According to an article on www.thespruce.com, marriage is a social and legal contract between two individuals that unites their lives legally, economically, and emotionally. Another article by www.catholic.org.au defines marriage as both a personal relationship between a man and a woman, and the protective institution for their children. Now my next question is, why marry in the first place? Is it necessary to get married at all? Well I’ll answer that myself with a big NO. It’s not compulsory. Marriage is a choice, just as having kids or applying to a certain job is. Are there any benefits to getting married though? Yes, indeed there is.
Let’s have a look at some of the reasons why marriage is important:
- Marriage is the beginning of a family and life, it’s a lifetime commitment
- Oneness of being prevents loneliness
- It teaches you compassion
- You have someone to share everything with
- Intimacy and Sex
- Emotional Security
- Life Security
- It’s divine and pure: helps avoiding temptation
- It teaches Love
- It’s healthy for the being and the nation
- Two-parent parenting is very healthy for kids
- You grow up/ mature
Despite all these advantages of marriage, marriage is not a decision that should be imposed on anyone. After all, it is not a solution to any problem.
Here are common problems in marriage too:
- Different backgrounds struggle living together
- Different stages of life
- Money problems
- Issues with children
- Daily stress and busy schedules
- Poor communication
- Bad habits such as jealousy
- Struggles over home chores
- Ignoring boundaries
- Lack of sexual intimacy
- Emotional or sexual infidelity (cheating)
- Selfishness and not making your marriage a priority
So you see, marriage has as much problems as it has its benefits. Before anyone makes a marriage decision, they have to consider all these factors before going in. Let me give an example of what happens when you don’t make all these considerations and just enter into marriage based on your “feelings of love” for someone.
A friend of mine got married not so long ago, about 5 months I’d say, and they had been having so much intense arguments and fights that they just couldn’t stand each other. I was really surprised when she informed me because I was wondering what could cause such a newlywed couple to be at the verge of divorce, so early, fighting as if they’ve been married for years with kids already. Apparently they weren’t aware of so many things regarding marriage, no experiences in mind aside their close families, and even that bear in mind people don’t share the deeps dark parts in their relationships, so they are difficult to know. They expected each other to be perfect, and the marriage to solve some personal problems, and it seemed far from that.
So she told me that she did love her new husband, but she doubted the husband loved her back because it seemed like he wasn’t pleased with anything she did. He seemed to have a problem with everything she said or did, even the way she spoke or expressed herself seemed to make him bored and angry. This immediately told me too that my friend had gotten married to someone who didn’t love her.
So why did he propose to marry her in the first place? My friend is a woman from a well-to-do home, and her husband from a somewhat poor background if comparing the two. She felt the man married her because of her background, and had suddenly probably realized that he wasn’t really in love with her. She started asking for a divorce anytime they had arguments, which had almost become an everyday ritual.
They were at the point where she woke up every day and the first thought in her mind was how to act well and say the right things to avoid any new quarrels during the day. She had gotten fed up and was no longer happy in the home. She closed from work praying she got home first so that she could have some peaceful time alone before the man got home, and she believed the man felt the same. Now why were they still married? She kept wondering. She had moved from her parents’ home, packed up her stuff, and moved in with this new man who had also left his family home, and together they were living unhappily and arguing every day. What was the sense in it all? Every day when her husband got home from work and after eating he quickly resorts to his best friend; his phone, making calls and chatting all day, just ignoring her till bedtime. She regretted getting married so much and wished she could just turn back the clock and say NO to his marriage proposal.
She told me in our conversation that if she was able to turn back time, she would never step anywhere near where she met her husband, so their paths could never cross under any circumstance.
Now my friend had only two options; either to get Divorced or to Stay Married trying to fix their problems. Their marriage had become a prison for her and she were ready for any suggestion.
Upon meeting a marriage counselor who was also a psychologist, she said they were asked a question twice, each of them. The question was, “Do you love her?”, and her husband answered that “Yes he did”. She was asked the same question and she answered that “Yes, she did love him”. Now this counselor, being a Christian like she is, told them that once they love each other, divorce should be the last resort. However through his discussions with them he realized what their main problems were; they were both from completely different backgrounds, they were both taught throughout their lives to do things completely opposite ways. How they speak, how they greet, how they eat, what ingredients they use to cook, how they keep their surroundings, how they treat other people, everything they knew and did was different. Love was the only common factor between these two.
According to various research materials such as Harrar and DeMaria (2007), there are seven (7) stages every marriage goes through, even though a few might say they bet to differ, these are the steps to most marriages from Day one.
The 7 Steps To Marriage:
Stage 1: Falling in Love/ Passion (the honey-moon phase, you’re all just in love)
Stage 2: Adjustment/ Realization (the feeling of realization and disappointment as you realize your partner is flawed and an ordinary human being too)
Stage 3: Rebellion/ Great Escape (you both believe that you’re right and the other is wrong, you want to do different things and there’s so much drama)
Stage 4: Reassessment/ Cooperation (you learn to set aside all your differences and focus on your being together as one, paying bills, saving together and making future plans)
Stage 5: Reunion/ Growing Together (you appreciate each other again)
Stage 6: Middle Life Strife/ Explosion (kids problems, health problems, job loss or issues, all come up as you get to this stage)
Stage 7: Completion/ Fulfillment (finally your kids are grown and there’s no more major parenting, work comes to an end as you reach pension to relax and enjoy the seeds of your youth together).
Looking at these stages I could say my friend and her husband are at Stage 2 or Stage 3, and as they are getting to realize each other’s flaws they’re overly disappointed because they had no idea about the possibility of this happening before getting married, also everyone wants to prove they’re the right one and there’s no agreement, just chaos. This is why everyone needs to know these, no matter the stage you are, and especially people who are not married yet.
And for my already married folks, I’ve put together some suggested measures that can handle all the above problems mentioned in this article according to research;
Tips For A Healthy Marriage:
- Do things you used to do when dating: constantly apologizing to each other, show appreciation, complementing each other, showing interest in each other, and constantly contacting each other.
- Communicate in all forms, communication is very important.
- Spend time together both at home and outside home; plan date/ outing nights
- Respect each other
- Realize you’re not a victim to the marriage, but marriage was your decision
- Trust each other and be open to each other, don’t cause your partner to doubt you
- Be a good listener
- Don’t bring up old mistakes/ wounds
- Call to say I’ll be home late
- Be united when it comes to handling children
- Use humor and laugh together
- Be each other’s keeper
- Never be too busy for each other
- Learn to negotiate conflict
- Explore your intimacy/ sexual life
- Explore common interests
- Create a spiritual connection
- Improve your communication skills
- Bridge your differences
- Always forgive each other.
From all these blabbering I believe you have an idea what marriage entails. For my already married folks I hope this article can help you manage to fix any issues you may currently be having in your marriages, and to my unmarried folk out there too I’m glad you have gotten to know all this before you decide to go into marriage.
Thank you all for passing by.
By Jill Boafo