Monday, 06 September 2010
"Dating is the best the relationship will ever get. Marriage only complicates things more."
Heard this straight from the mouth of Bruce Jenner while catching the ever entertaining season premiere of Keeping Up with the Kardashians the other weekend.
It really struck a chord with me when I heard it because I think it would be the single piece of best advice I could give someone who is in a relationship that is contemplating taking the next step. In a few weeks, Hun and I will be approaching our three year wedding anniversary. And by the end of the year, we will be together for 10 years.
We had a really great dating relationship, relatively little fighting. Lot of fun and lots of laughs. And that joy carried into our marriage, 3 years later. Things could've been so different if our relationship was built on a shaky foundation. But of course life is fluid and no one can say for sure what the future will hold, but I really have a good feeling inside me that we've got a really, really good chance at happy forever after.
When you're in a good relationship, of course marriage can help elevate things, taking things to new and greater heights. But there are also those cases in which marriage totally wreaks havoc even on a teflon relationship. So when you're already in a sour, unstable, unhappy relationship, marriage will only exacerbate things. It will never fix anything. People really do change once those wedding bands are exchanged. Sometimes it's subtle changes, sometimes it's drastic. But you will learn and realize things about a person that no amount of dating or living together will teach you. As you will learn things about yourself that you didn't know before.
It's sad sometimes, but I see it a lot, how marriage makes people lazy. Yeah, people still try but the incentive is not as strong as it was before. People might try, but they also give up a lot quicker. Over the years, I've heard so many stories of 8 year relationships and a month into the wedding, they annul it because the bride decides to run off with another man. I've heard countless and witnessed a few newlywed affairs in which people realize they made the biggest mistake of their life and don't know how to walk away from it. Modern marriages are not what they used to be.
Sometimes I see friends who are almost miserable in their current situation and when they talk to me about possibly getting married in the future. I wonder to myself, do they know just how much it takes to maintain a healthy marriage? If you couldn't get your dating relationship right, what makes you think getting married would make things better? Half of what makes a marriage successful or unsuccessful is the history you bring into it. If you're not being treated right before he makes you his wife, I take the pessimistic approach that he's not going to be right to you after.
People, marriage is hard work. I don't care what anyone says, it is work and it will be one that's always in progress. But it doesn't mean that you can't enjoy it. Just don't go into it expecting it to be a magic pill that will fix and correct everything that was wrong in the past. It won't and if you think it will be, you'll be in for a rude awakening. It's a lot about compromise and a lot of about self sacrificing. You learn teamwork like you've never known before. It's about daily, minuscule things that go into running a household and big, grand visions about raising a family. It's about anything and everything under the sun. But of course the reward at the end of the rainbow is amazing also.
I could focus on all the grand and beautiful things, but I'm trying to paint you the full on real picture. Sometimes the person you date is not the person you think you're marrying...and rarely do people get better. But the worse part is sometimes when you get exactly the person you date. Is it enough?
Everyone has an idea in their heart if their relationship is going to make it or not. I think back to the day I got married and I could probably pretty honestly admit to myself that I couldn't go through with it if I didn't believe wholeheartedly that this was going to the best decision I'd ever make. Isn't it time to be honest and ask yourself that? Life is about making the best educated guess cause there's no guarantees that when you open this door, you're going to win the grand prize randomly.