Although I’ve not been keeping up myself, I have been catching some blogs and reading them on my way to and from work. Joyce who does the Wednesday HodgePodge has been using the A to Z challenge to reflect on marriage, and I’ve found some of her thoughts really interesting. Perhaps more so because it is a conversation that has been coming up a lot over the last few weeks.
I’m a ‘divorced kid’. Most of the healthy marriages I’ve seen are ones my friends have now, more than what I saw during childhood. A lot of my high school friends have divorced parents too and it wasn’t until I was at university when I discovered that I was the only girl out of 21 who had divorced parents (at the time) that it could be normal to have functionally, happily married parents.
I turned 30 this year, and with that comes the pressure to hurry on up with marriage and kids. I have no idea if that’s in my future. It’s not that I don’t want to be married or be a mother. It’s just that I’m not going to get married for the sake of meeting a cultural milestone.
I have watched people to often get themselves into a right mess rushing into marriage with bizarre expectations.
This is just a few thoughts I’ve been having lately – maybe you agree, maybe you don’t…
1. Too many single people think that marriage will cure loneliness.
Being single can be lonely. Let me tell you that being a Christian single during weekends like Easter is no fun. My friends are all on holiday or visiting family. If I want to go to church services to celebrate this important event in the Christian calendar, I’ll have to go alone. And come home alone.
And I hate that.
Going on holiday can be a challenge too. Do you go alone? Can you find some single friends to go with?
And weddings. As I get older, I’ve gone to weddings where all my friends are coupled up. When it comes to the reception (especially in Scotland where we ceilidh dance) it can feel really awkward.
Oh, if only I was married and then I’d have an in-built family. I’d have someone to do fun things with. I’d have a dance partner for every wedding ceilidh.
Actually, being married doesn’t guarantee any of that, and if you marry someone you’re not going to be friends with or share the same values as – you might find yourself very lonely and isolated more so than if you’d stayed single.
2. Many people don’t realise that marriage is about compromise
I have friends that seem to live in a dream world where they’ve planned out their entire life with a partner they’ve never even met. I’ve yet to meet a married couple who like all the same things and agree on everything.
You’ll be bringing two micro cultures together. You might have very different ideas about how to spend and manage finances. You might have very different sleep and work patterns. You may have very different hobbies.
It’s also going to be about giving up time for things you love to spend time with the people you love instead. Not shutting people out whenever you feel like it. Sharing germs.
And add some children to that? Be prepared for more stress, less time to do fun stuff, choices about what you prioritise…
3. Marriage is hopefully for life
And you are going to have to work on it.
4. You need to marry the person they are, not your fantasy of who they could be.
If you don’t trust your spouse to be now, how will you be able to trust them when you may have to
make decisions about parents’ end of life care?
to pay the bills?
to not get your family into debt?
be in charge of looking after your child?
make sure you have some savings for unexpected things like the washing machine breaking down or a travelling to see a sick family member?
spend time with other people?
If you don’t accept who they are, you’ll spend your married life resenting them and bringing out the worst in each other, not the best.
Is there anything you’d add or change? What are your thoughts on marriage and partnership?