Marriage can be a major mood booster, say a new Ohio State University study. Of 3,000 single, divorced, and widowed participants, those who married during the five-year study ended up in better spirits than the ones who stayed single.
“Marriage provides unique emotional and financial support,” says Adrianne Frech, a coauthor of the study. “The intimacy, the expanded family and friend network, and the greater sense that one matters to someone else all might be reasons for increased happiness.”
Contemplating marriage? Think again.
One caveat… Be sure you are getting married for the right reasons. Too many people fail to ask themselves why they are getting married and end up marrying for the wrong reasons. Don’t get roped into a premature commitment.
Reasons not to get married include getting married due to love at first sight, sexual attraction, to cure loneliness, as an act of rebellion, rebound love, out of obligation, pressure, pregnancy, and for financial gain. Some of these reasons are selfish and do not take in consideration the other partner’s feelings.
Because you are pregnant is never the right reason. While pregnancies out of wedlock are on the rise, so are divorces.
Here are a few more reasons to say, “I don’t!”
• Because everyone is supposed to get married
• Want to be free from parents.
• To be happy.
• To show you are an adult.
• He or she loves you.
• To save or help someone.
• Because all your friends are married.
• Out of fear that no one else will want to marry you.
• For immigration purposes.
• You are tired of being single, you’re getting older and your biological clock is ticking.
• You don’t want people gossiping about the two of you living together.
• You happen to be in Las Vegas.
When you marry for any of the above reasons you will most likely will be disappointed with what follows and those couples too frequently end up in divorce court. Most of the wrong reasons usually demonstrate the level of your self image – how you really feel about yourself. Know who you are. Before you can devote your love to someone else, you must first love yourself. Have you given yourself enough time to grow and mature on your own?
You alone are responsible for your own happiness. Too many people get married hoping their partner will fix their lives and make them happy. Someone else cannot make you happy. That is way too much responsibility to put on your partner and it’s a task they cannot complete. Happiness is a personal choice.
You think getting married will solve your problems? NOT! Seldom do I find that the wrong reason to get married ever becomes the right reason. Marrying for the right reasons is taking care of you from the very beginning.
“Because you love someone is not always the right reason. Love is not all it takes to make a long-term relationship work. If this is what is leading you to the alter stop and simply savor this someone you love. Don’t burden the relationship with marriage.” ~ Jonathan Goodman-Herrick
Ah! Love. That’s what marriage is all about isn’t it? Marriage isn’t what we see in the movies. Do we really understand what love is? Is there love at first sight? Lust, maybe, but true love takes time to grow. Marriages based on sexual attraction usually do not survive. Besides love, a lot of other factors are important to consider when deciding whether to take that next step.
I believe that the main “right” reason is because you are in love AND you have been together long enough to know you are compatible and you are both deeply committed to the long-term process of learning and loving together. Being compatible in a marriage is having the ability to adapt to and accept the constant changes that naturally occur. A strong foundation for marriage includes compatibility, trust, and open and honest communication.
When you talk together about life, your prejudices must be congruent. By that I mean, you see life the same way. A lack of communication is a leading reason for divorce. Divorcees often complain that their partner never listened or avoided conversations with them. You also must be good at working out your differences. Research indicates that one common theme among long-lasting marriages involves an ability to work out conflict together. You also need to share common interests and be willing to forgive when necessary.
“All relationships have conflicts. The couples that can talk out their differences, surmount the conflict, and agree on a compromise last. The partners that trigger anger and resentment in one another or are unable to talk about their differences often can’t sustain marriage.” ~ Michele Weiner Davis, Author of “The Sex-Starved Marriage” and “The Sex-Starved Wife“
Here is some advice: NEVER be in a rush to get married! It worries me when I interview a bride and groom who come to me to perform their marriage ceremony and when I ask them how long they have been together, they say, “Two months” or even 6 to 12 months. REALLY? The hormones are dancing and that seldom can be long enough to know you are compatible with each other. That is not even long enough to recognize the difference between love and lust. Take some time to examine the personality and character of the person that you plan to marry. I mean… really take some time!
Marriage is supposed to be a lifelong commitment that lasts well beyond your wedding day. It is not the cure to loneliness and will not make your life more meaningful. Thinking that someone will “complete you” is crazy!
I believe that both partners should be at approximately the same level of spiritual maturity. I have found the more two people are spiritually compatible and are at the approximate same level of maturity, the stronger the marriage will be. Then, there is always the issue – if both are from different spiritual practices – which spiritual concept will you teach and raise your children?
Another good reason is that your partner knows all of your faults and loves you anyway! If both your hearts are in the right place, marriage can add tremendous happiness and value to your life.
Always remember, marriage is not about taking; it’s about giving. Never stop doing the things that brought you together in the first place!
If you are having serious doubts about marriage… don’t get married! Serious doubts are a big red flag.
BONUS Article: What is Love? – If you are going to read this at the office, caution: There is music!
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Website. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.
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