Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Monday, August 24, 2015

Marriage is Not a Test Drive…

It’s for real and for life. Or, at least, that’s the way it is supposed to be.

Although the divorce rate is not as high as most people think – 50% of all marriages are NOT ending in divorce, according to the Census Bureau. 72% of those who have ever been married, are still married to their first spouse! We have been both accepting and adding to a deep sense of cultural discouragement about marriage by continuing to quote a distorted statistic. In affect it’s a discouragement that instead of motivating couples, leeches hope from marriages. A discouragement that, it turns out, is based more on myth than reality.

WEDTestDriveRegardless… The divorce rate is still too high because couples give up, they begin to take each other for granted, they stop working on the relationship and then they let it fall apart. The effects of divorce on couples and especially children is difficult to calculate.

A good marriage takes your whole heart. Selfish people can’t pull it off. Having a healthy marriage is not easy. It’s takes working together, even when you don’t feel like it. A total commitment from both partners must be your highest priority.

Love is never enough.

The vows that you say during your wedding ceremony must be taken seriously. True, they are just words, and are easy to say when you are excited about being in love. However, vows are a solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment to your partner; a solemn promise often made to a deity committing oneself to an act, service, or condition.

Test driving a marriage often comes from those who enter a marriage knowing that there are issues that need to be settled, but they proceed hoping it will get better and all work out and knowing all the while that they can always get a divorce if it doesn’t. That kind of thinking is a recipe for disaster. Marriage works out for those who not only speak the vows, but actually have an intention to keep them – no matter what it takes.

There are only a few legitimate reasons why couples should get a divorce. Cheating is not necessarily one of them. Although difficult, you always have a choice to forgive. I’ve seen couples who, with the help of a good coach, forgive and very quickly shift their focus to the work of having a happy and healthy relationship – totally new and exciting again. It can happen.

Continuous emotional and especially physical abuse is number one! Death, divorce, or separation do not end a relationship, they only change it. As long as you have memory, you will have a relationship. So, my best advice: Forget divorce if you want the relationship to end. It won’t. You may be better off both agreeing to begin working on the relationship you are presently in.

“Test driving a car is very similar to driving the same car after you have bought it. But living with someone before you are married is nothing like living with the same person after you are married. The relationship is totally different.” ~ Rabbi Aron Moss

Rabbi Moss goes on to say that if you follow the traditional system – first use the mind and do some research, then slowly introduce the heart when you meet – you are more likely to make it. First find out about their values and their character. Do they see marriage as an ideal, do they believe in family, are they committed and focused in their personal life, do they have integrity and trustworthiness, are they good-natured and considerate? If so, they might be a good match.

Cohabitation puts men in the driver’s seat. They get what they want – sex and companionship – without giving what they fear the most – commitment.

Only 30 percent of couples who live together actually get married. (Source: John D. Cunningham and John K. Antill, “Cohabitation and Marriage: Retrospective and Predictive Comparisions,” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 11 (1994), pp. 77-93.) Damage does occur when couples choose to live together. Marriage cements love with a commitment. Living together leaves you vulnerable, causing you to doubt the level of your partner’s dedication. It’s the adult version of playing house.

SHESproposingCohabitation fosters enough intimacy to facilitate childbearing but not enough commitment to make people deliberate about their choices to become parents.

“When a woman makes marriage the condition for giving herself to a man, she may lose a guy who has no interest in commitment, but she will challenge a “good man” to take the step of a marriage covenant. Feminists tout that cohabitation gives women freedom and independence rather than being tied to a man. However, women are far more likely to flourish economically and emotionally within the stability of marriage.” ~ Dr. Juli Slattery

Getting married is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. Reality check – the decision to get married is unlike any other decision – it’s not a temporary commitment. The marriage license does not expire after it’s been filed at the court house. Please…take some time to really get to know each other. I may be old fashion, but from my experience as a relationship coach for nearly 20 years, a long engagement – one year or more – (while not living together) seems to work best. The longer couples wait to make that first serious commitment of marriage, the better their chances for marital success.

Before you make the commitment to get married, if there is any doubt… any doubt at all, do not pass GO… do not collect… in other words do not get married. I can assure you that the odds are it will NOT get better after marriage.

In playing house and stocking up on premarital Ikea furniture are we all heightening our risk for divorce? (Although the time it takes to put some of that stuff together might suggest otherwise.) 😉 A new study from the nonpartisan Council on Contemporary Families says, “No.” Moving in before marriage doesn’t automatically make you a divorce statistic. Choosing a partner way too early, however, just might.

You should never rush something that you want to last forever!

BONUS Article: Everything We Think We Know About Marriage and Divorce is Wrong!!
Divorce Does Not Have to Be a Nasty Break-up!
Who Would You Have to Become?
Ending the Test-Drive
Think Long and Hard…
Sociological Reasons Not to Live Together
The Work of a Successful Marriage Begins After You Say, “I do!”
Tie Up Your Loose Ends Before You Tie The Knot

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Click for Larry’s Wedding Website!

Copyright © 2015 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. 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: Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 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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