“Hi, this is __________. My son is down at the courthouse, with a marriage license, money, and his live-in girlfriend. Can you go down and marry them?”
Wow, how does one answer a question like that? Where do I start? How about, “no.”
Marriage is increasingly a losing proposition. Would you buy a car if you knew there was a 50% chance that you’d crash and die in the next five years? No. Would you get on a roller coaster if you knew that 1/2 of the people who rode it would die? Um, no. Would you buy a house if you knew that sometime in the next five years the bank would take your house away? I doubt it. So, why do people continue to get married?
People have hope. They believe they will be the exception to the rule. It’s the same reason people go to Vegas – even though less than 5% of the people come home winners.
I have hope too – if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have gotten married and I wouldn’t still be performing weddings. But, I like to increase my odds. I wear a seatbelt when I drive, I checked the numbers and figured a budget before I bought a house, and I participated in extensive, professional pre-marriage counseling before I got married. In fact, I’ve even read a few books and attended several marriage seminars. All of this to prevent fatal mistakes.
Before performing a wedding I require the prospective couple to participate in extensive pre-marriage counseling. No exceptions.
“Hi, this is ____________ son. I don’t want to beg, but I really, really want to get married this afternoon. I have money, I’ll pay you.”
Um, no. Fifty percent of new marriages fail. The numbers are worse for second marriages and couples who live together first. Statistically, a couple who lives together before getting married has about a 75% chance of failure.
Having been through several relationships and one previous marriage, I can speak from experience. A breakup is to a divorce like a ripple is to a tsunami. Divorce nearly killed me, it certainly bankrupted me, and left me with lifelong scars.
I love to do weddings! They are fun! What’s not to like. But I will not participate or condone a marriage that isn’t on the right track.
“But we really love each other. I’ve found the woman I will spend the rest of my life with. We don’t plan on getting a divorce.”
Everyone who gets married has those same feelings. But as my wife said this afternoon, “If he really loved her, he would have planned a little better.”
I’m just left thinking, wow.
I’d rather give you a motorcycle – the odds of survival are better – even without a helmet.