All the comments about birth control were great! Thanks so much everyone for sharing your opinions. It's always really good to hear different view points when trying to make a decision. Jake and I had a question to pose though....if you believe that the Pill messes up God's design for a woman's body, what about condoms? Condoms don't change how the body functions. Would those who argued for NAF (Natural Family Planning) be ok with condoms? What would the difference be between the two from your moral belief standpoint?
Ok so a reader sent in a question about how to know what kinds of things are "make it or break it" when it comes to making the leap from dating to marriage.
Which we could really write a book about. Personally we have the belief that you can take any two people on the face of the earth, stick em' in a marriage, and they can make it work. Marriage is all about how much effort you put into the relationship. Some people are very different and will have to work harder than those that have similar personalities or are both laid back people. But you can still stay married.
However, there are a couple of red flags to look out for.
1) If there is any sort of abuse going on either mental, emotional, or physical. You should never, never stay with or commit to a person that is abusive in any way.
2) If your boyfriend/girlfriend has cheated. You can work through this together, but I would be very cautious and go through a lot of counseling before marrying someone who has cheated on you.
3) If one or both of you struggle with addictions. Unchecked and untreated addictions can utterly ruin a marriage. These can be alcohol, illegal substances, prescription drugs, pornography, and shopping (yes, this is serious and can land a couple in huge debt).
4) Debt. Again this is not necessarily a deal breaker, but a significant amount of "bad" debt such as credit card debt can be very bad for a marriage. Jake had a very small amount of credit card debt when we were engaged and I told him, "That has to be gone before we get married." He worked his butt off and paid it all. Good debt are things like car payments, mortgages, and so forth. Being aware of debt and how you both handle money before marriage is really, really, really important!
5) Totally opposite life goals. You want to be a stay at home mom with five children and he wants to be a constant traveling photographer for National Geographic with no kids. You might love each other, but if you're going in totally opposite directions, you're going to have major problems.
6) Different religious beliefs. I know this offends people, but having different morals and beliefs can really tear two people apart. It does work sometimes, but more often than not it causes tons of problems and may lead to divorce.
Other than those things, you can really get married to whomever you want! There is a great quote from a book written by a sweet old English gentleman that goes to our church and it says,
"To be told [by God], 'Jim you are to marry Nancy,' will be very unusual. I won't say that it will never happen, but it is highly unlikely. Why? Because, compared with whether Jim trusts and loves God moment by moment and trusts and loves Nancy moment by moment, the choice of Nancy or someone else is virtually inconsequential. The will of God has primarily to do with who Jim is every second -what his thoughts, actions, attitudes, and words are."
I think it really sums up the issue nicely. We can choose. Once we've chosen, we need to commit and be partners in being who God has called us to be and finding ways to make that work in the context of a life-long commitment.