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Miranda Writes: Marriage-minded




by Omar Miranda



My name is Shanny, and I am 20 years of age and my boyfriend is 25 years of age. We have been together for three to four years now, we are both Seventh-day Adventist Christians, and we are wondering if we should get married now. I am in my second-to-last year of university, and he is already finished. Should we go forward with marriage now, or should we wait a little longer to make sure that we are both prepared to spend our lives together? What would you advise us as a young couple?

Shanny, I’m so glad you wrote and asked for prayer. Rest assured that I and the rest of the folks at Insight are praying for you to make a wise decision. First, I want to tell you that I am proud of you for asking for advice. I have to tell you that I am finding fewer and fewer college students asking others for advice. Usually people in college think they know it all and are “masters of their own fate.” But I’ve learned in my short life that many of the decisions I made in college were not the wisest.

In terms of brain development and total maturity, your boyfriend—in theory—has reached the age for his brain to develop to the point where he can make wise decisions and honestly consider the consequences of his behaviors. The latest research shows that people’s brains aren’t totally done cooking until they hit their mid-20s. This, however, doesn’t mean that you are immature. In fact, I find that on average, females make wiser decisions—especially regarding matters of the heart—than do males.

With that being said, I think it’s wise for you to wait at least until you graduate university to get married. Why? Well, a couple of things can change in one to two years. Either you or your boyfriend can change, and God’s call upon your life may change. Many people may think that one or both of these things changing can be bad, but let me tell you, it’s important for you to know what God wants you to do for Him—and that may go against the grain of what your boyfriend wants to do. Also, this may sound somewhat harsh, but the time to find out if you’re not compatible is now—before, not after, you get married.

Also, part of the university experience is to date others and “try other people on for size.” It’s important that you know who you are as a single individual and that you know what you want in a lifelong mate. A big red flag for marriage is if you or your boyfriend has never spent any considerable amount of time being single. I would strongly encourage you to review my columns on the topic of sex, dating, and relationships, specifically the one entitled “Miranda Writes: Relationships—Part 9.” In that column I list 32 crucial questions that you should ask—and be able to answer—with a pretty good level of certainty. I encourage you to ask not only yourself these questions, but also the people who know you best: friends, family, trusted mentors, and other adults.

Last, I would encourage you to pray, pray, and keep on praying for God’s will to be done. If you’ve been dating for a few years, you and your boyfriend should have a pretty honest perspective about each other. I challenge you to pray a specific prayer that God will close the doors if you and your boyfriend are not to get married. I want you and your close friends and family to consider carefully not only his personality characteristics but also his personal baggage. Remember, when you get married, you marry into his family—and all the stuff that comes with it.

It would be wise to begin either some individual or couples counseling in order to clearly see what you’re getting into. Some important topics to discuss while in pre-premarital counseling would be: the level and maturity of his personal relationship with Christ; your and his expectations of marriage; specific roles and responsibilities in marriage; how to handle money; how to handle conflict; communication skills; sexual intimacy; children; and life goals—both personal and professional.

Some wonderful resources that I use with either individuals or couples are:

Song of Solomon in the Bible

The Adventist Home, by Ellen G. White

Letters to Young Lovers,
 by Ellen G. White

101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged, by H. Norman Wright

Starting Your Marriage Right: What You Need to Know in the Early Years to Make It Last a Lifetime, by Dennis Rainey and Barbara Rainey

Preparing for Marriage: Discover God’s Plan for a Lifetime of Love, 
workbook by David Boehi, Brent Nelson, Jeff Schulte, and Lloyd Shadrach. I suggest you get one for you and one for him.

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, by Gary Chapman

Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married, by Gary Chapman
   
If Only He Knew: What No Woman Can Resist, by Gary Smalley and Norma Smalley

For Better or for Best: Understand Your Man, by Gary Smalley and Norma Smalley

Shanny, I hope that you and your boyfriend make a wise decision. I’m praying that God will give you wisdom, discernment, and peace about the decision you make—whatever decision you come to. Remember what Solomon wrote: “Honor and enjoy your Creator while you’re still young, before the years take their toll and your vigor wanes, before your vision dims and the world blurs and the winter years keep you close to the fire” (Ecclesiastes 12:1, 2, Message).*

Until next time, remember God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Make God first above all in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor

Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

    *Texts credited to Message are from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.
 





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