I enjoy reading your column. Here is my situation. I have been dating the same man for the last three years. We are both in our thirties and have not been married previously. We get along great and share many common interests. Recently, I have been getting the feeling that he wants to get married. Just the thought of being married makes me cringe. My parents were divorced, as well as both of my sisters. I was devastated when my parents divorced, but I kind of expected my sister’s marriages to end. I think I have lost faith in the stability of marriage. Do you think I need counselling, or should I just give up on the idea of marriage? Maybe I’m not the marrying kind.
Krista – Montreal
Hi Krista. No, don’t give up on marriage!
You definitely have justification to feel reluctant to marry. There are many reasons why marriages fail, some are not easy to pinpoint, while others are. Some marriages fail simply because of the factors under which the marriage took place. Some individuals enter a marriage because of a pregnancy or because they want to get out of their family home. These reasons are simply not enough to sustain a marriage.
When the pregnancy is over and the child is born, the reason you entered the marriage is nonexistent. Likewise, if you got married to get out of the house, what happens afterwards? Are you prepared to live with this person for the rest of your life? For a marriage to last, there has to be a commitment from both people that they will do whatever is necessary to make their marriage a success.
While love is an important ingredient in a successful marriage, there are other factors that can be equally important. Both parties have to be committed to the marriage relationship and to each other. Undoubtedly, there is risk involved, for when we enter marriage we have no guarantee that our partner will remain as committed to the marriage as we are.
Marriage breakdown is a part of our changing society. Statistics show that 50 per cent of marriages fail, but if you look at the other side 50 per cent are successful. Granted, the odds are not that good, but Krista, consider that your marriage may be one that is successful.
It may be helpful for you and your partner to go for premarital counselling. Premarital counselling helps to bring out some of the important characteristics of married life that perhaps you and your partner have not yet discussed. Through counselling, you can determine if you are both entering the marriage with the same expectations. As well, perhaps you may benefit from some one-on-one counselling to work through your personal fears and insecurities about entering marriage.
As with most things in life, there are no guarantees in marriage. But, if you don’t take the risk, you may spend your life wondering if you made the right decision. Hope this helps.
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E-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality: your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.