Saturday, January 10, 2015
"On Fire": 10 Not-So-Common Questions You MUST Ask a Guy Before Marrying Him
Today, I celebrated a seven-year anniversary of a particular assignment that God gave me. I kind want to keep the details of it to an extreme minimum, but let's just say that it taught me more about love than I've ever known . It wasn't easy but looking back, it was awesome because it has prepared me. For whomever is to come.
Yet as I think about some of the things that I learned throughout the journey, I realize that oftentimes I find myself sitting in marital counseling sessions where the union is on the brink of failure because there are simply some questions that women don't think to ask or really seek answers for *before* getting married. And man, if they did, it really could've/would've spared a lot of drama, heartache and disillusionment.
It's a bit on the late side as I'm penning this and so I'm going to jump right into it.
Again, before getting married---shoot, before getting into a really serious relationship, period---please make the time to ask the following 10 questions, OK? You and your future self will be *so glad* that you did.
1) What's his relationship like with both parents? Look, we're not our parents but we do have their DNA running through our veins. Therefore, it's important to know what dispositions the guy has, what generational curses there are, how healthy his relationship is with both people, his fondest memories, his biggest regrets and more than anything, if he has forgiven his parents for the things that they didn't do right---by him. I know far too many men who A) resent their father which stunts their spiritual and emotional development and/or B) resent their mother which causes them to take their pain/fear/anger out on us. Unfortunately, we can't expect all men to come from a two-parent household with a mother and father who loved/love one another deeply. Yet you're doing yourself a disservice to think that a man's childhood will not spill over into his adult life. One way or another. Better to know what things were like for him on the front end.
2) Did he experience abuse/trauma as a child? There are many studies which indicate that whatever age a person experienced some kind of abuse or trauma, that is the age that they remain, emotionally, until they heal from it. If they were molested at 12, there's a pretty good chance that there are going to be certain things that they will still respond/react to as a preteen would. If they were abandoned at 16, then may have fight/flight tendencies in relationships. And sadly, men are not provided the time/space/platform to voice their abuse as much as women are. Point blank, a man who has been abused is a man who needs healing that you cannot provide him. God and therapy need to play a significant role. You'll kill your own spirit if you choose to believe otherwise.
3) Why did his past three relationships end? Does anybody remember the Sex & the City episode when Carrie went to Paris and met up with her boyfriend's ex-wife? During that lunch, the ex implied some very telling things about her former husband/Carrie's boyfriend. And you know what? Those very issues (like his need to be celebrated without him being very supportive in the process) ended up playing out. I have been "fortunate" enough to talk to some of the men in my past's women of their past and you know what? There have been some really revelatory things that came out that would've spared me some...unnecessary-ness if I had listened. When people don't take the time to address and heal from their past relationships, they tend to establish patterns. You don't want to get caught up in the tapestry of a man's drama. Ask him about his past relationships. Oh, and if he gets super-defensive and/or he doesn't take any of the responsibility for the things that went wrong, if the go-to statement is always "She was crazy", take that as being huge red flags. Grown men own their good deeds and their missteps.
4) How responsible is he with money? Look, I'll be the first one to raise my hand in this class and say that my parents were pretty awesome at establishing a spiritual foundation. But a financial one? Honey, I'm learning that the hard way and then some. And actually, that's kind of my point. One, you are created to be a man's helper and I was just talking to a husband recently about how it ends up burdening a man when the wife is not *helping* but simply *waiting on him to coddle her*. You're in debt and you want a man to fix your financial problems? *What kind of helpmate is that?* At the same time, being that someday you will be entrusting a man to lead, pay attention to how the man you are seeing is about his own spending habits. One guy I know casually told me that he owes thousands (and thousands and thousands) of dollars to the IRS; meanwhile, he spends money like water. You don't want to find that out three months into your marriage that your electricity is out because your husband wanted to get some new kicks. Hey, that's no exaggeration. It happens everyday. Find out about a brotha's financial situation and how he views money. Quick and in a hurry.
5) Can he explain his purpose/calling in three sentences or less? I tell chicks in college this all of the time: Why are you trying to pressure a man, a man in his early-mid 20s no less, to get married?!? Statistics indicate that of the people who get married before 25, half of them end up divorcing within five years (shoot, our brains don't even fully develop until around then). And personally, now that I'm in my 40s, I'm noticing that a lot of men aren't even close to being mature enough for marriage until around 35 (and the Word does speak to marriage needing to be something that the "big kids" do-Matthew 19:11-12-Message). Plus, I don't think it's a coincidence that 30 biblically symbolizes "maturity for ministry" (marriage *is* a ministry, right?). I'm not saying that there aren't exceptions to this. I'm just saying that a man needs time to figure out who he is before he can even begin to fathom who is a complementary fit for him (Genesis 2:18-AMP). And a part of who is he is someone who knows what his purpose (Psalm 20:4) and calling (Romans 11:29) in this life are. Honestly, this is the kind of question that is beyond appropriate for a first date. It's a wise man who once said that if you can't answer a question simply, you don't understand it enough. That said, make it a point to ask guys to explain their purpose in three sentences or less. It will reveal a lot about who they are, where they are headed and if you're suitable for the ride. Or not.
6) What are his thoughts on forgiveness *and* repentance? For the most part, men are naturally macho and leaders (thank God for that!). However, when the Word says things like "love is kind" (I Corinthians 13:4), that doesn't only apply to women. So yes ladies, *please look for a kind AND HUMBLE man*. Humility and respect for God are what bring riches, honor and a healthy and happy life (Proverbs 22:4). Do you know what else humility brings? A man who is willing to forgive you when you make a mistake (Matthew 6:14-15) *and* a man who is quick to apologize when he makes one as well (2 Corinthians 7:9-10). Be careful about trying to build with a man who doesn't have "I'm sorry" in his vocabulary. A person who doesn't acknowledge their faults is doomed to repeat them. They're too pride-filled not to.
7) What's his sexual history? Look, I know that not everyone is going to (nor are they made to) live by one of the mottos that I do: "Tell all of your business before someone else exaggerates it." I also am not saying that it's necessarily your business to know a man's "body count" before marrying him (although if he has been sexually active, a STD report is advised). What I'm saying is you should know something about his sexual history overall. There's nothing like running into a woman who has a story a mile long about the guy you are seeing and you feeling blindsided because he didn't give you a heads up. Worse: There's nothing like *assuming* that the guy you are seeing has the same sexual standards as you do---when he doesn't. Example: I know one woman who dated a guy who told her that he respected the fact that she didn't want to have sex until marriage. And so, they didn't. Until marriage. Uh-huh. *They didn't* but *he did*. With at least one another woman. It's your body. You have a right to know at least the general and current parts of a man's sex life before moving forward with him. Any guy who challenges you *on that*? It's also a red flag.
8) How consistent is he? OK, this is the kind of thing that his actions will reveal more than his words. A guy who is consistent is not perfect, but he is reliable and dependable. He will call when he says he will. He will keep dates. He will honor his word and especially his promises. If you accept a lot of excuses now, you're basically telling him that you're fine with accepting them in the future. Who wants to submit (Colossians 3:18) to the kind of man who can't be trusted because he is so freaking erratic?!? (Can you tell this point is a sore spot for me?-LOL) It doesn't hurt to ask a guy if he considers himself to be consistent and if his word is his bond. It speaks to his level of integrity---whether it's high or if it's low. That said, make sure to watch how he lives his life as well. Not just when it comes to you, but as it relates to going to work on time, keeping his appointments, paying his bills---you get it. Who wants to share their life with a person who is unpredictable? And not in the romantic kind of way? I know I don't. Next point.
9) Does he express love in word and in deed? I John 3:18(NKJV) says "My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth." A deed is "something that is done, performed, or accomplished; an act". A deed is also "an act or gesture, especially as illustrative of intentions, one's character, or the like". I really like that second definition. A deed is an act that expresses someone's *intentions* and also someone's *character*. Colossians 3:12-17 tells us that the character of a godly person should be. That said, it should never be enough for you for a guy to simply *say* that he loves you. His actions need to show it. He needs to literally do things that express his intentions towards you. If he's doing nothing...well. Um...yeah. Love is an action word. Words are to only be a forecast of what's to come.
10) Marriage: What is he waiting on? Most of us have been told what I'm about to say. I'm not sure how many of us actually take it to heart, though: "What a man wants, he works for." You included. I know some women whose self-esteem is so low that they'd rather be with a man forever without marriage just to say that they're with someone. Honey, that's not *compromising*. That is *settling*. The reason why Christian women should *court* rather than *date* is because courting speaks to an intention of building a future; an intention of seeing if two people are marriage material. So, if you've been seeing a guy for a while (a couple of months even), there is nothing wrong with asking him about his views on marriage. And if things have been going on for several months, it's more than cool to inquire about what he is waiting on. No, I don't mean to pressure him or to give him an ultimatum. I mean to literally ask him what he, as an individual, is waiting on before becoming a husband. If it's finishing school or hearing from God, I get that. If it's "the right one"...um, that's your cue that you may not be that girl. If he says "I'm not sure I ever want to be married", then you are gambling a lot of time to remain with him until he figures the answer to that question out. Take that to the Lord quick, fast and in a hurry. True love waits. It does not stagnate, though.
OK, that's all I got for now.
I hope this will help to make things clearer.
You deserve to be...clear. To know who you're with and if it's worth it.
Before jumping the broom.