[Guest Post by Gary Thomas. I’m very excited for him to share on the blog today as he is one of my heroes (he doesn’t know that yet). My husband Marc and I went through Sacred Marriage in our pre engagement counseling and believe in his message. He is also one of my upcoming speakers at Quarter Life Conference, a free online conference for the 20/30-somethings on Thursday. Register here for free.]
Not only are you stupid when you’re infatuated, but you also become extremely vulnerable.
I’m speaking as a pastor who has witnessed the tremendous pain that romanticism has led so many people into. Psychologically, “hearts broken from lost love rate among the most stressful life events a person can experience, exceeded in psychological pain only by horrific events such as a child dying.”
If you dive in and let yourself go emotionally, without even knowing whether the person you are falling for is worthy of your trust, and that person then cheats on you or rejects you, the fact that they are of low character won’t remove your pain. You’ll feel tremendous loss.
Can I be honest with you?
There isn’t a person alive who can keep you enthralled for the next five or six decades. If they’re really funny, really attractive, and you’re really infatuated, you can be enthralled for a few years, but selfish people–even wealthy selfish people, or beautiful selfish people, or famous selfish people–eventually get bored with each other, and the very relationship that once gave them security and life feels like prison and death. No matter how intensely you feel in love now, the same thing will happen to you if you get married without a shared mission.
Just because you’re ‘in love’ with someone doesn’t mean you should seriously consider marrying them.
An insecure person with low self-esteem…from a broken home who has a high fear or abandonment often wants to rush things to ‘lock in” the relationship, pushing for an early engagement. [They’re] more concerned about avoiding another relational loss than [they] are about finding the best possible match. Two relatively secure individuals can respect and love each other without obsessive thinking, euphoric mood swings, or desperate clinginess.
Here’s the danger of letting these powerful feelings dictate whether you begin, stay in, or end a relationship: when the relationship hits a tough spot (as it inevitably will), most people who have overwhelming feelings will ignore the issues raised by the conflict and try to make the relationship work because they have strong feelings. Wisdom says we should try to make a relationship work not because we have strong feelings but because it’s a good match.
All of this, I hope is an argument for not getting married too hastily.
Wisdom is patient.
Blurting out or acting on your feelings in the bloom of their creation is tempting but foolish thing to do: “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Prov. 29:20 ESV).
Gary Thomas’ writing and speaking focuses on bringing people closer to Christ and closer to others. Gary is the author of 15 books that have been translated into a dozen languages. These books include Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?, The Sacred Search: What If It’s Not About Who We Marry, but Why?, Sacred Pathways, and the Gold Medallion award winner Authentic Faith. Gary holds a Master of Christian studies degree from Regent College, and an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Western Seminary. He serves on the teaching team at Second Baptist Church, Houston, and is an adjunct faculty member at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon.
[Excerpts taken from The Sacred Search, (c) David C Cook Publishers]