There are many, many men and women who should NOT or ever marry! I came to this startling conclusion after 35 years of counseling couples before, during, and after marriage. A large number of adults simply do not have the “right stuff”; the “right spirit”; or the will for marriage. They do not have the ability to consider another before oneself because they are too narcissistic, too selfish, too self-absorbed, too self-centered, too career-centered, too sports-centered, too animal-centered, or just too immature and underdeveloped to commit to or be compassionate in marriage.
All these characteristics are indicators of the most important sin of omission! The inability to give one’s love away! That’s right, to give your love away. Instead, most of us are waiting for love, longing for love, wishing for love, and praying for love. We are not usually longing for opportunities to give our love away but rather we are seeking love, desiring love, or wishing for love. Unfortunately, we usually put conditions on love. We only want to give our love away, AFTER we have been shown love or told we are loved. But love is not a “thing” out there waiting to find us but is rather a biological and spiritual phenomenon that we give away! Giving our love away for the sheer joy of caring for and loving another IS the gift of love. It is not the return of love that makes us blissful. The return of love is the bonus prize. It is giving love away and expecting nothing in return that invites the greatest joy and the deepest and most enlightened manner of living.
Lest you think I am anti-marriage, I am not. Even after counseling numerous troubled, heart broken and suffering couples, I still believe marriage is a marvelous institution, a magnificent idea, a heart-expanding and growth-inviting experience, and I also believe a sacred covenant. To enter into this sacred and marvelous covenant between a man and a woman, I believe you must have the “right stuff” with the “right person.”
We can argue or debate that some marriages get into difficulty because the individuals married too young, had a difficult childhood, or did not have good role models. Yes, all of these things can be hindrances or obstacles to satisfying marriages. But they are not the main reasons why couples inflict pain on one another, treat each other badly, abuse, lie, cheat, or deceive. These individuals behave this way because of their inability to give their love away; to be charitable and respectful in the very purest sense and to live compassionately.
I believe the number one reason for divorce is marrying the wrong person in the first place. Yes, marrying the wrong person. And YOU yourself may be the wrong person. Once married, selfishness, on the part of one or both spouses, is the second major reason. Selfish individuals cannot fully give their love away, they are too concerned about meeting their own needs and desires and so they insist, demand, and require love.
Marriage should be reserved for those special and incredible individuals who really have the “right stuff” and the “right spirit” and are prepared to do those things that will guarantee that their marriage is successful, sacred, and bulletproof.
These are a few of my thoughts adapted from the introduction of a new book that I am writing entitled “Don’t Get Married….Unless”. I am planning (hoping) that it will be completed and published later this year, 2010. It will also include ideas about how to have a bullet proof marriage for those already married. I must thank my graduate students who some years ago encouraged me to write a book about marrying and not-marrying. So, finally, it is now a very enjoyable work in progress.
What questions do you have about when to marry, not marry? What questions do you have about how to have a bullet-proof marriage?
If you think that Don’t Get Married….Unless might be useful to you, a family member or friend, leave a comment. You’ll be the first to know when it’s available and you will have a chance to win a pre-release copy.
Stay tuned for my upcoming book on this subject, click here for the web site.