I have said “I do” plan to marry a wonderful woman (in many ways) but who does not completely fulfill my expectations physically (primarily because she is overweight), and my family won’t accept her because she is seven years older than I am…. I don’t know how to keep from marrying her (and I’m confused about whether I should go ahead with it or not) because I do love her, but I’m afraid that I’m making a mistake. Besides, I don’t want to hurt her, because she is not only an exceptional woman but has her heart set on getting married. What do you think I should do?

Dear Friend,

It is wonderful that you have found someone to love and that she loves you. However, just because you think that you love someone does not mean that you should marry that person. Love, by itself, is not enough to make a marriage work. Multitudes of ruined marriages are proof of this truth.

No one should ever consider, propose, accept, or consent to marriage without being one hundred percent certain that this is the person with whom they want to spend the rest of their lives. Ninety percent certainty is not enough. And there are no exceptions.

When two people love each other enough to be married, neither of them will have serious doubts. Neither of them will even be able to imagine a life without the other. Neither will need to ask for the opinion of other people. For both will be anxious to leave behind their single lives and commit themselves only to the other for the rest of their lives. This life-long commitment is the essential ingredient that takes love to another level.

Some may think that this kind of loving commitment doesn’t really exist. However, there are many married couples, just like us, who can tell you it does exist, and accepting anything less has the potential to ruin your life.

Jesus Christ loved us enough to give His life on the cross as payment for our sins, and in so doing He demonstrated a selfless commitment to us. The Apostle Paul compares His love for us to the love that is possible in marriage.(1) Christ’s commitment took him all the way to death, though not many of us will have to go that far for the one we love. However, when we say the marriage vows and commit to take care of each other, no matter what circumstances of life come our way, we must be completely convinced that we will keep our promise and fulfill our vows. If not, the love that we feel is meaningless.

You are certainly not committed to this woman that you love. It is admirable that you don’t want to hurt her feelings, but you will hurt her much more by marrying her without the certainty that your love will endure everything that life will bring. Tell her right away, so that she can grieve the loss and then find a man who will treasure her forever.

We wish you well,

Linda and Charles
1 Eph 5:25