While racing to prepare for a family Christmas party, my mom bought and served the wrong kind of eggnog…she overlooked the fancy label that read alcoholic. For the conservative home of a Baptist preacher, it truly became a Christmas party we’ve never forgotten. We didn’t wake up to naked friends or family in wrapping paper, red Solo cups strewn about the living room, or anything else that’s branded your idea of a drunken party. However, we all limped away with minor headaches, a curious fear of mistletoe, and a lesson learned in the importance of reading labels.
Contrary to popular practice, marriage is a lifelong commitment. But all too often, the lives lived after the wedding don’t match the vows given during the wedding. The font we use when selling ourselves is often fanciful, favorable and full of promise. We create for ourselves a label that will best highlight our greatest qualities. For this reason we must learn the importance of reading labels when interviewing for marriage. See, there wasn’t anything wrong with the eggnog. It simply wasn’t what was expected.
When dating with intent to marry, we need to remember that our significant other is putting their best foot forward as much as we are. And just as pajamas are generally unfit for the first date, though everyone owns a pair, habits and beliefs can be kept in the closet for a later, inconvenient time. Because of this I’ve heard it said the spouse seemed to become a different person once they’d entered the marital relationship. Beauty transformed into Beast. Early labels were misread and high hopes were blinding. So how is one to guard against the horrors of this lifelong situation?
1. Take your time. Being a romantic myself, I can understand the adrenaline rush of a rash decision and the whirl of whimsy, yet we’d all agree that true love stands the test of time. And don’t give into outside pressure. After all, in twenty years it is you who’ll be living with your decision—literally. Take a deep breath and get to know who you’re vowing your life to.
2. Don’t fall in love. I know. It even hurts to write it. Again, because I’m a romantic. But in life, falling is rarely a good thing as there is an inevitable landing that is often painful. And falling is also an accident, something that happens to us rather than us choosing to fall. The entire idea of falling in love seems to void the idea of having a choice. You must understand, you choose who you love. Choose wisely.
3. Read labels carefully. I understand that her font may be more fanciful than you’d ever imagined, but be sure to read her ingredients. Find out what she’s made of. Though there may be nothing wrong, be sure it’s what you’re expecting.