Fifteen years ago, when I was a hopeful but inexperienced college freshman, my great uncle gave me this humorous, yet poignant, piece of advice: “Be careful who you marry, because the only thing worse than being lonely is wishing you were.”
To this day, that is one of my favorite quotes. There I was: eighteen and at a crossroads. I could rush into marriage and hope for the best, or I could be very careful with my choice. I could let the fires of infatuation and romance woo me or I could step back and look at the big picture.
At that point in my life, I was very attracted to the butterfly effect. This butterfly effect has nothing to do with small forces leading to large forces. The butterfly effect I am referring to is the feeling one gets when he or she is terribly smitten. It is that intoxicating, nothing bad can happen, everything is right in the world feeling that flutters around in your gut. Thankfully, God protected me from getting married in that stage of life.
It can be very tempting, especially after a long season of single life, to believe marriage to someone is better than marriage to no one – but, that is just not true. You could probably find five people in an hour’s time who would gladly tell you their marriage horror stories. My maternal grandmother had a few stories herself. She was intimately acquainted with the saying, “Marry in haste, repent at leisure.”
What Do You Know? You Cannot Possibly Understand How I Feel!
You may be saying, “Of course, you can lecture us about waiting for a good marriage partner, Heather; you are already married! You do not know how hard it is to wait and then find deal-breaking qualities in every potential mate!”
Yes, I am married – and that is how I know my uncle’s advice is true.
I have learned firsthand that marriage is not an antidote to loneliness. You can be married and feel lonelier than when you were single – especially if your spouse keeps you from your friends. Keeping a connection in your marriage is something you have to work on constantly, or it will fade.
There have been times in our marriage when Eric and I were quite lonely even though we were side-by-side. We have also experienced times of deep fulfillment. Marriage is not an absolute guarantee of companionship – at least not desired companionship. As unromantic as it sounds, you have to think about the person you are dating realistically. How do your personalities line up and how do your world views mesh? Can you picture this person being your friend forever? Lord willing, your lifetime will be long. Do you want to spend it with a friend or with someone you wish would leave you alone?
I Wonder How Many Examples We Could Find?
Do not gamble with your future. There are plenty of people right now in bad marriages who would rather be alone than living in the nightmare they are experiencing. The butterflies die down fast – often before the honeymoon is over. Once your mate no longer gives you goosebumps, will you be left with a forever friend or a ball and chain? Play this bet safe, friends. Be very thorough in your preparation and do not skimp on the Getting to Know You phase.
I shudder to think what might have happened if I had not taken my Uncle’s advice. He enjoyed a very fulfilling marriage to a lovely woman, but I am sure he saw a lot of heartache in his ninety-one years – much of it in his family. Obtaining a spouse is simply not worth the pain that comes from choosing hastily.
So, I will echo Uncle Willie and proclaim, “Be careful who you marry, because the only thing worse than being lonely is wishing you were.” We want all of our readers and clients to have amazing, companionship-filled, Christ-centered marriages that reflect God’s love to the world.
That is why we do what we do.
Do you know anyone who married in haste and ended up regretting it desperately?