Here we are in the thick of wedding season with couple after couple taking the big plunge–committing to love, honour and cherish; choosing this one person from a potential pool of several billion people; promising to forsake all others through good times and bad.
It may be a lavish affair complete with hundreds of guests, a bridezilla, and all the best of everything, all at a cost of what used to be a down payment on a house. Or it may be an intimate gathering of five: bride, groom, best man, matron of honour, and officiant in someone’s backyard or living room.
No matter the trappings, the budget, the simplicity or complexity of the event, in my humble opinion, it boils down to the rightness of your choice in mates and the intention you bring to the vows. I say this as both a marriage commissioner and a woman married to the same guy for almost 34 years. Yes, it’s true–I was a child bride. I can’t possibly be old enough to be married that long otherwise.
You’ll note I’m offering ?suggestions? versus ?commandments? because no two marriages are alike any more than any two people are alike. Here goes, in no particular order:
1. When the lustful glow has worn off, remember the more substantive reasons you fell in love with this person.
2. Hang onto your sense of humour. Especially when your sweetie really ticks you off and you find yourself wistfully dreaming about the one(s) that got away.
3. Talk about money before you commit because it’s the leading cause of problems. Discuss how much each of you earns. Honestly disclose how much each of you owes. Explore your individual priorities and beliefs regarding saving and spending. This can be, and often is, a deal breaker.
4. Become each other’s biggest ally. There are plenty of critics and naysayers out there. Let your marriage be the refuge from negativity and provide the support you each need.
5. Before you commit, talk about your hopes and dreams. Is there buy-in? Life is so much easier if you’re both pulling in the same direction, pooling resources, creating synergy.
6. Notwithstanding number five, hang onto your own thoughts, integrity, beliefs, and identity. You, the individual, shouldn’t cease to exist just because you got married.
7. Do things for each other not out of a sense of duty but just because you know it will bring comfort or joy.
8. Find the right balance between work and play. You need both aspects in good measure to make life worth living.
9. Fan the flames of desire. Shake up your sex life to keep things interesting and each other interested.
10. Don’t let kids, in-laws, the job, or other people come between you. This is, after all, a union of two people, not a group venture.
Above all else, if you’ve made a critical mistake and it isn’t going to work, end it. Cleanly, civilly, completely. Move on and find the happiness due you. You deserve it, from where I sit.