Despite the gloomy and unfortunate notion that marriage is not necessary, I hold it in great reverence. It was the one thing I knew I always wanted to do. To find my husband, and to live forever after. The sanctity of marriage should definitely be reinstated, and people need to start looking at it as it is – a contract. What’s more, it is a choice. True companionship was never a matter of whim or emotion. So, how do we keep our marriage? What can we do to barricade the union against the future that statistics would lay ahead of us?
We all know the infamous statistics of half the (first-time) marriages falling apart. According to this article by Forbes, the average length of a marriage is about 8 years. And then to have to deal with it for another year to resolve the divorce? No wonder people are so skeptical about the whole business. Funny enough, the article in question doesn’t seem to note that mainly women are the ones initiating the separations. Here is an interesting take on that side of it by Wendy Cohan.
So, how can we try to make sure that we don’t end up with the short end of the statistical stick?
The Importance of Communication
Forget about the notion of being mysterious. This is a partnership, and you need to know exactly who it is you are partnering with. The same goes the other way around. Make sure to do what you can to know everything there is to know about your spouse. Though, of course, you must also remember that it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever know them fully. Most of us don’t even know all there is to know about our own inner worlds!
Stop playing games, and dropping hints. You should be able to talk to your spouse honestly, and openly. If something bothers you, tell it to him (in a proper manner, not by screeching it into his ears every hour). Be concise, and clear. The time of ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if…’ is in the past. Playing these juvenile games will only cause frustration and confusion, as none of us are mind-readers.
The amazing thing about communication is that it’s a skill. Furthermore, it can be improved upon and practiced. I’ve had to do a lot of re-training to be able to be kindly honest about my thoughts after I started managing my BPD. If a borderline banshee can do it, you can do it too!
And please, stop making assumptions in any direction. He doesn’t mean to be mean, or hurtful. Or absent-minded. Something else might be going on, something he isn’t telling you. So relax, take a breath, and give him a hug.
Money was the one thing I never again wanted to fight over. I’d just gotten out of a financially abusive relationship, and quite frankly, money terrified me. In fact, it still does to a certain extent.
Make sure that you and your spouse are on the same page about how the family finances are to be taken care of. Do you have your own accounts, one for savings, and a common one for everyday expenses? Perhaps you do what we do, and let all the money flow to one account, and that’s it? Whatever the method may be, be sure that it has been talked about in-depth and agreed to by both parties.
Don’t stop being intimate
I’ve come to realize the importance of intimacy within a relationship, especially for men. It is the glue that binds us as man and wife, without it we would be roommates. And as far as we are considered, that’s not what we intended when we got hitched.
Women of this age seem to loathe the idea of actually caring for their men’s needs. It has become a culture of taking, and not giving. Consider this, though – when you married, your husband gave you a monopoly over his drive. In good faith, trusting that you will not abuse that power. Can you say you are living up to the task of Keeper of His Desire?
I want to share a little fun fact about us (me and my husband) to demonstrate this point. It turns out that by some calculations, our year together is about 13 years of an average person! How crazy is that? We are together, all day, every day. And as a rule, when one needs something from the other, the answer is always yes. Unquestionably, definitely, yes. Don’t skimp out on love with your partner, for it will not lead you anywhere good.
Cheating is a symptom, not the whole answer.
I’m going to be a bit controversial here when it comes to cheating. I would like you to consider your position in the mess you are in for a moment. Something bigger is going on. It’s not just that he got up and found another woman/girl randomly, no. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that. Furthermore, it isn’t that you came by this shining new guy by chance if you’re the one to do the cheating. And yes, sharing your life with another man is cheating, no matter how much you try to tell yourself that you’re ‘just friends’.
While the cheater shouldn’t cheat (obviously), we have to take a look inside and see if we’ve done what we can to avoid it. Have we been given all we could? Did we fulfill the physical, emotional, and intellectual needs of the other? Have we, in fact, treated them as King? Don’t be a fool looking at the situation through the lens of justification. Be honest. Chances are that you haven’t been that great either.
Why do we cheat? I would say it’s typically because some need of ours hasn’t been met at home. Therefore, we are hungry, craving for it. Be it deep discussions or intimacy, humanity has a tendency to gravitate toward those who would fulfill their need. Don’t be the wife who has to wake up one day, realizing their husband never came home. Do not starve your husband. You will only hurt yourself like that, and everyone around you will suffer because of your foolishness.
We do not simply ‘fall out of love’
Nor do we randomly grow apart. Consequently, it’s always important to go through the steps to finding out who you are BEFORE you marry. The same as when looking for a job you make sure you are qualified for the posting. And, as with employers, you must make sure the person in front of you will compliment you. Do your core values match? Is he a good person? Can you see yourself staying by this man’s side, for better or for worse, if he stays as he is for the rest of your life? He is not a project, something for you to mold. Can you take him as is?
True love is a choice you make every day. It is not a fleeting emotion or a thrill of whimsy. You show up, no matter what your mood is. Despite the headache you feel is coming. Life doesn’t wait for anyone. And you do this perfectly fine with your corporate job and other social life. What on earth possesses you to think you can neglect your husband by not doing it for him?
Marriages are hard work, and I’m sad to see that modern newlyweds don’t seem to understand the weight of it. They treat their work contracts and friendships with greater respect! And that, my friends, is such a shame. You only marry once. So do your homework, and pick a good partner. After that, you let them down at your own peril. Just know that you had it coming to you.
I feel that I must mention the obvious since the folks these days don’t seem to possess any common sense. This post relates to an average couple. Not to those who are living in abusive relationships. And I mean truly abusive. Not the snowflake kind but real, fists flailing and souls shattering and financially imprisoning type.
The thing is, when it comes to other people entering your life, all tangled together, the games have to stop. Stop fooling around with others, focus all you have on the life you want to have. If that doesn’t include giving your absolute all in a marriage to a man, then perhaps you shouldn’t marry. You get what you give, after all.
Figure out who you are, and who he is. Make sure you are honest and real with him, and that he knows you will be there, no matter the weather. Hit the proverbial button of “I have read the TOS and give my consent”. He is yours now. And you better take care of him, or someone else might just do it for you.