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What's Love Got To Do With It?

So how do you know when is the right time to pop that age old question: "Will you marry me"? A question that most every girl has day-dreamed about since she was young and come up with elaborate visions of grandeur that no doubt have been influenced by Disney's portrayal of the lovely beauty and devilishly handsome beau. Even most guys have day-dreamed about how it all might go down. I have heard it said that women day dream about how their wedding will be and men day dream about who they are going to marry. But none the less, how do you know when your ready? Ladies: how do you know when you should feel confident in saying 'yes'? Men: how do you know she is the right one to ask? And what role should finances and money play into such things? Should they at all? We all love the story of Count of Monte Cristo, with it's grand revenge and 'true love'. And why shouldn't a string around the finger living in abject poverty with nothing but our wits and our love be enough ... ? Well I'm sure it could be my dear friend, and for some it is, but to think that financial tension and the struggle to make ends meat will not tear at the core fabric of a relationship is wishful thinking. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil the bible tells us (1 Tim 6:10), and no one can survive without it. Obviously no one should propose marriage, or accept that proposal, unless you are absolutely confident that this is the person you want to yoke yourself with for the rest of your lives, warts and all. And, at least here in our culture, we have an opportunity to get to know the persons warts before we ultimately yoke ourselves to them. Well at least most of them. For more on what types of things to look for, see here. Once you have decided that you want to yoke yourself to a person and feel great about their character; that they will be a great aid in keeping you close to following Christ and vice versa, and your tribe feels similarly, what to do next? Well, for starters I am fairly traditional and think that the man should propose marriage, not the woman. This is a popular thing in modern western culture, and while there is no biblical directive about it either way, I think it has something to do with the leadership of the male role, in which the bible has some things to say. I also think that two people should be able to support their own lives financially and independently. It would be helpful for them to have jobs, or some form of income, in order to pay rent, buy groceries, etc. And while this is also not a biblical directive, but only a cultural one - in fact in the culture of the bible it would have been very normal for the couple to stay in their families house when they were married, simply building another room. But in our culture that would be a bit odd for most. There are of course some exceptions to this, but we certainly live in a very individualistic society and culture that is centered around the nuclear family. I am not commenting here on whether that is good or bad, just that it is. I also think it is wise for people to be open with each other before they decide to yoke themselves together in the covenant of marriage, to talk about their financial status (typically during engagement). For example; how much debt do you have? what kind of character have you shown on your own with paying this back? (c.f. Rom 13:8) how open to input are you about your finances and spending habits (two people getting married will certainly have different spending patterns and prioritization's on how to spend money)? I think it would be unwise, irresponsible, and unloving to allow someone to marry you, only for them to find out on the honeymoon that you have $100k+ school debt that they have now inherited. I'm just sayin ... Money should not dictate love, nor should someone exclude marrying someone simply because they are rich or poor ... but you cannot live without money or seem to ever get enough if you love it (c.f. Ecc 5:10; 7:12; 10:19). Money is just one of the many factors that should be carefully considered and thoroughly talked through (character and spirituality is among the top of the list) when considering marriage. My advice is that marriage is hard enough as it is, why complicate it further by introducing surprises and hardships that you don't have to?


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