Whenever someone announces they’re going to get married, most of the time our first question is, “How well do you know them?” That is, we want to know if, through the dating process, they’ve had enough time to find out enough about the other person to gage if this marriage has a real chance or not.
Do you know how your fiancé handles anger? What kind of family did they grow up in? What about their parents? What are those defining moments in their lives that have made them the person they are? Where do they want to go in their lives? What matters to them? I mean, really matters?
But this is the wrong first question. The more important question is, “How well do you know yourself?” Have you taken the time to understand your own journey to know the person you have become and why you are the way you are? Do you know what matters to you? Really matters? How do you handle anger? Where are you going? Do you know how you’re going to get there?
Some of the greatest surprises in marriage aren’t what we find out about the other person, but what we find out about ourselves. We find out we had a temper we didn’t know we had. We find out we’re more selfish and indeed, self-centered, than we had realized. We discover we know more about where we DON’T want to go than where do want to go. We have a long lists of things “we’ll never do…” but not much of list of the things we will do.
A lot of us are in a such a hurry to be in a relationship with someone else that we ignore the relationship with ourselves. Remember, Jesus said there are two great commandments: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus points out a deep truth we often overlook. We can’t fully love our neighbor, or our spouses, without authentically loving ourselves (and we can’t do any of it without loving God!). Without a healthy, Christ-centered, self-love, marriages can quickly become neurotic and co-dependent.
And the problem may not be them. The problem may be you.
So, that’s why the first question isn’t, “How well do you know them?” but “How well do you know you?” Knowing the answer to that question will go a long way in helping you answer the important questions of your marriage.