Running head: SHORT-TERM PREMARITAL RELATIONSHIPS Short-term Premarital Relationships Brenda M. Ellis July 2, 2009 COUN 603 Liberty University Abstract Short-term premarital relationships are the subject of debate in many families. The idea of a couple living together without being married is just one of the many problems in relationships today that end up going through divorce court. Short-term relationships do not have the staying power as one where the couples are getting to know one another for a longer period-of-time.
The relationship does not have time to manifest into something that will last a lifetime. In this day and time, short-term relationships have a propensity to become a short-term life span. This report will give you the results of short-term premarital relationships and how they pan out in the end and for the future of these couples. Short-Term Premarital Relationships Couples today are more eager to marry than to get to know their partner better. In the article below, it will show the positive and the negative sides to short-term relationships prior to marrying.
Positive and Negative Outcomes Long-term dating has its benefits when deciding if that other person is someone you want to marry. For example, the longer you date, the more likely you are to experience troublesome moments. These will test whether the other person has the strength to get through those moments with you. Sometimes trying times bring you closer together and make you surer about wanting to be with that person for a life-long commitment. The only downside is that you cannot truly know what the future holds and a very rastic event could still break the bonds of marriage. In short-term dating, the benefit of marrying immediately is that it is possible that you will both try very hard to make the marriage successful. You go into it with a lot of passion and romance. The downside is making sure that those feelings can be lasting and can withstand the trials and tribulations that come with life and affect both people in the relationship. Bottom Line The length of time people date before they get married varies so much between couples because each relationship has its own dynamic.
If you are in tune with your significant other, you should be able to tell if that person is marriage-minded and whether you will work together for the commitment that comes with it. Marriage is far different from cohabitation and it can work out well for people who are serious about staying together and going through life’s experiences with a strong companion. The bottom line is that only you and your significant other decide how long you date before you know that you want to be married to each other.
You have to gauge, on your own, the intensity of your dating situation and whether your romantic feelings are mutual. (Tabares, 2009). I read this article about cohabitation and it reminds me of how couples can lose focus on one another because they tend to assume that the other feels the same way. It is easier to walk away from a short-term relationship than it is after getting to know someone first, then marrying. “People who cohabit seem to lose respect for themselves and for their partner, while those who form a household only after marriage have inherently higher self-respect and respect for their spouse.
Cohabitation is a supercharged engine producing dissatisfied couples and, as a result, more divorces—thus contributing to and sustaining America’s high divorce rate. ” (McManus, 2008). I have known couples that married two months after they met and the marriage lasted twelve years with two beautiful children to show for their short marriage. Why did the marriage break up? Infidelity, plain and simple, a cheating spouse. Why did this have to happen? The couple was young, she was only 16 and he was 19. They did not take time to get to know one another.
They knew nothing about the other’s family, their beliefs, their likes or dislikes. They did not know anything about each other. In the end, he would not hold down a job and the wife grew tired of having to care for the family and take care of the bills. She would have stayed, had he gotten help, gotten a job and matured. But, the betrayal was hard and neither got over the fact that it happened. Today, they are good friends and he always teases her about getting back together. She moved on and is much happier in her new married life to a man she has known her entire life.
Personally, I believe that people must accept responsibility for the choices that they make rather than blaming others for their difficulties in their marriages. We all face the same difficulties, but some individuals seem to be able to succeed and cope in a positive manner while others deal poorly or make destructive choices. I believe that Christianity can help people mend, repair, and become more stable in their married life. If you are a Christian counselor and you accept the challenge of others coming to you for guidance, then you have the influence and the responsibility to help them get on the right track. The major causes of marital failure described were lack of emotional mutuality and communication, physical and emotional abuse, and alternative adulterous relationships. ” (Rokach, 2004). I would find out what the problem is and see if I could find a starting point that would not set off any feelings of resentment or animosity towards whomever or whatever the circumstances are that lead the couple to this point in their marriage. I would also want to know how long they actually knew one another before they got married.
Also, I would want to know what they have found out about each other since they have gotten married and would they change anything. Dr. Ronn Elmore, biographer of “How to Love a Black Man and How to Love a Black Woman” points out “Living together before marriage is the same as Nutri-Sweet or any other kind of substitute. It doesn’t provide the context to really find out the worth, the values, the character, and commitment of the other person. ” (Inc. , 1998). I believe this is well said considering that you really do not get to know a person until you have spent some long quality time with them.
Communication cannot be over-rated on this issue because without communication you do not have a relationship. “People are much fussier about whom they marry than whom they cohabitate with,” explains Paul Amato, a sociologist at Penn State University and one of the theory’s originators. “A lot of people cohabit because it seems like a good idea to share expenses and have some security and companionship, without a lot of commitment. ” (Wartik, 2005). Many short-term relationships do not last because of the duration of time the couple spent getting to know one another.
I read, “Psychologists say the typical infatuation (or “lust”) lasts 3-18 months. So, if a total of 19 or more months elapse between meeting and wedding, there’s a better chance it’s really love. ” (Answers. com). Hollywood is making a mock of marriages. There are so many young people who look to these actors and actresses as role models, that it seems that they are sending our children the wrong messages about marriages and living together. Our children are knocked around by cultural ideology. For example, Shannen Doherty had two failed marriages. She married Rick Salomon to which this marriage was annulled in nine months, less than a year.
Her second marriage to Ashley Hamilton lasted seven months. The Lakers’ Lamar Odom raised eyebrows with his quick marriage to reality TV star Khloe Kardashian. The hype in Hollywood is quickie marriages and quickie divorces. There is no commitment. Because it is so easily accepted, more and more people are doing it. No feelings, no love, no future, no problem, right? Wrong! As a Christian counselor, I would feel that coming to me gave me the right to share some scriptures with him or her and I would start with how much God loves us and that he would give his ONLY Son to die for our sins (John 3:16).
The use of prayer and scripture is important because as Christians, we learn so much from His word and from listening to Him as we pray and read the Bible that they need to be included into therapy, if the counselee is willing to consent to it, of course. I would let them know that, “If you have been in a harmonious and exclusive relationship for a number of years, you should have developed the level of intimacy necessary to get married.
On the other hand, if you have only been involved in a serious relationship for several months and you have not developed a certain level of trust, you may want to hold off on getting married until you’ve weathered a few storms as a couple. ” (Pollick, 2010). The storms could mean that you need to harmonize with one another, such as, religion, how one feels about having children, what does the other like to eat, are they a morning person and so forth. If you find out later that the person is a morning person and you’re a night owl, most likely you’re going to have conflicts because of the differences in the schedule.
One is tired when the other is ready to go, just things such as this makes a big difference when you are having a relationship and wanting children. I would also be sure to let them know that it is perfectly normal to have these kinds of feelings when their marriage seems to have hit a rough spot. But, I would definitely assure them that God is marriage-minded and that their marriage is worth saving. “We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. ”(2 Corinthians 1:7).
I would let them know that through Christ, he or she can conquer this and it will make them better in the end, learning how to handle these problems will make suffering tolerable and strengthen their marriage. Premarital counseling would be advisable to any couple. Getting married is a very serious thing and should not be decided at a spur of the moment. Divorce is not only costly but it can affect you emotionally, physically and financially. Deut 4:30-31 tells us, “In the distant future, when you are suffering all these things, you will finally return to the Lord your God and listen to what he tells you. Removing suffering is impossible, but you can rise above it by the power of the Lord, for he will give you strength that you do not know you possess. Marriage is a gift from God and should be treated as such. I would like all my clients to get to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I would also like to show them that he is the answer and the way of life. I desire to share with them some of the same experiences I have had and I want them to feel that they too can also do the same with me. I would like to be a safe house so to speak for my clients to come and integrate prayer into their upside down world.
I want to let them know that God is the answer. Many times marriages start to fail because one partner feels that they have gotten the short stick and wants out after a short period. Marriage is not easy and should therefore be considered an honor when accepting a relationship that is headed in that direction. The partner becomes a stranger to the other; relationships that are short-termed tend to have less communication. They tend to have that firecracker value; really beautiful, exciting and explosive at first then “KA-POW” it is over and nothing is there to reignite the fuse because there was never anything there to begin with.
I will point out scriptures to help them see God’s promises, such as, “For with God nothing shall be impossible. ” and “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. “(Jeremiah 33:3). I would also tell my counselee that he or she is able to make changes, for the Bible tells us “He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but because of His own pity and mercy, by [the] cleansing [bath] of the new birth (regeneration) and renewing of the Holy Spirit, Which He poured out [so] richly upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. “( Titus 3:5-7).
It is with the direction of the Holy Spirit and the healing powers of Christ that helps people to heal and to have an improved and more fulfilling married life. I love how Alyson Weasley talks about forming a friendship before you get married. “Marriage without friendship cannot work in our culture,” She goes on to explain, “Friendship has to be nourished and nurtured regularly or it faces the danger of becoming a business relationship. I have seen many distant and business-like marriages where careers have developed and children have come into the picture, and the priority of emotional connection has been left to die on the vine.
Couples that don’t give attention to developing their friendship often come apart. It also creates an opening for marital infidelity. ” (Weasley, 2007). I agree with her on this statement because as the couple I spoke of above, having only known each other for two months prior to getting married, they did not form a friendship. The “Idea” of marriage was the attraction. Later, finding out that they became more like sister and brother, not lovers eventually broke their marriage up. Neither one desired being married any longer.
How does life begin when you barely know one another? “The two strangers started their married life not knowing what to expect of the relationship. Every marriage starts with a celebration but no one knows the end until they get there. ”(Pawar). The end is what you make it. Statistic shows that 70% of marriages compared to the 1940’s do not make it. (ygoy, 2007). This is a sad truth. I predict that things will only get worse in the years to come because we live in a microwave world, wanting everything right now.
We are growing more and more impatient and we see marriages as a throw away, not as a sacrifice, as it should be (giving up of something valuable or important for somebody or something else considered to be of more value or importance). I have heard of women getting married and keeping their last name. This shows me that they have little to no confidence in the marriage. According to one article, “The average length of marriage before separation can be as little as five years, it is obvious that many relationship problems have their roots in the premarital stage.
As we have seen, in many cases the process of breaking up has started less than a year after marriage. Therefore, the nature of pre-marriage relationships should be a good indicator of what is to come – except in arranged marriages where the indicators are likely to be other equally predictable factors. ” (Dixon, 2005). Proof again that prior relationship without getting to know one another is a recipe for divorce. “Couples cohabitating prior to marriage need to take precaution of many things to ensure their relationship is ready for such a challenge.
The statistics on living with each other before marriage advises that although there are many of us who are capable to build solid relationships after living together for an amount of time, the number of people getting betrayed and heartbroken resulting from de facto type relationships is greater than those who wait until after exchanging vows. “ (Fuller, 2005). I can teach forgiveness, which could allow the person to let go of a grudge that can cause further stress to their body, mind, or marriage that would keep them from healing.
However, any couple who does not communicate with his or her significant other is going to have some problems. Am I saying that short-term relationships prior to marriage will all fail? No. Many marriages will last, it depends on the couple and if they really want to save what they have or take a chance and move on with divorce, hoping the next relationship is better. An article that I was able to pull up by Rhonda Johnson, had some very good words of advice. I will share with you what I thought was relevant to this research paper. Cohabiting couples experience more depression, more sexual activity outside of the relationship, less sexual satisfaction, more difficulty in communication and problem solving, and worse relationships with parents than their married counterparts” (Rhonda Johnson, 2005). Here, she is suggesting that cohabitation is not a healthy way to go about trying to get to know your significant other. She goes on to say, “Individuals learn knowledge and behavior from those most closely involved with them. Many adolescents are gaining morals from parents and peers who are participating in or accepting cohabitation.
Adolescents model after individuals in churches, teachers in schools, parents at home, and other adults in their lives. Proverbs 22:6 states, “train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. ” Adults have a responsibility to lead the next generation by providing moral examples by which to live. ” (Rhonda Johnson, 2005). Ms Johnson goes on to say that churches should provide pre-counsel to the young adults who are contemplating cohabitating and give them the positive factors of marriage or to abstain and the negative facts on just living together. In my opinion, I have seen both sides of the situations.
I have seen marriages crumble after a long-term relationship and I have seen marriages strive after only meeting a brief time and marrying. I believe that if the couple will seek God first in all that they do, including their marriage, that they will have a better success rate of keeping their marriage together. Seeking God will also allow them to live in a more peaceful, fruitful existence because god is the marriage holder. The primary thing to bear in mind is that no sexual sin is beyond God’s forgiveness. Thankfully, He does not refuse to give us forgiveness or grace when we ask him for it.
His grace is abundant each and every day. Why must a couple “test-drive” their relationship to the next level, sex? This is like asking, how many cars have you driven? Do you compare each car to the other? You do not want to compare your love life to that of a used car. I once told my daughter that she should wait on having sex until she was married. As an example, I crumbled up a tissue and I had a new one in my other hand and ask her which she would choose. She chose the unused one. I asked her why had she not chose the crumbled up one and her reply was, ”Because I do not know where it has been. I said “Exactly! ” The same goes with guys who are always trying to get you to have sex. You do not know where they have been. The man that will be right for you will be willing to wait. Together, you and him will have only been with each other, no one else to compare the other to. Love will grow stronger in this relationship than one where there will always be doubt. Trust and communication is the key to a long and happy relationship in marriage. In my conclusion, cohabitation may guide you to marry someone for all the wrong reasons.
It could also turn into a one-way trip to a nasty divorce. I can also say that I have known couples that lived together for a short time and it did work out. I have found that short-term marriages have never proven to work out without both the wife and the husband working hard at keeping their marriage alive and respectful. No one can say if a couple will make a relationship last except for the couple themselves. I will continue to believe that couples should attend some kind of premarital counseling before heading to the altar, whether they have lived together one day or ten years.
Couples need to have some place that they can neutrally agree to disagree on their future. I can honestly say that I have known my husband for 37 years and I am still learning things about him. You never stop learning about your husband or wife and this only adds to the joy and excitement that keeps us, adventurous and young at heart. I am in as much love today as the day I married my husband, if not more. References Answers. com. (n. d. ). Wiki Answers. Retrieved June 26, 2010,from How long should you know someone before getting married? : http://wiki. answers. om/Q/How_long_should_you_know_someone_before_getting_married Dixon, D. P. (2005). The Rising Price of Love . Global Change. Fuller, M. (2005). Moving in Together Before Marriage. articlesbase , ArticlesBase SC #2258358. Inc. , C. I. (1998, August 3). JET. Retrieved 2010, from Why Are So Many Couples Living Together Before Marriage? : http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_10_94/ai_54367713/pg_3/? tag=content;col1 McManus, M. &. (2008). Crosswalk. Retrieved June 25, 2010, from Why Living Together Before Marriage Doesn’t Work: http://www. crosswalk. com/marriage/11581630/page0/
Ministries, B. (1995). Bible . Retrieved August 27, 2009, from Bible Resources: http://www. bible. com/ Pawar, M. (n. d. ). Longevity of a Marriage. Retrieved June 14, 2010, from Suite101: http://affordable-family-fun. suite101. com/article. cfm/a-rare-occassion-to-celebrate Pollick, M. (2010, March 28). WiseGeek. Retrieved from Am I Ready to Get Married? : http://www. wisegeek. com/am-i-ready-to-get-married. htm Rhonda Johnson. (2005). AN ANALYSIS OF FACTORS AFFECTING ADOLESCENT ATTITUDES TOWARD COHABITATION BEFORE MARRIAGE. Journal of Youth Ministry , Vol. Issue 1, p75-84, 10p. Rokach, R. C. (2004). Triggers and Fuses in Late Divorce: The Role of Short Term Crises vs. Ongoing Frustration on Marital Break-Up. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage , Vol. 40 Issue 3/4, p41-61, 20p. Tabares, M. (2009). How Long Do People Usually Date Before They Get Married? eHow . Wartik, N. (2005). http://www. psychologytoday. com/articles/200506/the-perils-playing-house . Psychology Today . Weasley, A. (2007). The Role of Friendship in Marriage. Focus on the Family . ygoy. (2007). Marriage and Divorce Statistics. Andhra Pradesh (500038) – INDIA. [pic]