Friday, July 14, 2006
I have heard several people ask if inter-racial marriage is acceptable in today's society and am a little surprised this question still comes up. The responses are nearly unanimous in encouraging them to proceed. I do have some concerns for them and would like to address them now. While I see absolutely nothing wrong with inter-racial relationships, I caution them in the following areas of societal differences.
1. Religion. If you mix religions in a household you can expect difficulties from foundational expectations for the relationship from both parties.
2. Morality. If you are not on the same page with respect to what is good and right, you can expect to be at odds with your mate on the most important aspects of marriage including how to train up your children.
3. Traditions. Familial expectations at odds with your own upbringing can be a source for additional, unnecessary pressures upon the marriage.
4. Culture. Your support structure bases its expectations on what has been done before. The people around you pressure you to conform to generally accepted roles in their own experience.
I recommend for all couples to engage in pre-marital counseling to help each party come to terms with these issues before they jump into the lifelong commitment to serve, honor, defend, respect, help each other through the challenges marriage brings. If you have these differences addressed before you make the covenant (contract) then everyone is aware of the requirements from each party to make the covenant work. False expectations are erradicated before they start, and true expectations are strengthened on the fact that each party was foretold what will be.
I have seen five divorces in my immediate family, one of which was my own even though I had committed myself to doing whatever it takes to avoid another one. Each of my parents after their divorce from each other divorced from a following marriage. Both were widowed once from subsequent marriages. My point is, I've seen a lot of the consequences of jumping into lifelong commitments with damn the consequences attitudes. This has been an incentive for me to pay attention when someone has advice for what makes a marriage strong and successful.
Have you ever had the statistics quoted to you on the divorce rate in America? More than half of all marriages end in divorce. Why? The statistics don't reflect the percentages of stable people vs. unstable getting married. They reflect the number of contracts broken. In other words, many of these broken marriages are perpetrated by repeat offenders. (People marrying and divorcing over and over again.) The number of unstable people relationally are actually closer to a third of the U.S. Don't get me wrong, this is still a shamefully high number, but given the sexual revolution of the 1960's and the attack on the institution of marriage by the educational system, the welfare system, and the leftist rule in the judicial system, I marvel that the institution of marriage has fared as well as it has.
The most reported reasons for divorce by the participants are far and away pinned to financial struggles and differences. Take the time to investigate the monetary habits of your prospective spouse and work together to build a budget and a long range set of goals. Employ a financial planner's expertise to help write a plan for achieving these goals. Romance is all about spontenaity and gestures but a marriage is all about purpose and stability. If you've built your relationship on only half of this equation, you're only half way prepared for what awaits you in the future. Marriage is not the goal, it is only the starting post for the journey of a lifetime. Up to now, your whole life has only been preparation for this commitment. Make sure you complete the work necassary to make the rest of your life successful.