A question I received from a male reader: What are three things you would tell someone getting married?
Someone just asked me the other day, “How can you give relationship advice to married couples when you are divorced?”
My answer to him was, “It is BECAUSE I am divorced that I can offer such good marital advice, which is what my reader was probably thinking when he sent me his question.
Here are three things I would tell any man or woman getting married:
- Whatever bugs you now is what you are getting. In fact, it will bug you more as time goes by. Love him or her for who he or she is, or don’t go through with it. Dating is very different than living with someone and seeing them ALL the time, every morning, every night, the entire weekend. Marriage is COMMITMENT so make sure you are OK with all of his or her weird little habits, things that might annoy you, and issues they have. Because, they are here to stay.
- You are marrying his or her family. What that means is, you are going to be spending lots of time with them. Holidays, weekends, birthdays…especially when you have children. The second aspect of this is, the person’s family is their family and that is a very very strong bond. In fact, there is nothing stronger than blood. So, while your husband/wife might get annoyed with his/her family, you cannot badmouth them or it will only create problems in your marriage. My advice is, don’t butt in. Let your spouse deal with stuff his or her family might do. It’s OK for him or her to complain about them, but you are not allowed. Lastly, Childhood experiences always come back to people, especially as they get older and become parents. So, if things in childhood weren’t so dreamy for the person you are going to marry, ask yourself if that person has gotten help, if he or she is dealing with the issues, or just sweeping them under the rug. Because, as time goes by, those issues always come up.
- Like is more important than love. I have been in love before and not really liked the person. It’s very difficult, but look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Do I like him or her?” Because, marriage is about being a team and being best friends, and teams and friendships are impossible if you don’t like the person. By the way, trust is right up there with like. Not only do I mean trust, in the sense that you don’t think he or she is going to cheat on you. What I mean by trust is, do you trust in this person for life? Do you think he or she is going to do something that might mess things up for you financially? Do you trust them to be the mother or father of your child?
I can’t resist adding a 4th thing, which is: You can always back out. That IS an option. It’s never too late to say, “You know, this doesn’t feel right and I have decided not to go through with it. I’m so sorry.” Even if it’s your wedding day.
If you are getting married, remember that the whole concept of marriage is FOREVER. I think people forget that, and are short-sighted, and that’s how divorce happens.
But if you have faith and trust in that person, you really like and love him or her, and you can see yourself in an assisted living facility with him or her 40 years from now, the decision should be a no-brainer. One last tip: Listen to your gut. It is never wrong.