’t get otherwise. Their foundation was big enough to withstand the raging storms of life. And they rode it out.

Now they have two daughters who have 16 older brothers in their large home on 21 acres.
Okay, I lied. it’s 20 acres.
But still. They lasted.
………………………………………………………………………. — ……………………………………………………………………….

The interesting thing about Foundation, is that it’s more than just mutual interests and likes. Claire and James had things in common, and grew to like what the other did. And it’s not like Lewis and Sophie were totally the same either; their personalities, day jobs and ways of relating to their worlds were very different. It was the Jesus-centricness of Lewis and Sofie’s that kept their love firm. They also built their relationship on conversation and friendship over a stretch of time, instead of huge gaps between seeing each other and then settling in (like Claire and James did).

So what do you do with this?
As you seek out a woman to marry (or as you are waiting and pursuing her in the right timing
(see previous post)
not only are you checking to see if she is a worthy pursuit, but even more looking into her heart and seeing if you can (and want to) withstand the highs and lows of life, and the craziness that often ensues, with her.

I’ve thought about it long and hard, and I truly believe there isn’t any other firm foundation in a relationship than mutual faith. When what you believe is the same, then what you do and how you do it is congruent with each other. And stuff like how you like your eggs and remembering to text back is no sweat.

Also, if she wants to be a biophysicist (for example) and you’re wanting to settle down right away and have 10 kids (for example), she probably isn’t your girl. Wait for the one who’s not only perfect for you, but perfect for the future you.

When we marry the person we have most recently fallen in love with, we might be going off of what we assume to be leading of the Lord or natural passions, but I caution you to instead “fall into foundation” with someone. Love will always come. We’re human. We love those we are around most. So as you are seeking, see who’s heart is complimentary to yours, and their mind and will and desires and goals and dreams and depth with God.
And you’ll last



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