>This is he first part of three about marriage. Don is a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while Julia is Catholic. We are friends living in America and France. We have tried, at least in the first part of this essay, to be neutral — to give marriage advice impartially, without regard to which church one belongs to or favors.
We hope you will enjoy reading all three parts of this article and that you will actively participate by commenting below. If you are not married — or even if you are — we’re sure you will have questions and we will try to answer them. We are writers, but we have both lived complete and full lives. From us you will be getting advice earned from a combined 174 years of marriage experience — great times and of course hard knocks, trial and error, and wonderful experiences that only the institution of marriage can offer. We heartedly recommend it.
By Sant Julia de Loria and Don White
Marriage Is an Important Covenant
Before you even think about marrying your friend or lover, answer the following questions. Find out who you are first. If you and your significant other are not compatible in most of these potential deal breakers, forget that relationship—it might explode in your face.
If you are far enough along in your relationship, discuss the following together:
1) Do you insist on making all family decisions yourself?
2) Do you believe women should decide when, how often, and how to have sex?
3) Do you want to continue working? Would you like the other marriage partner to work and you take care of the children in the home.
4) If you are a man, are you okay with the idea that your wife is smarter than you and makes more money? And if you are a woman, the same question.
5) Do you know of any family diseases? How and when would you communicate this to your prospective spouse?
6) Are you a stickler on having only boys, or only girls?
7) If you’re a man, do you think the wife should stay in the home and do all of the chores, including after you arrive to your home from work?
8) How neat and tidy are you? Some young men don’t even know how to make a bed.
9) Are you willing to take a back seat to him/her, or do you always have to dominate every discussion, even in front of friends or guests?
10) Do you like to compliment others? Do you always have positive thoughts about your prospective spouse, or sometimes are you irritated by him/her and at odds with what is said?
11) Does your friend ever become violent? Does he or she have a temper? What is being done to eliminate that?
12) Do you fight with others over things?
13) If there’s not much money, where will your money go first? And does he/she agree with those priorities?
14) If you went to college, would you provide your children – and even your wife or husband – with that same opportunity, if possible?
15) What are your political and religious orientations?
16) What is your position on hard work, morals and ethics, and on setting goals and obtaining them?
17) If you and your friend are not of the same religious faith, would you be willing to change to maintain family unity and love.
18) Is there anything you wouldn’t do to protect your spouse and children?
|Family Home Evening Courtesy Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
19) Would you as a woman like to rule the roost or would you rather be married to a man who ruled over you and provided the security a woman needs? There is a third alternative. In most successful marriages, husband and wife become a team. Together, they decide the big issues. They utilize what is called a family council. Family councils must not be interrupted, so many families now dedicate one day of the week to being with their family, discussing important issues, studying religion, and having fun, including playing games and singing songs. Latter-day Saints call it “Family Home Evening.” They turn off the telephones, let their friends and business associates know they are preoccupied and will not return the call until late that night or the following day. Nothing takes precedence over Family Home Evening except flat-out emergencies. The evening is not complete without refreshments. This is a fine pattern for parents to set because after children come, this time can be used to help educate them. The poet was right: All work and no play makes Jack and Jill dull kids.
Do you have a testimony of God the eternal Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ as the Savior of mankind? You may call your God something else, such as Alla, the Great White Father, deity, or divinity. If you are Hindu there are a hundred different words meaning God, such as Ananda–Supreme Bliss, Satya–Supreme Truth, Mahesha–the Great Lord, Tat–That, Tattva–Absolute Truth, or Eka–the One. Indeed Sanskrit has hundreds of such words to describe God.
20) If you are not Jewish, Christian, Islamic, or Hindu, what religious and moral views do you have? It could be that both of you have no religion. You may even be atheists. That may work in marriage so long as both believe in the same principles and are willing to raise their children with these values.
People today don’t value religion as in days before. That is unfortunate, but if neither party is religious, if entering a marriage relationship you know that, it should not be an impediment for marriage and a long, happy relationship.
If marriage partners are of the same faith, this is one more pillar or stake tying the couple together. If your friend is a staunch Muslim and you a staunch Christian, sooner or later your love for each other may dwindle and fade because these religions’ teachings are not compatible.
One of you should convert over to provide proper unity and harmony in the home or forget about this relationship. It is fraught with cracks and other signs of collapse to begin with. The soundest advice we could give is that people should refrain from marrying into a new religion unless she/he has thoroughly studied and lived that religion for some time. Statistics show that inter-religious marriages often end in divorce. Settle the religion issue before, not after marriage.