With the divorce rate at 50% and rising, we have as a society come to understand that we need to do something different. There are people re-entering the marital relationship for a second time or more, and I believe that we genuinely want to get it “right”.
We understand that we should marry character. In Christian relationships the person’s character may resemble Galatians 5:22-23. So, what happens when you fall in love, and you really don’t know how to have a relationship?
This article is for the person that may be transitioning from a single mindset and desiring to have a mature relationship that leads to life partnership.
When I began looking for a husband and I do use that term loosely so that I do not get hate, and religious mail, I started preparing myself, by cultivating my relationship with God and understanding the dynamics of how relationships work. We have to relate to each other, forever. I went to school, literally. By attending marriage conferences, watching Marriage Today with Jimmy and Karen, reading books and other things, I understood that I would have to develop certain areas of my life in order to be the best wife that I could be. But often, men, black men in particular since I understand their culture closely have not been taught to learn how to be a husband and life partner in many instances.
Here are just a few practical things to get you thinking about what is most important to you in choosing a partner.
1) LOVE- It is a spiritual thing. Love is not to be taken lightly and often must be handled in the spiritual realm. Love is such a spiritual experience, it covers your sin, it unveils your authenticity, and it is the element in the world that confirms that God exists. Love is who we are, and what we do. Love is an action word, and your actions can not be generic. As you love someone you begin to sculpt your love into this beautiful one of a kind piece of art that is so valuable it cannot be compared. It’s less about the person’s capacity to love you, or potential, and more about whether they do and if they will too.
For example, I’ve seen women’s bodies change; they gain and lose as much as 100 pounds. Your love cannot fluctuate with her look. Just as if you had health issues, or weight concerns you would want her to love you beyond your gout, or obesity, and what her eyes can see; only love will perform past emotional feelings.
Someone who loves you and themselves will see your qwerky imperfections as confirmations of your distinction and not something to fix.
2) Parenting- this is a particularly special topic to me. Parenting is something that means a lot to me. Some people get married, have children and put the children as more important than the marriage relationship. Just remember, the children leave. Discuss how you two feel about balancing the family dynamics. He is an equal partner. In some societies, the father walks the children to school in the morning and that is the order of the household. Whatever your distinctions are, it’s important to know if you will be up with the babies at 4am or if he will share the responsibility.
Is he in for the long haul? What if you have twins or triplets? Even if you want to get pregnant, unless you have a discussion about desiring more than one child, the shock of many children at once may throw you both for an unexpected journey. What if the child has special needs? We don’t want to have this conversation but if you don’t you could face significant problems in the future of your relationships. I really believe that your beliefs about parenting styles including, discipline, music, care, and teaching should be discussed. It is very difficult to be madly in love with someone until children come along and conflicts abound.
This list is neither exhaustive nor conclusive, but it will help you to think about some important areas that may become non-negotiable on your relationship building list.