- Gender and Relationships
Is Marriage Really Worth The Challenges?
If you’re not already married are you considering it?
According to Wikipedia, Marriage is a social, spiritual, and/or legal union of individuals. This union may also be called matrimony, while the ceremony that marks its beginning is usually called a wedding and the married status created is sometimes called wedlock.
Marriage may take many forms: for example, a union between one man and one woman as husband and wife is a monogamous heterosexual marriage; polygamy – in which a person takes more than one spouse – which includes, polygyny in which a man takes more than one wife, and polyandry in which a woman takes more than one husband have been common in some societies. Recently, some jurisdictions and denominations have begun to recognize same-sex marriage, uniting people of the same sex. (Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage)
Despite its meaning, purpose and who enter into it - when you look at the statistics regarding infidelity and marital failures one must, at some point ask the aged old question – is marriage really worth the challenges? Some would argue, for good reasons - that it’s not worth the challenges! In fact statistical data gives this group excellent reasons to avoid it at all costs. On the other side of the tracks are those who may argue that it is worth it - if you select the right partner. A marriage to the wrong person could shorten ones lifespan – or – prolong individual suffering, while marriage to the right person could be the best thing since slice bread. While the latter is perhaps true it leads us to another profound question which is; how does one decide who the right person is? Well, therein lies the challenges of a successful marriage.
Determining who the right person is requires a deep personal self analysis and emotional detachment from the physical aspect of the relationship that is difficult for most people to attain. However, in the absence of self analysis there does exists certain outward, physical, and emotional factors one may consider which include, but are not limited to the following:
1. Communications: Lack of communication is perhaps the most dramatic problem of any relationship. Communications has many forms from verbal to physical, to simple body language - and there are many ways to communicate. However, verbal communications is the most important. If you and your partner have not mastered the communications challenge then the only thing I can say is simply - don't wast your time, your friends or the valuable time of family members, or the minister, or justice of the peace. If your relationship is void of effective communications then getting married is the worst thing you can do!
2. Spiritualism: Is your partner a woman or man of genuine spiritual faith – not religious faith, but spiritual faith? A man or woman who seriously believes that marriage is a sacrament is more likely to enter into it with a sense of profound commitment – whether they are Christian, Jew or Muslim is irrelevant. A person of strong faith will have a very different view of the institution and the commitment they are making than a secular or religious person. Since the institution of marriage is considered a sacrament then a non religious person may want to avoid it altogether, or at lease give the action serious thought. If you're getting married simply because your partner demands, or nags you about it, then don't be surprised when you find yourself in family court a few years later facing a judge on a “Dissolution of Marriage” Decree. On the other hand careful consideration, moving slowly, and much prayer before you say "I Do" will eliminate this possibility altogether.
3. Personal Responsibility: Is your partner capable of accepting personal responsibility? A man or woman who is constantly blaming others for their life’s problems will eventually (and very soon in the relationship) begin to see their spouse as the source of all their worries. It is common for these people to blame whoever they are around the most instead of themselves – if they are constantly complaining about coworkers, family, or friends - run, and don’t look back. Cut your losses and move on. When you leave you will quickly discover that they have a new target as the source of their personal problems. Drama queens and kings are successful only in theatrical performances. There is no place for it in a serious relationship.
4. Comfortability: You need to determine if you are comfortable with your partner. Passion is no substitute for genuine compatibility, no matter how important it may be in a relationship. There is nothing like hot, intimate, and uncensored sex to bring couples together, unfortunately, there is the other 99 percent of the time that will either make or break a relationship. If you and your potential wife or husband is not capable of several hours in the same room together without talking, touching, or otherwise interacting directly, you may have a problem with comfortability and this is a serious red flag! If your best times are spent under the sheets and in no other forum – solve the problem or forget marriage.
5. Self Entertainment: Is your partner capable of entertaining themselves? Both men and women need their downtime. This becomes problematic and a serious challenge to the relationship if they see each others free time as a violation of time together. A man should be able to watch sports without the interference of his partner, if that partner is not interested. By the same token, a woman should be able to shop with her friends without the man wondering where she is or who she’s with, or what they’re saying about him. (My apologies for using stereotype to express my point – but you get the message).
6. Complimentary: In the opinion of your closest friends and family members do they think your partner is good for you? Most people would expel the notion of seeking the opinions of others when they have made up their minds to be with someone. It is very important to seek their opinions because those closest to you are not likely to be blinded by the rose-tinted lenses of infatuation and will often have a better read on your partners true personality than you – despite how much you think you know the person. If you find yourself defending your partner’s actions in anyway then you are flirting with long-term, peace defying trouble.
7. Control: Does your partner attempt to control you – your actions, thoughts, the way you dress, comb your hair, etc? If so, identify it early because this trait will get worse with marriage. Any sign of control in a dating relationship is a huge red flag. Contrary to popular belief it is not always the man who wants control - women have a strong maternal instinct and have a hard time grasping the reality that most men don’t want to be mothered, or pacified. The question then becomes whether she or he can back off if asked. If not – then you have a problem.
8. Respect and Dignity: Does your partner treat you with respect and dignity, both in public and in private? If your answer is yes then this is an excellent sign, provided the statements in previous paragraphs above are not a problem. If your partner is constantly putting you down, or giving you a difficult time unconstructively and or keeping you in your place, you’re better off moving on and moving on quickly. The term “I am sorry” after you’ve expressed your concerns should be only spoken once.
9. Disagreement: Disagreements are a natural, healthy part of any relationship therefore; the key question is whether you are in agreement on the larger issues? If she wants kids and you don't, move on – no matter how great the sex is or how well you’re getting along in other areas of your relationship. If he want to follow the Joneses into bankruptcy, instead of saving for a rainy day then move on, as this will become a major problem down the road. In fact, statistics suggests that over 60% of marriages failed because of financial problems.
10. Familiarity: Do you know him or her? I mean really, truly, unquestionably know your partner? While it’s almost impossible to know your partner 100% it is beneficial to at least know their strengths and weaknesses. The reality is that some things about your partner are not revealed until after marriage as marriage has a way of bringing out either the best or worst in people. Habits that were cute during the dating/engagement period becomes nerve racking after the marriage – even for couples who lived together for a significant period of time before marriage.
In closing: The institution of marriage and family is a beautiful and wonderful thing. Having a lifelong partner you can cry with, laugh with, and just share intimate moments with can add years to your life in a glorious, peaceful way. However, marriage is nothing to take lightly as it has its dark and depressing side as well. If you are one of the few who have found your soul mate for life, don't let small, petty, and shallow issues divert your attention from one another. Challenging times are never appreciated or respected until you’ve survived them. Only then can you understand their purpose in your life and your relationship. If you know what you want in life, finding a mate will not be that difficult, but if you waver and are side tracked by appearance, physical touch, or sex without consideration for the spiritual and the intellectual then prepare for a rough road ahead.
Yes, marriage is worth the challenges – with the right person!
Move cautiously, Choose wisely, and be Blessed!