Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Think Before You Leap

I was listening to one of the local popular morning radio shows this morning on the way to work. I usually have a CD playing or riding in silence (my only bit of quiet time in my hectic days) so it must have been a fluke that I was listening.

Anyway, the show brought a listener into the studio to get some feedback on her current marital situation. I didn't catch the begining but was able to figure out what this poor newlywed bride Joanne was going through with her husband Jason. Her husband is currently in New York training and interviewing for jobs in the investment banking field. Joanne is still in Atlanta alone. Due to the high demands of his training, he often goes days without talking with Joanne. This is their first year of marriage so to be separated and lacking communication is adding stress to their situation.

To make matters worse, once he secures a job, they will be moving to New York for about 3-5 years where they have no friends or family. Jason is former military and Joanne admitted that her fear of having to be separated from him due to deployment prompted him to leave that career behind, go back to school for finance and enter a more lucrative career in investment banking. Joanne also admitted that as loving and wonderful as her husband is, he does have a pattern of putting military, school, and now investment banking first above her feelings. What stuck out to me the most was when she tearful said that she finally realized she married her father. Her father worked so much that he missed her growing up and that's never what she wanted in a husband.


I love the institution of marriage and all that it stands for in the eyes of God. It saddens me when people get married and on the other side of "I Do" they realize they are on different pages about a lot of things. Some of the best marriage advice I have ever gotten was from a married friend of mine that said being married doesn't fix your problems, it only amplifies them. Joanne is realizing that she got married knowing that her husband puts career first. She was silent in making her need to know that she is the main priority out of fear of sounding insecure and ungrateful. To Jason, getting a great job as an investment banker would allow his wife to never have to work again while Joanne would rather both make less money and still have her husband home for dinner every night. She has insecurities that stem from her workaholic father that she never dealt with as an adult. In turn, her husband is now suffering for damage done years ago.

This all reminds me of why Pastor Johnson stresses the importance of courting with a purpose. Both people need to be on the same path, heading in the same direction. If she wants to be a missionary in China while he wants to be a teacher in Montana, clearly there are going to have to be some compromises made or it won't work. Joanne wants her husband present and accounted for while his main focus is providing for his family despite the sacrifices. I understand that life happens, circumstances change, and the vision may need to be tweaked at some point. Yet, somethings should be dealt with (insecurities, past hurts, priorities) should be addressed before the vows are exchanged. Marriage is tough enough as it is.

It's easier to just think about what you are getting yourself into before you leap into something that you didn't plan for. Woman make the mistake of hoping marriage makes to red flags we tried to ignore while dating, go away for good. It doesn't. I have seen too many of my married friends bring baggage to the feet of their new wives or husbands expecting them to clean up the mess someone else made. God gives us wisdom and discernment for a reason. He speaks to us even when we are too stubborn to listen to Him warn of us of pending danger. He allows us to make mistakes that He would have rather we didn't, all for the sake of us leaning on Him to pull us out of our own pit of dispair.

Think before you leap. Marriage is a lasting covenant. Don't bring extra baggage along for the ride.

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