Marriage is about Compromise
When couples are dating, they become so engrossed in emotion that rational thought sometimes takes a back seat. That’s all well and good up to a point. The problem arises when the euphoria of love sickness wears off and reality hits. So many times couples get married while they are still in the throes of this kind of passion and are really hurt when real life catches up. Those little annoyances that were overlooked suddenly become huge character traits that are now hard to live with. I think the best thing for couples to do before marriage is to evaluate the major areas of their life and decide in which of these areas they are able to compromise.
I have heard it said many times that money is a major cause of divorce. The way a person regards finances is a very critical part of how they live. A person who is a saver may become extremely frustrated by a partner that has a tendency to overspend. Each of these individuals will view money in a very different way. Being aware of each other’s spending habits is very important when considering marriage. It makes it vitally important to establish a budget where each person feels they are not completely forfeiting their lifestyle but rather finding a financial balance that provides for their mutual goals.
Whether a couple decides to be a one or two income family depends on many factors. Of course, having enough money to provide for the life they both want is a major issue but not the only one to consider. The value and satisfaction each person receives from their work is important. Spouses who are expected to give up their jobs are many times resentful and tend to exhibit negative behavior as a results. Regardless of who is working, it is also important to remember that the job you had as a single person may not be the best one after marriage. A job with lots of overtime and travel may have provided what was needed for a single person but that same job may alienate you from the person you love most. If that is the case, then changing jobs or work schedule may be necessary to nurture the relationship.
I’m sure we all realize that very few people enjoy household chores but they need to be done. Many couples are dissatisfied with the division of household obligations. There is not a standard ratio of work in this area that applies to any couple. This is an area where each person has to be willing to take on tasks that are not especially appealing in order to keep the home running somewhat smooth. Also, being overly critical of the way your spouse does certain chores is a sure way to cause tension.
The question of whether or not to have kids should be discussed long before you are expecting. The transition from couple to family is a big one and should not be left to chance. The new challenges that come with the addition of children are huge. Each parent needs to take part in the care of the children but also remember to maintain their relationship as a couple. That can sometimes be very difficult. Kids bring so much joy but they do require a lot of work. Communication is essential to establishing a united front for your children, each parent must be clear about their views on discipline, education, religion, and all the other components involved in raising a child. Obviously, you won’t agree all the time, but you must strive to negotiate a plan that is doable and serves the best interest of the child(ren).
I don’t profess to be an expert on marriage or any other subject for that matter. My only credit is that I have been married for nearly twenty years and have seen what works and what doesn’t work. I know I have made marriage look like a business arrangement but in a lot of ways it is. A successful business requires planning and negotiation just like a good marriage. Compromise is give and take, which means that each person in a relationship has to be willing to give to their spouse what is needed for their fulfillment. It also means being confident enough to ask your partner for what you need and be willing to receive it.