Let me state right away that I am NOT a marriage counselor, a relationships expert, certified life coach or any other fancifully so called individual along those lines. The highlights I intend to make on this subject are predicated on the ‘experiences by observation’ of all the marriages around me all my life, countless marriage dispute resolutions I have been dragged into because they involved loved ones and what being married for a few years now has taught me.
Now that we have that out of the way, let us examine the following assumptions people usually have regarding marriage or go into it with-
Happily, every day after
I like to shout ‘amen’ to this wish because that is what it truly is. So you think you and your spouse will experience endless happy days, no bitter moments, and no disputes, really? Better wake up! The honeymoon is over. There are jobs to attend, children that will come in the marriage to deal with, illness, bad moods, environmental issues, finances and the list is endless that may affect the desired every moment happiness. Except we create margins for these variables and develop strategies to cope with them, wonderland experience isn’t forever.
Marriage prevents sexual immorality
In what world? Whatever makes people imagine that individuals who have no discretion in their sexual values before marriage would suddenly grow those values overnight? Or that those who have never had multiple relationships would not do so just because they now wear a ring proclaiming they have been hooked? News flash! There are sexual predators that specialize on going after married people only.
Marry mainly to bear children
If this is the strongest reason for wanting to get married, you may want to have a re-think. We all go into marriage with the assumption that we will bear children when we want to and in our desired sex distribution. Then life happens, and we realize that those matters are much deeper and more mysterious than the intimacy and that we have very little control of our ability to procreate in a marriage. Sad to say, I have seen couples tear each other and their marriages apart in accusations and counter accusations due to the childlessness of the moment.
Issues would be resolved when we get to the bridge
It’s a lie! Please resolve every single issue you can imagine before getting married. You read that well, I mean resolve all you can right now, so you will know if there should be a marriage at all with that individual. Talk about all of them and reach some understanding about sex, likely frequency of intimacy, sexual compatibility, finances, household chores, relationship with in-laws, belief in God, career advancement, location of the home, educational pursuit, vacations, conflict resolution strategies in the home, family bank account, how to discipline the kids, relocation of the family if the need arises, disclosures of all kinds and frankly, the list is inexhaustible.
If you fail to resolve the issues before commencing the marriage journey, when you do get to ‘that bridge’, you will find the bridge was never constructed and now you have to swim treacherous waters. Couples must ask those tough questions at some point. They can choose to ask them before the marriage (which would save a lot of heartache), during the marriage (and hopefully salvage it) or after the marriage during a ‘what went wrong’ analysis of it.
The love will grow in the marriage
This was how our parents used to get married. The elders would tell them, love isn’t important right away. It will come with time. Yeah right! It will never come I assure you. If you don’t love someone today, you are not likely to love him/her forever. Those who make the mistake of loving people’s status, wealth, looks, dress sense, mannerisms, intelligence and indeed all other things that can change in a moment soon find out that love for the individual in question is more critical than any other factor. In my opinion, when everything else fails, it is the initial love that will stand the test of time and keep the marriage alive.
My partner will complete me
I find this assumption hilarious as each person is coming into the marriage expecting so much from the other that everyone forgot they needed to come complete and not half baked. True, we should complement each other in the marriage; but when couples start a marriage with an entitlement mentality that the other person is supposed to complete you…we have a fresh recipe for disaster. It would be better for couples to come into the marriage with solid mental/emotional balance so that there would be less room for unnecessary expectations. Everyone should work on his/her emotional intelligence and increase their level of sensitivity so that even when you do not have the solutions to a spouse’s issues, it could be seen that concern is shown about it.
Married people have endless sexual relations
Really? Hmm, please don’t find out too late about stress that can affect the sex in the marriage, disagreement that make couples not want to even be in the same room let alone share intimacy as well as health concerns like pregnancy period and immediately after delivery. Not forgetting people settling into the marriage and taking each other for granted; others using sex as a tool for punishment, negotiation and deprivation; or one person just losing the sex drive altogether for no plausible reason other than the psychological.
If people do not prepare for these possibilities, they may grapple with them when confronted with the harsh realities.
If you intend to get married for this reason alone, you may want to consider getting a bigger better performing television set instead. That gadget is somewhat a more desirable companion sometimes than any human. You see, your TV wont judge, or misunderstand you sometimes. The greatest tragedy in life is to be lonely in the company of someone you are married or hope to get married to. The toxic company of a spouse is actually the only thing worse than being single.
Love is all we need
Get it right. Love is not ENOUGH! Na love you go chop? Haba! Many people make this mistake. Now I am not saying that people should set unrealistic margins like ‘my partner should be making this much money or so’. But it’s also a disaster to marry without giving due importance to finance. In the end, it is mostly about the rent, fees, levies, expectations, and the other things about the good life that money can acquire. Some people say money can’t buy you happiness. But neither can poverty. The way I see it, it is much easier for people to love, respect and be at peace with one another where everyone’s needs are met, than when people are hungry, homeless and things are rough all over.
Generally, it is these kinds of assumptions that result in the increasing divorce rate among young couples all around. I particularly like the part when couples dance during weddings. They look so happy, everything is sweet. Fast forward a few years together and the same people are not able to have decent conversation, are inflicting grievous bodily harm or even killing each other. Hello? Does anyone still think marriages are fairy-tale, Alice in wonderland experiences? Just to be clear, when marriages are started, you will either be giving or receiving a wedding ring, suffering or torturing. Frankly, individuals have to decide which kind of ring they want.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Michael Zhang