When couples are dating everything seems to be so smooth and wonderful. We are excited and full of infatuation and newness. So anxious to see each other and can’t wait to get to the next date. We spend time trying to count what we have in common thinking that this is the link to the qualities that will keep us together.

We talk about the shallow things like what do you like to do, and what line of work are you in? We glaze over meaningless topics and subjects that do not cause us to get into real detail about how we really think or feel and our true perspective on important life issues. We gloss over our basic beliefs and what type of faith do you claim or deny.

We meet and introduce family and friends as we take in their opinions and suggestions as well as their predictions as to what we will or won’t become. We even sometimes ignorantly consult psychic hotlines trying to see if this is the one, not knowing that they are absolutely not a source we should be speaking with nor put any trust in. We listen to friends who are not married and people who may not have good relationships as if they can tell us how to do right in what they are obviously doing wrong.

Now we’re engaged and making plans to run to the altar without premarital counseling of any kind because we think we’re in love and that’s all we need. We have no tools for marriage and are not equipped to understand how it really works and what we must do to be successful. We think love is enough and we really don’t know what love is. We think love is this feeling we have because we have avoided hard conversations so that we would not offend each other. We don’t know what really lies beneath, and what are the true depths of each others hearts and minds.

When we walk down that Isle and say “I do” in front of God and all of our witnesses, will that be the last day I get to enjoy you as my soul mate? Will you still be by my side on the good days and the bad, and even when we don’t feel as though we agree or even like each other because we disagree? Will you still pursue me as if you don’t have me? Will you still say I love you and kiss me when you arrive and when you leave as though we never disagree? Will you still be committed when we discover that we don’t have as much in common as we used to?

Will you still be right here when we gain a little weight and forget to go out on dates as much as we did when we were courting for marriage? Will you still be by my side for better or for worse, through sickness and in health? Will you still love me like you do today no matter what and come what may? Will you promise not to replace me with the kids when they’re born and cherish them and not me? My prayer is that you won’t leave me at the altar after “I do” on our wedding day.

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© 2019 Harlon Bell.