Almost everyone dreams of having a family and later watch their grandsons and daughters running in the house courtyard while sitting in a chair under a sun shelter. The traditional family, often formed with a husband and a wife and at least ones child, always appears desirable in movies and cartoons. And that is good. But entering in the marriage is not always as easy as it seems to be. It needs preparation. At the present time, newly married couples frequently get deceived or upset after the honeymoon time because there are many things that surprise them. As a pro-life and family defender, marriage preparation is a major component of our priorities.

A good marriage begins with the decision of sharing his or her life with the person we are going to marry. It involves accountability, responsibility, transparency, constant support, and especially Love. “The greatest of these is Love”. It takes commitment, effort and skills to sustain a strong happy marriage. For Christian people, marriage is one of the biggest elements of one’s life. Churches want couples to be well-prepared. There are different forms of marriage preparation programs offered by institutions, non-profit or for-profit. Some couples attend a weekend retreat; others are matched with a “sponsor couple”; and others participate in a series of marriage preparation classes. The important thing for engaged couples to keep in mind as they check numerous items off their pre-wedding to-do list is the well-known adage, “Your wedding lasts a day, but your marriage lasts a lifetime”. Marriage is therefore a sacred commitment and decision.

When is the perfect age to take that decision? There is no perfect or standard age to get married. You are not “too late” if you marry at 35. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median age at first marriage had reached 30 years for men and 28 years for women in 2018. This age tendency is lower in Africa. Many people enter marriage at the age of 24. Sometimes it takes time to find the partner that the universe has prepared for us. It worth it to wait and be well-prepared instead of doing wrong and wasting emotional and financial energies for a bad marriage. Again in the U.S., marriage rates have declined and divorce rates have increased among older Americans. In 2015, for every 1,000 married adults ages 50 and older, 10 had divorced – up from five in 1990. Among those ages 65 and older, the divorce rate roughly tripled since 1990.

According to Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, the divorce rate per 1,000 married women is 16.9. Many experts feel that this is a much more accurate measure of true divorce rate than the crude rate. If we are not prepared for marriage, bad surprises will go on our way. Certainly we do not wish to be among the 41 percent of all first marriages that end in divorce. Every 13 seconds, there is one divorce in America; meaning that there are 9 divorces in the time it takes for a couple to recite their wedding vows in 2 minutes. Russia is the country that has the highest crude divorce rate. But even if there is a slight impact in what happens in a society and how does the habitants live, having a healthy marriage or not is not about where we live but about what we strive for.

As a young adult people longing for a bright future which involves a loving marriage, there are a few points that we always need to keep in mind from the time of discovering the person we would love to marry until death. At its core, love is a decision to be committed to another person. It is far more than a fleeting emotion as portrayed on television and romance novels. Since marriage is a commitment, it also involves sexual faithfulness. Sexual faithfulness includes our eyes, mind, heart and soul. When we devote our minds to sexual fantasies about another person, we sacrifice sexual faithfulness to our spouse. In and for marriage, let us pursue humility, patience and forgiveness, time investment, honesty and trust, communication and selflessness. Although it will never show up on any survey, more marriages are broken up by selfishness than any other reason. Surveys blame it on finances, lack of commitment, infidelity, or incompatibility, but the root cause for most of these reasons is selfishness.

Having a beautiful, lifelong marriage will always require nearly every bit of ourselves but is so worth it if we want to have a happy marriage. A successful and healthy marriage is more valuable than most of the temporal things we chase after with our lives, and will always last longer.