“When I Get Married …”
I found myself repeating this phrase a lot in my twenties and thirties. I would go to dinner or hang out at a couple’s house, and I would make mental notes on the drive home that began with “When I get married…”.
I would put that other couple’s relationships under the spotlight by thinking or saying, “When I get married, I’ll never do that, say that, act that way…”
Or conversely, I would say to myself, “When I get married, I hope to do that, speak like that, or act in that way.” Unfortunately, I felt like there were far more examples of things to avoid versus examples to emulate. While it’s important to be careful about comparing myself to others, watching and learning from the lives of those around us can be wise.
I made hundreds of these little promises to myself over the years, and now that I have recently gotten married, it’s time to live them out.
When I get married, I’ll never…
- become a workaholic.
- watch television for 4 hours a night and ignore my family.
- not communicate with my wife.
- get a big ole belly.
- cause my wife to be the Spiritual leader of our family.
- let my family get into debt by my poor stewardship.
- have a moral failure that would break up my marriage.
- consider divorce as an option.
When I get married, I hope to…
- continually be a spiritual leader that my wife can respect.
- be an initiator.
- be a good listener.
- consistently make wise decisions.
- provide financial stability.
- encourage my wife to reach her full potential in life.
- live, in some ways, counter to the American Dream.
- cultivate an “others-centered” family.
- place obedience and faith as the cornerstones of our family instead of comfort.
Contrary to what we subconsciously might believe, we do not change once we get married. Instead, our quirks, sins, and shortcomings are simply magnified by the intimate presence of another person.
No one will magically become a good listener once they say, “I do.” It begins with concentrating on the people around us today—our friends, families, and strangers. It happens when we do simple things like asking people out to eat and learn the art of asking questions and listening. Likewise, obedience and faith don’t become the cornerstones for my family if my comfort is all I’ve been seeking while I’m single.
The best way to be something in the future is to start practicing today. We all have personal baggage, but it’s a special thing when both people have spent their single years reducing their baggage instead of adding to it.
Have you ever made mental promises to yourself that start with, “When I Get Married…”? If so, what are they?