Today is my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary! I guess you could say that I’ve been married for a good while. I’ve also been performing wedding ceremonies, premarital and marriage counseling for a while. In my own marriage, and the marriages of others, I’ve witnessed quite a bit. So much, in fact, that I’ve come to believe that there are some people who should stay single and never get married. Here’s the short list.
Let me clarify. All of us have the capacity to be selfish and self-centered. It is part of our base, and unredeemed, human nature. But there are people who have no intention of ever changing this disposition. I’ve sat across from some in counseling sessions. These are people who, no matter how ironclad the facts presented to them regarding their contribution to the problems in their relationship, or how they’ve shown that they only care about themselves, refuse to listen or change. These folk are too in love with themselves to share love with anyone else. They’re better off single.
Do you remember Eeyore, the character in the Winnie the Pooh books? Eeyore always saw the negative and never believed that anything good could happen. He expected the worst from every situation. He was without hope. There are people like this in the real world. You probably know some of them. Be honest. You probably don’t like spending more time with them than you have to. Imagine being married to a person like this.
Now, I’m not talking about someone who is going through a difficult season and is momentarily have a hard time seeing the hope in their circumstances. I am talking about the person who almost wills the negative to occur. One cumulous cloud in an otherwise cloudless sky moves them to talk about the impending storm! Such a person drains the joy from most social situations, and will most likely do the same in a marriage. If you’re unwilling to see the hope that exists in even the most dire situation…maybe you should stay single.
Commitment-phobic or Difficulty-phobic People
If you know someone who has never committed to anything longer than a season of their favorite network television show, then marriage will probably prove difficult for them. If you know someone who whimsically changes jobs or opinions without a care; marriage will probably prove difficult for them also. This also pertains to people who misinterpret the meaning of “when the going gets tough, the tough get going (these folk would believe it is a call to retreat).” They may be better of staying single until they understand the importance of knowing who you are, what you believe, and the power of sticking with something (even when it is difficult).
My Disclaimer and One Final Group
Believe me when I say that I am a hopeful person, and I believe in the power of God to change anyone (or anything). So it is absolutely possible for even the most solid member of these groups to change and become a God-honoring husband or wife. But I also know that the self-centered, hopeless, commitment-phobic, or difficulty-phobic person who does eventually change had a heart that was open to God. There are many in our culture who believe that they are just fine the way that they are. They believe that they have the power, if change is needed, to change themselves. These people, above any of the three groups listed above, should never get married!
Have I left a group off of my list? Who would you add? Let me know in the comments.