“When we’re together, I’m walking on clouds! I can’t wait to be with him!”
“We hardly have anything in common. Rather than marriage mates, we’re roommates. I feel so lonely!”
AS YOU probably guessed, the first statement above was made by a single girl; the second statement, by someone who is married. What you may not realize is that both statements were made by the same person.
What went wrong? If you look forward to getting married someday, how can you prevent a romantic dream from turning into a troublesome marriage?
Fact of life: Much of your happiness in marriage depends on what you expect from it.
This article—along with the “Young People Ask” article in next month’s Awake!—will help you to have realistic expectations.
What can you realistically expect from marriage? In short, you can:
- Expect benefits
- Expect challenges
- Expect the unexpected
Let’s take a close look at each of these.
The Bible promotes a positive view of marriage. (Proverbs 18:22) Here are some benefits you can expect.
Companionship. The Bible says that some time after the first man, Adam, was created, God said: “It is not good for the man to continue by himself,” after which He created Eve as Adam’s companion. (Genesis 2:18) God made each of them with unique attributes so that they would be different, yet compatible. Thus, a husband and wife make excellent companions for each other.—Proverbs 5:18.
Partnership. The Bible says: “Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9, Good News Translation) That is certainly true of marriage. “It’s all about working as a team and being humble and willing to yield once in a while,” says a recently married young woman named Brenda. *
Intimacy. The Bible says: “The husband should meet his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should do the same for her husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:3, Common English Bible) When married, you can enjoy having sex without the anxiety and regret that are so often the sad consequences of premarital sex.—Proverbs 7:22, 23; 1 Corinthians 7:8, 9.
The bottom line: Marriage is a gift from God. (James 1:17) When you abide by his principles, you can expect marriage to be a richly rewarding way of life.
To think about: Is your view of marriage soured by poor examples that you have observed—perhaps in your own family? If so, what positive role models can you look to that are worthy of imitation?
The Bible presents a realistic view of marriage. (1 Corinthians 7:28) Here are some challenges you can expect.
Conflict. No two humans are identical—except that they’re imperfect. (Romans 3:23) So a husband and wife will occasionally have conflicts, no matter how compatible they seem. Sometimes they may even say unpleasant things that they later regret. “A person who never said anything wrong . . . would be perfect,” says the Bible. (James 3:2, Holy Bible—Easy-to-Read Version) Rather than idealistically trying to avoid all disagreements, successful couples learn how to discuss and settle them when they arise.
Disappointment. “We’re bombarded with movies and TV shows in which the girl finds her ‘perfect’ match and lives happily ever after,” says a girl named Karen. When a marriage fails to live up to such an ideal, both mates may become disillusioned. Of course, after marriage both mates are bound to discover additional imperfections and quirks in each other. The key is to remember that true love “endures all things”—even disappointment.—1 Corinthians 13:4, 7.
Anxiety. The Bible says that married people are “anxious for the things of the world.” (1 Corinthians 7:33, 34) Such anxiety is normal and often even proper. For example, you may find it challenging to make ends meet. Both mates might have to work just to pay for food, clothing, and a place to live. But you can succeed if you work as a team to provide for your household.—1 Timothy 5:8.
The bottom line: If dating is like flying a kite, marriage is like piloting a plane. You’ll need considerably more skill and effort to deal with the turbulent challenges—but you can succeed.
To think about: How do you handle conflict now with your parents and siblings? Are you able to put disappointments in perspective? How do you deal with anxiety?
IN THE NEXT “YOUNG PEOPLE ASK” . . . How can Bible principles help you to expect the unexpected?
^ par. 17 Some names in this article have been changed.