I have trouble staying up late these days. Going out two nights in a row is no longer my idea of fun. Sometimes driving a couple of miles to the grocery store seems so effortful that I don’t make the trip. As if getting old weren’t bad enough…I look around me and all these people I know are getting engaged and married! Recently, Mammie and I sat down and counted, and between the two of us we know of 35 couples- that’s 70 INDIVIDUALS – who have gotten engaged or married since January ‘07. That’s nearly one per week just this year! The Dream Team realized that we were in the SLOW LANE (maybe even riding the right shoulder) with the whole marriage department.
The Dream Team got into a related conversation today on my way home from school. We were wondering how 70 people had found the loves of their lives and we hadn’t. We were feeling left out and a little discouraged about our future love lives. What was wrong with us? Why were our peers getting married, why were they getting the fun ceremonies and honeymoons, and we weren’t? Then I recalled the videos of marital therapy I’d been watching in class earlier in the day. Let me tell you…the interactions between these couples were not pretty. Most of the couples were older and had been married quite a few years. They argued heatedly. One wife threatened divorce, another, suicide. Several husbands refused to help their wives with the kids or with chores around the house, one husband had complete control of the finances and would give his wife an “allowance”. I was horrified to see the lack of respect the partners had for one another. It was downright scary to see how intensely they bickered and how they repeatedly failed to resolve conflicts.
And then I realized….not all the people I know who are getting married are marrying the “right” person. In our case, what Mammie and I were feeling left out of wasn’t really as good as it seemed.
Think about the couples (married or not) in your circle of friends. How many of those relationships are mutually beneficial? Of course all relationships have strengths and weaknesses, but overall, do you think a majority of relationships that you’re familiar with are good for both parties? What’s keeping them together? In some cases is it just comfort or fear of change? If you’ve read “Who Moved My Cheese” (if you haven’t, please do- it’s like 70 pages – you can knock that out in a weekend if not a day), you are well aware that fear of change is NOT a sole reason to continue with the status quo. Often relationships continue for reasons aside from happiness, romance, intimacy, and love. Waitaminute…..I thought those were some main reasons why you would get married in the first place!!…. I’m confused. Well, Mammie and I decided that when you get married relatively young, you might miss out on “researching” what you want in a life partner. This is not true for all young couples- some are serenely happy, and it’s wonderful that they found that special person so early on in life. For the majority of us, this won’t be the case. The more experience we have dating people, the more we find out about what we want and what we will not accept in a relationship. And when you find the “right” person, you treasure him/her because you appreciate the rarity of finding a good match. We advocate patience in finding a marriage rooted in love. Don’t force it. Don’t settle. We have the rest of our lives to be in a relationship.