Have you ever watched people walk through the process of choosing a new cell phone plan? Did you notice the way they went back and forth between the newest phones, painstakingly researching each phone’s features and reading countless customer reviews? Perhaps they even put off the task for a few months because the stress of choosing was just too much for them. After all, this one decision will affect them for the next two years – unless they opt to get out of their contract, which then they would have to pay the high early termination fee. After watching someone go through this process recently, a thought crossed my mind…
“I wonder how many people spend more time picking out a new cell phone and plan than they do a spouse?” There are people who spend hours deciding which color to paint the walls of their bedroom and not nearly as much time thinking about who to bring into their bedroom for a lifetime. Some may take six months deciding which Honda is the best fit for their lifestyle while spending only a few weeks deciding whether or not to propose to someone. However, this is not true of everyone. There are also people who have spent a great deal of time thinking and praying about who to marry and when to marry. Unfortunately there are still those who decide to enter into this permanently life-altering institution called marriage as flippantly as they decide which socks to wear that day.
“Wait a second, Heather. You just said permanently-life altering. This isn’t the dark ages. If I don’t want to remain married, I don’t have to.” According to the world’s standards, this is true. Nowadays, if you get tired of being married and your spouse isn’t living up to your expectations, you can walk away. What you can’t do is walk away without your life being altered.
Some divorces are harder than others; but, regardless of how bitterly or amicably you and your spouse part, your life will never be the same as it was before marriage. When you make a vow before God, that changes your life on a spiritual level. You cannot decide a few years later that you want a do over and erase that vow. It remains a part of your life forever.
My purpose is in no way to attack people who have gone through a divorce. Many people I love have gone through incredible heartache due to ended marriages and I feel deep compassion for them; and, I’m also sure they would all tell you that divorce did change their lives. Yes, they are all moving on and healing from the wounds, but their lives are not the same as they were before they were married. There are certain scars that they will carry with them for life. Few of them would advise anyone to get married without giving it a lot of thought, a lot of prayer and a lot time.
When customers chooses a new cell phone plan, they are looking at a commitment of a couple years. The decision will take a significant chunk of their money, so it is wise to take time to research and review. After all, getting out of a bad cell phone plan is expensive. It seems almost silly to compare choosing a spouse to choosing a new cell phone plan, but just for kicks, let’s look at the two:
You will use your cell phone daily, unless you are too sick to stand up; therefore, it will be with you almost all of the time. If you choose one flippantly, you may get it home and realize that it was not anything like you thought it would be. Soon you find yourself wishing you had done more research and taken more time in deciding. You may decide to get out of your contract, but if you do, you will pay for it. Chances are, you will put up with it for the term of the contract because you chose it, but you will get rid of it as soon as it is acceptable to do so.
In contrast… when you get married, your spouse will be a part of almost every area of your life. Even if he or she is not with you physically, his or her influence will be. If you decide to marry someone because of his or her special features, but don’t spend enough time learning and understanding who that person is, you may find out after – or during – your honeymoon that your now-spouse is nothing like you expected him or her to be. Soon you find yourself wishing that you had not rushed into marriage based solely on excitement and emotion. You may decide to end your marriage; however, you, your spouse, and everyone who loves you will be affected by it. In essence, everyone close to you will have an emotional cost tied to divorce.
Fortunately, the above scenario will not apply to everyone. There are marriages that begin with little thought and, by the grace of God, end with great blessings; however, such marriages are rare. More often than not, when two people enter into marriage with little thought, they also exit their marriages with little thought.
Marriage is a covenant, not a contract, designed by God to last a lifetime. This covenant cannot be broken without breaking the people involved. Please treat your decision to marry with much care, concern, and prayer than any other earthy decision you will ever make. I’ve never heard anyone say “I wish I had made a more hasty marriage decision”; yet, I have heard people say that they wished they had taken more time to get to know their future spouse well. If you live an average life span, you will likely have more than twenty cell phone contracts during the span of your marriage. Think about it.
Before marriage, how much time do you think couples should spend minimum in getting to know each other well?