Marriage is one of the biggest commitments one can make in their life, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Often times, people think of marriage as the end of things, but really, it’s just the beginning. Today, divorce rates are high, and fewer people are getting married, but why? Why are people divorcing? Why are people not getting married? There are many possibilities, but often times people either rush into marriage, or have a fantasy idea of what marriage is like, and then they realize that marriage is hard work. There are many aspects to think about when considering marrying someone, and often times, premarital counseling can help the couple go into marriage prepared. So, what makes a healthy good marriage possible?
- Good Resolve
- Every couple argues, but how they argue can be more telling to whether the couple will make it. Arguing is normal, and in fact, can be healthy to a degree. No two individuals will agree on everything, so when disagreements come up, it’s an opportunity for the couple to see how they can move forward. Couples who can come to compromises are often considerate and open to finding a solution that benefits them both. Couples who fight, scream, yell, put each other down, and find solutions that are selfish, often times have deeper issues to work out. But if someone says, “we never argue, we’re perfect,” that often is a sign that something is wrong, someone isn’t being honest or is holding back because there is no way that two people can agree on everything at all times.
- Having the “Big Conversations” before marriage
- This means that the couple has covered all of the big topics- finances, careers, kids, where they want to live, lifestyle, living habits, etc. Couples often miss this one and end up realizing too late that they aren’t as compatible as originally believed. Talking about where you want to be in one year, five years, and ten years is a great way to get to know if you and your partner have common values and have similar goals long-term. If one of you wants to live in Florida, but the other hates hot weather and wants to stay in Maine, then that is a conflict of interests and should be settled before they are married. Finances are another area of conflict. When one partner is a saver and the other an impulsive spender, those things don’t magically change after marriage, so figuring out how you financially line up is another important area to talk about prior to marriage. Having these conversations before marriage enables the couple to handle the conflicts and see if compromises can be made, or allows them to know if they truly are not compatible long-term.
- Values, Morals, Expectations
- This is where the couple talks about what they believe a relationship and marriage entail. This can be anything from spiritual beliefs to what constitutes as cheating. These conversations are very important to have throughout the relationship. If one believes in monogamy and the other believes in polygamy, there is a key difference in values and can mean there will be a struggle with long-term compatibility. A very important part of getting to know another individual is learning about what is important to them, what their expectations are, and how they view relationships.
- Being honest, open, and sharing emotions
- This is probably one of the most important aspects of a marriage, if not the most important. Not talking openly, honestly, can hinder the connection between the couple. If you’re not talking before marriage, then being married isn’t going to solve that problem. Being honest with another person is essential for trust, and without trust, there is no foundation for a relationship. If you can’t tell your partner you’re stressed, or depressed, or angry, or hurt, then what are you doing with them? The person you are going to marry should be one you feel safe with, emotionally, physically, mentally. You should be able to say something like, “Sweetie, it really bothers me when you stay out late drinking. I get worried about you driving, can we talk about this?” Truly, it ends up being the small things that build up and can tear a couple apart. Not talking about your feelings, worries, issues, doesn’t make them go away, it can enable resentment to build, and resentment is very bad for relationships.
In reality, marriage is hard work, and if you’re not willing to each put in 100%, then it’s best to hold off on getting married. Marriage is the most intimate relationship a person can have, it’s a union of two people that deeply care about each other. They are connected, mind, body, and soul. Marriage is a job. It’s not romantic to say that, but it’s true, it’s a lot of work. It may not be daily paperwork, but it’s work that is kept up with emotional connection. The couple wants to share openly with each other, talking through tough issues, staying with each other during hard times, not giving up. In marriage there is compromise, there is no room for selfishness. Perhaps the biggest part of marriage is the strength of connection. The emotional, physical and psychological connection can enable the couple to stand together when unexpected life events dare to tear them apart.