How did you meet?

Common interests and common hangouts draw people together. The places where you met or frequented while dating could be choices for a lifetime. Are you comfortable with where this could take you?

How long have you know one another?

Hopefully you have been dating or engaged longer than one year. It is not essential, but it is a good start. Getting to know each other should allow for many settings, which should include time with each of the families.

What do each of you value?

You both grew up in different homes. You will likely have different thoughts on what is most important. Soon you will consider the purchase of furniture for your home. Inevitably, this is an area of great delight, different tastes, and sometimes strong opinions. In addition to the style of furniture, it becomes necessary to discuss how much you will spend on what type of items. Be ready for this to take time. It is normal! Be patient with one another and listen. It may be helpful to learn the art of compromise. This is just one example of how your values will impact your marriage.

Have you been sexually active prior to your getting married?

It is more than just a good idea to abstain from sexual activities until married. God says so! God wants the best for us in marriage. After all, God created us for each other. God directs us to refrain from sexual relationships outside of marriage before and after we marry.

Why question God’s authority? Why push the envelope again and again only to find out that God’s way was the best way. Of course, God is right. He is God!

Dr. Wayne Oates with the Baptist Theological School presented at the Kentucky Association for Marriage and Family Therapy in 1987. He was in his eighties at the time. Dr. Oates had written over 50 books at the time. He stood before the group of almost 500 therapists sharing about things that people had difficulty figuring out. Dr. Oates said, “Why have people not discovered that when they go to bed before marriage that they put to sleep the senses necessary to make good decisions about the future of their relationships?”

Have both of you spent plenty of time with both of your families?

It is a good idea to be well acquainted with your future in-laws. Also, it is a good notion to pay attention to how your family relates to the special someone. Certainly, it is a plus if you get along. It is even more important to learn how to get along when conflicts exist. It is a worthwhile process to learn how to get along.

Have you had time to have conflicts and resolve them?

Blending two separate identities into one is a process. It is inevitable that you will experience conflict. This does not indicate that you have major problems. However, it does indicate that you think and feel differently at different times. This is normal. The work now begins as you explore your differences in values. It is essential to learn how to solve conflicts. By the way this is a never ending fine tuning process.

Do you have a common faith?

This is an important issue, but commonly overlooked. First, having a similar faith can be defined as believing in Jesus Christ as the son of God, who was born of a virgin, died when he was 33 years old, lay in the grave for three days before his resurrection, and now lives seated at the right hand of God. Most who call themselves Christians have this belief in common.

Secondly, and this is where the difficulty seems to arise, there may be conflict on the how and where this belief system is to be practiced. This can become a major source of contention.

I suggest that you pray and continue to study to develop a common faith practice. This is what the people did following the baptisms on the day of Pentecost. This is not an area that tends to get better by ignoring or avoiding it.

What are your odds of marital success if you are both teens and if your parents have had multiple divorces?

Many young couples do not think to ask about matters such as this. Time is on your side. Teen marriages have a high rate of marital conflicts as well as divorce. You have matured to this point, which brings on deeper reasoning; however these same social and emotional abilities will take a major growth spurt over the next four years. In this time frame you will likely develop new ways of understanding and communicating. Your values are likely to experience equal growth.

You will have displayed a rare form of wisdom and maturity if you choose to wait. It is equaled by my hope for you to be able to be patient, while you experience this future growth. Reassess your growth in one year. Keep a journal abut how you think and feel. Read all of your entries in six months and twelve months. I just bet you see growth in what you read.

If you still plan to marry anyway, I do suggest that you plan to receive per-marital counseling. This process is usually more successful if done six months prior to your marriage.

May God help you to find strength to do His will His way to receive His blessings as you ponder marriage which He created.