My youth pastor tackles marriage head-on in our youth group. No pussy-footing around the issue. If you don’t like what he’s saying, well, you’re welcome to walk out.
I think it’s because he used to be a pastor in Los Angeles, and he’s seen a lot of heartache among teens and twenty-somethings when they date, and he’s boiled it down to misconceptions about what marriage is supposed to be like.
The other week, he told the high schoolers, “When you date, it’s not how much you like the other person. The question to ask is, ‘Can I live with him/her?’”
Basically, he’s saying that while it’s lovely and fizzy and heady to be in love, you also have to save a part of your brain to ask yourself, “Is this person spousal material?”
I was kind of shocked that he’d pose this to the teenagers, because marriage is probably furthest from their minds. But he wanted them to think about it even now while some of them date in high school.
All the little annoyances your boyfriend does—could you stand them after living with him for five years? Ten years? Like not cleaning his room, or not ironing his own shirts, or refusing to learn how to cook? Would you be able to stand cleaning up after him, ironing all his shirts for him, doing all the cooking no matter how tired or crabby you were?
And can you talk freely with him? Does he talk freely to you? (Which is actually a more important question.)
Do you try not to fester resentment or anger at each other over more than 24 hours? Do you ever fully resolve problems? If the answers are NO, then you have a problem.
Some things aren’t really big deals, but you need to keep things in perspective and cover your thoughts in a lot of prayer to know what you would and wouldn’t tolerate in a spouse versus just a boyfriend.
Our youth pastor was just trying to get the high schoolers to realize that dating is not just for fun, it should impact their ideas of marriage. And even though they might date in high school, they have to keep these kinds of things in mind even then, so that they’ll keep these things in mind as they get older and closer to marriage age.
So, if you’re dating, give your S.O. more serious consideration than how he dresses in Hugo Boss or how he drives a souped up Honda with subwoofers that could shatter glass. Cover your dating relationship in prayer, and ask God to let you know—“Can I live with him?”