Any Red Flags?

How long and how well do you know this person you’re considering as a marriage partner? Most of the questions and thoughts in this article have been derived from people who discovered the answers after they were married. They were shocked, dismayed, and some even felt deceived. Many of the questions are direct and blunt so you may feel hesitant to ask them. You may think, “I can’t ask that!” You may worry you might offend your potential life partner. Or you may think, “Asking these questions seems so unromantic.” Or perhaps you don’t want to hear the answers (ignorance does not create bliss).

Remember, you’re thinking about marrying this person you’re involved with. Few areas should be off-limits. You may feel awkward asking about debt, past romantic relationships, or the difficulties the person has had with his or her children. You may even be worried about answering these types of questions yourself. The truth is that you can ask the questions and discuss the answers now or not ask them and discover the answers later. It’s your choice. I believe it’s better for you to be in charge of when you find out because, as I said earlier, you will eventually.

Now is the time to look for red flags or concerns so you can discuss them, work through them, or, perhaps, decide to slow down or end the relationship. Although it can be very painful to apply the brakes on a relationship, it’s even more agonizing to not do it and end up in a rocky marriage.

A good thing to remember is that you can’t reshape, remake, or reconstruct another person. You can’t get gold out of a mine filled with lead. I’ve seen people who don’t get along at times but assume it will get better once they’re married. They usually end up frustrated and critical, feeling betrayed and trapped. Some people feel called to be reformers. They like to reshape others — or at least try to. In doing so, they ease their own pain by not looking at issues in their lives.

Warning Lights

There are more warning signs about relationships. Take a look at the following points. They may be indications that marriage is not the best direction for you to take right now.

  • Are you asking, “Are you really sure you love me?” again and again? It’s an indication of low self-esteem. Counseling would be better than marriage.
  • If most of your time is characterized by quarrels and disagreements that never get resolved, marriage will make them worse.· If you plan to live together before marriage, don’t. It hurts your chances of a lasting marriage.
  • If your partner is like a parent you don’t get along with, why would you want to marry that person?
  • If your partner is all for your interests and activities, but then reacts to you spending time on them, this won’t get better in marriage.
  • Don’t marry just for sex. Physical intimacy alone won’t keep a marriage together. You need the emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual, and recreational intimacy as well.
  • How do you feel if you spend a day with your partner just hanging out and talking? If it’s intolerable, why are you together?
  • If you haven’t recovered from a previous relationship, you’re not ready for a new one.
  • If your partner has an addiction and isn’t in a recovery program, you’re not their therapist. And promises to reform aren’t a basis for marriage.
  • If the two of you are totally opposite, what delights you now will probably be a pain in the neck later.

Every Morning at Breakfast

In the book There Goes the Bride — Making Up Your Mind, Calling It Off and Moving On, the following suggestions were made. Please consider them carefully:

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  • “If you have mixed feelings about engagement, don’t! You need to be certain. If you get engaged, listen to the feelings, especially numbness or dread or just plain wrongness. These shouldn’t be there.”
  • “Engagement is a serious state. Listen to these words: ”˜Dating is one thing, but signing up for the rest of your life is liable to give anyone a few second thoughts. The challenge is deciding if you’re suffering from garden-variety cold feet or what I call “Frozen footsies” — a much rarer malady.'”
  • “Don’t feel pressured into engagement or marriage because your biological clock is ticking faster and faster. As one woman said about making a mistake of becoming engaged, ”˜I was turning thirty and that expiration date stamped on my forehead was flashing so brightly that it blinded me from all the signs.’”
  • “If you’re thinking of committing your life to someone for the rest of your life, identify the non-negotiables. Don’t do this after the fact. Consider these non-negotiables:
  • If your partner hurts you physically, don’t proceed. It won’t get better.
  • Emotional abuse is more difficult to identify, but it involves lack of respect, controlling, etc.
  • Does the other person put you before their parents’ wishes or are they controlled by their parents? The scriptural teaching of ”˜leave their mother and father’ includes emotional as well as physical.
  • Don’t plan on marriage fixing your current problems. It compounds them. Work on fixing them now, but if you can’t repair them. . .
  • If you feel inhibited in what you talk about and can’t bring up your needs and concerns now, it won’t improve. Try new approaches now.
  • If you find yourself saying ‘I love him or her, but. . .’ why would you think of proceeding?”

Are You Marrying Again?

Contemplating these questions and talking through your answers will hopefully help you create a relationship that will stand the test of time.

Here are some realistic expectations to consider if you’re in a serious romantic relationship and thinking about getting married a second time.

  • You can expect your second marriage to be successful if you dig in and work for the long haul.
  • The new marriage will be tougher than a first marriage. It will be complicated, exasperating, and tiring at times.
  • You can expect a slow building process.
  • You can expect some “old scripts” at times, but you are also writing a new script every day.
  • You can expect to want to run from it every now and then —but you won’t.
  • You will be able to solve the problems that often cause a “run or rust” mentality in second marriages.
  • You can expect this marriage to be different because you’ve learned many things from your previous marriage and how it ended.


• Also see  Marriage Preparation

Taken from: 101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Remarried. Copyright © 2012 by Norman H. Wright. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.