marriage is not built on surprises

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divorce is sad.

 i think most of us would agree with this statement. it creates a culture where families are no longer secure, where children are hurt the most, where the bonds that should help us all shelter the storms that life brings our way are often violently torn apart. i can’t think of anything else that is so prevalent and yet so destructive in our society today.

just yesterday i learned of two more families i know being broken apart by divorce. it’s everywhere.

i am definitely a proactive complainer, or at least i’d like to be better at this. i hate complaining just to complain. so i thought, “what needs to be changed to lower the divorce rates?” and while this is an extremely complicated question and in NO WAY am i arguing that i’m an expert on the topic nor am i the best to answer it, i found something that i think might be a big part of the answer.

drumroll, please … … … … … … … … … …

if you were hoping for a magic answer to this question, look elsewhere. i don’t believe in magic answers. and luck really has nothing to do with it either. i don’t believe in pure luck. i think that we make our own luck, in small dedicated ways every day… this is ESPECIALLY true in marriage. take thomas jefferson’s quote on the subject: “i’m a great believer in luck, and i find the harder i work, the more i have of it.”

so, it’s not left to luck or chance or one magic answer, so what is it? an article i came across in the new york times may be a start in the right direction. it could help a couple that’s marriage-bound create the kind of luck that we think is thrown at us in life. the article lists a few straightforward (although sometimes blunt) questions that couples should ask eachother BEFORE getting married. key word: BEFORE.

these questions are not always easy to bring up, but wouldn’t you rather talk about them before you have kids, before you own a car and a home together, before you make long-term goals and settle into a life with the other person? i know i would. i can name 5 married couples i know that did not answer some of these questions before walking down the aisle. are their marriages in jeopardy? not necessarily, but even they would admit that it would have made their relationships stronger.

talking about these issues – finances, kids, careers, friends, parents, needs, desires, spirituality – in a straightforward way before committing to stay with a person for the rest of your life should be an essential part of the pre-wedding prep. between all of the dress-buying, decoration-choosing, cake-tasting, vow-writing, honeymoon-planning there should be considerable time given to discussing these important issues. i’m not usually one for relationship rules, but i know i’ll make it part of my to-do list, whether it feels uncomfortable or not. it’s only fair to each other.

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see what you think about the questions …

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2 Responses

  1. this “list” is such a great idea. i’m totally bringing these issues up before i get married. thanks for letting us know about it, anna!

  2. Great, I agree with you totally. It’s not about luck. Marriage requires you to work at it. I saw those questions in the Newspapers. It has many of the ones I’ve thought of. I plan to use them in a pre-marital, engaged and newly wed couples workshop I’m doing on the 13th and the 20th. I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist in the business of preventing divorce which is so devastating and enhancing marriages. and interpersonal relationships. Thank you for your comment. I’m going to use those questions. Now I have more question for my workshop and participants can have more to think about.

    Mey

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