The elders have seen many people rush into marriage – and they believe that’s a big mistake. They exhort us to think twice, three times, or however many times it takes before you take the step into marriage. Investigate it more thoroughly than any other decision, weigh your options, and in particular examine your motives. If you are doing it for the wrong reasons, you have every reason to wait.
Henry, 82, told me:
I don’t know what set of rules or guidelines to use to ascertain who is the best life partner for you, but don’t be hasty, take your time. Let the partner know you’re taking your time. Invite the partner also to take his or her time. Don’t be hasty, try to avoid pitfalls down the road.
If you take your time you can at least be somewhat surer of selecting a life mate correctly and not capriciously. This can let you avoid the business of divorce or separation – divorce is a very unpleasant process. So try to be very selective in your life partner early on and avoid if possible the trauma and the unpleasantness associated with divorce.
Roxanne, 74, urges people to fight the urge to get married just because “everyone else is doing it”:
Of course, you have to pick the right person. When I married my husband he was – well I just felt there was nobody like him. And I wanted to feel that way the rest of my life. Because of the way I felt about him, I wanted to be a good wife, good mother, good grandmother, and so far God has allowed me to be that. I just think you have to have a lot of love, true love. But what a lot of young people don’t know these days is what true love is and what commitment is. And when they say, “I do,” what it is they are really saying? Younger people think they have to get married because somebody else got married, one of their friends got married, or whatever. That’s not what it’s all about. And that is a serious mistake.
Rushing to quickly into marriage was one of the major regrets expressed by the elders in 30 Lessons for Living. So it’s worth thinking twice (or more) before saying “I do!”