Many of us have been there. One of our children will get married, so what advice is best? It’s reasonable to say that our children have grown up hearing us talk about relationships and marriage, helped us run couples courses and listened to us speak on the subject numerous times. Contrary to the participants of these events, they also get to see how we live out our marriage close up. They still want to marry. Either this is a good sign or they just want to show us how to really do it!
Here are a few things that we have said over the years and later when the wedding was on the horizon.
- Marriage is a step into the unknown. You may think you know whom you are marrying, but staying flexible, knowing how to listen and giving the other person some grace are permanent components of good marriages.
- Don’t wait too long. During a trip from Switzerland to the UK with our son, his projected marriage date advanced by a full year! We talked through the whys and why-nots, and he realised it made a lot more sense to take risks together than to wait until it was plain sailing (it never is plain sailing). Personally, we have seen a lot of relationships mess up because the pressure of waiting is just unreasonable. If you know it is right, when is the earliest time you can marry?
- A wedding is all about who you are. It is the expression of everything you believe about marriage, and what you promise is all about how you will behave over the years. Emotions come and go, but this is all about commitment and permanency.
- Take some time and get some distance. Once married you need a bit of space. Our son and his wife tried to do this by stepping out of direct responsibilities and moving to a small flat, but God decided this was not far enough away and sent them to Hawaii for three months. Pretty good really!