When a couple gets married everyone talks about how much in love they are. That is unless they're gossiping about how she shouldn't be wearing white or "did you hear about him?" Mostly, though, we want our newlyweds to live happily ever after, complete with the pitter patter heart beat of head over heels love.
Really? Maybe when I was a teenager the syrupy "I'll love you forever, can't live without you" feeling was what I was looking for. Thankfully, though, by the time Scott and I got married I knew that ooey-gooey love wasn't what kept a twosome together for better or worse.
(An interesting thought: when I was little I sang the lyrics to Phil Collins' song Groovy Kind of Love as "we've got a gooey kind of love." Just thought you might find that fascinating too.)
Over the past many years I've met many different couples. The ones that are married have all gotten married for different reasons. The courtships have been different. And in the end, that's how it should be...we're all different people and our relationships should be unique to us. I must admit, though, that some of these couples I've said a prayer or two for, wondering if they realize or will learn too late that love isn't enough...marriage takes so much more.
I recently watched Enchanted, a Disney flick with Patrick Demsey and Amy Adams. Giselle is a fairy princess looking for her Prince Charming. At first she's smitten with a handsome prince who sings her off her feet. It takes her the course of the movie to realize that the butterflies in her stomach aren't true love...she wants more than fairy tale love.
I'm wondering if maybe we should be asking "Should I marry you?" rather than "Will you marry me?" Maybe if more newlyweds had considered more than feelings they would find themselves celebrating golden anniversaries years down the road rather than 50% ending in divorce. Things like faith, retirement goals, financial planning abilities, and parenting styles are important. Couples who haven't talked about where they want to live, if they want kids, or what they expect from a spouse are bound to put strain on their love and therefore their marriage. Whether you attend premarital counseling, have a checklist of questions, or simply date and discuss...qualify your spouse. Give your marriage a strong foundation. Set yourselves up for success.
And continue to do so. Marriage is an every day thing not a one day event. Choose it every day. Choose to do for your spouse, love them through their annoying habits, and check in often. Are your goals, dreams, plans, styles still the same? We change and grow as people. Be sure you're in tune with how you and your spouse are adapting. Grow and change together. Stay involved.
I'll step off my platform now. But not before saying that marriage is important and I believe in it. Don't be afraid to ask the tough questions to your loved ones before they tie the knot. Questions hurt nothing and the best way to have a great marriage is to start off on the right path. And don't judge couples based on the length of their courtship. Whether three months or three years, time matters less than how much information has exchanged hands during that time.
Look at me, starting off 2010 preaching! I'll try to be more light hearted next entry...but every now and then...heavy it what's necessary.