Settling for a Spouse

For the discussion of relationship issues between engaged couples.
ghostrider
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Re: Settling for a Spouse

Postby ghostrider » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:02 pm

When DW and I married we were both head over heals crazy about each other. We couldn't spend enough time together and the wedding day couldn't get here fast enough. Despite that we've still had our share of marital problems over the years, but I'd say our physical and emotional attraction to each other formed a glue that kept us from drifting further apart or even divorcing when we were at odds spiritually and relationally.

If I were you, I would not marry someone I wasn't great friends with, who I didn't want desperately to be with. There may be a few happy marriages that start out like yours and the spouses somehow fall in love later, but a lot more unhappy ones start out this way.

ledgemoor
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Re: Settling for a Spouse

Postby ledgemoor » Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:18 pm

Nowtheledge, please don't go thru with it. Everyone posting here is right -- this is one area in your life where you do not want to settle. Yes, many cultures over many thousands of years have had arranged marriages. Most of them work. But that is not what God intended.

My story: No, I did not settle. I chose a Christian college where my prospects of finding a nice Christian girl were good. I was 19, too young to marry, so I dated around lot at first. I am still friends with some of these women to this day. But then I met this girl in speech class. We hit it off. We hung out more and more until we spent a holiday on campus together -- neither of us could go home. I found that I was very comfortable around her, and we could talk about anything. Smart and sexy to boot. I was always looking forward to sex with whoever I ended up with, but she changed EVERYTHING. I wanted sex with HER. She was an international student who left at the end of the school year. Long story short, I ended up chasing her literally halfway around the globe, and we have been married 35 years.

Marriage is DIFFICULT. It isn't the sort of thing that people talk about. I thought it was just us, but after reading here on this forum where people can be more open about such things, I better understand how difficult even the best marriage can be. But thanks to our friendship and sexual attraction to each other, marriage has never been drudgery and at the end of the day, we want to stay together. I want sex with her, never with anyone else. It's nice not to have that temptation when things get rocky.

In all fairness, I have to say that In addition to being difficult, marriage is also fun, fulfilling, and exciting. It is the best thing you can do in your life -- with the right person.

Look, I'm sure you're both great people. There's just no chemistry between you. That's OK. That doesn't make you unattractive or undesirable people. it just means that you shouldn't marry each other. BTW, we have used the word "chemistry" as a metaphor for sexual attraction for many years. But it turns out that our intuition is correct -- humans have actual chemicals -- pheromones -- that play a role in sexual attraction. Your fiance deserves a woman who can't want to get in his pants, and can't stay out of them once you are married. That's not you. There is even evidence that couples who are attracted to each other's pheromones are better genetic matches and more likely to have healthy children. We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made.

You're young. There's a lot of time left on that biological clock. It will take a lot of work, but you can find someone else -- someone else who God wants you to be with. It is worth whatever effort and expense it takes. Why not make finding a mate your focus over the next year or two? Join a bigger church. Move if you have to. Join Christian Mingle or some other online matching service. If you don't exercise, find something physical you enjoy and do it. Not only a great way to meet people, but guys are attracted to girls who take care of themselves. Take college classes or go to night school, selecting classes in subjects that would attract they type of man you are attracted to.

There are more women then men in the Christian dating market. But if you put some effort into it, you will have the edge. Most people don't put a lot of effort into finding a mate. They just go about their life and hope for the best. It seems that a single dad would be ideal for you. You want a lot of children -- may as well let someone else birth some of them for you :-). And I suspect that most women would not want a single dad, giving you an advantage.
Last edited by ledgemoor on Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Everything you ever wanted in life is just outside your comfort zone (Jamie Lee Curtis)

doug-h
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Re: Settling for a Spouse

Postby doug-h » Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:09 pm

I have read all the responses on here and I agree for the most part. I do have some reservations, because I doubt that the whole story is perfectly represented here.

You have, for the most part, approached your mate with wisdom. You have identified qualities that were important to you, and for the most part, this man seems a good match. You say there is no spark, and that is a concern, but I wonder if that is not something about you, and not him. Have you ever felt a spark for any man.

That spark is a great thing, but I would be willing to bet that it has led to as many failed or troubled marriages, as anything out there. I was immediately smitten with my wife's looks, and we started off hot and heavy. We have had to learn the rest of it over time. We had few sharwd interests, has no idea what to dream together, and sort of took life as It happened. It has not been easy, but here we are 35 years later and more in love than ever.

You talk about your fiance' sense of humor and that you don't share it. If that was a disqualification for a mate, I don't think I ever would have found one. My sense of humor is somewhat dark, and tiny at its best. My wife, and others who find things funny that I don't, irritated me to no end.

I'm going to take a little different approach to your quandary that everyone else. Don't rule this relationship out, and don't give up on it, unless you are certain it is wrong for you. Hit the brakes a bit, and spend some time really nurturing it, and see if your feelings don't warm up some. I would guess that there is some fear and uncertainty right now, and that is probably a good sign that you aren't quite ready for this step yet. That does not mean this is not the man for you, just that you are not yet ready for marriage. Have a talk with him, and really share your heart with him. It may be that he feels similarly.

I have to say that you have proceeded with wisdom up till now, much more than a lot of us did. Keep applying that wisdom to this question, rather than starting all over. You are younger than you imagine, and you do t have to sort this out tomorrow.

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poetess
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Re: Settling for a Spouse

Postby poetess » Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:56 pm

I've gotta disagree with Ledgemoor here:

Yes, many cultures over many thousands of years have had arranged marriages. Most of them work. But that is not what God intended.


Truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all way to get married or no unbiblical way as long as Christians marry only Christians and they wait till marriage to have sex. Arranged marriages can work very well. I know of one couple who were in college, dating other people, but one day they sat next to each other in the lunchroom, got talking, decided their future goals were the same, and decided they should break up their current relationships and marry each other. I wouldn't recommend that as a method for most people, but that was at least 30 years ago now and they are still happily married (and the common desire for a large family was part of what brought them together).

Christians are to marry only other Christians, and they need to be 100% committed to marriage. Having similar theological beliefs, similar ideas of a husband's and wife's roles and what to do about children, and several other things are quite important. And it is very important that a man can look at a woman and see himself loving her (choosing to love her) for the rest of his life, and that a woman can look at a man and know that this is a man she can respect and honor the rest of her life.

Personally, I think "falling in love" is a bad criterion for choosing someone to marry. I do think you need to like and respect each other before you should be moving toward marriage, and I think that an engagement period should see growing affection over time. But the concept of "falling in love" can bring together people who have few beliefs in common, and I don't personally see it as the magic bullet. (My husband and I determined we were right for each other first, and as we went through that process we found ourselves drawn together--but there was no "falling" in love, but "growing" in love.) If you see him as only a means to an end of having lots of children, then you probably aren't being fair to him. (I do think, though, that it isn't terribly uncommon--and used to be far more common--for the children to be a more important part of a woman deciding to marry. I'd sure rather see a woman who is heading to marriage and who is very focused on having children than an engaged woman who wants to wait seven or eight years, or not have children at all. But it cannot be all you want, any more than sex can be all he wants.) But if this is a man you respect, a man you can imagine growing old with and enjoy doing so, then you probably need to take some more time with the decision, and tell him you are struggling a bit, but don't just throw it all out.

Here's my recommendation: Talk to your pastor and see if he can do pre-engagement counseling. I know, you are already engaged, but what you need right now is not premarital counseling as in "we are going to get married and this is what we need to know about communication, sex, dealing with in-laws, etc." What you need to know is whether this is a good match and whether you should proceed toward marriage.
Marriage--what a wonderful image of Christ's love for His bride!

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Re: Settling for a Spouse

Postby Leah » Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:13 pm

Jake and I had been friends for about three years. At some point along the way we went to a baseball game. We started spending more time together and realized how comfortable we felt together. In any case I don't know that we were all that attracted to each other at that time, but I can tell you Jake has grown more handsome and attractive over the last 37 years. I love him more today than I thought I ever could, and I need his smile and his touch.
Leah

“I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”--C.S. Lewis


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tjw
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Re: Settling for a Spouse

Postby tjw » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:17 am

ledgemoor wrote:Your fiance deserves a woman who can't want to get in his pants, and can't stay out of them once you are married. That's not you.


Amen. And, moreover, if he doesn't have that, he deserves to be free to find it elsewhere.

Hiswifeagain wrote:Those qualities he's dismissing are way more important than looks. TJW, I wish you would stop applying that same broken ruler to yourself. You cannot measure attractiveness by external qualities and get an accurate measure.


I don't dismiss those qualities as "unimportant". I agree that it would be very bad to marry someone who didn't have them, regardless of their looks or of the pheromone activity level.

I also agree that attractiveness has more components than looks. However, based upon results ? It's not my "ruler", it's my heart that's broken.
I would very much like to spare this man I don't know from that pain.

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Re: Settling for a Spouse

Postby TJC » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:20 am

If there is no attraction, there is no point. Regardless of how he looks(although I don't think looks are totally unimportant), if you are going into this marriage with the mindset of settling, you obviously think you can do better, so you will have an attitude of discontent from the beginning. Children are a gift from God, not something you acquire for yourself.
This is my beloved and this is my friend. Song of Solomon 5:16

Unfulfilled
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Re: Settling for a Spouse

Postby Unfulfilled » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:36 am

Lots of posts and lots of thoughts and wisdom to the OP.

I would like to hear back from the original woman who posted this thread. Her last post (I believe) was later in the evening of the first day of post. Many responses have been posted since.

I think she has a lot of thoughts to absorb, and I'd sure like her to respond with where she is at with all the responses she has gotten to her situation.

ledgemoor
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Re: Settling for a Spouse

Postby ledgemoor » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:21 pm

poetess wrote:I've gotta disagree with Ledgemoor here:
Yes, many cultures over many thousands of years have had arranged marriages. Most of them work. But that is not what God intended.

You cannot find any scripture encouraging arranged marriages. I can think of three love stories in the Bible where the relationship was not arranged (Rachael and Jacob, Ruth and Boaz, and the Solomons). I can't believe that had mankind not fallen and we still lived in the Garden of Eden, that parents would choose their children's mates. And, since the option of a marriage of love is not only available but is our cultural norm, why not marry someone you love? It's not unbiblical to have an arranged marriage or marry someone you don't have the hots for. But scripture allows a lot of stuff in the sex and marriage arena that is outside God's ideal.

I pretty much agree with most everything else you said, including "Personally, I think "falling in love" is a bad criterion for choosing someone to marry." It takes a lot more than hormones and pheromones to make a great marriage. I'm certainly not suggesting that that's all that matters. Assuming the discussion is in the context of Christianity, all the other stuff you mention should go saying.

But the concept of "falling in love" can bring together people who have few beliefs in common, and I don't personally see it as the magic bullet.

Oh, I don't see it as a magic bullet either. But you talk it as if it is a bad thing. Yes, we should think with our head as well as our heart, but the heart shouldn't be ignored. (On the other hand, it tends to be self-regulating. I don't see myself falling in love with someone who does not share my core values and beliefs. Even someone who is not in the same political ballpark would not be attractive to me).

...but there was no "falling" in love, but "growing" in love.

Note that I didn't say anything about falling in love in my last post. Growing into love is fine. So long as you get there. Dating is the time to see if the relationship grows. If the couple falls in love early in the relationship, it is a time to see if there is really something of substance there or if it is just infatuation. If it's a "nice Christian boy/girl" that meets all of each other's criteria but they don't feel romantic love right away, it's fine to see if that develops. But if it does not, and as is apparently the case of the OP, not even any growth in that direction, marriage is risky and ill-advised. At least couples in arranged marriages have a change of developing attraction. The possibility of that happening for the OP seems slim.
Everything you ever wanted in life is just outside your comfort zone (Jamie Lee Curtis)

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poetess
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Re: Settling for a Spouse

Postby poetess » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:06 am

Ledgemoor, Jacob found his own wife (wives) . . . because he was estranged from his family, and certainly not everything about those marriages was happy. Ruth and Boaz were a case of Levirate marriage, one that happened also to include the spouses having respect for each other. We don't really know how the lovers in the Song of Solomon met, or if they were a real couple at all, because it's a love poem and not historical narrative.

David and Michal were also lovers who married, and so were Samson and Delilah . . . neither of which turned out happily. I'm not arguing for arranged marriages, just pointing out that they were the norm in biblical times and Scripture says nothing against them. In fact, if anything, God the Father chose a bride for His Son, so we are in an arranged marriage, the betrothal period! An arranged marriage in which parents who know their child well, are older and wiser than the child, and can stand objectively outside the situation and choose someone well is not innately a bad model. There also is nothing inherently unbliblical about it. Scripture simply doesn't tell us much about "how" to choose a spouse; it says more about what kind of husband is a good husband and what kind of wife is a good wife. So, whether you are looking for yourself or for your son, this is the sort of woman to choose as a wife. In the New Testament a widow (who presumably no longer has a living father) is told she can choose to marry whomever she wants, "only in the Lord," so clearly there is room for some self-chosen marriages, too (1 Cor. 7:39).

I disagree that the OP is unlikely to grow into love and affection for her man if she marries him. I think she should take a step back and look long and hard on whether this is the right man for her, whether she can whole-heartedly honor this man as her head. But I think if she chooses to go ahead with marriage, she is likely to find that their mutual introversion allows them to give each other space, but they grow fond of each other, grow to depend on each other, and their choice to love each other will bear fruit in honest affection. If she is a woman of integrity, as she seems to be, she will choose to love him well sexually, and if he too is an introvert, he may well not be the sort of man who needs his mate to show exuberant passion. They may well be very well suited for each other. They may not be--but they may. In fact, it is possible she will have an advantage over some women in the "falling in love before marriage" model, because sometimes those women assume marriage will all be easy and effortless, and they are less conscious of the need for an actual commitment, a lifetime commitment.
Marriage--what a wonderful image of Christ's love for His bride!

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SeekingChange
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Re: Settling for a Spouse

Postby SeekingChange » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:12 am

First, the poster has not been back since the 7th.

Second, if she was honest about her future marriage date, today is the day, so my guess is what was going to help make up her mind, has already been said.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, find comfort, survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years...then she did something new.

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Re: Settling for a Spouse

Postby Job29Man » Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:17 pm

Yeah, I guess people can feel a little overwhelmed by all our intensity. Let's let Knowtheledge return before we comment more.
Wanting to become like Job, as described in the Bible, the book of Job chapter 29. Hence the screen name.


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