Remember, the red flags I mentioned in the first post (and today’s post) don’t mean “you can never marry a guy with this issue” or that “you can never get married if you have these issues.” They mean that these are things you will probably want to deal with in a godly, thorough way BEFORE you get married.
When I call something a red flag, I mean – slow down, pray, seek godly wisdom, seek God’s will, ask for God to show you the way and desire Him more than this guy you are interested in. And remember, these red flags are issues for men and women that I believe need to be addressed in the relationship in a thorough, godly way before marriage with plans to continue addressing them after marriage.
Some additional red flags:
- A history of mental illness – This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t marry a man, but, it does mean that you will want to research what is going to be involved in being married to a man with these issues. You may want to talk to some wives whose husbands have these kinds of issues. Or if you have mental illness, you and your man may want to talk with some couples whose wives have these kinds of issues. And you will want to find a lot of support and godly resources to help you prepare and deal with the extra challenges that will likely come in a potential marriage. Once you are married, it is “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, through sickness and health, as long as we both shall live.” This may be a particularly difficult road. I want you to be as prepared as possible for the realities you may face if you choose this path. You may need some extra prayer support and godly mentoring couples and a strong, biblical, trusted counselor to help you navigate the issues that arise.
- His parents got divorced – Divorce scars kids and the wounds follow them into their own marriages. God hates divorce (Malachi 2) – partly because He says that He desires godly offspring. It is very difficult for children to grow up understanding what it means to live a godly life when they are a product of divorce. There are often big issues with trust, and problems with dealing with conflict in godly, healthy ways, and a lot of fear about a possible divorce in their own future. There is often a lack of godly example of what manhood, womanhood, and marriage are supposed to look like. There is often deep-seated bitterness and resentment. There is often a sense of personal blame for a child of divorce, as well, that is usually undeserved. Divorce also greatly impacts a child’s understanding of the character and love of God many times. Whether it was you or your guy whose parents were divorced, please seek to unlearn what you learned in childhood and relearn marriage God’s way. A great resource is Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – edited by Wayne Grudem and John Piper. A free download is available at www.cbmw.org. The first chapter is especially helpful, in my view. You will want to pray about finding a truly godly mentoring couple who will help you prepare for marriage and who will mentor you after you get married. Read all you can about who God is, godly marriage, godly masculinity, and godly femininity from reputable sources. Be willing to trash your old ways of thinking about these topics and rebuild from scratch on God and the Bible – of course, we all need to do that to some degree. I am sure there are some very helpful books to help adult children of divorce heal in a godly way – if any of you are aware of such resources, please let me know the ones you have found to be most beneficial.
- He was abused physically/emotionally as a child – We talked in the last post about the devastation and wounds that sexual abuse can create in children and the problems they can face and extra challenges they may have in marriage. Physical abuse or emotional abuse can also create extreme scars and wounds that need to be addressed and healed, preferably before marriage as much as possible – and then it would be really helpful to have a godly mentoring couple or experienced, godly counselor to help a couple walk through the issues that come up in preparing for marriage and in marriage. Those who were physically or emotionally abused as children will have a lot of intimacy and trust issues and fear to work through in order to be able to trust and be vulnerable in marriage. They may revert to treating those they love the way they were treated by their parents/abusers particularly if they don’t learn new coping skills or have godly mentoring going on long term. They may also revert to treating their own children the way they were treated as children. What they saw and experienced as children programmed them to think of this as “normal” even though it is destructive. This is going to take a lot of conscious and purposeful steps toward healing with the help of experienced, godly counselors or mentors over a long period of time, most likely – for real healing to take place – as well as the power of God’s Spirit, of course.
- He won’t ever admit wrong – It is extremely difficult to be married to someone who will never ever admit any wrong or sin. I have seen a lot of marriages where one or the other spouse does this. It is painful for the one who never receives an apology and who is constantly blamed for 100% of the problems in the marriage. This is a major pride issue that I would like to see resolved before marriage. If this man never changes, are you willing to live with this situation for the rest of your life? And let’s keep in mind that pride tends to be the root sin of many other sins. There is no room for pride in marriage – for men or women – or in our relationship with Christ. Verses about pride.
- He has an uncontrollable temper – Proverbs has a lot to say about this topic. It is wise to avoid those who have a bad temper. Being married to someone with rage issues or major anger issues or who actually throws things and damages property is extremely difficult – and terrifying – even if he doesn’t actually hurt you. Sin tends to be progressive. It doesn’t get better on its own – unless God intervenes, of course. Please, before getting married to someone with these kinds of issues, seek godly, biblical counsel. Deal with this issue before you get married and have a plan in place, godly counseling, and accountability and be sure you see real repentance over an extended period of time before getting married. Verses about people with a quick temper.
- He never forgives anyone – Marriage requires much grace, forgiveness, and mercy extended on both sides. If either potential spouse will not or cannot forgive when they are wronged, it is going to be really important to address this before marriage. Nothing is as destructive to a marriage as resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness. I have seen God heal many marriages where there was porn addiction, drug use, even chronic infidelity – but bitterness kills marriages. Someone who knows Christ and has experienced the forgiveness of God must be willing to forgive others. Check out the parable Jesus teaches about this topic in Matthew 18:21-35. And keep in mind that Jesus says that we must forgive others or God will not forgive us in Matthew 6:14-15.
- He doesn’t care about your needs/ideas/feelings/perspective – If your man says things like, “You don’t get to have an opinion,” or “You just need to be quiet and do what I say,” or, “No one cares what you think,” etc… That is a big problem! To marry a man who is only concerned about himself and who thinks that godly leadership means he gets to be a selfish, cruel, harsh tyrant is going to be signing up for a lifetime of misery. Yes, God says that husbands are to lead – but they are to lead selflessly, humbly, and lovingly. Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many,” Matthew 20:25-28. A wife ought to be her husband’s best friend and most trusted advisor – in my view. Marriage is to be a king/queen relationship, not a king/slave girl relationship. Be sure that you feel safe sharing your perspective, ideas, needs, desires, concerns, feelings, and thoughts with a man you plan to marry – and that you know he will listen to you with interest.
- He says he is committed to the idea of marriage, and you wait patiently for a number of years, but then he doesn’t seem to be moving forward. This takes prayerful discernment. Sometimes a man really has valid reasons to wait and go slowly. Other times, a woman may need to prayerfully decide to move on if there really is not an obstacle and it has been a significant period of time already.