If I were to tell you about a young lady who is waiting for a rich handsome prince riding on a white horse to appear one day and marry her, surely you would say that this young lady is living in the dream world. However, if we could peek into the hearts of a large number of the individuals that are hoping to be married, we would find dreams of no small proportions.
In many areas of life we find that we have our dreams, and yet there is reality. You may dream of a great house with a swimming pool, while reality points to the fact that you can hardly afford even a three-bedroom apartment. You may dream of a luxurious new car, and yet the bank allows you to withdraw only enough money to buy a second-hand vehicle without an air conditioner. You dream of a great social life surrounded by friends, but you find yourself alone most of the time. It is possible to continue living in our dreams, and thus to be disappointed, or rather to understand what is the reality that we live in and to enjoy the blessings of God in our actual lives.
When it comes to finding a life partner, we may have dreams and expectations with regard to the physical appearance of our spouse, the place where we will live, the standard of living, and the life as a family.
The physical appearance
I do say that there should be also a physical attraction to our spouse, but this does not mean that our life partner needs to be the most attractive person in the world. We need to be somewhat realistic in our expectations. Given that most people are average in beauty, it is not reasonable to expect our spouse to be the most stunningly beautiful or handsome.
It may be that we think ourselves to be very attractive, and that therefore we deserve someone as beautiful as we are. In such a case, first of all we should discern whether indeed we are all that beautiful, or could it be that perhaps we are average in appearance? It is possible to ask a few people to tell us honestly whether indeed we are that much more beautiful than other individuals our age. Usually the case is that you are not the most beautiful and that there are many others more beautiful than you are! And even if you were the most beautiful, indeed you can’t expect that God must give you something that is not realistic in this world... If most people are average in beauty, chances are small that you will find someone more beautiful than average. It is important not to live with a delusion about your own appearance and about what you can expect with regard to the appearance of your future spouse. If we understand reality we are not going to expect something that does not exist, and also we will not have bitterness toward God because He does not give us what we want.
With regard to beauty, I can say that it takes a while to become used to your partner’s outer appearance. After a period of becoming acquainted with your partner, you learn to appreciate the beauty that God has given him or her, and you learn to love not only the outer person, but the combination of the inner person together with the outer person. The character of your partner combined with his or her appearance give you a fuller picture of your spouse. In addition, when we love someone truly and in a mature way, according to the will of God, the outer appearance is not so important.
Finally, I will ask you a question that will help you to understand what is more important: “Would you want to marry a beauty queen or king and suffer all your life because of his or her unpleasant personality? Or would you rather prefer someone of average beauty but with a wonderful character that gives you joy living with them?”
The place where you live
Where you can live is affected by various factors:
1. Where you work
2. The proximity to the family
3. The proximity to the local assembly
4. Your financial situation
Perhaps you desire to live in a particular location and you are waiting for a spouse who will help you fulfill this dream. But it is quite possible that one of the four conditions listed above will clash with your desire. Is this a sufficient and justified reason to disqualify a potential spouse?
Will I do without starting a relationship because I would have to let go of my dream dwelling place?
Well, everyone has his own order of priorities, but one should remember that the person that you will share your life with is more important than the place where you will live. And of course it’s always possible to find some way to compromise on the place of residence without losing out on the spouse.
The standard of living
We all have a certain standard of living that we are used to, and usually we expect that for the rest of our lives we will be able to enjoy that same standard of living or a higher one. For example, there are people that cannot envision themselves living in an apartment rather than in their own private house, or that cannot picture themselves travelling by bus. Is this a justified reason for rejecting a potential life partner?
Will I give up a spouse not to have to lower my standard of living?
It’s important to note that it is possible to improve the standard of living if we know how to plan our family life and how to manage the family finances properly. So that one shouldn’t disqualify a particular individual due to his financial situation.
Life as a family
Surely you have heard it said that life is no picnic – well – it’s true!
It is important to understand what family life is before getting married, that we may not be caught by surprise later on, when we are dealing with the reality. The husband has to know beforehand that he needs to care for all the needs of his wife, and to love her. The wife needs to know that she needs to accept the authority of her husband. One must always remember that both sides are people who are sinners, and therefore one must expect difficulties. Whoever thinks that everything is pink in the married life needs to wake up to reality and to understand what he is approaching.
To conclude this article about the need to be realistic, I want to encourage you with this, that the most important part of the reality is that God is good and gives good gifts to His children. We need to know how to be appreciative of His gifts, and to rejoice in them.