Elder Wisdom: Marriage Kit

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I was lucky enough to corner catch up with one of the elders at church who promised to give me an interview. Never mind that he ( and most of my interviewees, it seems) thinks I’m trying to get the inside info on an institution I plan on joining soon, I will take anyone who will give me an interview, no matter their motives!

After a grueling day of community service at the church, we grabbed some pews to get down to the cross examination interview. “I’m gonna close my eyes but I’m listening,” he said, leaning back against a pew. I wasn’t sure if I would get much from him, but he surprised me–and my notebook! (Again, I’m still praying for my recorder over here–trying to recreate these interviews from my notes is getting old!). I’ll have some spin-off posts from some of the things he brought up, I’m sure. Enjoy!

  1. How long have you been married? 28 years
  2. How long did you know your wife before you got married? Six years
  3. How old were you when you became engaged? 20
  4. How long were you engaged? 1 year
  5. What were you taught about marriage growing up? My parents separated when I was a teenager. I became a Christian shortly after that; that was when I first picked up instruction other than watching my parent’s interaction. They complained to us kids about each other, stopped sleeping in the same room before divorcing. I learned about marriage in church. I was baptized six months after I met *Yolanda. I learned about marriage through marriage classes and things taught at church about what a husband does & doesn’t do. One of the biggest statements, or statements that have stuck with me, was something I heard in a men’s class. (There was a man who had been married for a long time that was talking).  “How did y’all stay married?” “We never went to bed mad at each other.” We’ve stayed up a long time to make sure we aren’t mad. Everything may not be resolved, but we aren’t mad. I learned that marriage was instituted by God and lasts until you die. God doesn’t like divorce. (I asked question “are there acceptable reasons for divorce) Jesus did grant divorce for marital unfaithfulness, an allowance to divorce. Moses allowed divorce because of the hardness of their hearts. (Allowing for divorce is different than condoning or liking).
  6. What was the biggest adjustment you had to make early on in your marriage? Getting used to someone sleeping next to me. I used to check her to see if she was breathing (chuckles). She grew up with ways of doing things and I did. Little things–toilet paper, toothbrush, taking your shoes off when you come in, what to do with dishes after you use them, how to fold things–little frustrations. Most of those things, they’re still there, but they just aren’t an issue anymore. We were young–we didn’t bring a lot of bagge. I never lived as a single w/ their own place, their own door. The things we learned together were almost everything; there wasn’t a lot of relearning.
  7. What is something you learned after you got married that you should have known before marriage? I wish I understood better that women cry. So you gone get your way & cry too? That’s just not fair! (laughs) (sobers) I honestly believe that there is nothing you need to know about sex before you get married. You need to learn from your partner. I wish I had known I needed to talk to her about sexual intimacy–what I like and don’t like. It keeps you from things you shouldn’t be into, like pornography or lusting after other women. I’ve learned women will not tell you what they want all the time. You have to ask, and in some cases, you have to get help–or trial and error vs. assuming if nothing is said, everything’s OK. You have to ask without being asked.
  8. How do you get to know someone? What jumps out first isn’t always most important; we have values that are core and are most important even when we don’t let them right on the surface. From a woman’s perspective, work ethic, family values about marriage, honorable values about women–but sometimes what jumps out first first is what we see. Sometimes affections take on their own life & you can end up being–find yourself infatuated or enticed in something that is contrary to your values. If I want to marry in the church, I need to look in the church, because those values don’t go away and you are trying to get that person to fit in (convert, etc.). Set some hard rules to show what his core values reflect & avoid things that want to draw you into intimacy where these things pale. I wont say I dated the way I’m suggesting. *Yolanda’s dad helped with her standards. You pick out those core values and if they have those then let’s venture out further. You can’t afford to let the lesser values rule. The attractiveness won’t always be there and along the way you want to stay in love.
  9. Why did you get married? I was going home a lot–let me back up. In college, there were college students that were married. I did see that. I saw it working. When I started to consider marriage, while dating at a distance ( They dated long distance for three years), I did go on dates. And part of the intent was, while I’m considering, Yolanda, is there someone else out there that I would be interested in? The dates were–blah. They were all pretty, they were all intellectual. But what it came back to was none of them did anything for me, there was no spark. When I proposed to her it wasn’t my intention to, and it took me back how fast she said yes. (This reminded him of the following saying:). Sometimes you have to chase someone long enough for them to catch you; I think she did that well.  

I’m going to have to break it here (I know, just when it was starting to get good!), but feel free to start commenting on anything you think is worth commenting on.

Have you been reading all of the marriage kit interviews and noticed I have asked these married couples the questions you’ve been DYING to ask a married person? You can leave your question in the comments section, or email me at 2blu2btru4u@gmail.com.  

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