I ask these questions and pose these scenarios because I am in a field where every day I see families and relationships fall apart that could have been saved had they prepared for the challenge of marriage. I see more people preparing for a hurricane than they do for a lifelong commitment. My daughter is right; we aren’t wired to stay committed for a lifetime with one person. That’s exactly why we must prepare if we are to continue the marriage lifestyle for our own and our children’s well being. We must understand that love changes, we change, and the marriage will change year after year. The determining factor of the success of your marriage is the two people joined together. Families, friends, and children can influence your marriage, but at the end of the day the race is being run by you and your spouse. The five suggestions below will help you prepare for the challenge of a married lifestyle.
1. On your bridal registry, make sure marital counseling is on the list of gifts. If possible, try to get at least two sessions prior to your marriage. Those sessions will be worth their weight in gold.
2. Surround yourself with couple friends who are committed to their marriage. Divorces are contagious and friends who aren’t faithful many times hang around other people who aren’t faithful.
3. If your parents are divorced, look for a family member who can help mentor a healthy marriage lifestyle for you. This will help when you hit a rocky time in your marriage (you will hit a rocky time because that is part of life as well as marriage).
4. Have a faith or spiritual philosophy you both share. Couples who pray together stay together (usually).
5. As quickly as possible, identify “hot areas” in your marriage. These are areas that when opened create arguments or problems. Don’t marry someone who has a “hot area” that makes you uncomfortable. It is better to walk away than believe you can change someone. As a general rule, if there is ANYTHING you cannot discuss with your potential partner, DO NOT MARRY THEM.
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A healthy marriage is a gift we give ourselves, our spouse and our children for generations to come. It requires dedication, selflessness, and forgiveness. Every human I know has difficulty with these virtues at times. Therefore, we are all prone to failing our marriage. Knowing that keeps me working on my marriage. It is the greatest challenge in my life, the longest race, and I hope to finish it in my husband’s arms. Re-commit to your spouse, and get back in the race. –Mary Jo Rapini
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Tags: Marriage, Communication, Commitment