- Gender and Relationships
To Wed or not to Wed- making the Biggest Decision of Your Life
Getting Married or Not?
Warning this hub is brutally honest and may change your thinking about getting married.
Long before I ever started my psychology degree I was a wedding planner. I have seen women of all ages take the trip down the isle for various reasons and with various paradigms of what their life will be. Three times in the last two days I have had someone mention the idea of meeting people at a wedding, and or weddings. To avoid a huge mistake I invite any and all people who are thinking of getting married to read this hub.
THE MOST UNPOPULAR IDEA EVER:
According to Kenrick, Neuberg, & Cialdini (2010), our interactions with other people are goal oriented. That means that we are attracted to people based on what our belief is about how that person will affect our goal. It sounds harsh but, we interact with people all day based on how they will effect our current goals. It would make sense that we are attracted to people based on what we think they can do to contribute to the goal. Somewhere someone will say they married for love but, under that idea there is a goal, the goal may be; to not be alone, to be loved, or to have a family. We may love the person we are with however; they also help accomplish a goal.
This puts divorce into a whole other perspective. People tend to leave each other in the middle of financial crisis; hence their goal of obtaining financial stability is no longer being sustained by the other person. Of course that is only the perspective; in reality a person’s ability to provide may only temporarily be hindered.
Now lets put this in terms of who you are about to marry. Over the years I have seen countless brides rush down the isle for the wedding. They do not really love anyone, they do see the commitment, they want the big party were everyone brings gifts; they want to be told how beautiful they are, and how happy everyone is for them. This situation is doomed for divorce. Marriage is full of tests that you will endure and overcome. The least of these tests are infertility, financial loss, health issues, children (who are sometimes born disabled), addiction, infidelity, and in-laws. These are not situations to take lightly. When you see people who have been married for 20 to 70 years they have been through most if not all of these things.
Now look at your life. What is your goal? Is your goal to be loved by someone, anyone? When we are young we base how we feel about others by how they make us feel. This does not always last. Men settle into a relationship and they tend to take less time to tell you how they feel about you, they bring home flowers less, they basically do all the courtship things less. So marrying because of how someone makes you feel during courtship is not a good idea. Life is long and this type of “feeling” fades. You have to have your own sense of self going into a relationship. You have to know who you are and be ok with who you are. If you are not, you could be headed down the isle of co-dependency. This is the same truth for men and women. Men also get married because you are holding them up. Is that how you want to live?
I LOVE WEDDINGS:
How do you know you are marrying for the wedding? This is easy if you spend more time picking out your dress than you do talking to the person you are engaged to, it may be time to back out. The dress, the cake, and wedding are only a moment in your life. Believe me when I say that they are not what will mean something to you ten years from now. If you can, in your mind, see yourself marrying this person on the courthouse steps with no one else around, then you may be on the right track. If you can see that, then save your money and instead of buying a wedding, have a great honeymoon. It will mean more later. You can always get professional photos taken as a couple.
I WANT FINANCIAL STABILITY;
Financial stability is a fallacy. It doesn’t matter what two people do for a living, there will come a time when they lose everything. It happens to almost everyone. Financial stability is never a reason to marry someone. In fact I would encourage all women to have their own degree in something, be educated, and be able to support themselves. This freedom to support ones self eliminates codependency and the ability of men to walk over you when it comes to money (not that all men will do this). Never marry for money, because chances are that is all you will have.
I WANT A FAMILY;
Think about that statement “I want a family”. One would think that wanting a family would indicate that any man would do. I would caution any young girl that you do not just want a family; you want a “GOOD FAMILY”. What that means is that not just any man will do. You need a man that wants to be a good father, a man with morals, and principles that can be passed on to your children. Choosing the first man that takes an interest will lead to fights over the children, money, and even you. Think this out. All these girls who are having babies young think they are creating a family but, they are really creating a broken family (don’t make me reference 16 and pregnant to prove a point). There is a difference. People who raise children will tell you it is not easy. You have to have the same basic morals as your spouse. Ask yourself what is this man going to teach my children and does that align with what I believe?
I WANT TO BE MARRIED
Many people get married out of fear of being alone. We all know the story about the cat lady. Well, I know a woman who was widowed in her forties; she spent her life traveling and meeting people. She never remarried; she was a great person and never owned a cat. We define our lives by what we want. Just because someone is single does not mean that they are lonely or sad. Life is to be lived regardless of if you are single or married.
Being married is work. It requires communication, cooperation, problem solving skills, understanding, and love. That sounds easy right, well its not. At times it can be downright frustrating. Being married comes with its own set of problems. People who go into marriage believing it will solve their problems will be disappointed. Marriage takes a lot of time to perfect. Once you get to that point it can be the greatest thing ever, getting to that point is not so easy. Just like a job marriage is a learning process.
I AM COVERING UP SOMETHING I DID;
Here comes some blatant honesty; because people are raised with certain religious ideas they tend to get married to cover or to justify behaviors that were unacceptable by the standards in which they were raised. In other words; sex or even pregnancy. In the mind of a girl if she married the boy she committed “sins” with, they were meant to be and it erases the sin. If you believe that sex before marriage is a sin than nothing ever erases that for you. However, you can avoid a lifetime of hell by not then marrying someone who does not respect you. (Did you flinch?)
I said it “men/women who compromise your standards do not respect you”. This is reality. Furthermore if you believe that sex before marriage is a sin and you do it anyway, you don’t respect yourself. That is correct; you do not respect yourself. Think about it, you compromised what you believe for some guy/chick. Does that sound like someone who is stable and ready for marriage? I know it’s harsh but, it’s absolutely true and what it means is you are about to marry someone who cares very little about how you feel.
All that said this does not apply to people who do not share any type of paradigm in which premarital sex is a sin. It’s never a good idea to have premarital sex but, if you do not feel it is a moral issue than no one has compromised your beliefs or been disrespectful. Every person should own their mistakes. So if you let this happen own it, and do not make a greater mistake to try to cover it. I can tell you it is better to live and learn than it is to let the mistake take over your life.
MARRYING THE PERSON YOU CHEATED WITH
Here is an interesting idea, a person uses you to cheat on a spouse and then you marry them. Good idea or bad idea? People who cheat are what the psychology refers to as passive aggressive. What that means is that the person may be mad at their spouse but, instead of having an adult conversation, they cheat. Cheating is not always the result of bad relationships. Cheating can come from a person’s inability to handle a life crisis. If you are that other person… WHAT ARE YOU THINKING???
I have seen countless women cheat with a married man because they see the other women’s life and they want it. One person can NEVER get the complete picture of another person’s life from the outside. It may look like a man is a loving father and husband…ummm if that is true then why is he cheating? In reality people have weaknesses. They act on those in moments when they should walk away. However, you will never know who someone is until it’s too late. If a person cheats it is an indication they have some growing up to do. If you marry that person you are going to be in for a rude awakening when they use you as part of their growing experience.
The greatest reason a marriage out of cheating lasts is that the two people who got married do not want to admit the mistake to the hoards of people who said “I told you so”. If you married for the wrong reasons; be a big person and have an adult conversation with that person, don’t cheat on them.
HAPPILY EVER AFTER;
After all this you may feel that there is never a good goal for a marriage or that there is never a good relationship. I can tell you that is not true. People mature at different ages. There are people who married young and have had wonderful lives together. You have to expect there to be some tough times in a relationship. Do not marry thinking that wedding party continues. Marry loving that person accepting them for who they are, accepting that you have a goal together, and you are both committed to each other and the goal.
In my own marriage there have been times of unbelievable happiness and unbearable pain. There have also been times of joy. We are older and settling into the contentment stage of our relationship. We appreciate each others company, the kids are almost grown, and we love each other more than ever. I have never seen money bring happiness. We have had a great family. Our goal was just to be together. Which may be the best goal of all.