Vision favourites Brett and Kate Ryan from Focus on the Family Australia joined Robbo and Becci on Rise & Shine to talk about how to choose your lifelong spouse.
Kate believes it’s a very important topic to discuss, because it’s so crucial to not just jump in. “Is love at first sight a real thing?” she says. “All those things that young couples say, like they knew straight away, or you don’t understand our love. It’s as though they’re the only ones that have ever been in love before. It makes me laugh. Having been married for 31 years we feel like we’ve seen so many things go before us, so when people say you don’t understand, I want to say I think you don’t understand!”
Brett suggests that we should all go into marriage with our eyes wide open. “Then when you get married, you have to start shutting [your eyes] down a little bit.”
Kate adds that you don’t want to address everything that comes towards you at once, because it’s an unfolding process across the years. “There are going to be little things that annoy you but pick your battles. Is the fact that they don’t put the lid on the toothpaste an actual issue?”
Brett and Kate agree that if you see a red flag beforehand and you don’t deal with it, it’s going to become a giant problem later on. There needs to be a lot of thought put into choosing your future partner. It’s a lifelong choice. A lot of couples see red flags before getting married and find themselves in a mess because they didn’t address it prior.
“There are a few questions you should really ask yourselves before you say I do”, says Kate. “One is why is this person the one that I want to spend the rest of my life with? What’s does their character look like? Do they love the Lord? What is it about them that makes me want to marry them? Not that just we get along and we have a great time because that’s not a lifelong thing. Those things change because we change when we get married.”
Brett believes that you have to actually decide your non-negotiables before going into a relationship and say, these are the things that I really want in my future life partner. “It’s not physical, but their characteristics, value systems, belief systems, faith, and seeing them in all their glory. Because the fact is, these little things that you think are not such a bad thing will become big things later on. Sometimes we have blind spots, and we don’t see those things like other people do. You need to include other people in this journey, including your parents and close family and friends. If they’ve got some concerns you should at least heed their advice. “
There are no perfect people. We are all imperfect beings living in an imperfect world, but we serve a perfect God. Our identity needs to be in Christ. Another person does not fulfill that place in our hearts and our minds and our soul.
“There are red flags that you can work through, but there are some things that you can’t,” says Kate. “If somebody doesn’t have integrity you can’t work through that. They need to work through that on their own. There’s a whole list of character traits that need time to mature. And so you need to step away because you don’t want them pretending to mature to tick a box for you.”
Brett says, “If we had our way, we would encourage people to have pre-engagement counseling rather than pre-marriage counseling. Most people would do pre-marriage but often the momentum is shifting. They don’t make the decisions they may have, if in the light of day they reconsidered, and that has caused a lot of heartbreaks. There’s been a lot of evidence that says with really good premarital counseling, about one in five couples will not continue to the altar.”
Brett and Kate both say that a successful marriage is two healthy individuals going into relationship and recognising that they’re not perfect. “It’s working on your individual walk with God and your individual walk with being a human being. It’s laying down your life for your spouse to see them fulfilled in every aspect of life.”
Listen below to hear the rest of this insightful chat with Brett and Kate Ryan.
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