We all know what the wedding is. It’s a celebration of Love between two people who love each other and want to be together, raise a family and live happily ever after. However, the wedding is merely a big show that publicly tells everyone that a partnership has been made between two people.
There is one time when the show must not go on. When the wedding ceremony and the celebration ends, the marriage begins. By understanding the difference between the two, many more women and men, might begin the think longer and harder about rushing into a marriage.
Most everyone who has ever been married will agree that the first couple of years is probably the most difficult. The honeymoon phases hasn’t ended… or has it. The first couple of years should be a great time for the couple because the couple should be enjoying their new lives together as wife and husband. Unfortunately, this belief is not as true as previously thought. Why are the first several years of a marriage between two people who are suppose to be happily and madly in love so difficult so early in their marriage? Perhaps it’s because the newlyweds are finally in a marriage! The wedding is over. Reality sometimes really gets their attention.
Many couples begin to realize that they were so in love with the idea of getting married and having an amazing wedding that they never gave much thought about life after the “I dos!” They finally see that they might not actually know and in some cases even love their partner as much as they thought they did because the desire of a fabulous wedding was what really mattered to them at the time. Love and commitment for their new partner must continue to be a high priority after the wedding for marriage to work. The ceremony IS the wedding, but the wedding in NOT the marriage.
There is good news. It may surprise you to know that the myth that half of all marriages end in divorce is simply not true. According to the Census Bureau, 72% of those who have ever been married, are still married to their first spouse. And the 28% who aren’t, includes everyone who was married for many years, until a spouse died. No-one knows what the average first-marriage divorce rate actually is, but based on the rate of widowhood and other factors, we can estimate it is probably closer to 20 – 25%. For all marriages (including second marriages, and so on), it is in the 31 – 35% range, depending on the study.
According to sociologists Jeffrey Dew and W. Bradford Wilcox, married couples who spend time alone talking or doing an activity together at least once a week were 3.5 times more likely to be happier than those who did not. Learn to communicate better.
Seems pretty easy to achieve, except for the fact that most Americans are extremely busy. Dew also reported that among married couples without children, time spent with each other’s spouse declined from 35 hours to 26 each week. Much of this was due to each person needing (or wanting) to spend more time at work. And those with children saw a decrease of 13 hours per week to nine, likely due to an increase in time spent with their children.
A study from the National Marriage Project found that more and more young adults today are delaying marriage because they see it as a capstone that comes after achieving one’s life goals – professional and otherwise. Marriage used to be a given. Now it is a choice. These days, a happy marriage requires a serious commitment of time and energy that can be difficult to maintain.
If you are thinking of getting married… think long and hard about rushing into it. Rushing is a big mistake. Spend some time to be together. Be patient. It’s okay to take your time to really get to know each other. Get to know his/her family. Spend time with happily married couples. Ask questions. Premarital counseling/coaching is always a good idea… before the engagement – not after. Hold off on having children until you are really ready to be a parent. Children truly change the dynamic of marriage. Have you discussed religion, children, careers, division of labor, in-laws and geography with your partner? If not, how do you anticipate that you’ll be able to successfully merge your two lives together?
As a full-time wedding officiant and relationship coach, it raises a red flag for me when I ask a couple who have contacted me to perform their wedding ceremony – “How long that have been together,” and the answer is anywhere from two months to a year. Long engagements are a good thing. Never let fear of being single cause you to move forward with marriage until you are absolutely sure you are ready for a long-term commitment. You must have a healthy respect for commitment.
Marriage makes a relationship Divine. Getting married means that something bigger than both of you is bringing you together. Something wonderful happens after the wedding ceremony and as you walk hand in hand into a new life together. Publicly declaring your love in front of friends and family in a formal ceremony, and then signing a marriage license that legally seals the deal can make your twosome feel meaningful in a way that simply living together long-term might not. Simply using the terms “wife” and “husband” causes couples to think of each other in a more permanent, you’re a part of me/I’m a part of you way.
Avoiding marriage before your late 20s and dating a partner for at least two years will greatly reduce your risk of things falling apart in the future. Only fools rush in.
The key is to spend as much time talking together about your marriage – before marriage – as you did in planning all the details of your wedding!
Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister 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 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.
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