She wasn’t keen on the idea of getting married.
While her girlfriends were browsing Pinterest for wedding ideas, posting their engagement photos on Facebook, and staying up all night talking about their date – her mind was in left field.
It seemed safer there. Because frankly, marriage scared her.
Growing up in a so-called Christian home, she lived with two parents that might as well have been divorced. But they were too proud for that. And so, they stayed married- if you could call it that. She’d lived through the reality of so-called “holy matrimony”. What’s so holy about constant bickering? What’s so great about getting roped into a commitment to someone with whom you’d be sleeping in separate rooms, thriving on different schedules, and trying to live separate lives.
Maybe if her friends got a glimpse of what real marriage was like, they’d be scared too. But she decided to keep those thoughts to herself.
This young woman is not alone in her fears and concerns about marriage. For many young men and women, the prospect of marriage is tainted by the colors of their past. Caught up in memories of fighting, cheating, or abuse; paralyzed by the anxiety of separation or divorce- the prospect of marriage doesn’t seem so appealing when compared to the reality of their experiences.
Redefining marriage can seem like a huge task when this is the lens of what you’ve experienced to be true. Sometimes, it seems easier just to avoid it. But for those of you who resonate with some of these fears, there are some serious truths that you need to remember when the prospect of marriage freaks you out:
You are not destined to live their story. It’s easy to be filled with fear when your past was immersed in it. But the truth is that you are not destined to live out your parent’s story. You are not a simple statistic-you’re created by a God who came to redeem you from the brokenness of your past and give you a hope for your future. A God who came to make all things new. No matter who you are or what you come from, your future YOURS to take ownership of. Its important to have an awareness of your past, but it doesn’t stop there.
You’re given the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. Modeling the good choices of others (namely, your family of origin) can be a really productive way to live your life, but learning from their mistakes can be just as powerful. I’ve met and worked with numerous young men and women who have come from broken lives and relationships that have pushed them to not just survive- but to thrive in how they chose to live their lives.
You can learn so much by looking at your past and deciding to do things differently. You can be the one to break the chains of dishonesty, infidelity, anger, rage, and isolation. By God’s grace, wisdom, and leading- you can create something new the moment you decide to live differently. Because your past can either paralyze you, or empower you.
You can choose healing for your life and relationships. The first step to finding a healthy relationship is becoming healthy while standing alone. This is the only part of the story that you have complete control over! Your relationships are the overflow of your emotional health, so work on pouring out security, value, purpose, communication, and love. Don’t be ashamed to seek the help of a professional counselor, and work on becoming your best self. Relational healing happens from the inside out- because you will always attract the kind of person you believe you deserve.
As you seek to adjust your perspective remember that your past doesn’t define you, but it can direct you. Use your fears as a catalyst in choosing to live life well.
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, 21 Days to Jump Start Your Love Life, and 21 Days to Pray for Your Love Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!
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