“‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”
-Mark 10:7-8, NIV
On Marrying A Ticking Adultery-Bomb
From my own personal and painful experience, I have arrived at two important things I would advise Christians to consider when they are looking to get married:
1. Is this person quick to take responsibility for his or her own choices and actions?
This is akin to seeing whether or not a person is quick to seek forgiveness or prone to blame others when caught doing something wrong. Since we are all going to sin against our spouse at times in a marriage, it is vital the person we are marrying is willing to own their junk.
Furthermore, you do not want to marry a patsy or martyr-type. This person is on the other end of the spectrum from the blamshifter. This person–i.e. “the patsy”–takes too much responsibility. Their problem is a lack of healthy personal boundaries (see point #2 below), which leads to undermining healthy patterns of confession and forgiveness. Plus, it can lead to an eruption of resentment and bitterness as the patsy continues to take wrongful blame while knowing it.
2. Can this person set reasonable and appropriate boundaries in relationships? Do they respect other people’s boundaries?
Are you marrying someone who looks to you to set healthy boundaries for them as if they were a teenager and not an adult? You should not have to explain to your fiance that getting gifts from another suitor is unhealthy for your relationship. It is important to be able to trust your spouse’s commitment and ability to make wise choices in setting boundaries protecting the (future) marriage.
Another clue of potentially boundary problems:
Can this person be alone or does she/he always need to be in a sexually-charged relationship (e.g. dating)? This is not an extrovert thing, by the way. One can have lots of healthy same-sex relationships to feed one’s extroverted social needs. The problem comes when only a romantic relationship (or two) will do. That suggests to me that this individual is not okay with himself/herself and seeks outside romantic attention to convince himself/herself that he/she has personal value.
Going into my first marriage, I missed these two points:
I knew I was setting boundaries for my first wife going into our marriage, and she proudly told my mother as much (as I recall). This is unhealthy. You want to marry someone who recognizes their own values and has the character to stand by them without relying on someone else to tell them how to do so. When the later happens, it is a set up for future rebellion–e.g. adultery–and brokenness for God did not make either partner to fill that role for the other.
Second, I missed that my first wife was a serial romantic-relationship type. I was so hell-bent on marrying an attractive woman that I did not pause to think that gals that are always in a romantic relationship–or nearly so–may have unresolved issues. The second-time around I was wiser in that matter. Pain can be a good teacher in such matters if you are wiling to listen 😉
Hindsight is 20/20. I do not write this to beat my old self up over choosing my first wife. However, I do write this to share some pieces of wisdom that I learned through going through such a painful marriage dissolution.
I am convinced when these two markers are not present that one is marrying a ticking Adultery-Bomb.
Without the ability or willingness to take full responsibility for one’s own choices and actions, one is unable to repent and find godly forgiveness.
Without the ability to set healthy personal boundaries and respect others’ boundaries, one is destined to violate boundaries or find one’s own space violated.
Adultery or infidelity–i.e. major boundary violations–are coming in just a matter of time.