By: Anika Repole Wilson
There are lots of articles about planning your ideal wedding, lots about keeping your marriage happy, lots about keeping the passion going. We focus so much on maintaining the fairy-tale, but unless you have a loving and truthful mother or father and some genuine friends (not the bitter ones) many times the truth about marriage is avoided.
My own marriage is of no consequence as to why I have decided to put this article together. I will level with you, my own marriage is young and we are still growing together despite us being a couple for 10 years. This article comes minimally from my own experience but greatly from observation. I have witnessed the marriage of many persons from the baby-boomers’ generation, along with my own parents, celebrating over 30 years of marriage, and despite the many great times there were often very difficult times.
What we see now, frequently with persons getting married, is little thought being put towards the actual work that marriage is and only focusing on the happy-go-lucky fairytale. Our generation, thanks to faster paced technology, has become quite hard to please with very short attention spans. A lengthy marriage of 40 years that involves dedication, time and effort on both parts can be a hard concept to grasp. So instead, we forgo the practical thinking about making this decision and jump in; particularly the women, with eyes tightly shut against the future, but open only to the colour scheme of their bridal party.
Many of our lives can be likened to a game of musical chairs. We enjoy the dance and fun, skipping the line, getting closer and closer to the person / chair we really like but then when the music stops you just got to find somewhere to sit down - on the closest chair available. As we approach our thirties the music begins to slow down, and there in lays the lingering pressure, whether from those nagging aunts, your grandma or your already settled down friends to tie the knot.
But STOP – marriage shouldn’t be an item on a check list. If any of the following (and I’m sure some more experienced folk could think of more) strike a chord, it may be a very valid reason to slow things down a bit.
REASON #1 – Love, honour and cherish…
Do you think that this person is going to change? Are you hoping that you can accomplish that feat that no one else could? Fact is, who they are today, maybe with a little modification here and there will essentially be the same person they will be 20 years from now. Loving a person wholly, involves taking the good the bad and the ugly. Your level of ‘ugly’ can be something like snoring or farting in their sleep, but there is also the ugliness of dishonesty, infidelity or lack of integrity. Are you willing to put up with their crap, just the same as you expect them to put up with yours? Love, honour and cherish means accepting this person for who they are, without the expectation of them being any more or less of the person they intended themselves to be, NOT who you intend for them to be. Sure enough, one must encourage the best from the persons we love, but one must also be realistic and fair in our expectations.
REASON #2 – For richer, for poorer…
Picture what the potential would be like for either yourself, your partner or worse both of you being laid off or being out of a job but still surviving as a couple and holding it together in all aspects. If you can’t do this, and the immediate thought is how this situation would affect your lifestyle, crosses your mind rather than, what YOU would be willing to do to make it better, then you’re not ready for marriage. Why? Because odds are with our global economic climate this is a real possibility of happening at least once in your relationship or marriage, and nothing can cause havoc in a good relationship like financial issues, and that’s the truth.
REASON #3 – Through sickness and health…
At some point, most likely because we are all human, one of you will probably get very ill. It could be much later on in life, but sometimes it happens earlier. Can you see yourself caring for this person – fully? I’m not talking about hiring a nurse to do it, but see yourself nursing them back to health or making them comfortable for the long haul; feeding, bathing, cleaning them? This is a hard realization, but the person you will be marrying will not be this person physically forever (this includes weight issues, even mental health issues like depression when dealing with the loss of a family member). If you can only picture the current physical them, pause for a bit and take this one in. Are you the type to run away from your issues? Marriage can be full of them, as the saying goes, it’s the things we don’t plan for that can cause the most upheaval in our lives.
REASON #4 - Till death do us part??? What about divorce?
Will you admit this to yourself? Now hold up – if you plan on standing in front of your closest friends and family and God and commit your life to this person, but in the back of your mind is the lingering thought that if things go wrong, you can just get a divorce…. Then what’s the point of doing it anyway. Unless you are going to change the traditional vows from “Till death do us part” to maybe something like; “Till the shit hits the fan” then really why say it in the first place. If you’re rushing into marriage, it probably makes sense to wait awhile till ‘IT’ actually does hit the fan and you can decide then if you really want to commit yourself to this person.
For better, for worse – marriage is a commitment and unless you have very specific vows, a prenup and some ‘get-vex money’ put away in a safe place, the dedication to marriage should not be taken lightly. It takes WORK from BOTH parties and until you have pictured your entire life without this person, but would rather have them in it, then marriage should be a secondary thought. True love is less about passion, than it is about acceptance, respect and support of each other. The key to a strong marriage that I have witnessed since I was a child, truly boils down to only three things; Honesty, Integrity and Friendship.
If you got those, then what the hell is stopping you girl? Set the date!!
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