How to get married
This article was written as a responds to an article about Cross cultural marriages. Although it is certainly relevant to cross cultural couples it is even more to young people who need to broaden their perspective in what life partner they choose.
Teach DTS Students How to Get Married
A few thoughts on why we should teach DTS students how to get married.
Very few people know how to go about looking for a relationship and taking it all the way through to getting married. In the West we live in a relationally ignorant way, much of what we do is simply based on raging hormones and we need to learn a better way.
Darlene Cunningham said, "A DTS is a great place to meet your life's future partner." What better place to meet someone who is going to be your partner in reaching the world. If you want to reach the world but go home to find a partner, guess what? You are likely to meet someone who is at home because they want to be there! They haven't chosen missions! The best place to meet someone who is called to the same thing as you is in YWAM. Winkie Pratney's advice was, "Immerse yourself in the work of the Lord, be doing what God wants, and then, make a beeline for the most beautiful girl you can find!" I can see a certain deficiency in this view but the general idea is good.
Students are away from home, surrounded by new friends who just don't know them well enough. After many years talking relationships with DTS students my observation is that when a DTS student talks to other DTS students about a boy or a girl the response is most often, "They are terrific, go for it, you seem a perfect match!" They don't know them!!!!! When you begin to develop a relationship at home among your friends and family, you WILL KNOW if your friends and family like him/her -- they will tell you, even if you don't ask. Your mother and father who have known you longest and best, and most loved you, will let you know what they think about the other person. On the DTS students usually only give encouragement because they don't know one another well enough, neither do they love one another as much as family. So, need to teach students how to know if a person is a possible partner in the context of being away from God's natural support system.
At the 25th reunion of Holmsted Manor (South of England, and one of the first in the world) there were several ex-DTS students who came who were divorced. Now a DTS isn't a universal cure-all and neither should it be, but in each case the divorcees had made a commitment to each other during the DTS and before they could take the other home for their families to meet, and eyeball!
I think we also should teach people about marriage in a realistic way. In my DTS I was taught about how to have Godly relationships. As a result, I assumed that I was ready for marriage--and so was my wife to be because she had heard the same teaching. But.....ours is a less than perfect marriage and sometimes the pressure to live up to the "ideal" is what causes us to mess up. We need to teach people what the standard for right relationships like marriage are; but then also show them how to live and love with the fallenness that each of us will bring into the marriage. By the way...I am American and my wife is Swiss (which are two entirely different worlds!)