Preparing for Marriage: Love Conquers All – Or Does It?

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

Newly engaged couples are so much fun to watch. They are very tender with each other, they smile when they speak to each other, they care about the other person’s opinion, and they are optimistic about life in general. Best of all, they believe the other person is perfect and their love will last forever, that somehow they have the ideal type of love and their love will conquer all problems life tossed their way. This is what is meant by having rose-colored glasses when looking at your partner, seeing only the good and none of the bad.

However something happens when these engaged couples walk down the aisle and say, “I do”. The same rose-colored glasses seem to shatter resulting in the good becoming minimized while the bad becomes exaggerated. One of the many reasons premarital counseling is recommended is to help to highlight via an indifferent experienced third party, the potential areas of contention. While God’s love is capable of conquering everyone and everything, man’s love falls far short. Here are some of the major areas that man’s love cannot conquer.

Addiction. There are many forms of addictions a person can have: alcohol, gambling, pornography, drugs (illegal and prescription), and sex just to name a few. These addictions consume time, money and energy from your relationship and in the long run, can even destroy it. Your finance may even say that their addiction tendencies are less because of your presence and while this may be true for the time being, it will not be true in the future. The reason the addiction is less during the engagement is because of the excitement of the upcoming marriage and the hope and promise it brings. As soon as difficulties surface, this hope will quickly turn into despair and the addiction will return sometimes with a vengeance.

Abuse. There are also many forms of abuse such as physical, emotional, sexual and verbal. Physical abuse involves any physical contact that is unwelcome or threatening. Emotional abuse is neglecting your partner’s basic needs for security, love and attachment. Sexual abuse includes rape or any type of forced sexual encounter. Verbal abuse is the use of foul language, demeaning statements, biting sarcasm or hurtful remarks. Loving someone will not stop the abuse. Often the abuse is very subtle in the beginning and often in frequent during the engagement process with your finance being very apologetic afterwards. These are warning signs that should not be ignored because the abuse is very likely to increase after the wedding.

Alarm. There are many ways your partner can alarm you, perhaps they engage in self-harming behavior (such as cutting), threaten to commit suicide, threaten to cause you physical harm, or have irrational fears (such as paranoia or extreme jealously). These behaviors need to be addressed with a professional who has experience in helping individuals to overcome their alarming behavior rather than a well-meaning finance who is unsure of how to handle the situation. Getting married will not eliminate any of these behaviors no matter what your finance says, in fact it will worsen.

Addiction, abuse and alarm are three good reasons to end an engagement. Yes, your finance can get better with professional help, a willingness to overcome the challenges, and by the grace of God but even these ingredients separate from each other do not guarantee success. Just for a moment, take off your rose-colored glasses and look at your partner objectively to see if there is any trace of these behaviors. After all, your love does have limits.


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About the author- Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

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