Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Till Death Do Us Part???

I really hate to be the bearer of bad news… but “till death do us part” isn’t working very well, at least in Arizona.

Arizona is one of 14 states where divorce rates are higher than the national average, according to the U.S. Census Bureau report, which used data from the 2009 American Community Survey. The Census Bureau found that divorce declined noticeably around the country between 2008 and 2009, but not necessarily in Arizona and there was no explanation for it.

neverrushWhen I began performing wedding ceremonies in 2002 one of the first things I did was to take out the words, “till death do us part” from the wedding ceremony. Not because of divorce stats, but because I felt there was a much better way to say the same thing differently. Those words are usually in the wedding vows that the bride and groom repeat to each other. I substituted the words with, “I say these words because I love you and choose to live the rest of my life with you.” Many ceremonies do not have a place in the ceremony where the bride and groom say, “I love you” to each other unless they write those words in. The words I added accomplishes both things… “I love you” and “choose to live the rest of my life with you.” Talking about death in a celebration of Love just doesn’t seem right to me.

It’s sad that many couples have no idea what it really takes to have a healthy relationship that lasts. Although it is not required, I always suggest that it’s a good idea to get a premarital “tune-up” before they tie the knot by getting relationship coaching. I also encourage them to consider the “potential” of coaching especially if one of the partners isn’t really in favor of coaching.

I can tell them what they might accomplish if they work together, but they both have to look forward to and have a “belief” in the potential that comes from that accomplishment. When that happens, the often begin to feel a closer connection and think of reasons why the relationship will work. When a couple is deep in the mire of discomfort, it is often not easy to think about the potential of the relationship. If they can understand the how they might feel toward each other if that discomfort is gone, they often will begin to do the work necessary to get their act together.

I say all that to say this… forget about “till death do us part” and focus on the present moment – moment by moment, day by day, week by week, etc. Relationships – the ones that last – takes a mutual intention to the type of commitment that has couples do “whatever it takes” to make them work and last! In other words, a mutual focus on the relationship – making the relationship a top priority.

It’s not going into the marriage hoping it will work, but knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that both partners are ready for marriage and committed to settling down and dealing with the little things as well as the big things that often show up when two people get together. Remember, women and men are different. It’s important to learn about those differences “before” marriage, otherwise you are in for a few surprises. Adapt. That’s a word that hopefully will help.

Jumping into marriage hoping your partner will change after marriage is a plan destined to fail. Life doesn’t work that way.

It worries me when talking with couples about their wedding and I ask, “How long have you been together?” and they say 4 months or 6 months or even a year. STOP! Think! Is that really enough time to get to know each other? It’s doubtful.

Dr. Karen Sherman, MFT, NCC, PhD, offers a few questions that you should discuss before the wedding. Honestly communicating the answers to these questions will assist you in getting to know each other better.

• Will you have kids and, if so, how will you raise them?
• Will they be raised under one religion?
• How do you expect to discipline them?
• How will you manage your finances?
• What individual assets and debts will you bring to the marriage?
• Who will pay the bills?
• Will you have a savings plan?
communicate2• How will you save?
• How will you spend free time?
• How do you expect to spend it – together or individually?
• Will you still have time with friends that doesn’t include each other?
• Do you have expectations about sex?
• How often will you have sex?
• When is a good time?
• How will you keep your sex life from getting boring?
• How will you share sexual fantasies and desires?
• Do you have any boundaries when it comes to intimacy?
• How will you divvy up chores?
• If your spouse cooks dinner, are you expected to clean the dishes, pots and pans?
• Who will keep up with the maintenance around the house?
• Who will mow the lawn or take out the trash?
• What can you do to openly communicate?
• How can you make sure that you keep your communication as good as it is now?
• How will you make sure to handle your conflicts appropriately?
• Will you check in with each other at the end of the day or once a week?
• What can you do as an individual to make sure that you keep the health of your marriage a priority?
• Do you have any annoyances?
• What annoys you?
• What annoys your spouse-to-be?
• How will you let each other know when certain habits or behaviors bother you?
• How is it best to tell the other person about things regarding family that are upsetting?
• If the relationship is needing help, will you be brave enough to ask for help?
• and the list goes on!

One question I would add is, “Ask yourself why. Why this person, why right now?”

You cannot be a commitment-phobe. Acceptance. Another important word. Learn to accept the little annoyances.

A relationship is something that must be worked on all the time, not only when it’s broken and needs to be fixed. It’s making darn sure each partner is doing what it takes to be committed to making it work. It’s not easy. But then nothing worth while is seldom easy.

AND… if you are having issues, never be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help is not a weakness. Asking for help demonstrates a need to make the relationship one you can be proud to be in.

Larry’s NOTE: Every bride and groom I marry receives a “Relationship Coaching Certificate” ($120 Value) good for one hour of free coaching anytime after the wedding ceremony.

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Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. 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 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (96 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.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Need Your Spirit Lifted? – Get Hitched!

Filed under: Having Second Thoughts?,Marriage Tips! — Larry James @ 8:00 am

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!”

doubtingbride• 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

marriedcoupleAh! 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!

compatibilityMarriage 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.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.wordpress.com

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