By Sheila Sanda
With divorce rates being what they are , tying the knot might seem more intimidating than ever. However, by understanding what marriage entails and clarifying your expectations, you can overcome your nuptial-phobia and make an informed decision on whether or not to get married.
Determine what exactly you are scared of: Most people don’t fear marriage itself but rather, its implications and potential failure. What do you think will change? What’s the worst possible scenario that’s paralyzing your views on marriage?
Address your fears: If your parents had a bad marriage, understand that every marriage is different, and just because theirs wasn’t healthy doesn’t mean yours can’t be. If you’re worried about the marriage falling apart, make a list in your mind of what you can and will do to make the marriage work. Imagine all the scenarios that make you scared and then, imagine what you will do in that specific situation to make it better.
It can also help to re-evaluate your failed relationships. How or where did they go wrong? Talk with your significant other about their past relationships and try to determine why those did not work out. Understanding what went wrong in the past can help you avoid the same issues this time around.
Talk it over: Ask anybody you know of in a successful marriage to tell you their secrets. Usually, it’s something like, “we overlook each other’s minor bad habits.” But most of all, express your concerns to your partner. This is the perfect opportunity to exercise the communication skills that are essential for any healthy relationship to last, and your partner should be understanding and helpful.
Decide whether you have chosen the person you want to spend the rest of your life with: Or, have they chosen you and you’re now being pressured into marriage? It might not be marriage itself that you fear, but marriage to this person. A good nugget of wisdom to remember is that you shouldn’t marry the person you know you can live with for the rest of your life; marry the one whom you can’t imagine yourself living without.
Realize that you are not going to live in harmony every second of every day you are married: You are not perfect, and neither is your partner – married or not. If you’re waiting to be with someone with whom every day is rainbows and sunshine, you’ll never settle down or get married because no one will ever be able to live up to that illusion.
Marriage is hard work and it takes your whole life to complete it. Too many people get married with the expectation that if things start to get tough, they’ll just file for divorce and start all over again. Be prepared for the bumps in the road, and don’t be surprised when you come across them.
Plan your life:Sit down and iron things out before you get married. Will you have children? How many? Who will manage the money? Will both spouses work? How much will you save for retirement? Where will you live? Who gets which responsibility? If the husband can still go out to bars with his buddies, can the wife still do the same?
These are the difficult, yet practical questions to ask before you commit yourself to somebody for the rest of your life. Don’t discover the answers the hard way when there’s already a ring on your finger. It’s better to foresee conflict and prevent it. If you have a healthy relationship, the questioning process will bring you closer.
Common issues that drive married couples apart are money, religion and children, in that order. Do your best ahead of time to make sure you’re on the same page on these issues, and you’ll go a long way to even the long-term odds.
Do some introspection about sexual exclusivity: Many people have healthy and committed relationships which include clear agreements on sexual primacy without sexual exclusivity. Don’t let societal standards dictate what makes you and your mate happy. Many people are afraid of the prospect of lifelong sexual exclusivity