Word on the street is that it's very hard to marry into the Miller Family.
The truth is: "To whom much is given, much is required"
What? Requirements? For marriage?
Before this engagement photo was taken, we had to make sure the young couple was ready to make the commitment.
This is our second daughter to marry so we've been down this road before (6 years ago).
Each situation was different as the couples involved were different. "Cookie Cutter" rules don't quite cut it when dealing with relationships.
These are a few of the things that we (Hubs and I) feel are important to consider before giving our blessing for our children to marry.
1. Age - Is the couple old enough to get married? This is not a deal breaker, but is something to be considered. As a young bride, myself, I know the struggles I had early in my marriage just because I had not had a lot of life experience yet.
2. Maturity - Is the couple responsible enough to commit to each other? Like age, maturity will come with time but must be considered before making a commitment. If one partner is more mature than the other, then the more mature person ends up being more of a parent figure to the other rather than a spouse.
3. Job - Does the couple have sufficient employment to live on their own? Our philosophy is that if you want to get married then you need to be able to live on your own. Others may disagree with us, but we feel this is an important part of leaving your parents and cleaving to each other. Matthew 19:4-6
4. Life Skills - Do both of them know how to balance a budget? Keep a house? Do laundry? A lot of this comes with maturity and age, but many of our kids have grown up living in homes with housekeepers, eating out and sending laundry to the cleaners. Very few newlyweds can afford those things in today's economy.
5. Emotional Health - Does either person seem to have emotional issues or baggage that should be addressed before the marriage? We all have emotional baggage even if we grew up in an emotionally healthy home. The longer the couple dates, the more likely the issues will come up and can be discussed and dealt with.
6. Finances in order - Is there large debt that could be a heavy weight on the couple? Many young couples will have school loan debt when they marry. But heavy credit card debt on top of that can be like a millstone around the necks of the newlyweds. That's a difficult weight to carry. Some financial honesty and planning can help the couple avoid bringing this baggage into the marriage.
7. Counseling - Is the couple agreeable to getting pre-marital counseling? Many Pastors require counseling before they will marry a couple. The quality of the counseling varies with the Pastor. Some churches and colleges/universities have free counseling and classes for couples. This counseling is very important before marriage. It gives an opportunity for the couple to discuss ways they will deal with disagreements and decisions that will be a part of their life together. Even better is if the counselor gives "homework" assignments to the couple to help them discover how their future spouse thinks and reasons.
8. Purity - When our daughters were teenagers, we gave them each a purity ring. They wore these rings on the ring finger of their left hand as a reminder of their vow of purity before marriage. As parents, it was our job to set guidelines to help them maintain this purity during dating and engagement. Some may feel that this is old fashioned and naive but it is a biblical principle that we follow in our family. It's how God designed it to be. Many times we've come home to find a young man sitting on the bench on our front porch, obeying our rule of not being alone in the house with our daughter. The purity rings were replaced with engagement rings and eventually wedding rings.
We've been very blessed that both our daughters and now both of our sons in law have been obedient and respectful of our requirements. They could have rebelled and done what they wanted. I think the closeness we developed with our children from birth helped them to want to honor us as they grew older. Although the requirements were, at times, difficult to follow and sometimes caused "eye rolling", both couples are glad they stayed the course. It was a solid foundation for them to begin a marriage on. My husband and I both feel we are responsible to God for our children's upbringing - even when they are over 18.
What guidelines do you have for your children or would like to have for your children when they marry?