I am a truck driver and just started watching you and your wife on TCT. First, thank you for your ministry.
I have been married twice and was cheated on both times. I am thinking of getting married after being with my girlfriend for 5 years. Would I be wrong in God’s eyes to get married again?
We often drive fair distances to and from speaking appearances because we much prefer the road to flying. We’ve had so many opportunities to admire the professionalism of most truck drivers. Where possible we favor truck routes because we feel professional drivers are, on average, more predictable.
That said, we think you might just be behaving a bit predictably here too.
There is no Biblical limit to the number of marriages one can contract as long as the previous marriages ended properly. However, you didn’t really think we would leave it there, did you? After all, if that’s all you wanted to ask us, you wouldn’t have included information on how your previous marriages ended and about how long you’ve been dating.
We are so glad you found us on TCT, but you may not have found out yet that we respect our audience too much to deliver anything short of the full truth to those who write in to our Ask the Rabbi column. Here goes.
We are big believers in marriage. But a marriage, just like an eighteen-wheeler, needs to be built correctly. Furthermore, the participants in the marriage need good training prior to the mission as well as proper guidance during it just as drivers need proper training before climbing into the cab and, once in, they need to know how to drive professionally and competently. Without these necessities, a driver won’t have a long or successful career and neither will a marriage long survive.
We don’t really know you, but we do know that something went very wrong with your first two marriages. That it was the same thing that terminated both marriages tells us a lot, right? If a driver wrecks the gearboxes on two different trucks on two different runs, it’s possible that both trucks were faulty but more likely this driver has terrible gear changing technique. We do feel for you and we admire you for asking, so we don’t want to sound harsh, but if both your wives cheated on you, we do know that you either chose wives very badly or managed the marriages very poorly. Most likely, there was a combination of both those factors.
Had you turned to us five years ago at the start of your relationship with your girlfriend, we’d have encouraged you to do whatever was necessary to understand your earlier missteps before getting involved with another woman. We also would have discouraged you from a five-year relationship.
If you and your girlfriend have a physical relationship, you have already sent the message that you don’t see sex as exclusive to marriage. (Did the relationships with your first two wives start in a similar way? If so, it helps explain the cheating. ) Granted, sex while not being married is not at all the same as breaking marriage vows by adultery, but you would be starting off acknowledging that God’s approval isn’t the foundational idea on which you base your marriage.
Have you asked your girlfriend why she believes that if you married her, it would be different from your earlier two marriages? We think this could be a worthwhile starting conversation. Then we’d recommend the two of you sitting down with a reputable, faith-based counselor who specializes in building and maintaining marriage. This won’t be a one-time meeting. Our guess is that you both have many adjustments to make in order to give yourselves the best chance for success. We want to draw your attention, as well, to the resources we offer in our Lasting Love Set. Studying them together has brought many couples closer.
It sounds like you have been badly hurt and betrayed in the past. Your girlfriend’s heart, too, has probably felt pain. We urge the two of you to explore new ideas and emerge not with the hope that things will be different this time around, but with very solid reasons to believe that it will be so.
Remember, neither trucking nor marriage are solo occupations.
Wishing you well,
Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin