- Gender and Relationships»
- Happy Marriages
Want a Russian Wife?
Perhaps you think that going digital will alleviate your headaches or heartaches. I went through the whole thing myself. I've been married to a woman from Moscow for 17 years. I offer a few tips about what you can expect plus I have added a few thoughts about love in general, which may be less interesting.
First of all you HAVE to travel to Russia to meet your intended. Do this after you've spent countless hours on the phone with her to develop some kind of rapport. If you cannot speak Russian and she cannot speak English, move on. You cannot live with a translator -- human or mechanical. Marriage is far too complex. The cheapest way to travel is on Aeroflot -- Russia's own airline, but be forewarned. They use over-dated planes, and the journey is harrowing. Passenges applaud at a safe landing. The onboard amenities, are on a par with other international flights. The attendants are polite and courteous. If you take off from the West Coast, you get two meals, and they aren't bad. Just remember that coffee sounds about the same in Russian but tea is pronounced "chay."
On my two flights on Aeroflot, my experiences were identical. I cannot sleep on a jet. I can't even read a book or magazine. I'm awake for the duration of the 12-hour flight going and 13-hour flight coming home. The ride was reasonably smooth, but I'm unable to nod off even for a short period. I requested a seat next to one of the emergency doorways to give myself extra leg room. It didn't really help that much. Some people walked up and down the aisle. Some portion of the crew held to the back of the jet and smoked (and probably drank). It's not an ideal, luxury flight, but Aeroflot offers the only direct flight from Los Angeles (or San Francisco) all the way to Moscow. If you hate the environment, you can take any number of other flights to NY City then switch over. This will cost extra plus you have to take into account the inconvenience of switching flights. I was the only American on both my encounters. Everyone else seemed to be Armenians. But, as previously stated, the stewardesses were professional and responsive. If you can handle flying on a jet that has a lot of steady shakes, this is the least expensive and hassle-free way to go -- at least from the West Coast. For reasons unknown, I held a lot of confidence in the pilots. This trek from the West Coast of the US to Moscow is one they've obviously done countless times, and they seem to know about the limitations of their craft. They'll fly at a comfortable altitude until it's time to ascend, and then you'll get the shaking of your life. As you descend you can see miles and miles of icebergs, and this is nothing short of terrifying -- chunks of huge ice in a frozen ocean. It either takes a certain amount of bravery, utter confidence in the abilities of your pilots or just a kind of paralysis.
Do NOT go to Russia with the intention of playing the field. Russian women are not "dime store" artifacts for an easy pick up, and they'll resent you for picking and choosing.
For this reason if none other, do not consider one of the chartered visits where a team of desperate men get thrown into a room with a bunch of Russian women who know very little English. It's a waste of time and money. I don't know why agencies sponsor these events. Maybe it titillates some foreign men seeing so many attractive women around them. But the agencies rely upon interpreters to make any communication possible. Without the interpreter, you are left dead in the water. My wife worked as an interpreter on a few occasions at these events, and according to her it was dismal. She got hit upon a few times herself. But, from her account, interpreting between an English-speaking man and a Russian woman was pathetic. According to my wife, the men who came to these events were very unpromising -- mostly guys who could barely afford the trip, lacking in education and any sort of sophistication. Basically, they looked like a bunch of losers, and the Russian women (used to this compilation) just helped themselves to the food. My wife told me that after a few visits she couldn't take it any more and dropped out, although she got paid fairly nicely.
If all you are looking for is to get laid, you might just as well stay at home or book a room in one of Russia's less renowned hotels where the phone will ring and someone will ask you if you want a woman. Sadly, prostitution flourishes in Moscow (maybe a bit less now than when I visited), but I'm sure it hasn't vanished. Given the present ruble-to-dollar exchange, you can probably get a better grade prostitute in Moscow, but you have to factor in your airline ticket and the hotel cost. So what's the sense of it?
Yeah, I guess if you are dying for a white, blue-eyed blonde girl, you're bound to get what you want. Hell, the maid who came to vacuum my room looked like Scarlett Johannson. No cheap, Mexican help here. No, I shouldn't say cheap because these maids were probably paid the equivalent. But in Russia there is no foreign bondage -- unless you consider the countless Ukrainians trying to eek out some kind of living -- and many of them are just as blonde and blue-eyed. And I suppose many of them are the prostitutes sent up for hotel delivery upon request. Anyway, the meet and greet stock gatherings are repellant if you are serious about meeting a potential marriage partner. It just isn't going to happen.
Do not even consider a Russian bride unless you have $30K spare cash in your checking account. You have to consider all sorts of things -- not just the airfare. You'll need the assistance of an attorney to get through the INS process. Russian families expect gifts, which is fine, but cumulatively this can add up a bit. Don't buy perfume. Russian women are just as selective about this as American women.
Get over the idea that Russian women are desperate and deprived. Some of them may be both but they aren't going to fall in love with some guy who is a meat cutter in Nebraska or a guy who works oil pumps in Texas. The worst mistake is assuming that Russian women are dumber than yourself. If you're an honest guy, and honest about your profession, and if what you seem to offer doesn't sound like a sizeable step up, your Russian goddess will pass on you so quickly, you'll be lurching toward the next Vodka. You shouldn't be there in the first place and you just got suckered into the visit by the inviting agency
Consider the cost of staying a week or two in one of Russia's finest hotels. There are alternatives ... if you don't mind the cockroaches (really). Consider the cost of restaurants and visiting the usual sites (foreigners will be double-charged). Think about cab fare or even the popular flagging down anyone with a car on the road -- a means of common transportation. A thousand rubles equals what in US currency?
Do not downplay a Russian woman's inability to speak coherent English. If she can't speak English, you simply have to pass because she will not make it in the US (or anywhere else, I imagine). Communication is paramount in any relationship -- even English to English. As in any courtships both you and she will be putting your best face forward. If you can't communicate, it's really an instant fail -- I don't care how attractive the Russian gal may be.
Even with an English-speaking Russian woman, the process is arduous. It's arduous because the barrier is not restricted to mere language. There are cultural differences -- too many to describe. Many Russians are atheists but they have an incredible propensity to believe in the supernatural. Astrology is a given but they also have an amazing array of superstitions. And they take them seriously. Can you? Even those who believe in God (far many more than we might expect here in the US), still abide by archaic superstitions.
The INS is disinclined toward granting fiancee visas, and thus they make you wait about a year before your beloved is invited to the US embassy in Russia for a preliminary interview. I wrote to my congress representatives to help speed the process, but I still waited almost a year to get the damn visa.
Over the course of a year, the excitement wanes from one or the other or both. This is exactly what the INS is counting on. I kept my flames going by constant phone calls (which in my time amounted to several thousand dollars), and also by making a second visit.
I persevered and went through the entire ugly, long process. The INS gave me 90 days to decide to marry the young woman or let the visa elapse, in which case she'd have to go home. Well, I was still head over heels in love, so married this woman I thought I knew so well (based on the countless hours on the phone) and the two visits.
We pulled it off. We got married. We were elated. I was never happier in my entire life. I didn't really KNOW exactly who I was marrying, but who does?
Then reality sets in. Marrying a Russian woman is hardly any different from marrying a woman from the US. The exception may be that your Russian wife has nothing but the suitcase she brought with her. This means anything from needing a lot of new clothes to re-doing your house/apartment to accommodate her requirements. All of this is going to put a drain on your bank account. This is not to suggest in any way that Russian women are nothing but gold diggers. Not in the least. But they do expect you to provide for their necessities and a few extras. They won't be content with an "allowance" of money. She'll want to be added to your bank account. It's unavoidable. The women aren't intent on robbing you, but they don't want to be "nickle and dimed."
In retrospect I erred in this regard. I was earning a decent, middle-class wage, but once I had a Russian wife, my bank account descended rapidly. Not all of it was her fault. She needed dental work. Okay. New shoes and other stuff. Okay. But, I also spent a lot of cash to show her around -- take her here or there -- restaurants, amusement parks, movies, etc. Fairly soon I was using credit cards to uphold this lifestyle -- not a lavish one by any means but just credible and seemingly mandatory.
If I had it all to do over again, would I? I'm not sure. I had assured my bride that she wouldn't have to work and that I could provide her (and her mother still in Moscow) with sufficient support. This turned out to be wishful thinking on my part.
When you marry an American woman she comes equipped with all sorts of stuff -- frying pans, furniture, blankets and her own wardrobe. This is not the case when you marry someone from Russia. They bring a suitcase, and that's it. Everything else you must provide, and the cost is not for the meek.
The ideal situation is for a Russian woman to partner with a man with an above-middle-class income. It's not gold digging, it's just what is required to make the living arrangement far less stress free.
Having said all this, there are dividends. First is that you can team up with a woman ten years younger than yourself (I wouldn't suggest going beyond this range). A Russian woman is not in the least opposed to marrying an older gent (if he's a good mate).
You might find this in the US, but good luck. I cannot speak for all Russian women, but it seems like the majority are generally seeking a reliable, faithful and caring husband (from whatever country -- primarily Western Europe then the US and Canada). Russian women have a definite bias aginst men of African decent. They don't like Blacks or people of color, and they aren't really fond of Asians, Jews or definitely Muslims. If you happen to be a guy who is ten years older but are in still good shape, have a wit, still capable of creating orgasms, and have some loot, then there is no problem.
Secondly, Russian women are amazingly beautiful. Upon my first visit, I was floored. I visited my potential fiancee in October, and it was cold but not freezing. Nevertheless, as we walked the avenues, I was strcken by the number of really alluring women wearing mni-skirts and high-top boots. They were magazine cover material. I'm just a frop from Southern California who wears jeans and a T-shirt, and the girls in my area never dress up (or hardly). Moscow is probably more like Paris or New York City, where the women actually care about fashion and make-up. For me, it was a kind of stunning revelation. In restaurants I often saw incredibly beautiful women with some junky-looking man -- a probable sugar-daddy type. I hadn't been exposed to this before and it was eye-opening to say the least.
I was warned against seeking a wife from Moscow or St. Petersburg because they were supposedly elities in one way or another. This is a double-edged sword. You can find a Russian woman from one of the provinces, but fact-check her intellectual capability, her style, and you'll probably find that your better prospects come from one of the major cities -- if you care anything about having an in-depth discussion about anything topical or philosophical.
Education is a factor and so is living in a metropolitan area. Your chances of finding a well-educated, erudite, sophisticated woman are bound to lead you away from the outskirts and more toward the major cities. This is true for any nation, I suppose.
Another plus is that you and your Russian encounter are on the same track (hopefully). You are both looking for a good marriage. All of the BS that may come before this is chucked aside. Both of you still have to jump through certain hoops, and this is unavoidable in a sincere commitment. The hoops are actually good for both because it will help determine whether or not the match seems to have been made in heaven or not.
I just happened to marry a woman who skirted the whole communist thing by being enrolled in an Orthodox church. Even here she was contacted by the KGB and interviewed about her possibility of spying within the church. She simply told them that it would be against her religion -- that anything said "in confidence" with a KGB agent was subject to the higher law of admitting one's sins to a priest during confession, and upon hearing this the KGB had to leave her alone.
The KGB wanted everyone spying on everyone. It didn't always work the way they might have liked. Smart Russians knew how to deal with the KGB, and the agency was not so all-powerful as the West once led to us believe. Many Russians considered them to be a joke, well, if not a joke than a mere nuisance. They got around them in many different ways.
Being aligned with the church and professing a faith in a higher being, pretty much squelched the KGB's spying abilities -- at least in this sector of Russian society. And many, many others who became communists just did so out of convenience, and added nothing to the "Big Brother" mentality of the time. It was all a matter of figuring out the ropes. The intelligentsia had no problems. In the outer regions it was a different matter.
So, other benefits (if you can call them that) of marrying a Russian wife depends on when she was born. Pre-Perestroika, she will have known privations and this gives the women in this period an incalculable degree of patience and resiliency (most of the time). Finding the same damn thing (lunatic politics) in the US is infuriating to them because they were sold that this was a democratic nation -- home of the strong and free. Once they realize they've just moved from the skillet to the frying pan, they don't feel very happy (nor should they). Most Americans do not realize how similar Russia is to the US in terms of its bureaucracy and lies. Russian women will pick this up pretty quick. They will start to hate the US even more than Russia. It's tough to hear your country denigrated on a regular basis even when the foundations of the attitude cannot be denied.
If you marry a city girl, don't expect her to be wowed by American shopping malls or grocery stores. They have seen all of this in places like Moscow. You can't impress her with the flourishing markets in the US. The only difference may be whether you can afford to buy her stuff that she only gazed at in luxurious stores back in Russia.
In conclusion, there are no short-cuts. The whole process of marrying a foreigner is aggravating to say the least -- Russia probably no less than marrying someone from the UK. The INS makes you go through their whole stinking process regardless of where your fiancee is located. Russia doesn't build these obstacles nor does the UK -- it's the INS in America that seems to discourage the whole fiancee visa program.
But, most importantly every man considering a foreign bride absolutely must realize that he is marrying a woman (or another woman -- if not the first), and women are not a different species depending on the continent from which they originated. No, what you get in the end is a woman, complex, mystifying, perplexing, maddening, emotional. If you think a Russian woman is a great alternative to American women, give up the thought. Russian women are thankful for a good American spouse because the men in their own country are so tragically flawed. So many Russian men are irresponsible. They drink too much, carouse too much, stay away from home too much, and generally have a kind of self-destructive streak. This is off-putting to women who want to build some kind of secure nest in which to rest or to also bear children. So, they seek men from outside their country, and this is genuinely sad. But, this whole match-up also reveals a definite sadness about men from the West. Something within us has given up on seeking wives from our own countries and look to places like Russia or Asia for an alternative. I'm not a sociologist but my best guess is that men from the West are looking for more "traditional" females. By "traditional" I mean something that resembles women from the fifties -- not a slave or an empty-headed shell, but a woman who can accept a man in a leadership role in a family. We look for someone who dresses nicely and bakes great cookies and isn't confrontational about things like politics. I didn't get any of these bonus points. My wife sees her as the alpha inhabitant, and isn't hesistant to shove me into a subservient position. She doesn't cook anything -- period. She doesn't do any sort of household work -- period. She used to dress nicely, but that has been displaced with wearing a sweat shirt for months. (Oh, I should add, she may very well be atypical in that she's suffering from depression -- so her appearance is probably due mostly to that.) We argue almost nightly about politics, religion, science, oh, you name it. But, we manage to do so with a certain amount of aplomb. We rarely get "ugly" with one another. She has a more emotional attitude about her opinions than myself. I don't press things too far.
This all probably sounds pretty bad -- a complete collapse of my expectations. In some ways, of course, yes it is, but, fortunately I have a very open mind, and I'm old enough now to not be merely confrontational or combative. The longer I live the less I feel confident in anything. So, I just let all of the disagreement flow. She seems to have a harder time with doing the same, thus I have to keep reminding her that we are not having an argument, merely a disagreement of ideas -- and I even concede that I may have a more scientific slant than her, but I do not discount anything -- a true confession about my perception of the universe.
Would I be having these same types of confrontations with an American wife -- quite possibly. I do not know. There are many American women who were born and raised with similar ideas about religion and man's place in this universe and anything that comes after. You just have to step back and let your partner feel a certain degree of breathing space within her own sphere. What's more important -- winning an argument or keeping the relationship intact? What's more important -- driving your spouse into a sense of tears or just having an exchange of thoughts and ideas? I'm just old enough now to see the benefits of backing off. Winning an argument is not worth the aftermath. As a friend once told me, try to imagine living with a person who had to win every argument, who with a more fluent ability to make an argument, sought to win each and every case without exemption.
Well, in this respect both sides are losers. Russian women marry men in the West and later find out that they have problems with alcohol or drug addiction or are generally just abusive. They could have gotten this by staying home. It may be fine that they have a bigger house or apartment and a Visa credit card, but that doesn't compensate for a husband who has as many problems as the guy they left in Vladivostok or wherever.
For men of the West, marrying a woman from a foreign country isn't necessarily the big payoff they were looking for either. Slowly but surely the bride must lift her veil and what is hidden underneath are the exact same ambiguities and tortuous logic that led them away from women from their own country in the first place. A woman from Russia has no less guile, deception, cruelty or other unsavory traits than her counterpart in the West possesses. These are tools born within a woman whether she was raised in Moscow or Wisconsin. It's genetic. The failings of men are also genetic. I have read that things are getting better where men are concerned inRussia. The newer generation is actually taking an interest in family matters and leave less of a burden upon their spouses. Hopefully, this is true.
I'm not sure about the current status of men in the US. As women become more and more "liberated" their dependency upon men diminishes. This stands to reason. For some time I have read that Afro-American males rather resembled what might be a declining tendency in Russian males -- that of forfeiting the family for alcohol and drugs. Maybe that is improving. For white males in the US the situation seems tenuous. As fewer women seek out white males to make families, men seem to drift. Feeling unneeded, they are trending toward a state of perpetual childhood, finding comfort in sports, television, games, gambling, pornography, and solitude.
This is all to illustrate that even though a viable mate seems unattainable in one's own country, the nature of our species seems universal, and seeking out an alternative from a foreign country is something of a fool's errand.
But I believe in love -- first as the thing that attracts two people together -- then as a kind of glue that holds the combination together through thick and thin.
More Personal Stuff That You Can Skip
I found my third wife, the Moscovite, through an agency. We exchanged a letter or two and that was it. I parlayed with a married woman or two and figured that my Russian friend must have certainly forgotten about me when these dalliances were finally over. By that time the Internet had been invented and I could visit a "Meet Russian Women" website. Out of boredom, I clicked through. And to my shock I came across a pic that resembled awoman with whom I corresponded (and even called once) several years prior. The photos were nothing alike, but I knew it had to be her. As a refresher, the initial agency that put me in contact with this woman supplied a photograph -- one of about five, I think. Upon gazing upon her photo, I thought, no, you twit, she is far too exquisite a creature for you. Nevertheless, I did write her a huge letter, and she responded (thanks to an interpreter). Somewhere within that letter was a telephone number that I did indeed call. We couldn't communicate. Her English was almost nonexistent and I knew no Russian. I caught her in a sorrowful state. She was without a job and distraught about what to do. I only heard her tears, and me, 6,000 miles away cried too because I could do nothing to help this girl who I thought of as a goddess.
So when I saw her face again on the Internet, I was elated. I don't remember exactly but I think I subscribed to the site and immediately sent her a message -- basically asking are you ... you? Maybe I had to send a letter and wait weeks for a response. I don't remember. No, I do remember now. It was a letter. The address shown on the Internet was wrong, but the letter reached her anyway -- and this is a miracle in itself given the Russian postal delivery service. Only by chance did the carrier know the true address of my old friend and heartthrob.
In any event my "unattainable" love was in fact just newly back in the market. The fact that I happened upon her is freakish. The fact that I recognized her is even more freakish because her first photo and the one on the Internet were drastically different. I attribute this to my having studied her first photo as a scientist might scrutinize a bacterium or how an anthropologist studies a few bone fragments and determines they are of the same species. I knew everything about her face, her eyes, so the photography was not a deterrent.
After a few weeks I received a response by mail. She included her phone number (the same as before).
I called, expecting the same kind of impossible dialogue we had had many months before. To my utter amazement, she had learned the English language to a degree I would not thought possible. Prior to this she had an affair with a German, and learned to speak the language in an unimaginably short period of time. The affair did not work out so she returned to Russia and decided to learn English, which she did in an equally short period of time. She found it easy.
Thus, when she picked up the phone and began fluently conversing with me in my own language, I nearly wept. It was too much to hope for, pray for, but there it was.
Flashback: During the summer preceding these occurrences, I was seated at my desk staring at my computer screen, either simply surfing or perhaps writing something into MS Word. The former is more likely. For no reason whatsoever, something entered my fairly empty-headed brain -- and this was very straightforward and matter-of-fact. I cannot call it a voice or anything like that. It was more of a very gentle implant. The implant "said" that by this time next year you will be married. I wasn't surfing match sites or anything of the kind. This "implant" came upon me like a gentle summer breeze through a window. The implant was so affirmative that all I could do was smile, and say to myself, "Well, what do you know." It wasn't a question that I asked myself. No, the implant was so affirmative that I just immediately accepted it. It ranks up there with the two or three strangest experiences of my life. I don't believe in God (nor I necessarily disbelieve), and I don't give much credence to the supernatural. But, this totally out of context "message," if I can call it that was beyond my reasoning. Oddly enough, I did not think too much about it. For me, it somehow existed as an implanted artifact in my consciousness. There was nothing to think about. It would be like thinking whether the sun will rise tomorrow.
Since the thought injected itself into my brain while I was idling away on subjects far afield of this, I never thought that this was some kind of wishful thinking. I was fully conscious and attentive to some trivia on the Internet when this profound revelation just juxtaposed itself upon my brain. After it happened, I could not help but recognize the strangeness of the event, but something else caused me not to dwell on it or look too deeply. This is also mysterious, as I'm not the type to disregard or dismiss anything that happens in my life without reflection.
A year later I was married to my Russian queen of queens. I don't know exactly why I added this last personal bit onto the Hub other than it has perplexed me. It's made me wonder about supernatural elements, about fate, about things that whisper to us from places we do not know, telling us of events we could never fathom.
But that non-whisper gave me all the confidence in the world. Previous to that, traveling all the way to Moscow on the chance that my good phone friend would also turn out to be my lifetime partner might way have seemed liked a damned fiasco, a good bit of lunacy. For whatever the lunacy, I followed it. And when I finally touched my good friend's hand, her face and later kissed her lips, I experienced an exalted sense of joy.
Love comes upon us, or sometimes we imagine so. Until one has experienced real love, it's hard to tell the difference. We just don't know. Does an abundance of caring constitute love? No, it doesn't. The object of our desire may come from many different sources. Mine began with an infatuation over a mere photograph. I looked keenly at this woman and thought, "Ah, if only I had the stuff necessary to be a composite." The lady seemed too beautiful, too exquisite for one such as I. We couldn't even speak the same language.
Then I had that strange message. I still don't know how to categorize it. When I found my old Russian friend once again, I understood everything. I proceeded boldly (totally unlike my usual self) and somehow convinced her we should be married. She hadn't received any secret messages about me and regarded my boldness with skepticism. I can hardly wonder why. I'm sure I didn't say anything about my message, lest she think me mad. I made no illusions whatsoever. I presented myself as I was and that was sufficient to win her over. When you meet the love of your life, you have no qualms about going on bended knees to ask her hand.
This is the difference between love and ultra-caring. With a love you automatically place yourself in a subordinate position. If their is equivocation about doing this, it isn't love, it's something else -- supreme caring or call it what you like. Only if you can bend down to your beloved, dropping tears upon her knees, can you be certain that you are fulfilling your destiny or whatever one might wish to phrase it.
Few men will submit to this unless they think it's some kind of ritual that must be performed. If a man is acting out of ritual, a woman will see this and not be persuaded. Women have an uncanny gift to look directly into your soul. If she senses something is false, your bent knees and charming words will be deflected. You may not even recognize the difference yourself. You may think you're doing everything right, so why is this turning out badly.
I mentioned before that I'm into my third marriage. How did things go askew with marriages one and two? The answers are easy. In marriage number one we shared this dreaded sense that no one would ever love us fully. So we bonded in a mutual illusion that we could fulfill one another -- a hopeless attempt from the onset. In marriage number two, my then girlfriend got pregnant. To legitimize the birth of my first born, I felt duty-bound to marry her. It seemed like the only "honorable" thing to do. But she and I hardly knew each other and were ill-suited for a sustainable relationship.
The only time I asked for someone's hand in marriage was with wife number three, my Russian princess. This was my act. No constraint, no hesitation. Finally, finally, I found someone who wasn't afraid of being passed by, who wasn't simply pregnant, someone who could take me or leave as she saw fit.
There was some equivocation on her part. She wondered whether I could really support her and her mother, as I was clearly just a middle-class sort of guy. Probably she she should have rejected my proposal, as sincere as it was, because as things turned out my second wife came after me for additional child support, then my health took a nose-dive, and became disabled. The promises I made to her turned to ash. I was no longer a knight in shining armor but someone bleeding profusely in a hospital and becoming an unrecoverable depressant ever since. Well, it hasn't always been pretty but we've stuck together. I've never once even considered leaving my wife for another, never even felt the temptation. I see lots of pretty faces and they make me smile -- in the same way that a three-year-old toddler looks at you hesitantly. You smile and even if they don't, you sense that you've released a kind of menace upon them. No, it's totally inconceivable leaving my wife for another woman. Yes, I know that men do the infidelity thing all the time, and I don't really get it. They say that in Europe having a mistress is no big thing. It's sort of expected that a man will eventually have a mistress.
When you get married you take certain vows. The vows may vary but at their root they all kind of point in the same direction -- that you are taking this one person above all others -- and I think that means sexually as well as other aspects. If a man (or woman) goes against his/her own vows then they mean nothing for the couple, and the marriage becomes a sham. I do not understand how a person can stand before a priest, a clergyman, or a public official, offer these vows, speak them aloud then just dismiss them when temptation strikes. Where is the integrity? Are people really so weak, so given over to their own immediate needs that vows they undertook (willingly) simply go out the window? Evidently, the answer is yes, because infidelity is rampant, and I don't see many people scuttling into a monastery or nunnery because of their "sins."
I'm not a moralist. I don't judge other people. I'm not a saint or an angel. I've had my thought crimes, but they don't consume me, and I do not act on them and know without a shadow of doubt that I never will. Lucifer doesn't spend any time with me because he knows he'd be talking to a brick wall.
Well, for heaven's sake, if you want your marriage to endure, you can't be peddling your goods or offering them to the best customer when things get dull.
Things are spelled out pretty clearly in the average marriage vows:
You'd think that the Catholic marriage vows would be heavily textured but they aren't. In fact they are one of the most simple.
"I, ___, take you, ___, for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part."
"I, ___, take you, ___, to be my husband/wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love and honor you all the days of my life."
It's all pretty simple, isn't it?
Marriage isn't a show, it isn't a pageantry. It's a communication between you and God, even if you don't believe in God. So, does a non-belief in God give you permission to act promiscuously? I don't think so. You still have to answer to someone, even if that someone is yourself. If you can utter words in a solemn occasion and have no feeling behind them, you are more like a nihilist than an atheist. An atheist doesn't believe in God. A nihilist believes in destruction.
So, be careful. Enter into marriage when you are mature enough to understand the simple terms of the vows. They seem simple on the surface, but below that there is a context that points right at YOU.
I cannot define love nor can I say why some people find it and others never do. Based on my two previous marriages, I know that there is a lot of phony love floating around. It's easy to "fall in love" but you aren't really falling into love, you're falling into your own sense of enhancement and need to be loved. There is no walking you out of this wilderness. It's one of those harsh lessons you have to learn first-hand. Because it's bitterly painful, you wouldn't accept a helping hand even if it was extended. Your instincts tell you to walk the path alone, and you will. The pain is all yours and cannot be divided up like some cake at a celebration.
Russian brides? Asian brides? It worked in my case but the trial is not easy or pleasant for either party. If, and this is a big IF, you happen to feel an overpowering connection with someone from a different country, I'd be the last one to say nay. Like that old Elvis song, "You've gotta follow that dream -- follow that dream to find the love you need" or something close to that.
Someone once said that "Love has it's reasons of which reason has no sense of." Again, that's a paraphrase from something in french so excuse me if my translation is a bit off, but I think I captured the essence.
Follow That Dream
Finding that perfect partner is a pointless pursuit. Perfection is unattainable, but if you can find someone from wherever on this globe, and your heart is committed, you have to pursue the cause -- like a round-table knight in quest of the Holy Grail. If you ignore the quest, you are admitting to a kind of cowardice and inconfidence. Pursue your dreams however remote and impossible they may seem. It just may pay off. Most of this acts out in your own imagination, but it doesn't make any difference. The girl you dream about may live across the street or on the other side of the world. Who is to say what is realistic and isn't?
Here's a cornball scene from an Elvis movie. The song isn't cornball. If you pursue your dream, and convince her that your heart is true, honest, good and steady, you have at least a 50/50 chance of success. You have to be realistic re. everything said above, but a woman (well, probably most women) are just waiting for a reasonable man to display his acquiesce and subordination. If you really love a woman, you'll have no problem genuflecting before her. This is advice only for those who feel 100% behind their commitment. And if you have the courage to go this far, never, never, forget your obsequiousness. Your honor, you integrity rests upon your commitments. Love your woman.