Do you have a tendency to dream vividly? For most of my life, my dreams have thoroughly entertained me; however, because my dreams are so lifelike, many of my dreams have left me feeling excessively happy or extremely uneasy.
Once, I dreamed that I had a baby and then forgot him and the hospital and couldn’t figure out how to find him and get him back. It was a relief to wake up from that one. I cannot count the number of times I’ve dreamed that I was walking down the aisle toward a man I didn’t want to marry, only to turn around and run for the hills (and it may not help that Runaway Bride is one of my favorite movies ~smile~).
A few nights ago, I had a seemingly normal dream that turned on a dime. In this dream, I wasn’t married yet and I was in a serious dating relationship with a handsome young man. We were discussing having kids someday and were planning a wedding. For a while, I was gloriously distracted until he stopped smiling, looked at me quite seriously, and said, “Do you love me?”
Suddenly, I was forced back into reality (at least, as much reality as one can experience in a dream) and I realized that I didn’t love this guy! I was filled with terror. How was I supposed to tell him? We’d already started planning our wedding!
Thankfully, my sweet dog let out a loud, strange puppy yell in her sleep and it woke me from my quandary. After collecting myself for a second, I realized that I was happily married… and to a man I could look in the eye and say, “I love you!” My heart was pounding as I tried to drift back off to sleep….
It was a freaky dream, though it doesn’t sound as frightening now that I’m awake; but, when I was in the middle of the dream, it seemed like the end of the world. In fact, it brought me back to all those moments of yesteryear when I spent hours talking to boyfriends about marriage. We’d talk about how my first name would sound attached to their last names. We talked about how many kids we wanted. I planned a life with a number of young men which I never really intended to pursue (most of them probably did not intend to pursue me either). It didn’t seem wrong at the time. It was fun! For me, dreaming of marriage was a blast, after all.
When I turned sixteen, I was dating a man that was a few years older than me. He wasn’t so much older that it was scandalous, but I was in the throes of high school and he was working full time and supporting himself. We were in two completely different phases of life. One day, on a date, we concocted this plan to play a joke on one of my friends’ mothers. We decided that I would tell her that we were planning to get married and that he was looking at land to buy. If I recall, the last part was true – he was looking for land, but not specifically for us. My mom decided to get in on the joke and she loaned me a tiny promise ring that belonged to my grandmother. The diamond was extremely small which made the charade that much more believable!
So, there I was, sitting at dinner with my best friend and her parents (who are like extended family to me). When questioned about my birthday gift from my beau, I sheepishly looked down at the floor and held up my left hand, shining with my grandmother’s modest ring. There was silence, and let me tell you, the fact that I grin ever so slightly when I’m nervous saved me because if could not have smiled at all, I would have burst out laughing.
My friend stared at me with an open mouth for what seemed like forever. Her dad just kept repeating some version of the phrase, “He’s moving kinda fast, isn’t he? He’s moving kinda fast, isn’t he?” Her mom, though not rendered completely speechless, did seem at a loss for words. She commented some, but she didn’t seem to know what to say. After a few minutes, I decided they’d had enough and I revealed my master plan to them. It’s incredibly difficult to pull one over on my friend’s mother, so as sad as it sounds, that victory still brings a smile to my face fourteen years later.
A few months after my award winning performance, I was going somewhere with the same friend and her parents. We were in the backseat talking about me marrying my boyfriend someday and joking about how life would be if I married him. Suddenly her dad spoke up and said, “Do you love this guy?” It came out of the blue, but it hit me in the face much like it did in my dream earlier this week. It was the first time I’d really thought about it. And the answer was: no, I didn’t – I didn’t love this guy.
I was a child dreaming about marriage because it was fun, but I wasn’t seriously interested in marriage. I don’t remember perfectly, but I would be surprised if this guy and I had not talked about getting married. I’m sure we talked about it futuristically, but chances are it did come up repeatedly. My friend’s dad began to share with me the depth of responsibility and commitment that is required in marriage – even when much love is present.
After hearing my friend’s dad’s remarks, I became more aware of my feelings towards the guy I was dating. We had been “fixed up” because some well-meaning people thought we’d be a good match. Neither he nor I were much interested in each other when the truth came out. We may have dated another couple of months, but it wasn’t nearly as much fun after coming to the conclusion that my heart was not really involved.
Marriage is fun to think about, but don’t be so in love with the idea of getting married that you play around with the idea with someone you are not serious about marrying. It worked out okay in this case because he and I both were not ready to pursue marriage, but what if we had been older? What if our families had been pressuring us to get married? Would we have given in and gotten married even though our hearts weren’t in it? Maybe not… maybe so.
There is nothing wrong with taking a relationship slowly. If, after a little while of getting to know someone, you are sure that the relationship is not heading toward marriage, have the courage to let it go. Don’t use him or her in your life just to have someone. If you believe that the relationship may have a future, use wisdom in how quickly you begin discussing marriage. As you discuss it, consider the depth of what you are considering.
It’s fun to plan and dream, but don’t start planning and dreaming until you are sure that you are moving in the same direction! ~smile~ If you start talking about marriage before you’re ready, you may find yourself buying/wearing a ring, buying a cake, and walking down an aisle sooner than you think. You don’t want to be in the midst of wedding planning when you realize you don’t love your fiancé/fiancée.
It’s also important to get good outside counsel. If you want to know if you two are meant for each other for sure, Eric and I help couples by counseling them over the Internet. If you are in a relationship heading to marriage – or know of someone who is – check out our pre-engagement counseling page (or, if you’re already engaged, our premarital counseling page). We’d love to meet and work with you to help you learn more about yourself, each other, and your individual dynamics as a couple.
If you want to dream about marriage, take it to the Lord in prayer. No one cares more about your future marriage than He does. ~smile~ No one listens better or has more time for you than your Heavenly Father.
Do you find yourself discussing marriage flippantly in relationships?