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Keith Wishum: Before you say I do

You’ve heard it. “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it will always be yours. If it doesn’t come back, it never was yours.”
One frustrated female added, “But, if it just sits in your living room, messes up your stuff, eats your food, takes your money, and doesn’t appear to realize that you set it free, then you either married it or gave birth to it.”
We love to make fun of marriage. Yet, most of us choose to marry. In fact, more than 2.1 million marriages took place in the U.S in 2014. That’s much “I do” about something.
Unfortunately, many who say “I do,” don’t for very long. In that same year, there were 800,000 divorces. That’s much pain.
What gives? If we like marriage, why don’t we stay married? Well, there are more taters in that hill than we can dig up in this space, but I would like to suggest one vital key for solving our divorce dilemma.
We need to practice God’s wisdom before saying “I do.” To get a license to drive, we must pass several tests. Same thing to get a license to fly — or be a nurse, or even to cut hair. But, to get married? You need $56. That’s it. Got cash? Get married.
God suggests a more thoughtful approach that will produce better results. He advises that we take our vows seriously before we make them. Proverbs 20:25 says, “It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider his vows.”
Think about the typical wedding vows — promises to love through better or worse as long as both spouses shall live. That’s a huge promise! It should never be made lightly or without preparation.
Many important Biblical suggestions could be mentioned. I’ll close with just one more. Proverbs. 20:18 tells us, “Make plans by seeking advice.” Before saying “I do,” get premarital counseling. Take a course like Dynamic Marriage. Read good books on marriage before and after getting married.
The best of marriages experience difficulties. But getting married is not a blind roll of the dice. We can impact the outcome. God offers practical, productive advice to make life work — in marriage and in every other way.
Which would you prefer? Make fun of marriage? Or, make your marriage fun? Your Father would love to help you do the latter.

Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church of Christ, Americus.