Attraction is a feeling. Love Is A Promise.

How to know if you are ready for marriage.

Are you ready for marriage?

Love is a promise - Cover ver 1 - no LHSMarriage can be a satisfying and exciting life-journey for a man and a woman who love each other.  However, the significant number of divorced and separated persons indicates that there is a fundamental problem with their marriage preparation.

The dreaded phrases “I just don’t love you anymore” and “where has the love gone” are common among those who mistook their intense feelings of attraction as love.  This is a very easy mistake to make because the popular culture defines love as attraction.

How Love Was Defined

Our concept of love has been defined by romantic: letters, poems, songs, stories, novels, movies, theatrical productions, etc.  They have all defined love as strong feelings of attraction.  If these feelings are felt by both parties, then they are said to be “in-love” with each other, and are expected to “do” something about it.

Attraction is not love, neither is it a component of love.  Attraction is a natural emotional force that we can feel, which enables us to bond with each-other.  Its intensity can fade.   The couple that interpreted their strong feelings of attraction as love, will justifiably conclude that they no longer love each other when the intensity of their initial attraction fades.  The typical options available them follow.

  1. Artificially try to conjure up feelings of attraction with gifts, vacations, and other sacrifices.
  2. Try to get along for the sake of the children.
  3. Keep the facade of a happy marriage in order to avoid the embarrassment or costs of separation.
  4. Have an affair with someone with whom they feel a new intense attraction.
  5. Give up trying and accept a life-sentence of misery.
  6. Separate or divorce.


The Actual Definition of Love

It is possible to avoid all of these options by simply choosing to love.  Love is a promise to do four progressively more challenging things.  For the man:

Promise number 1 is to accept her exactly as she is right now, with everything that he knows and does not know about her – and there is much that he does not know.

Promise number 2 is to accept everything about her as she ages – for better or worse, richer or poorer, health or sickness for as long as they both shall live. He promises to accept her even if she is later disfigured by an accident or crippled by an illness.

Promise number 3 is to forgive her.  Neither of them is perfect; therefore, they will both make mistakes, and they will both need to depend on the others’ forgiveness.

Promise number 4 is to encourage her passions and encourage improvement in areas of weaknesses.  This provides purpose for the marriage, otherwise she can quickly get bored with the routine.

These promises are identical for the woman.

Love and Sex

If they are both ready to make and keep these promises to each-other, then they are ready to love. When they keep them, they demonstrate their love for each-other. After they formally make their promises at their wedding, they complete or consummate their promises with sexual intercourse.  Every time that they subsequently have sexual intercourse, they reinforce their promises – it is truly a wonderful and mutually satisfying mental, physical, emotional and spiritual experience.

The problem is that if they have sexual intercourse before making their promises, then he shows her that he is capable of justifying forsaking her for a younger and shapelier rival when she gets older. If he is able to restrain himself when his attraction for her is at its highest, then he shows her that he is capable of resisting the rivals that will inevitably come – and they will come.  A wise woman will let a man prove to her, and to himself, that he is both willing and capable of keeping his promises.

Love and Marriage

The couple who is ready to make and keep their promises of love is ready to get married.  Spouses of those with no intention of keeping these promises are destined to endure a life sentence of misery.  Please do not join them.  Choose to build your marriage on the solid foundation of love, rather than on the illusory foundation of fading attraction.

My experience is that most couples never reach the love stage.  They seem to simply ride the wave of emotional attraction until it is exhausted, and then they settle on one of the 6 options previously mentioned.  Fortunately, most marriages can be improved, almost immediately, if both of them choose to love.

You are welcome to share your opinion in the comments below.  You may also purchase the $8.00 book here or at ($7.00 Kindle) here, which describes this brief summary in greater detail.

So, who am I?  I am the president of Walbrent College.  I have spent approximately 15 years successfully counseling men and couples in their preparation for marriage, and over 20 years designing solutions to complex engineering problems.  You can read more about my qualifications on the side bar.

Best regards,


[Legal Disclaimer: The suggestions offered on this website should be discussed with the relevant registered professional in your country, who will then advise  you on the applicable course of action, prior to you taking any action.]

151 thoughts on “Are you ready for marriage?

  1. Hi grenville , an in such dilemma I ve been marriage it is almost 2yrs now got married 4mth after we meet , and thoughfrom the very frist day he told me I will want to married you.i wasall excited but then waiting to see how thing move on and what how serious he was though i wasn’t ready also was surprise of his word .marring someone you bearly know.Then thing progress so fast and i was pregnant and something I least expected .I decided to keep d baby cuz I have no right to stop her life and when ahead to marry this guy cuz I didnot want to ve a child out of wedlock. From then I realised he wasn’t even prepare for marriage bcuz I has lied to me especially on having a kid . Of which I discovered only when I decided to put him in my immigration doc .I was so shock and surprised cuz during the honeyni asked him several time if there is anything I needed to know abt him which he hasn’t told me but he was so cold and said nothing.well face with the immigration I needed proof why I didnot provide truthful info. I calm down then and tried my best to tell them ihad no idea.

  2. So he could not come with anymore out of the ctry . But then I realised he is not the guy for me .I am not happy with him and can’t forgive him for the lie he told me. Moreover it like he knew I was travellling and know he could take advantage of that. I want some one who loves me and can tel me even the worst mistake and I would love hime just that way. I really can’t bare him even with distance he tries to snoop on me and insults me but say he loves me wit his life and would die me if I leave him. I don’t see myself living my life wit him .and feel sorry for him , I dont know what how to tell idont want this marriage. I have tried to make know that in word butalso he doesn’t want to let me go cuz he hope that I make his paperto come over to joinme .I don’t want me .he put me thro pain and I felt he is not real in his feeling though he regrets it but I don’t want him as part of my life . What do ido.

    • Dear Daisy:

      I have prayed and thought deeply about your very complex dilemma, hence this delayed response.

      From your account, you are justifiably hurt because you have been greatly deceived. Please know that there is normally intentional deception in all courtships as each person tries to hide their bad habits and behaviours and show only their good behaviours. However, he seems to have deceived you about many important things.

      Your dilemma is that you married and had a child with the fellow, who now cannot join you in your new country of residence. Wanting to start over without him appears to be an attractive option. However, despite his extreme deception, you have not reported that he has been unfaithful to you.

      If he is remaining faithful to you during this time of separation, then perhaps, despite his deception, he really cares for you. Perhaps you can give him hope by encouraging him to be a more responsible and truthful husband and parent during this time. However, if you know for certain that he is being unfaithful to you during this time of separation, then I think that he has given you the option to leave him.

      I wish you well and pray that you will find peace.


  3. i’ve a gal who is in form six, we have loved our selves for 8 years now but when i ask her to promise marriage to me, she grows annoied, does she really love me?

  4. Hello mr. Greenville,
    My husband, even though this our second marriage, he respected me and didn’t want sex till we got married. I love him and we have been married for six months and we don’t stay in our own home yet. He says I am contentious. I am just expressing the hurt I feel about not being in same home. It goes so much deeper also, he is living off of past.

    • Dear Ms Stokes:

      In my opinion, if it is at all possible, newly married people should live in the same house for the following reason.

      Prior to the wedding, the intensity of the couple’s mutual attraction is normally at a high level. However, eventually, the intensity of this attraction subsides. Before this decline starts, it is important that a strong bond of friendship be developed, which is facilitated by the couple sharing the same space. Living apart so early in the marriage does not facilitate this strong bond.

      Best regards,

  5. Your definition of Love very much speaks to me. I have been dating a man for six months and we are both in agreement with your definition. We’ve both been divorced, and are very cautious about remarrying. We both know that if we remarry that it is for life, that marriage is hard word (though very much worth it) and feel we have found in each other a person who shares the same goals – as you listed them. My concern is that he is currently unemployed but has found employment across the country. I have a good paying job in our current town. After only six months we are at a key time of deepening our relationship and the long distance aspect will be a challenge. Even though we agree with your list, it is too soon to marry. What do you suggest? Thank you for your insight.

    • Dear ACN:

      There are wonderful benefits in sharing the same goals and being in agreement on the concept of love. However, the principal risk to a satisfying marriage following a divorce is that you may never get the chance to properly ‘count the cost’ of some important matters until after the marriage.

      One of the most important matters is how he reacts when he is angry. Some challenging reactions include: violence; cursing; rude, hateful, disrespectful, insulting and belittling remarks; spiteful behaviour; running away; uncontrollable rage, etc. Can you live with that reaction for a lifetime, and can he if that is how you react.

      Another important issue is how he saves and spends money. You should be aware that your partner is unlikely to change after the wedding. Therefore, take your time.

      Best regards,

  6. This is a very good , detailed and matured write up. All your assertions and counsels are matured and scriptural . You are the best. Stay connected.

  7. Grenville,

    I’m looking at trying to resolve potential breakdown of my marriage of 14 years. We’ve been together for 22 years. We have two young boys 11, and nine and I feel pretty desperate.

    I have not been the very best of husbands but I do love my wife, still have plenty of physical attraction for her and feel like she’s heading for destruction of everything we have. We have faults and mine may be many but I have tried hard to reflect and apologise and asked for forgiveness which she is feeling hard to do. I’ve suggested to her that even if we were to break up that holding on anger and upset is not best and animosity is counterproductive to happiness with or without me.

    In the past I have occasionally belittled her through correcting her in public and have not perhaps been the best emotional supporter for her, been over controlling and I can be critical of things she may do, like shout at the children as her method of discipline, but I believe our good memories are many and outweigh all the sad times. She feels and talks about nothing other than the times that I have upset her and can’t reflect on any of the positives. I find this really hard as I tend not to harbour any hostility even though there are times I could recall if I tried hard, I just put them down to life’s hiccups and move on, for me negativity tends to be destructive. I look at old photos and we have had fabulous holidays, Christmases and two really good looking boys that I feel are at a really critical age for needing their father more rather than less. Maybe I’m clinging onto family values too much but I would not have family if she is not involved or part of me or vice a versa. I think and I have told her that she needs to find a way to feel more worthy as she’s an at home Mum whose role is becoming less needed by our boys as they become increasingly independent. Cleaning and cooking doesn’t fulfil her and why should it it’s a never ending chore.

    She may have good reason to be really upset but I am trying really hard to communicate with her and she will not. All I get is ‘you know how I feel’ ‘you need to talk to someone’ ‘I don’t love you anymore’. I’m ex- military and have quite a practical response to problems and issues that arise and definitely the starter/finisher whereas she is a butterfly. I have learnt through time that this is her and we are different and there is more grey rather than black and white in our individual characters.

    I have read a great book by Rob Parsons called ‘The 60 minute marriage’ and have pleaded with her to read it so she can understand it’s normal for feelings to change and that it’s necessary to work at relationships when they go off the rails but I can’t find anyway to help her out of the hole she is in. Anything I do or say is calamity for her I just would like a sign of hope from her that we can work things through but without any communication I feel it really hard to deal with.

    Anyway even writing this has been useful whether I hear back from you or not.

    Thanks I’ll read your book as everything I say I have heard already the only way to hear something new is to listen or read.


    • Dear DW:

      I did not notice your comment before and apologize for this delayed response.

      At this stage of your marriage, your wife likely runs on encouragement. Your sons may be too distracted by attractive girls at school to encourage their mother, and if you were not doing it, then they have no model to follow. If her ‘encouragement’ tank is empty, then you need to fill it with dispatch.

      If your wife is aware of the 4 promises of love, then she is more likely to choose to love an encouraging husband. So, ask her what she wants to do, or what she would do if she had unlimited resources, or what she would study to become. Of course you must ask her gently and be patient (certainly do not demand a scheduled response). Once she has revealed her dreams to you, then do all that you can do facilitate her reaching them. Actively demonstrate your promise to encourage her, then watch her grow in that environment of love.

      I would suggest that you first apologize for not encouraging her and any other act of omission or commission. Let her know that you ‘get it’ and that you will try not to repeat the same mistakes. Then share the 4 promises, and ask her to help you to encourage her by sharing her dreams with you. If she dredges up the past of how you may have crushed her dreams, then listen to her and apologise. After she has calmed down, ask her how you can make it right. Expect her to say that you can do nothing. Then demonstrate your commitment to her (see past responses to comments on this site for examples). After a few weeks, ask her again and she will likely respond by sharing her dreams.

      Best regards,

  8. hello my name is monic ive been married for 5 yrs and have a beautiful son im 25 and my husband is 34. we have different views about life and were of course different im very outgoing he likes just staying home not active at all and he just wants me to be cooking and catering to him all day every day..when it comes to please my needs he doesnt care or wants to do anything that makes me happy..he has beat me in front of his family and he has cheated on me with a girl that he was with before and has kids with his so call friend and when it comes down to talk about what he has done to me or how i feel…he doesnt wanna hear it he gets very offensive…he has even told me for me to dill with my own feelings..and till this day he hasnt been fully honest to me about the cheating also he tends to talk about my family he has hit me in front of my mother also are son…he lies about everything and it has became to the point that i dont trust him at all im just living with my guard up all day every day..even though i still forgive him…im just dealing with my pain and to top it off im diabetic and he seems not to care…..WHAT SHOULD I DO IM VERY CONFUSED AT THIS POINT IN MY LIFE :(

    • Dear Monic:

      I am very sorry to read of your situation. If he has cheated and is continuing to cheat, and he is also beating you, then you should ask him whether he wishes to remain married to you.

      If he wants to leave, then let him. If he says that wants to remain in the marriage, then explain to him that his actions are speaking much louder than his words. Beatings and cheating are telling you that he does not want to be married anymore. Explain to him that if he beats you again, or cheats again, then you will believe him, and accept his actions, and leave him. Ask him again if he is sure that he wants to remain married to you, and whether he will behave properly.

      If you do not feel comfortable telling him this, then ask a relative or close friend or the police to speak for you. Make sure that you have somewhere to go if you have to leave.

      Best regards,

  9. I am very disappointed with my marriage. It is so far removed from what I planned. We are always stressed by not having enough money to finish our house. We are paying rent and a mortgage and argue constantly. I am tired of working to barely make ends meet. I really resent my husband for how things turned out. I was better off single. I was referred to your site, but I am just too tired to care anymore. I am depressed and want out. I just have to muster the courage to tell him. I do not think you can help me, but I hope you can.

    • Dear Marva:

      Please be encouraged. What you are feeling is normal for the path that you are on. The very good news is that you can choose a better path immediately, and feel the exhilaration of walking on it. Let me explain.

      Before you got married, you had planned your life as far as you could see. So did your husband-to-be. When you decided to get married, ideally both of your individual plans should have been taken off of the joint planning table and only the plans that you both agreed to should have placed there. You should not have been an accessory to his plans and he should not have been an accessory to yours.

      We now come to a very important point in this conversation. It is unlikely that your plans, regardless of the level of preparation and agreement, will happen exactly as both of you have planned. There are a myriad of events that will happen in your lifetimes that are both within and outside of your control. For example: national economic recession, loss of employment, debilitating sickness of your spouse or close relative, death of your child, armed robbery at home, theft or betrayal by a trusted employee or relative, etc. Life happens.

      Some of life’s events will have a major impact on your plans, while some will have a minor impact. Whether it is major or minor is a lottery that cannot be accurately predicted. Since both you and your husband are imperfect, both of you will inevitably make mistakes that can exacerbate the consequences of life’s events. The spaghetti thread of cause and effect is simply too complex to properly assign accurate levels of blame for the resulting impacts. So what can you do?

      You have two paths before you. One is to hold on tightly to your pre-marital or early-marital plans. The consequence of this is to become increasingly more distressed whenever your expectations inevitably fail. It is very difficult to remain in this distressed state for too long unless you intentionally force yourself to remain there. Unfortunately, anyone can force themselves into a miserable prison of distress by justifying their right to blame others for their misfortune.

      Are others primarily responsible for your failed expectations? Of course they are, and it is likely that your husband is responsible for a large share. That is why you are justified in blaming him. However, this is a marriage, not a business relationship. Forgiving an errant employee can lead to the demise of your business, while replacing him may lead to its success. Forgiving your imperfect, mistake-prone husband can lead to the success of your marriage.

      So what is this second path. It is simply walking hand-in-hand with your husband in the general direction of your plans, with full knowledge that those plans will likely change, and that some of the changes will not be pleasant. But you are walking together, doing your best, and enjoying the lifelong journey. When you disappoint him as you inevitably will, then gently slip your hand into his, tell him that you are sorry for your part, forgive him for his part in the disappointing event, and assure him that you are committed to the lifelong journey, wherever it may take you. When he disappoints you, do the same.

      Marva, you need to be confident about your future regardless of your current financial circumstances. I have found that the best way to be confident is to simply trust someone who cares more about your future and has the resources to catch you if you fall. Parents normally provide that role for their children. God can provide that role for you now. As you slip one of your hands into the hand of your husband as you walk this journey, I encourage you to slip the other one into the hand of your loving heavenly Father.

      My very best regards to you,

  10. Hi Grenville,

    I firmly believe that love is a promise too and thank you for pointing it out in your writing. Something very challenging to keep today. Certainly, love is the solid foundation of a marriage or without it, the union of two persons would certainly be ceased. Maybe this is the reason why we should always keep finding ways to fall in love with our spouse. As you said, people confound love with attraction or with the attachment we have towards each other. We are often trapped by these ideologies often portrayed through the media having the tendency to influence our mode of life. People see marriage as trivial and I believe it is losing in some ways its significance today. True, no one wants to get married with the intention of making their marriage fail. Marrying is committing yourself to the other one for the rest of your life and involves so much sacrifices from both partners. I feel that the concept of marriage is becoming irrelevant in a society where moral values of life are diminishing. Also, divorce rate is so much elevated today, a topic that I am actually blogging about.

    Kind Regard,


    Visit my blog:

  11. It is tiru

  12. Dear Grenville,

    My husband of 9 years is involved in a mind control religious cult. It is illegal in some countries and highly suspicious in most countries. There are high profile celebrities involved in it and like my husband they are living in a bubble where they are not allowed to read critisims about the cult. He was involved before I met him but at that stage there was not much information in the media as the cult sued people who spoke out against them. Over the years however the floodgates have opened and people are speaking out left, right and centre. I have tried to talk to my husband about the allegations of abuse but he won’t hear any of it and says that these people are lying.

    His involvement is pretty low in that he only practices once a week but he has given large sums of money. I am scared that he will get deeper and deeper once we have more money and our kids are a bit older and he has more time to go there every night. I don’t want my children to get involved and the whole crazy thing scares me so much. He goes through periods where he is very cold and thinks like a “cult” person but then he is very sweet and back to himself. He is a wonderful father and a really good person. I have told him that I will not continue to give him a hard time about it if he watches some of the negative documentaries etc. but he refuses. I put this down to him loving the cult more than me. I want to leave him as I have tried professional help and done lots of things the experts say to do and nothing has worked. I am so worried about the future. Do you have any advice?


    • Dear Sophie:

      For a wife to recognize the ‘really good’ in her husband and acknowledge him as a ‘wonderful father’ after 9 years of marriage is beautiful. That you are willing to seek help and follow their advice in order to improve your marriage is excellent. If this is the principal challenge to your marriage, and you are not fearing physical harm, then I encourage you to keep trying. To contemplate leaving suggests that you are losing hope. This is normal if you have invested in professional advice which has failed. This should not discourage you. The best advice for improving relationships normally comes from those who care, not from those who are paid to give it.

      Imagine if you were in your husband’s position. He is emotionally tied to an organization that, by your account, appears to be in a defensive siege posture. It is being bombarded with accusations, and any attack on the organization is felt personally by loyal members – your husband being one of them. To have a wife whom you love, joining the unrelenting bombardment must be emotionally distressing. What he must desperately crave, above all else, is his wife’s unconditional love and support. If he cannot get the support, then the unconditional love should suffice.

      My first suggestion is that you assure him of your unconditional love. He should feel assured that you will not leave him unless he is unfaithful or violent (or whatever you have both agreed, but I think that it should be limited to these two only). Let him know that his beliefs or non-beliefs will never be a criteria or issue for you leaving him.

      Once that emotional burden is removed, allow him to feel refreshed by your unconditional love for him. Do not say anything negative about the organisation for two weeks – especially when he is going to or returning from the organisation. When he is going, wish him a successful meeting. When he returns, simply tell him that you love and appreciate him. Two weeks of this should put him in a frame of mind to be reasoned with.

      After two weeks, let him know that you also need to be reassured of his love, and that nothing that you say or believe or do not believe will ever be a criteria for him leaving you. If he agrees, then allow another week of refreshing.

      On the third week, let him know that you want to be a closer family for the benefit of yourselves and your children. Explain that you want your children to know what is true. Since we only have one life to live, we should want to spend it pursuing what is true. Ask him whether he will agree, as your husband and father of your children, to accept the responsibility to lead the family into what is true. If he accepts that responsibility, then allow another week of refreshing.

      On the fourth week, explain that since this is so important, you want a plan of how you determine what is true. The most effective way to determine what is true is the scientific method. We converge towards what is true by interpreting evidence. However, the assumptions made when interpreting evidence must be stated and verified. The level that assumptions are identified and verified affects the confidence placed in any conclusions that are reached.
      Therefore, claims of truth must be placed under scrutiny. Truth should be able to withstand rigorous scrutiny.

      You can then try this on different evidence based topics that are assumed to be true. Subject them to rigorous scrutiny. Try evolution, creationism, global warming, etc. Determine the assumptions that people used to interpret the evidence around us. Then see if the assumptions were verified, or adherents were simply directed to believe.
      I have found that it is extremely difficult to be convinced by others that your respected teachers were incorrect. You will likely blindly defend them and refuse to discuss their teachings. It is more effective to be convinced of the truth, and then, when you are ready, to make the emotionally painful decision to acknowledge that you were misled.
      Dear Sophie, your husband believes that he has found the truth. I do not know much about the organisation, but there are many non-conflicting claims that may be true. Clearly, two conflicting claims cannot be true.

      I think that you will not need to discuss his organization. If he finds the truth, he should naturally forsake what, by comparison, is not true. Actually, your husband may be unwilling to scrutinize his organization’s claims at this time. Therefore, you can investigate what many, including myself, have found to be true – the bestselling book for centuries – the Bible. Scrutinize it for yourselves.

      My very best regards to you and your family,

  13. Dear Grenville,

    Thank you so much for your considered and caring advice. It is a truly refreshing approach – just what I need. I really do love him and desperately do not want our family to break up. I only wish I had your way with words when I speak to him – I fear I will say something wrong.

    Thank you again, what a wonderful thing you do. You have given me hope. Sophie

    • Dear Sophie:

      You are most welcome. I would be happy to discuss any topic with your husband, on any on-line discussion forum, as long as I am able.

      One of the greatest tragedies of life is to choose not to verify the assumptions upon which the interpretation of evidence was based, while confidently asserting that personal opinion is truth. History has shown that this was a common occurrence. Regrettably it still is, especially among those who have abandoned evidence-based science and have embraced ideologically based activism.

      Best regards,

  14. Dear Grenville,

    Wow. Thank you so much for your kind offer. I took the first step today and told him I would never leave because of his beliefs etc. I can tell he is relieved but also suspicious as to why such a big turn around in my attitude. Hopefully the next two weeks will prove it to him. I will use these weeks to study up on evidence based science theory. As I don’t know much about it at all. Will let you know how the next few steps go.

    Thank you again,

  15. Dear Grenville,

    I am desperate for some advice. My husband, whom I love dearly, just does not want to have sex with me. If I sleep naked next to him, he will not touch me, and he quickly pulls away whenever I attempt to hug or cuddle.

    I try to be a good wife, but he always criticizes my cooking and housekeeping. He also never lets me forget the time when I maxed-out our credit card. I can take his criticisms – many of which I admit are are justified, but I need sex. I crave sex. I am so frustrated but he just does not seem to care. I also know that he is not impotent.

    A neighbor is showing interest in me and is dropping suggestive hints with his complements. Given my unique situation, don’t you think that I deserve some sexual outlet? I have no intention of leaving my husband since he is a good provider, but I don’t think that I can live in a sexless marriage anymore. Please help me.


    • Dear Jen:

      My sincere apology for this delayed response. My final response will depend on how long he has been behaving like this.

      There are several reasons why men may ‘pull away’. In converging to the actual reason for a person’s poor behaviour, is is better to start a conversation assuming that there is a valid reason. Assuming the worst does not encourage a useful conversation.

      Therefore, after a tasty dinner, ask him to sit with you and then gently start a conversation at the edges, without the slightest bit of blame. The gradually converge to the issue depending on the information shared.

      Best regards,

Please leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s