More than ever, I see couples getting engaged. It’s a clear sign that my generation is growing older! I remember a time when the only concern I had was the fact that I had nothing (new) to wear…
Around Christmas time, I remember a particular journey where I ended up tuning in to an interesting conversation on the radio. It went something like this:
Presenter: So at the moment we have a guest counselor on the show. She will be answering any questions that you have concerning challenges you may be facing over the Christmas period. We will need your help with this next one! Here is the dilemma: this listener has a boyfriend who is planning to propose to her on Christmas day. The only reason she knows this is because she asked her parents to tell her if he ever asked their permission to marry her. She doesn’t feel that she is ready for marriage, but she doesn’t want to say ‘no’ and hurt his feelings. Let us know your thoughts, and we’ll see what we can do to help this individual. We’ll be right back after the break.
*break for ads*
Presenter: Before the break, we shared an interesting dilemma. We thought we needed a bit more information, so we’ve managed to get hold of the person directly. Hi there
Presenter: So tell us a bit more about your situation. We’ve had quite a few suggestions from other listeners- one idea is to watch a romantic film with your boyfriend and talk about the fact that you don’t like the idea of marriage
Caller: I have already told him a few times, but he doesn’t seem to get the message
Presenter: Do you love him?
Caller: Of course. We’ve been together for nine years and I like things the way they are
Presenter: So why don’t you want to marry him?
Caller: I’m only 25 and I’m happy. I might consider marriage when I’m older, but right now I don’t see why things need to change.
Presenter: Well the general feedback from listeners is that you should tell him sooner rather than later. Christmas is only a couple of weeks away!
Caller: I know, but how do I tell him without revealing that my parents told me he was planning to propose
Presenter: You don’t have to mention your parents, just bring up the topic of marriage and make it clear that you don’t want to get married. Maybe you should also question why he wants to get married. If things are fine as they are, then he should respect how you feel. Let’s find out what our guest counselor thinks
Counselor: I would disagree. I think you should be honest and tell him that you parents told you
Counselor: It would be obvious that you know something, especially as you would be discussing marriage so close to his plans for proposal. You always end up in a worse situation when you try to lie to soften the blow, so just be honest. Tell him that you asked your parents to tell you if ever he asked for their permission to marry you, so they told you about his plans to propose on Christmas day. Let him know that you aren’t ready.
Presenter:… and that’s why she’s the counselor! Is that helpful advice?
Caller: Hmm I guess… but who proposes to someone in their living room anyway?
Presenter: Would you prefer if he took you up the Eiffel Tower?
Caller: At least that would be romantic
Presenter: *Laughing* At last! The truth comes out
I was intrigued to hear how this caller was so reluctant to get married after being in a relationship for so long. I’m sure there were many listening who considered her foolish, and felt more sympathy towards the man she was with for his seemingly wasted efforts. But there were probably those who were able to relate to the way she felt about marriage.
Many of us are skeptical of marriage, especially if we have never experienced or witnessed examples of healthy relationships. “How can you spend the rest of your life with one person?” seems to be the main concern. We live in a society where the idea of “loving” your partner even though you may not trust them is a common mindset. When we have negative experiences, it is no wonder that the thought of a happy marriage is perceived as little more than a fairy tale. It’s about time we break the mold of our past, and learn how to get it right for a change!
If we have exams, we prepare. If we have a job interview, we prepare. If we are giving a presentation, we prepare. If we have people coming to visit, we prepare. We love to be prepared in every other aspect of our lives apart from relationships. Why is that? It is very easy to fall into the trap where we just “figure it out as we go along”. Can you imagine if we had this approach for everything we set out to do? I doubt we would get very far at all. It is no wonder that we struggle, but it is never too late to stand back and take some time out (why not choose now since you are reading this), and consider how you can begin to prepare, or prepare more effectively. Whether you are seriously considering marriage, or are yet to enter into a relationship, the key lies in learning how to love as God loves.
When you do get engaged, you will learn what preparation really is…
Let’s be real, people love weddings!
The sad truth is that many individuals are encouraged into a marriage too fast and too soon. As soon as the excitement dies down from the wedding day, the crowd has soon found a new couple to surround with excitement. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with celebrating such a decision, but we also need to be realistic about the challenges and the added pressures that arise during the engagement period. We need to avoid getting swept along by the eagerness of the majority, and remain firmly grounded in both our relationship with God, and our relationship with our partner.
The beginning of this year marked one year for my relationship. Even though we are not yet engaged, we both knew that we wanted to prepare sooner rather than later. We began premarital preparation around August of last year, and I am grateful for the way that God has and is continuing to lead us as a couple. I consider engagement to be a preliminary to actually getting married. It shouldn’t be a time where you “test the water” or find yourself doubting your intentions. The thought of spending the rest of your life with your partner shouldn’t be a scary thought.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” –Romans 12:9
Once the vows are said and done, it won’t be long before you find yourself settling down into the newness of life with your husband or wife. This idea will only be exciting if you are able to not only understand that marriage is a gift, but consider your partner to be just as precious.
What does a proposal mean to you? Share your thoughts on this topic below