On July 3rd, 2012, my heart broke when I heard that Andy Griffith had passed away. He was eighty-six, so he led a long life, but it hurt nonetheless. It’s true that I’ve never met him, but in some ways he felt like a distant relative. A native of my home state of North Carolina, I grew up watching Andy Griffith on The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock. Watching him on TV gave me a small glimpse into what life was like when my grandparents were in their prime and a glimpse into what it must have been like to be a child when my parents were kids.
Call me a nerd, but I often find myself reciting scenes from The Andy Griffith Show with my dad. I could name a few others that love The Andy Griffith Show as much as I do, but I won’t reveal their identities. You know who you are. ~smile~ In one episode of The Andy Griffith Show, Wedding Bells for Aunt Bea, Aunt Bea gets the idea that Andy would be more likely to find a wife and move on with his life if she got married and moved out. So, she started dating the town dry cleaner, Mr. Goss. Andy was under the impression that Aunt Bea was happy in the relationship and so he encouraged it to continue towards marriage. Aunt Bea thought Andy wanted her to get married, so even though she was miserable, she kept dating Mr. Goss. At the end of the episode, Andy realizes that Aunt Bea doesn’t want to marry Mr. Goss and tells her, “Among folks that love each other, like we do, nothing can be best for us unless it’s best for you.” How sweet… and true.
Are you planning a wedding to please someone else? Do your parents worry that you won’t ever get married and so you are planning to marry your boyfriend or girlfriend just to calm their fears? Do they talk about wanting grandchildren so much that you are ignoring your concerns and are going forward with a marriage that your heart is not into? Has your boyfriend or girlfriend pressured you into getting married to the point that you’d rather give in than hear them complain anymore? If you are getting married for any other reason than an overwhelming love and desire to be a constant companion to your boyfriend or girlfriend throughout life, put on the brakes and look at your relationship objectively (and if you cannot yourself, then obtain outside wisdom).
I can think of two stories off the top of my head where girls accepted proposals and then rushed into wedding planning without realizing that they were getting married for the wrong reasons. One girl stopped and called the wedding off a few weeks before her wedding date and the other went forward with her marriage – crying all the way down the aisle.
There are times to be completely selfless and give to others until it hurts – this does not apply when it comes to choosing a spouse. At the end of the day, you are the one who will be married – and if you are not comfortable taking that step, don’t take it. Get counsel, spend hours (and days) in prayer, and be honest with yourself. If you are not marrying for the right reasons, then don’t marry.
The guilt of letting your fiancé/fiancée down (or the pain of letting him or her go) might be immense, but consider this: would you want to marry someone only to find out later that they didn’t really want to marry you in the first place? Of course not, and your fiancé/fiancée doesn’t want you to marry him or her for the wrong reasons either.
Take some time to think about your relationship. Are you moving toward marriage to please someone else? If so, I would recommend pre-engagement counseling and objectively considering a long-term future with that person. If you just think the time is wrong to get married, you can still continue to date until you believe the time is right, assuming your boyfriend or girlfriend is willing to put on the brakes.
Your marriage will be between you, your spouse, and God. It is wise to receive counsel from others (godly people you can trust), but never choose to marry solely to please others in your life.
Have you evaluated the reasons you have for wanting to get married?