Fighting the Fear of Getting Married

A recent Huffington Post article brought to mind a troubling conversation I had with a teenager with divorced parents. Our otherwise mundane dialog transformed when the topic of marriage arose.

I’m never going to get married.” 
Surprised by the finality of the statement I asked, “Why?”
After a thoughtful pause, “Well, maybe I’ll get married, but I’ll never have kids.”
Again, probing gently, “Why not?”
Because if the marriage didn’t work out, I’d never want my kids to suffer what I went through.”

Does this conversation speak from your heart? Better not to marry than to fail at it! Or is the fear subtle like the example in Brittany Wong’s article about an adult child of divorce named Maegan?

Maegan’s story of parents divorcing and remarrying is pretty common. However, it seems her folks made great efforts to minimize the impact of the divorce. Except for one paragraph, Maegan could be the poster child for kids that survived parental divorce well. But in that rogue paragraph, this beautiful, intelligent, and vibrant individual describes her view on marriage.

19th Sept 5 years of mariage by scribbletaylorI’ve realized that some of my views on relationships were definitely influenced by my parents’ divorce. I don’t value marriage at all. I have no desire to marry and do not see it as something to aspire to. I don’t think I ever dreamed of my wedding day like they say little girls do. This is not to say I don’t think you can be in a committed relationship but I don’t find marriage any more special than a committed relationship. It could all be because of the divorce or it could just be me.”1

Unfortunately (in my view), Maegan speaks for millions of her peers. I know. I’ve spoken with many of them. But, truth be told, the “I’ll never get married and I’m good with that” bravado often masks the unvoiced regret that wants to say, “but I wish I could marry. I’m just too afraid.

So how can we overcome this fear?adult children of divorced parents cropped

  • First, admit it. Stop denying that you really want to get married, but are afraid of it collapsing. And this is true for guys too. The Bible says, “The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.”2 But that is not the view of many guys.
  • Second, learn more about your fears. The fear of marriage is often embedded in the fears of inadequacy and abandonment.
    The Rodger’s book is a good resource on these issues.
  • Third, study what makes marriages work. Talk to couples who have weathered the marriage storms for 30 or more years. Take them out to lunch and ask them. Go to a marriage seminar like “The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted” with Dr. Gary Chapman.The Marriage You've Always Wanted
  • Lastly, don’t believe the lie that all or most marriages fail. They don’t!  But marriages that last require a commitment to learning, loving, respecting, sacrificing, and submission to God’s design for marriage.

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1 Brittany Wong, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-it-looks-like-when-you-really-put-your-kids-first-after-divorce_5612a61fe4b0af3706e16e1c. Posted: 10/05/2015 03:43 PM EDT
2 Proverbs 18:22, NLT

Images
Engagement Rings by Valshak Suresh cropped
19th Sept 5 years of marriage by scribbletaylor

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Evicting the Ghost of Valentine’s Day Past

Adult children of divorced parents cover rodgersFor those of you for whom the upcoming day of love and candy rings hollow, below is a note from Dr. Beverly Rodgers who shares a glimpse of her not-so-great Valentine’s Days as a young girl. Today, she and her husband, Dr. Tom Rodgers, head the Rodgers Christian Counseling Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. They are also the authors of the very helpful book, “Adult Children of Divorced Parents: Making Your Marriage Work.

These words are from their latest newsletter. May Dr. Bev’s vulnerable and hope-filled note brings encouragement to your day.

February is the month of Valentine’s Day. In western culture this love is typically about Eros or Romantic Love. This is the month that we get bombarded with commercials and ads about jewelry, candy and of course flowers. As a kid I began to hate this month. It was a tradition at our small Southern school for the boys to purchase candy grams or flower grams and send them to the little girls they were sweet on. I think it was some type of fundraiser, but I didn’t care.  I was a shy bookworm. I was also poor, wearing ill-fitting hand-me-downs, from the wrong side of the tracks, and sporting buck teeth and braces.  Thus I was passed over for the cute blonde cheerleaders with the matching outfits and dazzling smiles.”

“Every Valentine’s Day they would announce over the loud speaker who bought a Valentine gift  for whom, and the girls would swoon and giggle while the guys would preen over their choices. I would cringe in silence until the whole thing was over hoping no one ever heart with Cross cropped pngasked me the dreaded question, “Did anyone buy you a Valentine, Bev?” After a while they just stopped asking. One sad February just after I accepted the Lord as my Savior, I happened to have my Bible with me at recess. In my sad state I opened my Bible to this exact spot. Jeremiah 31: 3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love with loving kindness I have drawn you to me.”  The words leapt off the page!! I am pursued, I am desired, I am loved with unconditional Agape love. I AM someone’s Valentine… God’s!!”

“Valentine’s Day has taken on a whole new meaning since that time, and this Scripture is a theme for my life. We are God’s heart, and that beats a candy gram any day!

If you would like to learn more about how God’s soul healing, agape love can heal you of your wounds, please contact Doctors Tom and Beverly Rodgers at the Rodgers Christian Counseling Center. They can be reached at 704-649-8616, or at  www.rodgerscc.com.

-Heart image from http://www.actsofgoodness.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/unconditional-love-small.jpg