What do we really mean? Do we mean I will stand by you through thick and thin, good and bad, happy and sad times and everything in between? Do we mean no matter what, you are my choice out of all the others I might have chosen, even those who I haven’t met yet and who I might be tempted by in the future I will still choose you. Do we mean, even on those bad days when I don’t like you at all, when you are really an Azzhat, I will still love you and choose you over everyone else.
Is that what we mean when we say, I DO.
Marriage is rough; no matter how much time we spend trying to make certain we fit together we usually miss something. Sometimes it is the small stuff, you know stuff like he doesn’t replace the toilet paper when he uses the last of it or she squeezes the toothpaste from the middle. Sometimes it is stuff you can work through, stuff like she is a neat freak who thinks the bed must be made immediately upon arising or he is a slob who thinks the floor and the laundry basket are the same thing. Sometimes though it is stuff you thought you understood, you thought you talked about, you thought you understood about each other, maybe you forgot to ask or it just didn’t come up in conversation. Other times, well it is the stuff you talked about, just didn’t probe deeply enough; maybe something changed over the course of years, or maybe it didn’t change but in the rosy glow of ‘love’ you failed to hear what the other person really said.
Things like MONEY, RELIGION, FAMILY, FRIENDS. Yours, mine, ours and not so much.
What if you marry thinking the things you don’t ‘love’ or maybe even don’t like so much about your most beloved will change or worse yet that you will be able to change them. What if you fail to mention before the vows there aspects of your future spouse you wish were not part of their make-up, you like them just not their;
What if any or all of these things were simply things you thought you could either ignore or change? Well if any or all of these were part and parcel of the person you were planning to marry and you thought you could ‘fix’ them after the fact, you were in for a shocking awakening. In fact your marriage would soon look as if it had been hit by a colossal mudslide right through bedroom and on into the main living quarters.
Strange list above, isn’t it? Yet, those are personality traits, habits and choices a person brings with them into a relationship and thus a marriage. You knew it at the start; you lived with whatever is bothering you throughout your romance; why in the world would you think anything was going to change once you said your vows? Do you think your vows are magic? Guess again, the mud is covering every last bit of all the presents, you might not have even gotten the thank you cards out the door yet.
Obviously, there are some of those things that can be negotiated if both partners are willing and the problem is approached with some sensitivity. Let’s look at just a couple of the list.
- I love you, I want to live with you for a very long time I wish you would stop smoking
- I love you, when you drink to excess it concerns me and I wish you would spend more time with me doing healthy things.
These are perhaps ways you could approach problems that affect the health and well-being of a loved one. These open the door to conversation, negotiation and compromise over time.
- If you get another tattoo, I will leave you.
- If you change your hairstyle from the way I like it (color or cut) I won’t think you are beautiful.
These are obviously not good strategies for compromise or negotiation. This is especially true if the person you married was already tattooed, which is a body integrity and personal choice issue. You do not get to choose for another person after the fact. You should never use threats as a form of negotiation.
- You don’t fit in with my family and I will not stand up and defend my choice of you.
- With this one holidays become nothing but stress. Resentment flairs as one or the other of you are not with family or are alone.
- I won’t spend holidays with your family, they are not mine and I would rather not be engaged.
- Again, you are forced to choose between your spouse and your family. Resentment build over time as you make excuses for his/her absence from dinners and other gatherings.
The last one, family tends to be a hot button for many couples. Love them or hate them, when you marry your spouse you marry the family it is a package deal. You must be willing to say to your family, this is the person I love, this is the person I choose and I will brook no evil towards my spouse. If you don’t believe you are able to stand before your family in defense of your spouse you should reconsider your decision to marry. Either you are marrying the wrong person and you will never have peace in your home or you are not ready to marry, not ready to set aside childish things.
Believe me the resulting muck and mud will stick to everything, it will pile up in the corners and you will not be able to shovel it out fast enough.
When you get through all the nonsense that annoys the holy hell out of you, maybe you still like each other at the end of the day. Perhaps at the end of the first year (a hard one) you don’t want to start a bonfire with your wedding pictures and burn your spouse at the stake in effigy. Maybe you haven’t raised a white flag yet and said this is far too difficult, good for you Miracle One (1).
Did you get this far because you didn’t bother to mention all the stuff that annoyed you? I will just bet you did. You likely fought about nonsense and didn’t bother to mention all the really wicked things rolling around in your head. Let me give you a clue, just a small hint believe me you will thank me for it.
DO NOT BE SILENT FROM FEAR.
Marriage is hard work; the miracle is some of us sometimes make it through decades and still like each other. People stop in here all the time and tell me they have been married for 30, 40 and even more years and their spouse is their best friend and greatest love. I am in awe of them. My father found his soul mate and the love of his life in his sixties, they had twenty great years together.
DO NOT BE SILENT FROM FEAR.
It isn’t right to want to change your spouse. But, if the person is truly who you love, flaws and all then love them with everything you have, flaws and all. If they don’t love you back in the same way and in the way you need, well time to think about what you really do need from life. It isn’t going to be for them to change, it might be though that you need to make a change. We can’t force another person to love us no matter how much we might love them.
I am not going to be silent from fear. I am going to ask for what I need, the rest well it is up for discussion.