Everyone knows that there are ups and downs to putting a ring on it! Yet, thousands of couples get married every year. Love seems to be the main reason. What’s Love got to do with it? A lot. AND Love is never enough!
Love usually tops the list with most people. Companionship is a close second. Marriage usually involves tradition, religion, family and/or culture. Signing papers conveys respectability. You don’t need a marriage certificate or label to be happy. It’s a public declaration of love for each other. It is a promise of fidelity. It’s socially acceptable.
Demographers project that at least 80 percent of Americans will marry at some point in their lives. Love does not make for a strong enough foundation. It is far from “all you need.” Love alone will not carry you the distance. It is not something that can stand alone. Mature Love is more than whatever you think marriage is.
Marriage isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. A healthy relationship takes constant attention to it. It’s something you must work on all the time, not only when it’s broken and needs to be fixed.
Aaron T. Beck, M.D., author of “Love is Never Enough” says, there is an art to loving and being loved. The ingredients in mature love are:
• Feelings of warmth
• Expressions of affection
I would add 6 others:
• Working together – Teamwork
• Best friends
• Keep Romance Alive
• Shared Goals
The list above is but a small gathering of traits that we must become skilled in to have a long-lasting, healthy relationship. It’s a list that couples contemplating marriage should become familiar with because those traits are a part of being hitched.
According to most relationship experts, effective communication is one of the most difficult to master. In my mind, so is undelivered communication. We often don’t say what we know we should because the last time we did, someone got upset and we don’t want to go through that again, so we close down, don’t say anything and when our partner asks, “What’s wrong?” we say nothing. The next time our partner doesn’t take out the garbage we want a divorce and it’s not about the garbage… it’s about all the things we didn’t say.
It’s important to take communication one step further. It’s one thing to have great conversations when you are dating and quite another to know how to communicate when problems surface. No yelling is the #1 rule. Keep it calm. No name calling. You can learn to express your anger or disappointment in a responsible and loving way. That must be a high priority.
“If you want your relationship to work, let go of your demands and expectations for how your partner should be, and make peace with the way they are. Do your best to empower them and do everything you can to make sure they feel loved, accepted and appreciated.” ~ Bill Ferguson
So, why get married? Marriage is the ultimate level of commitment that our society recognizes. A marriage commitment puts a protective shell around your relationship that helps keep your bond strong when there are bumps in the road – it gives couples a sense of security that they’ll stay together no matter what. It’s serious business. You have finally identified each other as your this-is-it, once-in-a-lifetime partner.
Tax breaks should never be a good reason to get married. It’s a benefit, but not a good reason. Another benefit is that married people live longer than single people. A 2006 study performed by University of California researchers contended that single people are five times more likely to die of infectious disease, nearly 40% more likely to die of heart disease and twice as likely to die accidentally.
More sex, anyone? A study done by the Kinsey Institute, for example, suggests that 23% of non-married men periodically go a year without sex, while only 1% of married men experience 12-month dry spells. 😉 Procreation has always been a factor in why people marry.
A final reason people want to get married is the gala event the wedding has become. The wedding is not the marriage. Everyone is there to celebrate you and your love for one another. Weddings are beautiful events. I know. I’ve performed hundreds of wedding ceremonies. When the couple truly understand what “marriage” is really about… something wonderful happens as that leave the alter and step into their new life together.
“All these promises we make, and we break, why is it that people get married? Because we need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet, I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything, the good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things, all of it, all the time, everyday. You’re saying, your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness.” ~ Susan Sarandon, in the movie, “Shall We Dance”
The truth is that when love wanes (and all the things that love entails), the marriage gets shaky; when the romance stops, the nuptials generally crumble. However, when you put in the extra effort required to make a marriage work, over time it becomes a strong, healthy, long-term relationship that can endure.
Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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