The Lord has brought a new friend into our lives. She is a student at university with one of our children. She has been getting to know our family and the way we do things and was relaying the following story to me. She said she was talking to her roommate about us and how we do things and her roommate thought it was very odd. When describing our family's model of relationship building, this is what our friend relayed to me that she shared with her roommate.
"They do the hard things first. They figure out if their goals align, if they have the same desires in life, how they feel about the important stuff. They get the hard things out of the way first and if they feel compatible in the hard things then they do the fun stuff! Then they allow their hearts to open up a bit, they have fun together, play games, talk a lot. Learn to know one another."
I thought that was a beautifully insightful thought... "they do the hard things first, then they do the fun stuff".
I hadn't really thought of it in quite that way, but she is right. Rather than practice the world's accepted way of trying out people to see if you find one that fits with you... we do things kind of backwards, from the world's perspective.
I was thinking about this the other day and this analogy came to me. Please forgive the simplicity and realize that I do have a house full of boys! lol It's like buying a car. You can go about that process one of two ways.
First you can find a car that attracts your eye and looks good and fun to drive. You see the car, take it for a test drive, it's perfect! It's everything you ever wanted, sharp, fast, fun to drive, looks exactly like what you want. You 'fall in love' with the car and buy it. Then... yikes... engine trouble... bad tires... transmission troubles... and it's too late. It's all yours and now you have to figure out what to do with it. Sell it, junk it, fix it? And your dreams are shattered. Your perfect car isn't perfect any more.
Or, secondly, you can find the car and do your research. Check the VIN, has it been in an accident, does it have a clean title? Have your mechanic check out the engine and transmission. How are the tires? What about the mileage and service records? If all of those things check out, then you take her for a drive! You've done all the hard stuff first, kept your head in the game and your heart out of it.
I know, maybe a cheap analogy but the thought is the same...
We believe there is great wisdom in discussing the hard things first. It's a way of keeping your focus on the purpose of marriage. Can you do more for God together than apart? If, after discussing, your goals, desires, opinions on the important (to you) things and if those things line up and you feel like you can do more for God together than you can individually than the next question is this: Do you chose to love this person? Because, as we know, love is a choice, a decision, not just an emotion. Emotion, feelings, they will change... but a decision, well thought out, will stand. There will be times in marriage when you may not "feel" love but having made that decision to love will pull you through.
So, yes, I guess it's true to say we "do the hard things first"... it just makes sense to us.