My uncle Batta is a very committed Christian and a great supporter and mentor to me. He is also an extremely passionate and expressive person. He does everything with great exuberance. Batta is known especially for his long and heartfelt prayers and blessings. He can go on for hours because his faith is so deep. He is also known for his hugs. When Uncle Batta hugs you, he hugs every bone in your body—sometimes you can hear them groaning and cracking. I’ve had people tell me they thought they were going to pass out from lack of air while being hugged by him. You get the picture; Uncle Batta doesn’t do anything halfway.
As the father of seven children, including five daughters, my uncle has counseled a lot of young people about relationships, love, and marriage. I sympathize with the guys who were interested in courting his daughters. Uncle Batta is known for having private meetings with them to quiz them on their intentions. It may not be as bad as a police interrogation, but it’s definitely a high-pressure, in-depth, heart-searching situation for the guy. Uncle Batta shared with me the questions he asks each of his prospective sons-in-law, and I think they are good questions for any Christian couple to ask themselves when contemplating a serious relationship.
1. Do you love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength? It’s a valid question for him to ask, because he believes in the Christian principle of the man and woman in a marriage being “equally yoked, “meaning that they share the same religious beliefs and depth of commitment to their faith. Marriages are full of challenges, and Uncle Batta believes that being equally yoked in faith gives couples an advantage in dealing with those challenges. If they are of different faiths or one is a believer and the other isn’t, they may not have those same advantages.
2. Do you love this person, and does this person have reciprocal love for you? The question goes right to the heart. It would seem obvious that the answer is yes, but if that were always the answer, there wouldn’t be so many divorces. Every person contemplating marriage should take time to seriously ask whether this is a relationship built on reciprocal love or something less, such as infatuation, physical attraction, or mere friendship.
3. Is this person the one you want to parent your children? This is Uncle Batta’s early wake-up call for every young man who may not be thinking enough about the future and raising a family: Is this person the one you want to parent your children? He wants his daughter’s suitors to give thought to what it will be like not just to marry and enjoy companionship with his daughters but also to raise children with them.
4. Can you imagine your life without this person? This one goes even deeper in exploring the commitment and depth of the relationship. You have to be fully committed to someone to marry them, and this question tests to see if that level of commitment exists. When there were twists and turns in our early days of courting and it looked like our relationship might never develop beyond friendship, I found it hard to breathe. Even though I’d been attracted to other women and felt there were some I even loved, I had never felt that way before. It was more than a physical attraction; it was like she was meant to be a part of me and my life.
5. Do you have any major concerns to discuss or things you want changed before marrying this person? If someone enters into a marriage thinking that he or she will love the person only under certain conditions, such as “only if he buys us a million-dollar house” or “only if he agrees not to watch football on Sunday afternoon,” there may well be challenges ahead. If you or your intended spouse have conditions for each other or each other’s family, it would be wise to discuss them long before you commit to marriage. Remember that the marriage vows say “for better or for worse.” You have to be prepared to take the good with the bad, or at least with the not so good. You are marrying an individual with unique tastes, desires, and interests. This is not your clone.
6. Do you promise to treat this person respectfully and cause no harm to him or her? Sadly, some people grow up in homes where domestic violence is part of life. Those individuals, whether male or female, often have difficulty breaking the cycle, even though they know it is wrong in every way to strike a spouse in anger. You should never enter into a marriage with someone who has harmed you in the past unless you are positive it will not happen again. And I do mean positive. Marriage and parenthood can be very stressful, but violence should never be an option, and respect for each other should be maintained even when you have disagreements and misunderstandings
Excerpted from Love Without Limits by Nick Vujicic Copyright © 2014 by Nick Vujicic.