Marriage as an institution has suffered some below-the-belt punches in the last decade. I operate on the premise the anyone embarking on the trip “down the aisle” better know what they are getting into–long before they say “I DO!”
Marriage is not a 2-way street; it’s a six-lane divided highway under construction in the middle of August, with a group of nuns walking across the roadway pushing baby carriages, uphill, in the snow, both ways.
Perhaps that’s a bit dramatic, but trust me, the agitation any and all of these bring to travelers with “places to go, things to do, and people to see” pales in comparison to a marriage headed downhill with no brakes. Therapy can offer not only the brakes, but also a well-placed traffic light, cones, flashing signs warning of danger ahead, and a flagman, directing traffic to a safe passage, rather than a detour that ends in divorce.
It’s also a LOT less expensive than a divorce attorney.
I don’t sugar coat the hard truth. Relationships are WORK.
Relentlessly challenging, all the time, to both parties. It’s not 50-50, it doesn’t fix itself, and it’s not for sissies. Making good on your commitment when the excitement of the day wears thin and the fancy clothes no longer fit–that’s where the rubber meets the road. When you look down at the 3rd finger of the left hand and wonder if you made a mistake. Instead of wondering “Did I marry the wrong person?”, try asking yourself “Have I been the right person? Have I given everything I promised to give while surrounded by friends, family, and well-wishers looking forward to the cake and throwing birdseed at our heads? If not, why not?” What does “til DEATH do you part” mean–like forever?
Add children to this mix and the rules may not change, but the players sure do.
Working through some of the pitfalls to avoid puts you ahead of the game… a game married folks forget how to play by the rules–they just want to win. The prize is worth the risk, if you have a standard and wait until that standard is met, marriage gives an opportunity to grow toward and with someone who chose you, too. Romance aside, love is a choice we make every single day. Marriage offers a safe place to practice loving and BEING loved every single day.
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